Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablets Will Still Be Cheap, But Now More Powerful

Previous Fire tablets have been sluggish in CR's testing but offered a good value for simple tasks like web browsing

New Amazon Fire HD 8, Fire HD 8 Plus, Fire HD 8 Kids Pro, and Fire HD 8 Kids tablets

By Melanie Pinola

In the market for an inexpensive tablet? Today, Amazon introduced its latest lineup of Fire HD 8 tablets, which start at $100.

That’s $10 more than the price of the previous generation tablets, which debuted in 2020, but the improvements could justify the higher price.

And compared with Apple and Samsung tablets, Amazon’s tablets have long been a great value for those of us who use the devices mainly to consume media, such as videos or books. The previous generation Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 8 Plus both appear high in our tablet ratings.

But let’s talk about the new models, which Amazon says have enhanced performance for both entertainment and productivity, such as joining a Zoom call.

All four Fire HD 8 tablets—which measure 8 inches diagonally, as the name implies—are available for preorder starting today and will start shipping next month.

Starting today, new and existing Fire tablets let you use the Alexa virtual digital assistant via touch instead of saying “Hey, Alexa.” This is an improvement aimed at people with speech disabilities. "Tap to Alexa" shows a dashboard of Alexa commands to tap on, and you can add your own touch-based shortcuts. A Text to Speech feature lets you tap on a shortcut of common phrases like “What’s for dinner?” and have them spoken aloud through the tablet.

Here’s what you can expect for the Fire HD 8, Fire HD 8 Plus, Fire HD 8 Kids, and Fire HD 8 Kids Pro. We’ll have more information once we get the tablets into our labs. CR grades tablets on almost 240 data points and purchases the devices at retail to make sure we’re using the same product you’d get.

Fire HD 8

This tablet has up to 13 hours of battery life, according to the company, which is a bump up of 1 hour from its rating for the previous generation. (CR’s lab testing shows that the current Fire HD 8 excels in battery life compared with many of its competitors; we’re looking forward to testing this version.)

The new tablet is also substantially thinner, lighter, and faster, again according to Amazon.

How much faster? The company says the upgraded processor provides a 30 percent improvement, which we’ll find out when we test the tablet in our labs.

The Fire HD 8, with 32GB of storage, is available in black, blue (denim), and pink (rose) for $100. A 64GB version is priced at $130.

Fire HD 8 Plus

As the name suggests, the Fire HD 8 Plus is a beefed-up version of the Fire HD 8. In addition to the faster processor of its sibling, the HD 8 Plus has 3 gigabytes of memory vs. the regular tablet’s 2GB. It can also be wirelessly charged and has an upgraded 5-megapixel rear camera.

The price of the Fire HD 8 Plus is $120 for the 32GB variant or $150 for the 64GB version. Amazon has a bundle that includes a 32GB Fire HD 8 Plus with the wireless charging dock for $170. The tablet comes in just one color: gray.

Fire HD 8 Kids

Designed for children ages 3 to 7, the Fire HD 8 Kids tablet comes with a thick “kid-proof” case, one year of Amazon Kids+ content, and a two-year guarantee. Because as we all know, when it comes to children and devices, accidents happen.

The cases come in light blue, purple, and—new this year—Disney Mickey and Disney Princess designs.

Like the other Fire HD 8 models, the HD 8 Kids tablet this year has a faster processor and a claimed 13-hour battery life.

Prices are $150 for the 32GB model and $180 for the 64GB model. The Disney-themed options, available for the 32GB tablet, run $10 more.

Fire HD 8 Kids Pro

This tablet is intended for school-age children, ages 6 to 12. The Fire HD 8 Kids Pro has a similar design and features as the non-Pro tablet, but it comes in less pastel-y colors: “cyber” blue, “hello” teal, and rainbow “universe.”

In addition to the Amazon Kids+ digital subscription, this tablet gives children access to a digital store where they can bug their parents to buy apps or eBooks for them.

The Fire HD 8 Kids Pro is available for $150. There’s only a 32GB option.

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