Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet Review – A Neat Package at a Sweet Price
One of the universal rules applicable to a lot of gadgets is this: the more you pay, the more (or better) features you get. This is practically applicable to almost everything we buy, but there is an alternative to this as well – getting hold of a practical product at a reasonable price.
For those of us who do not have a lavish budget and are not looking for something fancy, the Amazon Fire HD 8 comes across as a perfect choice. This worthy successor of Amazon Fire, is an inch bigger in size and is available at a very pocket friendly price.
Read on to know more about this tablet, and why this is the ideal tablet if you are looking for something basic and affordable.
Amazon Fire HD 8: The Low Cost Yet Fully Functional Tablet
One of the most reasonably priced tablets that you can find on the market today is the Amazon Fire HD 8. This 8 inch tablet is available for a mere $90 or so, which is way less than other popular tablets like the Apple iPad and its various variants.
Although the low priced tablet comes at a cost (of a not so good screen display), it is not totally intolerable. The performance of the Amazon Fire HD 8 is surprisingly good for its price point. It is the ideal choice if you need a tablet mainly for media consumption and internet surfing.
It will provide you with all the basic features you need for everyday use and not burn a hole in your pocket. Tablets like these are a great choice if you need something for your kids, or something that can be handled in a rough and tough way without the fear and accompanying heartache of any damage.
One of the greatest advantages of this tablet is the battery life; it might take quite awhile to charge, but a fully charged battery lasts surprisingly long so you don’t have to worry about getting it juiced it too frequently. We find that it is alot better than the cheap Chinese tablets available in the market today.
With features like parental control, Advance Streaming and Prediction(ASAP), and soon to be launched Alexa, Amazon Fire HD 8 is well on its way to becoming the best budget tablet.
Although it does not provide you access to all the Google play apps, it does give you ample choices between Amazon Apps.
Sound and Design
The design of the Amazon Fire HD 8 is quite simple and basic. The tablet has a smooth and durable plastic back, which comes in multiple colors. The front will remain black for all models while the back color can differ.
Since the tablet is small and is mainly covered in plastic, it is predictably lightweight and makes for an extremely portable device. The sound quality of the Fire HD 8 has been improved, and its sound quality from the Dolby audio tuned dual speakers is better than the Amazon Fire.
The speakers are placed on the top edge of the tablet, and not at the back or at the bottom, so this definitely helps to make the sounds clearer and louder for the user.
The tablet offers you Bluetooth connectivity for connecting with Bluetooth speakers.
Display: What we notice first about any device is its display. The names says it all, but it’s worth repeating here: the screen size of Amazon Fire HD 8 is 8 inches, and the screen resolution is in high definition. Although it comes with a compact screen size and a decent screen resolution, the brightness of the screen could be improved in our opinion. But that is compensated for by the long battery life. It is ideal for streaming content through Amazon Prime. The content from the app as well as Netflix is surprisingly clear as compared to clarity of videos and content streamed through other apps. The images are sharp, but not very bright.
RAM and Processor: The processor in Amazon Fire HD 8 is a 1.3 GHz quad core processor from Mediatek. That makes it more advanced than what we had in the earlier edition, but the speed of both remains roughly the same. The RAM has also been increased from 1 GB to 1.5 GB. This might not sound out of the world, but with a not–so–advanced processor, this amount of RAM is perfect and sufficient for use. Since the processor is not a high end processor, do not attempt to multi-task. You can use it for all purposes, but keep it limited to one purpose at a time or risk annoying yourself.
Storage: The storage space in Amazon Fire HD 8 is 16 GB and it comes with the option of adding an SD card that allows the user to expand the memory to as high as 200 GB. If you want to download films and then watch them on a flight journey, you can download and delete after watching. Another alternative could be to opt for the higher end model of the device, which comes with 32 GB of inbuilt storage space. The storage of the device is sufficient, provided you take some time to delete the cached files and unnecessary apps from time to time. These are usually what typically occupy the most valuable space.
