Amazon Fireplace HD 8 2020 evaluate: Increased value, however upgrades hold it a discount

With fashions obtainable in 7-, 8- and 10-inch display screen sizes and priced as little as $50 earlier than Prime Day reductions, Amazon’s Fireplace tablets have lengthy been the go-to possibility for discount gadget hunters. However with its 2020 refresh of the 8-inch Fireplace HD Eight pill, lengthy the Goldilocks possibility of its line, Amazon is including a twist that will go away you questioning which one to purchase. There are actually two 8-inch fashions to select from: a baseline Fireplace HD Eight beginning at $90 (£90), and the $110 (£110) Fireplace HD Eight Plus, which provides wi-fi charging and barely higher efficiency. The pill is not at the moment obtainable in Australia however the beginning value converts to about AU$160.


  • Sooner processor than final model
  • Quick USB-C charging
  • Higher entrance digital camera placement
  • 2GB of RAM (up from 1.5GB)
  • Arms-free Alexa voice assistant
  • Improved battery life

Do not Like

  • HD Eight Plus provides good step-ups for only a bit more cash
  • Show is HD however not 1080p (may very well be sharper)
  • Amazon Appstore is restricted in contrast with Google Play and Apple App Retailer
  • Amazon Prime membership is a should

The 2 fashions look equivalent on the skin. The HD Eight Plus is barely obtainable in a slate coloration whereas the usual HD Eight is on the market in black, white, plum, twilight blue and slate. However aside from the white model, all of them have a black bezel across the show. Each fashions are improved over the earlier 2018 Fireplace HD Eight model with a sooner processor, USB-C charging, higher Wi-Fi efficiency and a bump from 16GB to 32GB of storage within the base mannequin. The usual HD Eight has 2GB of RAM — that is up from 1.5GB — and the HD Eight Plus has 3GB of RAM, which is the place you get the efficiency enhance. The USB-C charging does assist scale back charging instances by about an hour from the earlier HD 8, with the HD Eight Plus charging even sooner.

The 2018 Fireplace HD 8 (left) is taller however barely slimmer than the brand new Fireplace HD Eight and HD Eight Plus. 

David Carnoy/CNET

What’s a giant deal is that Amazon has moved the front-facing digital camera. It was once on the prime of the pill if you had it in portrait mode. Now it is on the facet, so it is on the prime when you could have it in panorama mode. That helps if you’re doing video calls with Zoom and different video-calling apps, together with Amazon’s personal. The brand new mannequin is a bit wider than the 2018 HD 8, nevertheless it’s shorter and the bezel is now an analogous width round the entire show, which stays the identical 8-inch measurement. Solely a high-end pill just like the iPad Professional has extra display screen and fewer bezel: Different finances tablets usually have broad bezels.  

Because of the mixture of a brand new 2GHz quad-core MediaTek 8168 processor and a few software program updates, battery life is now rated at 12 hours of “blended use” as a substitute of 10.  The opposite small improve is that the microSD enlargement slot now accepts as much as 1TB playing cards. Beforehand, the utmost capability was 512GB.

So all in all, there are some substantial modifications. And you will have to pay extra for them. As acknowledged above, the usual HD Eight now prices $90 as a substitute of $80 and the HD Eight Plus with wi-fi charging and the additional gigabyte of RAM is $20 extra at $110. The value for the Plus goes up one other $20 should you purchase the companion wi-fi charging dock for the Plus, which you in all probability wish to do.

The Fireplace HD Eight now options USB-C charging.

David Carnoy/CNET

Each new Fireplace HD Eight fashions have the identical 1,280×800-pixel decision show because the earlier HD 8. The display screen is technically HD nevertheless it’s mainly 720p and never 1080p. It is wonderful for watching movies nevertheless it’s not almost as sharp because the display screen you get with, say, an iPad, which is why you are paying so much much less for this. At 355 grams, the brand new Fireplace HD Eight weighs a contact lower than its 363g predecessor.

A couple of years again, the HD Eight appeared sluggish, however its efficiency has steadily improved and now it is fairly zippy (Amazon says the brand new HD 8s are 30% sooner than the 2018 HD Eight because of the brand new processor and software program optimization). It is not as responsive as an entry-level iPad, which is commonly on sale for about $250, nevertheless it’s general fairly clean and I did not have any drawback working video games like Asphalt 9: Legends. That mentioned, the eight-core processor and GPU — the graphics processor — are sooner within the 10-inch Fireplace HD 10, which additionally has a sharper 1080p show. When that mannequin goes on sale for $100, it is in all probability one of the best worth in tablets. However some persons are searching for a smaller, lighter pill and the HD Eight is a major bump up from Amazon’s most cost-effective pill, the Fireplace 7.

