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Amazon Fire HD 8 review: Hitting that 8-inch sweet spot

Amazon Fire HD 8 image 2

The pill market has continued to polarise over the previous few years and for those who do not need to make investments a substantial sum in an iPad, then Amazon’s Fire tablets are the apparent reasonably priced selection.

The Fire HD 8 sits in the midst of Amazon’s providing, extra moveable than the HD 10 and extra succesful than the Fire 7. It hits one thing of a sweet spot, providing performance and affordability.

Shiny design and strong construct

  • 215 x 128 x 9.7mm; 363g
  • Plastic shell in black, blue, purple or yellow
  • Matching equipment 

Whereas high-end tablets supply glass or aluminium ending, Amazon’s Fire tablets go for research plastic across the again. It is a easy and barely understated design, nevertheless it’s a strong outcome.

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The plastics really feel strong sufficient with ample texture to offer grip (Amazon is assured sufficient to say that it surpasses the iPad when it comes to sturdiness). Additionally they stand up to the occasional unintentional knock and wipe clear simply sufficient, so if the Fire HD 8 finds its approach into the sticky arms of a toddler, it can clear up simply sufficient.

With the 8-inch show on the entrance dictating this pill’s measurement, there is a pretty hefty bezel across the show. On one hand that provides a barely dated look to issues (particularly contemplating the transfer in smartphones to destroy all bezels), but this provides someplace for fingers and thumbs to take a seat and never impede what’s on the show. It additionally makes it straightforward to place in a protecting case with out obscuring the show.

The edges supply up all of the connections on one finish, together with a standard three.5mm headphone socket, whereas retaining the older Micro-USB for charging – so should you’re packing cables, remember that this may not be the identical as your up-to-date smartphone.

The facility button and quantity controls additionally lie on one finish, leaving the microSD card slot on the aspect, neatly coated by a flap.

Pocket-lintAmazon Fire HD 8 image 4

Whereas a number of tablets have opted for sombre colors – the inevitable black or gray – we just like the bolder strategy of Amazon. The Canary Yellow of this evaluation gadget is a specific favorite. It is enjoyable, it is vibrant, it is fascinating and it provides you one thing just a little totally different.

A show that fuses good measurement with satisfactory efficiency

  • 8-inch, 16:10 ratio IPS LCD show
  • 1280 x 800 pixel decision (189ppi)

Tablets are all about their show. Amazon has persistently caught to a 16:10 facet ratio for its tablets quite than flipping to four:three – which is turning into extra widespread elsewhere – which we expect makes for a very good facet to take pleasure in numerous the content material that Amazon provides, notably for Amazon Video.

The HD on this pill’s identify refers back to the reality that it steps as much as a 1280 x 800 pixel decision, or 720p, which is a step-up from the smaller Fire 7 pill, and a step down when it comes to decision from the bigger Fire HD 10 pill (which provides Full HD).

It is a good compromise. Though it isn’t the sharpest pill show on the market – and it is nowhere close to as sharp as the newest flagship smartphones – it is nothing to fret about, particularly at this worth. The necessary level is that it appears good when you begin steaming your Netflix or Amazon Video content material, and that will doubtless maintain customers pleased.

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It presents another weaknesses although. Though the Fire HD 8 made enhancements within the show in comparison with the earlier model of this pill, it nonetheless is not the brightest, so can wrestle to cope with reflections in shiny circumstances, and its colors aren’t as punchy as you will get from the perfect on the market.

However let’s put that in context: that is an £80 pill that delivers completely acceptable visuals at that worth. If you need a greater show, otherwise you’re specific about show perfection, you then’ll have to cough up a pair hundred extra. When you do put it side-by-side with an iPad the admittedly, it seems to be weak.

As it’s, the Fire HD 8 is aware of the contact and acquits itself completely nicely on the subject of enjoying video games or streaming movies once you’re laying in mattress, which is what you in all probability why you need to purchase this pill.

