Amazon has just announced three new tablets in the Fire HD 8 family, offering updated specs and new features for 2020. They’re available to order now, but will begin shipping on June 3rd.
These tablets are running Fire OS, Amazon’s forked version of Android. They have deep integration with Amazon’s services like Prime Video, the Kindle book store, and their Alexa digital assistant.
Here’s a look at what they offer:
Fire HD 8
The new entry-level 8-inch tablet from Amazon is an excellent value package, it comes equipped with a 1280×800 display, 2.0 GHz processor, 2GB RAM, and either 32GB or 64GB of storage, expandable by up to 1TB via MicroSD card.
In addition to increased RAM and a faster processor than the previous model, Amazon has also switched the charging port from MicroUSB to USB-C, great for compatibility with other modern charging cables and devices.
The battery life has been increased from 10 hours with the previous model, to 12 hours.
Starting at just $89.99, it’s a remarkably compelling package. If you just want a basic tablet, or you’re worried about taking a more expensive tablet on the go, this is leagues above what any other tablet manufacturer is offering at this price.
Fire HD 8 Plus
For $20 more, you could instead opt for the Fire HD 8 Plus. This tablet shares the same basic design and functionality as the standard variant but has a couple of upgraded components, and some extra functionality
The Fire HD 8 Plus comes with 3GB of ram, rather than the 2GB the standard version comes with.
They also added support for wireless charging to the Plus, and offer a compatible charging dock for sale separately. The Plus version also ships with a fast 9W charger, to charge the tablet to 100% in less than 4 hours.
It’s also being sold with a special introductory offer, with six months of Kindle Unlimited being bundled with the Plus version.
Starting at $109.99, this is a decent upgrade over the standard model for just $20 more. The extra ram will come in handy for gaming or any other more demanding tasks, and you could easily spend $5-10 on a fast charger alone.
Fire HD 8 Kids Edition
As the name would suggest, this is a variant of the Fire HD 8 targeted specifically at children.
The actual tablet is identical to the standard Fire HD 8, but it comes with a “kid-proof” case, designed to help this tablet withstand being manhandled by reckless infant hands. The case comes with a fold-out kickstand to make it easy to use in a variety of settings.
Amazon seems pretty confident that this case will protect the tablet, and are offering this particular model with a “2-year worry-free guarantee” against technical faults. You don’t get this guarantee included with the standard models, so if you have a small human that’s prone to breaking things, it may be worth opting for this model.
Amazon is touting their deep parental controls as a feature that lets you hand this device over to kids, and not have to worry about what they will be using it to access.
The Fire HD Kids Edition is available for $139.99, so you’re essentially paying $50 for the rugged “kid-proof” case.
For the Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 8 Plus, you can buy them either with or without “Special Offers”, which essentially means adverts. You can pay a little more to get advertisements removed from places like the lock screen and other areas of the OS. It’s a straightforward choice over whether an OS clean of adverts or saving a few bucks upfront is your preferred option. Typically it is relatively easy to remove ads from Fire OS with a little jiggery-pokery, but we won’t know for sure that applies to this new model until it is released.
All of these tablets are available in a double pack with a decent additional discount. If you buy two of the Fire HD 8 tablets, you get $20 off, so the price for the entry model would be $159.98 for two, or $79.99 each. Similarly for the Fire HD 8 Plus, you get $20 off when you buy two, so the price for the entry model would be $199.98, or $99.99 each. For the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition, it’s 25% off when you buy two, so $209.98, or $104.99 each. If you need a pair of tablets and don’t need anything too fancy, that’s an extremely compelling price. You need to get your order in before July to take advantage of this special promotion.
Amazon has made a name for themselves in the tablet space by offering extremely good value tablets that can’t compete with the top end luxury tablets from manufactures like Apple or Samsung, but given the prices of around or even under $100, they don’t have to go head to head with devices like the iPad Pro. If you’re deep into the Amazon ecosystem, or simply want a well designed but basic tablet, these are a great option.