Amazon Fire HD 8 2020 review: Higher price, but upgrades keep it a bargain

With products obtainable in 7-, eight- and 10-inch display screen measurements and priced as lower as $fifty right before Primary Day discount rates, Amazon’s Fireplace tablets have extended been the go-to option for cut price gadget hunters. But with its 2020 refresh of the eight-inch Fireplace High definition eight pill, extended the Goldilocks option of its line, Amazon is including a twist that may perhaps depart you pondering which 1 to get. There are now two eight-inch products to pick out from: a baseline Fireplace High definition eight starting at $ninety (£90), and the $one hundred ten (£110) Fireplace High definition eight Moreover, which adds wi-fi charging and a little bit superior functionality. The pill is just not currently obtainable in Australia but the starting price tag converts to about AU$a hundred and sixty.

Like

  • A lot quicker processor than previous model
  • Fast USB-C charging
  • Greater front camera placement
  • 2GB of RAM (up from one.5GB)
  • Hands-no cost Alexa voice assistant
  • Improved battery lifestyle

Really don’t Like

  • High definition eight Moreover gives wonderful stage-ups for just a little bit far more income
  • Exhibit is High definition but not 1080p (could be sharper)
  • Amazon Appstore is constrained compared with Google Play and Apple Application Shop
  • Amazon Primary membership is a should

The two products appear equivalent on the outside the house. The High definition eight Moreover is only obtainable in a slate colour even though the common High definition eight is obtainable in black, white, plum, twilight blue and slate. But aside from the white model, they all have a black bezel close to the exhibit. Both of those products are improved around the former 2018 Fireplace High definition eight model with a more quickly processor, USB-C charging, superior Wi-Fi functionality and a bump from 16GB to 32GB of storage in the base product. The common High definition eight has 2GB of RAM — that’s up from one.5GB — and the High definition eight Moreover has 3GB of RAM, which is exactly where you get the functionality boost. The USB-C charging does aid reduce charging instances by about an hour from the former High definition eight, with the High definition eight Moreover charging even more quickly.

The 2018 Fireplace High definition eight (left) is taller but a little bit slimmer than the new Fireplace High definition eight and High definition eight Moreover. 


David Carnoy/CNET

What is a major deal is that Amazon has moved the front-facing camera. It used to be at the top rated of the pill when you experienced it in portrait mode. Now it is on the aspect, so it is at the top rated when you have it in landscape mode. That allows when you happen to be performing video phone calls with Zoom and other video-contacting apps, such as Amazon’s have. The new product is a little bit wider than the 2018 High definition eight, but it is shorter and the bezel is now a similar width close to the complete exhibit, which continues to be the similar eight-inch dimensions. Only a large-close pill like the iPad Pro has far more display screen and a lot less bezel: Other spending budget tablets commonly have huge bezels.  

Thanks to the blend of a new 2GHz quad-main MediaTek 8168 processor and some program updates, battery lifestyle is now rated at twelve several hours of “combined use” as a substitute of 10.  The other modest upgrade is that the microSD expansion slot now accepts up to 1TB cards. Beforehand, the maximum capacity was 512GB.

So all in all, there are some significant modifications. And you are going to have to pay back far more for them. As stated above, the common High definition eight now costs $ninety as a substitute of $eighty and the High definition eight Moreover with wi-fi charging and the added gigabyte of RAM is $twenty far more at $one hundred ten. The price tag for the Moreover goes up a further $twenty if you get the companion wi-fi charging dock for the Moreover, which you possibly want to do.

The Fireplace High definition eight now capabilities USB-C charging.


David Carnoy/CNET

Both of those new Fireplace High definition eight products have the similar one,280×800-pixel resolution exhibit as the former High definition eight. The display screen is technically High definition but it is in essence 720p and not 1080p. It is really great for observing movies but it is not just about as sharp as the display screen you get with, say, an iPad, which is why you happen to be having to pay a large amount a lot less for this. At 355 grams, the new Fireplace High definition eight weighs a contact a lot less than its 363g predecessor.

A few yrs back again, the High definition eight seemed sluggish, but its functionality has steadily improved and now it is really zippy (Amazon claims the new High definition 8s are 30% more quickly than the 2018 High definition eight thanks to the new processor and program optimization). It is just not as responsive as an entry-stage iPad, which is generally on sale for about $250, but it is in general really clean and I didn’t have any difficulty operating online games like Asphalt nine: Legends. That explained, the 8-main processor and GPU — the graphics processor — are more quickly in the 10-inch Fireplace High definition 10, which also has a sharper 1080p exhibit. When that product goes on sale for $100, it is possibly the most effective benefit in tablets. But some individuals are looking for a smaller sized, lighter pill and the High definition eight is a major bump up from Amazon’s lowest priced pill, the Fireplace 7.

