The Fire HD 8 is the upgraded and most recent version/generation of Amazon’s Fire HD tablet series. Compared to previous generations of Fire HD 8 tablets, this Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet comes with improved features like better front-facing selfie and refined Alexa functionalities. That aside, not too much modifications were made to this version of Amazon Fire HD 8 (2018).
However, the Fire HD 8 is still very much affordable and is arguably the cheapest 8inch tablet you can get from a big, reliable and renowned brand like Amazon. And thanks to improved software, operations on the tablet are slightly better than its predecessor.
Should you need a cheap tablet for purely reading, basic entertainment or as an alternative to a smart display gadget, the Amazon Fire HD 8 would be a great choice.
Amazon Fire HD 8 (2018) Key Specs
- Dimension: 8.4” x 5.0” x 0.4” (214 mm x 128 mm x 9.7 mm)
- Weight: 12.8 ounces (363 grams)
- Display: 8-inch IPS LCD High Definition (HD) display with 1280 x 800 resolution and 189 ppi density
- Storage: 16GB or 32GB (up to 400GB with SD card)
- Memory: 1.5GB RAM
- CPU: Quad-core MediaTek MT8135 CPU
- Rear camera: 2-megapixels HD camera
- Front-facing camera: 2-megapixels selfie camera
- Battery: up to 10 hours
- Sensors: Accelerometer, ambient light sensor
- Available colours: Black, Marine Blue, Punch Red, Canary Yellow
- Audio: Integrated Speaker with Dolby Audio, 3.5mm headphone jack
The Amazon Fire HD 8 (2018)isn’t in anywhere different from its predecessors in terms of body build and overall aesthetics. The tablet is available in the same four color variants (Punch Red, Canary Yellow, Marine Blue, and Black) and made out of the same material as its older models of the Fire HD 8.
The whole body of the tablet is covered in plastic that, albeit looks cheap, is super durable. Amazon even added some sort of lip around the screen edges to prevent the chances of scratching the display against surfaces or even cracking it.
Another unique feature about the Amazon Fire HD 8 design is how all the ports and hard keys are embedded at the top of the display; volume adjustment keys, power/lock button, 3.5mm headphone audio jack, and the microUSB port for charging and file transfer all sit at the top of the device.
The micro USB port is quite archaic in this age but it gets the job done. At 363grams, the Fire HD 8 is still quite heavy and bulky (at 9.7mmm thickness) but compared to its immediate predecessor, it is 6 grams lighter.
If you love having the screen of your device taking up a huge chunk of your device frontal, you may not particularly be excited by the Fire HD 8. The device comes with a huge chunk of bezels, especially at the top and bottom. The left and right side bezel are however slimmer, perhaps for easy operation when held in a vertical “book mode”.
The Fire HD 8 has an 8-inch IPS display with HD (1280 x 800 pixels) resolution and 189 pixels per inch density. The display boasts of clear and accurate picture quality with decent viewing angles. The display brightness, however, suffers a bit as it comes with 307 nits of brightness, compared to the 411-nit tablet brightness average. This means you might not be able to make meaning of texts and pictures clearly when the tablet is used outdoors, under the effect of sunlight.
Interestingly, the Amazon Fire HD 8 can be converted to a makeshift Alexa-powered Echo Show Smart Display when it is mounted on the Charging Dock and Show Mode is activated. Made out of glass, the 8-inch display is quick to register finger print smears on the surface. That aside, the display is great for reading books, surfing through web pages, and watching movies.
Amazon Fire HD 8: Software
While you may not entirely like the out-of-the-box Fire OS which the device runs on the Fire HD 8 tablet, the introduction of ‘Show Mode’ to the OS is an interesting addition to the tablet. As mentioned earlier, SHow Mode is a feature of the Fire OS 6.3 which converts the Fire HD 8 to a smart display, like the Amazon Echo Show.
The Fire OS 6.3 of the tablet is based on the Android v5.0 Lollipop. However, you cannot use or install some third-party apps on the device as it doesn’t come with (or support) Google Play Store.
“Special Offers” is another Fire OS feature you most likely would get to dislike real fast on the Fire HD 8. Amazon would push ads to the screen of the device whenever the display is locked. You can, however, opt-out of Special Offers for a cost of £10.
Thanks to the upgraded OS on the device though, the Fire HD 8 is the first member of Amazon’s Fire HD tablets whose digital assistant can be enabled via voice, using the default ‘Alexa’ wake word.
Processor and Storage
The Amazon Fire HD 8 is powered by MediaTek’s MT8135 processor which comes with four cores and a clock speed of 1.3GHz. Storage-wise, the Fire HD 8 is accompanied by 1.5GB of RAM for multitasking and 16GB of built-in storage (only 9.6GB is usable). There’s also a bigger variant of the tablet with 32GB of internal storage (about 23.8GB is usable).
While Amazon advertises the Fire HD 8 (2018) with an unspecified battery capacity that can serve up to 10 hours of usage period, you should expect real-life usage to lie between 7-8 hours. Amazon also admits that result and usage period may vary according to the apps or software you run on the device.
The battery might be long-lasting but it is a downgrade from the 2017 edition of the Fire HD 8 with an advertised 12 hours of battery life. Also, there’s no fast charging of any sort, which is disappointing because the tablet is expected to take about 6 hours to charge — given that you use the appropriate charging accessories.
On Amazon, the Fire HD 8 (2018) sells for $79.99. You can also purchase the Standing Case which allows the tablet be used as an Echo Show device in the house for an additional $29.99.