With much of the country still under shelter in place restrictions, adding an extra tablet can come in handy for kids needing their own device for homework or watching videos while a parent uses the main laptop. And with prices starting at $90, Amazon's new Fire HD 8 line of tablets — the “all-new” Fire HD 8, Fire HD 8 Plus, and Fire HD 8 Kids Edition — are a great value.
The new tablets have a somewhat sleeker look with narrower bezels, longer battery life and now charge using USB-C, which is becoming the standard charger for most new laptops, tablets, and Android phones. And they each have a 2 MP front-facing camera and a 2 MP rear-facing HD camera. Here's a breakdown of the new models.
Fire HD 8
The all-new Fire HD 8 maintains its 8-inch high def (1280 x 800) display but now has a faster processor and twice as much internal storage than before, with support for up to 1TB of expandable storage via a microSD card. Amazon says users will now get up to 12 hours of mixed-use battery life which means web browsing, listening to music and watching videos, up from 10 hours. The addition of the faster USB-C charging lets you charge your device in less than 5 hours.
The tablet has Alexa built-in so you can ask Alexa to play music, find movies or start an Audible book. You can also drop in on a family member, a great way to stay in touch while we’re all staying apart.
The all-new Fire HD 8 tablet starts at $89.99, a $10 increase from its predecessor, but even without bumping up the resolution on this upgrade, you won’t find a better tablet for browsing the web, listening to music, using Alexa and watching videos at that price. It’s also available in a two-pack bundle for $159.99.
Fire HD 8 Plus
Amazon also announced a new Fire HD 8 Plus model for $20 more, ($109.99) and it might be worth the upgrade. It adds Qi wireless charging (a first for Amazon) and comes with a 9W adapter to charge your tablet in under four hours. You can buy the tablet bundled with the Amazon wireless charging dock for $139.99 but if you already have a compatible wireless charging dock, you’ll be able to use that.
The upgraded 8 Plus comes with a six-month subscription to Kindle Unlimited, Amazon’s book subscription service that lets you read as much you want.
Fire HD 8 Kids Edition
The Fire HD 8 Kids Edition uses the standard Fire HD 8 and comes bundled with Amazon’s rugged “kid-proof” case with an adjustable stand and comes in bright, fun colors. While you might be tempted to consider giving a kid a regular Fire HD 8 tablet, there are serious benefits to the kid’s version. For $139.99 it comes with a year-long subscription to Amazon FreeTime Unlimited which offers over 20,000 age-appropriate books, apps, games and videos. Parents can use FreeTime to manage their kids’ settings, filter content according to each child’s age and set individual time limits.
It also comes with Amazon’s two-year worry-free guarantee program which promises to replace the device if anything happens to it.
These are not the sleekest-looking, fastest tablets on the market and their screen resolution doesn’t come close to the display on the similar-sized iPad Mini or Samsung Galaxy Tab 4. However, the iPad Mini starts at $399 and the Galaxy Tab 4 at $249, so it’s hard to beat the value of the Fire HD 8 line.
Pre-orders for all three new tablets are underway now with devices expected to ship on June 3rd.
[Image credit: Amazon]