Amazon Fire HD 8 evaluate: Hardware and efficiency

  • Quad-core 1.3GHz processor, 1.5GB RAM
  • 12-hours battery life
  • 16 or 32GB RAM + microSD
  • No quick charging 

Amazon does not go to city telling us the suppliers of the hardware in its tablets, so that you simply have to simply accept that it is a quad-core chipset supported by 1.5GB RAM. Once more, this slides into the area between the Fire 7 and Fire HD 10 tablets when it comes to specification.

The efficiency subsequently matches its worth level. The essential issues occur quick sufficient, like clean streaming of video or snappy web page delivering books. Sure, there is usually a little delay with regards to opening bigger apps and you will really feel the processor warming up across the again simply above the Amazon emblem when enjoying extra demanding video games, like Actual Racing three. That is to be anticipated and, importantly, it does not truly get in the best way of what you are making an attempt to do.

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There’s 16GB of storage on the lowest configuration (with about 9.6GB obtainable to retailer apps and downloads) and the potential to increase storage by way of microSD card. In fact, 16GB of storage will fill fairly shortly, particularly if you wish to obtain a stack of flicks to observe on an extended flight, for instance. Subsequently it is properly value contemplating the bigger 32GB model if that’s how you are going to use it. One of many 2018 modifications to this pill is that it should now help playing cards as much as 400GB – and sure a 400GB microSD card will value greater than the pill itself.

The Fire HD 8 has a bonus over each the Fire 7 and the Fire HD 10 in relation to battery life. Amazon cites that you will get 12 hours of use from a single cost, which we have discovered to be sometimes true (it very a lot depends upon what you are doing and the way brilliant the show is about), however that’s 2 hours greater than the bigger 10-inch pill. 

We have additionally discovered the HD 8 is nice in standby and may cling onto its cost for a very very long time – we’re speaking weeks quite than hours. We have used the Fire HD 8 on lengthy haul flights for leisure and located it to be an ideal performer.

The draw back is that there isn’t any quick charging. In contrast to the transfer embraced by many smartphones, you are taking a look at a prolonged 6 hours of charging to get this Amazon full once more. That may be irritating in case you’re giving it to youngsters: they in all probability do not have the endurance to attend so lengthy.

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There’s some respite from this, nevertheless, with the supply of the Present Mode Charging Dock. That is an optionally available accent that provides you a charging stand for the Fire pill, together with a case that allows wi-fi charging. That then means you’ll be able to dock the pill on the stand and it’ll cost – in addition to providing an entire vary of latest options we’ll speak about under.

Present Mode, Alexa and content material

  • Android with Fire OS
  • Palms-free Alexa voice management
  • Built-in with Amazon content material 
  • Present Mode

The Fire HD 8 is Amazon’s pill, so it is no shock to seek out it is utterly built-in with the Amazon ecosystem. Meaning Amazon Music, Amazon Video and Kindle Books are firstly, with different apps and providers coming from Amazon’s Appstore. 

The pill itself runs on Amazon’s forked model of Google’s Android working system. In case you’re an Android consumer then you definitely’ll discover the expertise straightforward sufficient to grasp, with the identical primary navigation. Nevertheless, Amazon makes use of the house pages to supply up its content material in tabs, so you possibly can swipe over to video, books, music and so forth, together with purchasing.

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You will have to check in together with your Amazon account and that’ll give entry to any Amazon content material you may need purchased through the years, in addition to subscription content material for Prime members. For those who’re all signed up then Amazon Video means entry to collection like Bosch and The Grand Tour, plus films like John Wick.

On the books aspect of issues, it seamlessly syncs together with your Kindle, so when you’re studying the newest blockbuster in your Paperwhite, you possibly can decide it up in your pill when you’re bored of no matter else you are doing.

On the apps entrance you aren’t getting the complete Google Play service, as an alternative you are provided Amazon Appstore. That is packed filled with most of the newest video games apps and providers – Spotify, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Instagram, Fb and lots of extra – though it does not mirror Android app for app. Sometimes you will discover one thing that’s not out there or not fairly the newest model, which is a suitable draw back to this technique. There’s additionally Amazon’s browser for browsing the web.

