- Horrible cameras
- No Google Play support
- Slow loading times
- Dull, reflective display
Revamping its lineup, Amazon recently released the Fire HD 8 (2017). While it will not compete with flagship tablets, the low price and tight Amazon integration might make it a tempting purchase for media consumption and casual use.
Reviewers have had time to test out the latest release and they’re posting reviews across the Internet. Let’s see what they’re saying!
While most tablets and phones get slimmer and lighter with each release, the Fire HD 8 put on a sliver of thickness and a few grams of weight between 2015 and 2017. Otherwise, reviewers noted that the tablet looks nearly identical.
The plastic chassis now comes in 4 different colors. The colors are vibrant but reviewers had mixed opinions.
Fortunately, on the quality front, reviews are all positive. TechAdvisor UK said, “While the plastic back is not premium in any way, the device overall is sturdy. There’s barely any give or flex in the plastic, giving the tablet a reassuring heft.”
You won’t find any extra features or buttons on the tablet. You get the standard volume rocker, 3.5mm headphone jack, microUSB charging port and a power button—all along the top. There’s also a flap covering a microSD port on the side for cheap storage expansion.
The front of the tablet features an 8-inch, 1280-by-800 LCD panel. Reviewers found that while the resolution wasn’t high enough to compete with newer offerings from Samsung or Apple that it was clear enough for light reading, video watching or gaming.
Some reviewers had issues with brightness and low contrast. A lack of screen treatment made for plenty of complaints regarding smudges and reflections. But most would recommend the tablet based on the display. The Guardian called the Fire HD 8’s screen “good but not great.”
Performance reviews were a similar mix. The quad-core 1.3GHz MediaTek processor offered enough of power for gaming, streaming video and light web browsing. However, reviewers noted that apps are sluggish to load. With only 1.5GB of RAM, multitasking frequently required reloading apps.
TechRadar summed up performance assessments well, saying, “This isn’t an incredibly quick tablet either. Most games and apps will run just fine, even high-end ones, but the system isn’t as fast to respond as a powerful Android tablet.”
The tablet comes with either 16 or 32GB of internal storage. It runs a modified version of Android 5.0 Lollipop that Amazon calls FireOS. While it takes a different approach to display your tablet’s contents, reviewers found it responsive and easy to use.
The biggest tradeoff is a lack of support for Google Apps. Unless you’re willing to sideload apps and make settings changes, you’re stuck with the Amazon Appstore.
Amazon doesn’t disclose the capacity of the internal battery. However, most reviewers found that the estimate of 8 hours of mixed usage held up. Unfortunately, they also found that recharging the battery took 6 hours. If you use it often, you’ll want to charge it nightly.
Although tablet’s aren’t known for having high-quality cameras, reviews agree that the 2MP rear camera and 0.3MP front-facing lens on the Fire HD 8 are bad. The Guardian summed up findings well, saying, “The cameras are pretty poor, producing blurry shots with little in the way of detail—only to be used in an emergency.”
While the Fire HD 8 is a no-frills experience, it has a price you won’t find from any other major manufacturer. This won over most reviewers. Trusted Reviews offered a great assessment of the real value of the tablet, saying, “If you consider yourself a tech-head and aren't buying for someone else, you may want to consider spending a little more. However, the Fire HD 8 is perfect for those with more modest expectations, and easy to recommend to family buyers that aren't after something as fancy as an iPad.”