The dearer HD Eight Plus options wi-fi charging and is on the market in a bundle with a wi-fi charging dock. The HD Eight Plus routinely goes into Present Mode when within the dock.

David Carnoy/CNET

I did not see a giant distinction in efficiency between the HD Eight Plus and commonplace HD 8, however the further gig does assist. Apps open a contact sooner and it may possibly assist with multitasking and extra graphically intense functions. It by no means hurts to have extra RAM, I can inform you that. 

The HD Eight Plus appears to wirelessly cost on any Qi-enabled charging pad — no less than those I attempted with 7.5 watts or higher charging energy. However you actually need the charging dock that Amazon bundles in for an additional 20 bucks. That is as a result of one of many large appeals of the Fireplace HD Eight Plus is that you could drop it within the dock and it routinely goes into present mode, turning your pill into one thing very similar to an Echo Present 8, full with hands-free entry to the Alexa voice assistant. It is nonetheless utilizing the pill’s inner audio system as a substitute of an actual speaker and the pill would not have a extra in depth microphone array for selecting up your voice like an Echo speaker does. Nevertheless it works properly sufficient and the sound is OK for watching video (it is not so nice for music). You possibly can wirelessly join a Bluetooth speaker to reinforce the sound.

The usual Fireplace HD Eight is on the market in white and different coloration choices.

César Salza

I put the dock in my kitchen and used the HD Eight Plus as a mini TV as a result of I’ve Spectrum TV as my cable supplier. There occurs to be a Spectrum app that offers me all my channels on the Fireplace HD Eight or HD Eight Plus as long as I am on my dwelling community (you get a lowered variety of channels if you’re away from your own home community). Just like the Fireplace HD 10, the HD Eight now has a picture-in-picture mode for watching video in a small window within the nook of the show whereas utilizing the pill’s different functions, similar to utilizing a browser to search for recipes. You possibly can get a canopy with a built-in stand — Amazon sells loads of these, together with its personal properly designed however costly covers — and create the identical setup for watching movies with both the HD Eight Plus or commonplace HD 8. However you would not be capable to wirelessly cost the pill on the similar time.

The Fireplace HD Eight has at all times been a useful pill for consuming Amazon video content material, ebooks and music, and it is nonetheless significantly helpful for Prime members. You can even watch different streaming video companies similar to Netflix and Hulu, however the number of apps within the Amazon Appstore has at all times been restricted in contrast with what’s obtainable for Android and iOS, particularly in terms of video games. You will not discover apps for Vudu or HBO Max, as an example (although HBO Max could also be coming).

The pill runs on Amazon’s newest Fireplace OS, a personalized model of Android P, which was launched within the fall of 2018. And whereas Amazon would not encourage it, you possibly can set up the Google Play retailer by following some directions on the web. That may will let you run much more apps. However some folks could really feel intimidated by the method.

The earlier Fireplace HD Eight was well-liked with dad and mom wanting an inexpensive pill for his or her children. If that is who you are shopping for this for, the usual HD Eight goes to be simply wonderful. (There’s additionally a $130 Children Version that bundles in a protecting case and a yr of Amazon’s Freetime Limitless all-in-one subscription service that offers children entry to 1000’s of age-appropriate books, movies, apps, Audible books and video games.)

I like with the ability to wirelessly cost the Fireplace HD Eight Plus and the dock is properly designed. I believe you will find yourself utilizing the pill extra as a result of it does double responsibility as a extra modest Echo Present substitute; it is mainly at all times charged and able to go if you wish to use it outdoors the dock. That mentioned, the bundle with the dock is at the moment $40 greater than the usual HD 8, and for some of us that is a giant leap in value should you’re searching for a finances pill.

The earlier Fireplace HD Eight offered for as little as $50 throughout the holidays final (and different flash gross sales this yr). This one in all probability will not go that low, however anticipate to see it for $20 to $30 off sooner or later sooner or later. At $90, it is a respectable worth, and it will be an actual discount if it drops to $60 or $70. I do want the display screen have been 1080p, however you apparently cannot have the whole lot at this modest value.

Editors’ observe: As a result of the Fireplace HD Eight reviewed right here is similar to its sibling product, the Fireplace HD Eight Plus, most of this language is borrowed from our evaluate of that mannequin.

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