Battery Life: One of the best things about this tablet is in its battery life. It can take up to six hours to charge fully, but a fully charged device can last for up to 12 hours! The battery life that you get in this model is better than a lot of other Amazon Fire Tablets. The battery life of the device has been tested by multiple tech bloggers, who have concluded that the average battery life of the device is 10 – 12 hours. Depending on the tasks you perform on the tablet, your mileage may vary (but not by much!)
Operating System: When we talk about key specs, we should not limit ourselves just to the hardware. The software of the device is one of the most important aspects of the device. Amazon tablets are a few of those tablets which run on their own operating system. The Fire OS is used by all Amazon Fire tablets. With the Fire OS, they want users to make use of Amazon cloud services. With that you will be able to access music, videos, Kindle eBooks and all other Amazon services at your fingertips. You basically have the most support for Amazon apps on the Amazon Fire HD 8, because it runs on Fire OS. So if you are a fan of the Amazon apps and services, this should be the ideal tablet for you.
Camera: The tablet has a 2 MP rear camera and a 0.3 MP front camera. The rear camera works pretty well, it captures the colors in their true sense and also allows for accurate video recording. The front camera is not so pleasing. But since it is 0.3 MP, it should not come as a surprise. You can take images, provided that you hold the tablet steadily, at an appropriate distance and have sufficient light around you. But even so, don’t get your hopes too high.
Users often complain about the shaky images and videos but this is not the fault of the camera. A shaky video is always the result of unsteady hold of the camera. Make use of camera stabilizers, to get clear images and videos. The rear camera is the one with an HDR, whereas the front camera is VGA, which is well suited for being used in chatting apps or video calling. In well lighted atmosphere, the front camera can also record videos in 25 frames per second. Which can drop to a count as low as 5 frames per second if the lighting is insufficient. The camera allows for video recording in 720 p which is as good as the resolution of an HD ready TV.
Advanced Features & Other Controls
Since the Amazon Fire HD 8 is a low cost tablet, we do not expect it to come with advanced features. This edition of the tablet might not have much of the advanced features, but the upcoming editions of Amazon Fire HD will support Alexa, the digital assistant from Amazon.
This will make the tablet a lot more exciting. After having support for Alexa, the prices and demand for the tablet is likely to go up. This will be one of the few tablets which will have a digital assistant and affordably priced for the majority.
One of the many additional features coming up is the ‘on deck feature download from Amazon Prime’. This will help you download videos in the absence of an internet connection, but will require you to stop using the tablet for a while. This can give you content for streaming on a road trip or in the middle of a long flight. The ASAP feature in Fire OS predicts your choice of videos and primes them in background to keep them ready for streaming anytime. Another key aspect about Fire OS in the tablet is the activation of Alexa. When the assistant has been launched in the tablets, it will be activated by a tap on the screen, and not by your voice; thus preventing its activation in other Amazon devices and services.
The controls in Amazon Fire HD 8 are pretty much similar to what you will find in other tablets running on Android. What is different about the tablet is the parental control it allows for. The Fire OS grants you the permission of setting two Adult accounts and four children accounts on Amazon. Through clear account distinction, you will be able to monitor what kind of content the children account holders surf.
Through separate accounts, all users will have the freedom of installing the apps of their choice, without the fear of getting them deleted by someone else. The children accounts are provided access to limited sites by default, and the parent account is given access to an additional activity center, from where they can see how much time the children are spending on the internet.
If you are on a Budget – Just Go for the Amazon Fire HD8
Amazon Fire HD 8 is a ‘rare’ kind of tablet. It is cheap, durable and efficient, ideal for those who want to stream content exclusively from Amazon app. The tablet does miss out on a few crucial bits, but compensates for them elsewhere. For example, a dull screen is compensated by a greater battery life, and a not–so-great camera is compensated by the parental control, etc. There is nothing that the tablet completely fails to provide. And is in fact one of the most suitable and affordable midsized tablet which is poised to get even better.