Amazon’s Fire tablets continue to offer a popular alternative to the iPad. With the choices of Android tablets reducing over the past few years, the Fire family has provided affordable tablets that do just about everything you need in these trying times, especially keeping your kids engaged by learning online. Amazon’s most recent updates to this line are the new Fire HD 8 tablets; full details below.
With these two different-sized tablets in the offering, there is a decision to be made about which tablet best suits your needs in terms of working and learning from home. Are these tablets worth the price, and precisely what do you get for your money?
Amazon Fire tablet design
- Fire 7: 115 x 192 x 9.6mm, 286g
- Fire HD 8: 202 x 137 x 9.7mm, 335g
The Fire tablets are designed to be sturdy, offering plastic backs in a range of colours. The sizes and weights step up progressively as you’d expect along with the size of the display on offer.
The build quality is very much the same across all the devices, with flat backs and a bezel around the display that gives you plenty of space to grip the tablet.
The Fire 7 comes in black, sage, plum, and blue; the Fire 8 HD is available in black, blue, plum, and white.
Amazon Fire tablet display
- Fire 7: 7-inch, 1024 x 600 pixels, 171ppi
- Fire HD 8: 8-inch, 1280 x 800 pixels, 189ppi
The Fire 7 has a 1024 x 600-pixel resolution display, which equates to 171ppi across its 7-inches.
The 8-inch model has a 1280 x 800-pixel resolution, which comes out at 189ppi. Again, this is a boosted display compared to previous versions of this tablet, so it has reasonable contrast and clarity, with a slight boost in pixel density over the Fire 7. However, there’s very little difference other than the size.
Amazon Fire tablet hardware
- Fire 7: 1.3GHz quad-core, 1GB RAM, 16/32GB storage + micro SD (512GB)
- Fire HD 8: 2.0GHz quad-core, 2GB RAM, 32/64GB storage + micro SD (1TB)
Fire HD 8 offers Dolby Atmos sound
When it comes to the internal specs, there’s a difference in the power that you’ll get from the Fire tablets.
These tablets get incrementally faster, with the Fire 7 having a 1.3GHz quad-core processor. The Fire HD 8 has a 2.0GHz quad-core processor, so it is a little faster than the Fire 7.
In terms of RAM, the Fire 7 offers 1GB RAM while the Fire HD 8 steps it up to 2GB.
All models have micro SD support for storage expansion up to 512GB, as well as free unlimited cloud storage for Amazon content, except the new Fire HD 8 models, which now support up to 1TB of external storage – that’s a lot of downloads! These tablets fill very fast, so a micro SD card is well worth hunting down.
In terms of internal memory, the Fire 7 and HD 8 is offered at 16GB and 32GB options.
The battery life on the Fire 7 comes in at 7 hours; the Fire HD 8 has 12 hours of battery life. The Fire HD 8 models have USB-C, while the Fire 7 still has Micro-USB for charging.
All the tablets offer dual-band Wi-Fi, there’s no 4G LTE offering on any of the models. The Fire 7 has a mono speaker, while the HD 8 model offer “Dolby Atmos” stereo speakers, meaning sound quality is better on the HD 8 model, with much more pronounced stereo separation and better high volume fidelity when watching videos.
In terms of camera performance, all the fire models have 2-megapixel cameras on the front and the rear.
Amazon Fire software
- Fire OS
- Alexa available on all devices
The Fire tablets all run Amazon’s skewed version of Android for a unique experience that’s bespoke to Amazon’s needs. You’re served by the Amazon Appstore, with seamless integration with Amazon’s content, Kindle Books, as well as Music and Video.
These tablets also tap into Alexa’s skills. You’ll be able to control your home and ask questions of Alexa through your tablet and get the answers served up as cards, or via voice.
All these devices also support Alexa hands-free. With this, you can just speak to the tablet, and Alexa will respond. That means you can use it in the kitchen, for example, without having to use your hands in the same way you’d use the Amazon Echo.
Amazon Fire price: Which is the best model?
The Amazon Fire 7 is one of the most affordable tablets you’ll find, and it’s perfect for those who might break it – like kids – although do also consider the Fire Kids Edition too. The Kids Edition gets a bumper (free case), 1-year subscription to Fire for Kids Unlimited.
The new Amazon Fire HD 8 is excellent value for money, giving you more space and a better display than the Fire 7, but still at an attractive price. It sits in an appealing position, offering portability, excellent battery life as well as great sound. The latest update means plenty of power and more storage at your disposal.