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Review: Amazon Fire HD 8 (10th Generation) tablet

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Erin L

Erin L

amazon, fire, hd, tablet, fire hd 8, 10th generation, new, 2020, review

It’s been a while since I reviewed an Amazon Fire tablet. These compact and budget friendly tablets are designed to give you access to many of the features you want and need in a compact tablet, while still being cost effective. Amazon’s newest tablet is the Fire HD 8 10th generation. This 8” tablet is ultra portable and has some upgrades over older versions. In this review I’ll take a look at the basics of what you can do with an Amazon Fire tablet, plus what it can’t do, I’ll share the improvements that have been made and talk about whether I think it’s a worthy buy.

All new Amazon Fire HD 8 2020 – 10th generation: what’s new

With an 8” HD display, Amazon’s compact tablet costs just $109 CAD and Amazon says it’s 30% faster than previous versions with a 2.0 GHz quad-core processor and 2GB RAM that they say should allow you to easily multi-task when watching movies, playing games and browsing the web.

There is increased storage with options for 32GB or 64GB of internal storage and support for up to 1TB of expandable storage via microSD. Battery life is promised to be about 12 hours, but that’s the same promise as previous versions, and they’ve upgraded the charging cable from Micro-USB to USB-C.
There’s also the option of an extra-cost Amazon-designed slim magnetic case with built-in stand that allows for hands-free viewing in landscape and portrait orientations. The cover remains securely closed at home or on the go with a magnetic closure and still gives you easy access to buttons, ports, and cameras.

Display quality & watching videos

The HD screen quality is pretty good and I think most folks would have a hard time hating on it. It’s pretty clear and detailed and watching Netflix or Prime Video on it, was enjoyable. There’s Picture-in-picture viewing with Prime Video, and Netflix if that’s your thing.

Is streaming slow?

Streaming is just great on the Fire HD 8. I noticed no stalling or buffering during my testing.

amazon, fire, hd, tablet, fire hd 8, 10th generation, new, 2020, review

What can I do on a Fire HD 8 tablet?

Amazon’s Fire HD 8 is a small tablet that’s somewhere between an e-reader and a full fledged tablet computer.
With more memory, now double the storage – 32 or 64 GB of memory (plus you can expand more, (32 or 64 GB of internal storage and up to 1 TB with microSD card) + 2 GB RAM ) it lets you do a variety of things like:

  • amazon, fire, hd, tablet, fire hd 8, 10th generation, new, 2020, reviewread e-books
  • listen to audio books
  • watch streaming TV shows and movies on Amazon Prime Video, YouTube & Netflix
  • watch downloaded videos
  • play games
  • download and use apps like Instagram&Facebook
  • shop the Amazon app, see your orders and more

Operating system

amazon, fire, hd, tablet, fire hd 8, 10th generation, new, 2020, reviewThe tablet runs Amazon Fire OS, an Android-based mobile operating system produced by Amazon for its Fire Phone and Kindle Fire range of tablets, and other content delivery devices like Fire TV.
Amazon says this tablet is 30% faster than before and while it may be a big laggier than other higher end tablets, you’re getting what you pay for here.

Cameras on Fire HD 8

amazon fire hd 8 10th gen tablet

Viewing a photo taken on the Fire HD 8, on the Fire tablet

The Fire HD 8 (10th Generation) has 2 MP front and rear-facing cameras with 720p HD video recording.
The photos on this are marginal at best since the sharpness isn’t there and the colours are kind of washed out, but they’ll be fine for kids. You don’t want this tablet to be your primary camera.

Set up and connecting Amazon Fire HD 8 10th generation

Getting this device set up couldn’t have been easier. Once it’s charged up you’ll log into your Amazon account and it automatically populates your previously purchased e-books and Prime videos. I’m in the middle of watching a few shows on Prime Video and it had the next episodes ready.
Once set up, you can download other apps as you wish.

amazon, fire, hd, tablet, fire hd 8, 10th generation, new, 2020, reviewThe button placements are holdovers from previous generations so my thoughts are the same: they’re all along the top of the device and a bit awkward for the volume rocker since it’s not oriented in the traditional up-down configuration, but it’s easy enough to adapt to.

The two speakers are located on the side of the device and I did notice that Amazon’s case actually covers them up. Oops.

Charge time & battery life on Fire HD 8

It takes about 5 hours using the new USB-C power adapter included in the box, and that’s an hour faster than before That should give you about 12 hours of battery life.