The far more costly High definition eight Moreover capabilities wi-fi charging and is obtainable in a bundle with a wi-fi charging dock. The High definition eight Moreover mechanically goes into Clearly show Manner when in the dock.


David Carnoy/CNET

I didn’t see a major difference in functionality amongst the High definition eight Moreover and common High definition eight, but the added gig does aid. Applications open a contact more quickly and it can aid with multitasking and far more graphically intensive applications. It by no means hurts to have far more RAM, I can notify you that. 

The High definition eight Moreover appears to wirelessly cost on any Qi-enabled charging pad — at the very least the types I tried with 7.five watts or larger charging ability. But you definitely want the charging dock that Amazon bundles in for an added twenty bucks. That is because 1 of the major appeals of the Fireplace High definition eight Moreover is that you can fall it in the dock and it mechanically goes into display mode, turning your pill into anything significantly like an Echo Clearly show eight, comprehensive with hands-no cost access to the Alexa voice assistant. It is really still applying the tablet’s internal speakers as a substitute of a serious speaker and the pill will not have a far more substantial microphone array for choosing up your voice like an Echo speaker does. But it functions effectively plenty of and the sound is Alright for observing video (it is not so good for audio). You could wirelessly hook up a Bluetooth speaker to augment the sound.

The common Fireplace High definition eight is obtainable in white and other colour solutions.


César Salza

I place the dock in my kitchen area and used the High definition eight Moreover as a mini Tv set because I have Spectrum Tv set as my cable service provider. There takes place to be a Spectrum application that offers me all my channels on the Fireplace High definition eight or High definition eight Moreover so extended as I’m on my household community (you get a lowered selection of channels when you happen to be absent from your household community). Like the Fireplace High definition 10, the High definition eight now has a picture-in-picture mode for observing video in a modest window in the corner of the exhibit even though applying the tablet’s other applications, such as applying a browser to appear up recipes. You could get a include with a built-in stand — Amazon sells loads of these, such as its have properly built but costly handles — and develop the similar setup for observing movies with possibly the High definition eight Moreover or common High definition eight. But you wouldn’t be equipped to wirelessly cost the pill at the similar time.

The Fireplace High definition eight has often been a useful pill for consuming Amazon video articles, ebooks and audio, and it is still particularly handy for Primary users. You can also view other streaming video solutions such as Netflix and Hulu, but the assortment of apps in the Amazon Appstore has often been constrained compared with what is actually obtainable for Android and iOS, particularly when it will come to online games. You will not find apps for Vudu or HBO Max, for occasion (although HBO Max may perhaps be coming).

The pill runs on Amazon’s latest Fireplace OS, a tailored model of Android P, which was unveiled in the slide of 2018. And even though Amazon will not stimulate it, you can put in the Google Play retail outlet by following some recommendations on the world-wide-web. That would enable you to run a large amount far more apps. But some individuals may perhaps come to feel intimidated by the procedure.

The former Fireplace High definition eight was well-known with mother and father seeking an affordable pill for their youngsters. If that’s who you happen to be acquiring this for, the common High definition eight is going to be just great. (There’s also a $one hundred thirty Young children Version that bundles in a protective circumstance and a yr of Amazon’s Freetime Unrestricted all-in-1 subscription company that offers youngsters access to hundreds of age-ideal textbooks, movies, apps, Audible textbooks and online games.)

I like staying equipped to wirelessly cost the Fireplace High definition eight Moreover and the dock is properly built. I believe you are going to close up applying the pill far more because it does double duty as a far more modest Echo Clearly show substitute it is in essence often billed and completely ready to go when you want to use it outside the house the dock. That explained, the bundle with the dock is currently $40 far more than the common High definition eight, and for some people that’s a major soar in price tag if you happen to be looking for a spending budget pill.

The former Fireplace High definition eight sold for as lower as $fifty for the duration of the holidays previous (and other flash sales this yr). This 1 possibly will not go that lower, but hope to see it for $twenty to $30 off at some issue in the long run. At $ninety, it is a respectable benefit, and it will be a serious cut price if it drops to $sixty or $70. I do want the display screen were 1080p, but you seemingly won’t be able to have everything at this modest price tag.

Editors’ notice: Mainly because the Fireplace High definition eight reviewed in this article is pretty similar to its sibling products, the Fireplace High definition eight Moreover, most of this language is borrowed from our evaluation of that product.