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Including to the talents of this pill is Alexa. This is identical Alexa voice management and reply assistant that you will discover within the Amazon Echo, with seamless integration to something you may need setup with Alexa beforehand. You possibly can entry Alexa hands-free on this pill, which means it is one other entry level into residence management if that’s what you need – and that goes hand-in-hand with Present Mode, which is enabled utilizing the Present Mode Charging Dock.

Collectively, they principally flip your Fire HD 8 into an Echo Present, giving a lease of life to your pill when it isn’t in any other case getting used. You possibly can dock it in a playroom to stream video, in your kitchen to make use of timers or entry recipes, or anyplace in the home actually. The Fire HD 8 is not outfitted with the identical audio system or microphone expertise that the Echo will get so it is makes use of and efficiency are a bit extra restricted – nevertheless it does offer you Alexa with a display, which is a pleasant little bonus.

Pocket-lintAmazon Fire HD 8 image 5

Amazon Fire HD 8 evaluate: A phrase on parental controls

  • Fire for Youngsters Limitless
  • Nice parental controls 

We might not usually write a piece particularly about parental controls, however the Fire tablets from Amazon are a first-class selection for youngsters. Not solely due to the sturdy construct and resistant plastic end, however as a result of the software program presents a thought-about vary of choices to provide you actually good parental controls. 

There is a Fire for Youngsters choice that enables you to setup a profile on your youngster. This may be tailor-made to a toddler’s age, with totally different choices letting them do various things. Utilizing Fire for Youngsters means your baby has their personalised pill expertise with their very own apps, video games and content material all synced – so you’ll be able to have multiple youngster on a Fire pill, or a number of Fire tablets.

This does smart issues like locking them out of the pill’s settings and controls, and will not permit entry to the web by means of the browser or the power to buy from the shop. It additionally restricts apps and content material so that it is age applicable, whereas permitting the mother or father to set cut-off dates and studying targets with rewards (learn for 30 minutes earlier than you possibly can watch movies, for instance). 

There’s additionally a dad or mum dashboard you possibly can entry by way of your personal Amazon account that will allow you to see how your youngster is utilizing their pill – is all of it enjoying Minecraft? In all probability, sure.

There’s additionally a subscription aspect to Fire for Youngsters – referred to as Fire for Youngsters Limitless – and this enables entry to a variety of age-appropriate content material by way of subscription, identical to with Amazon Prime. This implies they will obtain video games or watch movies that are appropriate for them. It is all ring-fenced, vetted and protected, so mother and father do not need to always micro handle each facet of Fire pill use. It is nicely value taking a look at, because it’s solely £three.99 a month, or £1.99 a month in case you’re a Prime subscriber.

We’ll additionally point out the digital camera – it is there, nevertheless it’s fairly primary. Youngsters will in all probability use it on a regular basis for enjoyable, however in actuality, it isn’t one thing you will need to depend upon. We will not deduct marks for that, as a result of we by no means use pill cameras.

Verdict

The Fire HD 8 sits in a sweet spot between Amazon’s extremely good worth Fire 7 and the bigger Fire HD 10. Whereas the efficiency and options of the Fire HD 8 betters these of the Fire 7, it additionally manages to outlast the Fire HD 10, making it a barely extra engaging proposition for many who need to journey with it. We additionally assume the dimensions is best than the 10, as this mannequin will slip sweetly right into a bag, whereas nonetheless giving loads of area to play if you pull it out. 

It isn’t the most effective performing pill available on the market and the show does not have the standard that you will get from any of Apple’s iPads. It isn’t as formidable in making an attempt to do every part for you both. As an alternative, the Fire HD 8 positions itself nicely for leisure, particularly for many who are Prime members, the place the worth for cash can’t be disputed.

Whether or not you are a globetrotter, on the lookout for a journey pill, or simply one thing to entertain your youngsters, the Fire HD 8 is properly value contemplating. At this worth level there’s little or no else that comes shut.

Options to think about

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