Ports & connections

The Fire HD 8 2020 has a USB-C port and a microSD slot for external storage. When it comes to audio you also have a 3.5 mm headphone jack.

amazon, fire, hd, tablet, fire hd 8, 10th generation, new, 2020, reviewWhat apps are available on Fire HD 8?

You’ll get your apps from the Amazon App store, and Google Play store isn’t officially supported. Amazon says you still get endless entertainment in a Fire tablet. Movies, TV episodes, apps, eBooks, and songs—plus games. Stream and download videos from Netflix, Prime Video, and Disney+.
You can even make video calls on apps like Zoom. That’s a pleasant and handy surprise!
For me, I was also happy to have Google Keep, YouTube Instagram, Netflix, Kindle, and Prime Video.

How to turn on Game Mode – What is Game mode?

Enabling Game Mode on your Fire HD 8 (10th Generation) or Fire HD 8 Plus (10th Generation) tablet allows you to play games without distractions. Notifications from Alexa or other apps such as email and social networks are suppressed while you play games.
To do it, open the Settings menu, select Apps & Games, select Game Mode > On.

Limitations in Canada?

When I last reviewed the Fire HD 8, there were some limitations on functions, meaning there was a lot I couldn’t do here in Canada. With the new 2020 10th Generation Fire HD 8 I was looking forward to seeing if some improvements and changes had been made giving the device better functionality here in the great white north. Stuff the Fire HD 8 can’t do in Canada is disappointing:

amazon, fire, hd, tablet, fire hd 8, 10th generation, new, 2020, reviewLimited Alexa connectivity in Canada…

Fire Tablets in the USA had Alexa smart digital assistant functionality built in, but this feature wasn’t enabled in Canada for a long time. I’m really happy to report that the Alexa app works on Canadian devices. Kinda.
While you can now see your Alexa Smart Home and control on screen, view prior requests and make video calls, there doesn’t appear to be a way to talk to Alexa on the tablet and get her to obey your commands. So some improvements, with more to come.

Meaning… No Show Mode… yet.

With Show Mode on your Fire HD 8 or Fire HD, Alexa voice responses are enhanced with full screen visuals. Since Alexa isn’t enabled on this tablet, the function doesn’t work, but what this feature is supposed to do is turn your tablet into a defacto Echo device with a screen, like the Echo Show.
Since this feature isn’t available in Canada, I wasn’t able to test it out.

But Video Calling is here!

Despite Alexa not being full service, phone and video calling is now enabled on the Fire HD 10. By using the Alexa app you can call family and friends or set up video calls with them if they also have a video-enabled Alexa device.

amazon, fire, hd, tablet, fire hd 8, 10th generation, new, 2020, reviewStill no Audible support…

The tablet comes pre-loaded in the USA with Audible for audio books. Sadly the Canadian version still doesn’t and you can’t find it on the Amazon App Store. I’m not sure if it’s an Amazon or an Audible issue, but it’s disappointing this feature is still lacking.

Overall review of Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet

I am surprised by how much I like this little tablet. It’s compact and light and easy to set up and use.

While this tablet definitely doesn’t have the power or capabilities of something like an iPad Pro, or the ultra sharp screen, it’s also a much less expensive tablet, priced at an astoundingly affordable hundred bucks or so in Canada for the 32GB size and $139 for twice the memory at 64GB, making that a good upgrade.
The screen and audio quality are fine and the variety of apps available is excellent.

What I disliked most about this tablet is the features that aren’t available and haven’t been for years: Alexa voice control, Show Mode and Audible. While these may show up a few years into the future, don’t hold your breath.

Even so, if you’re getting this tablet, at least you know some of its future potential. But if these are features you need and want now, you might be better off with a different tablet, though you’re definitely going to pay more for it.

Overall there’s a lot to love about Fire HD 8 if you want a low priced but versatile tablet for travel or the kids, or to supplement another tablet you may already have.

*A note about Affiliate Links: Occasionally I will include affiliate links in my reviews. I do this partly for convenience of the reader (since I’ll almost always include a link to the company website or similar anyway) in case you want to read more or purchase but I also may get a small commission from the click, which helps me keep the blog running. If you chose to use this link I thank you greatly for supporting the blog. There’s no obligation or cost to you for using this link.

 

 

Erin L

Erin L

I'm a journalist, tech blogger, writer, TV producer, silversmith& jewelry designer, foodie and world traveler. I blog, write for publications, and supply freelance writing services to Calgary, and the world.

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