Amazon is no stranger when it comes to tablets, 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 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 a 2.0 GHz quad-core processor that is 30% faster than the last generation, 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 with quick charge thanks to the new USB type C input. This has also been paired with more RAM for faster performance, and 32 or 64 GB of internal storage, and up to 1 TB with a microSD card which is rare in this space. You also get dual-band Wi-Fi for better connectivity and front and rear-facing cameras with HD video recording.
The Fire HD 8 is powered by Fire OS which is built on top of the Android operating system, which means you get access to popular apps like Netflix, Prime Video, and Disney+ or make video calls on apps like Zoom. It also 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 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 getting smarter and can go toe to toe with Apple’s own Siri and is coming close to Google’s 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.
At around $100, it is hard to argue the value one gets from owning a device like this. It gets all of the big things right and still offers users the convenience and immediate access to all the best Amazon have to offer. If you are looking for a well built, easy to use tablet with most of the bells and whistles, look no further.