Amazon is no stranger when it comes to tablets, in fact they have been creating powerful and affordable tablets based on the Android Operating system for some time now. Their latest offering, is evidence of their evolution in this space with the inclusion of their own smart AI assistant: Alexa, and its array of digital content available through their own Prime membership.
Their next-generation Fire HD tablet has been designed from the ground up for all-day entertainment. With an impressive and vivid 8” widescreen HD display and fast quad-core processor, the Fire HD has quickly become a very capable media consumption device, powering through movies, TV shows, songs, Kindle eBooks, apps and games without breaking a sweat.
The latest iteration also sees a welcome improvement to battery life with a notable 12 hours of battery which was very accurate in our own testing. This has also been paired with 50% more RAM for faster performance, and 2x the on-device storage with support for up to 200 GB of additional storage via a microSD card, which is very rare in this space.
The Fire HD 8 is powered by Fire OS 5 which starts with Android Lollipop, and improves upon it by deeply integrating Amazon’s hardware, platform, software, content, and cloud. There are some benefits to their operating system including making it much easier for consumers to discover content with dedicated content pages for books, games and apps, video, music, audiobooks and more. As well, Amazon has its own dedicated app store to discover new content and download your favorite apps. In our experience, the app store is sufficient for most things and is getting better by the day.
The Fire HD has also gotten a lot smarter thanks to Alexa, the cloud-based voice service that can play music, make calls, set alarms and timers, respond to questions, check your calendar, provide the latest weather, traffic, and sports scores, manage to-do and shopping lists, control smart home devices, and more—instantly. We are big fans of the Alexa integration and it was surprisingly useful on the tablet, we feel that it has made us more productive and organized which is perfect for someone using the Fire HD in a SOHO setting. We have also been pleasantly surprised by her capability as an assistant and would argue that it is smarter than Apple’s own Siri and coming close to Google’s own smart assistant. It is also worth noting that users can also Ask Alexa to call almost any local number, message your contacts, or video call friends and family who have a Fire tablet, Echo Spot, Echo Show, or have installed the iOS or Android Alexa App – which is an incredible feature if you buy into the Amazon ecosystem.
Lastly, Amazon took a page from Apple’s latest iPhone and have released the Fire HD in four different vibrant colors, all of which accent the tablet nicely and its already stellar build quality and at just $59.99 at the time of writing this, you simply cannot get better value than that.