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Amazon’s Fire Tablet line has grown a lot since it originally launched in 2011, and become one of the few iPad competitors we recommend.
The tablets’ greatest strength is that their direct connection to Amazon’s services. The first time you turn the device on your Kindle books will start downloading, and your Amazon Video library and Amazon Music playlists will be ready. Amazon’s Alexa smart assistant is also available on Fire Tablets, and you can use it to open apps, take you directly to video content you want to watch, and control smart-home accessories.
This seamless, streamlined experience is unique to Fire Tablets, and make them the absolute best choice if you use Amazon services.
But a Fire Tablet isn’t limited to all-things-Amazon. You can download apps like Netflix to watch videos, Comixology to read comics, and a library of well-known games, including Minecraft. There’s also a built-in web browser, so you can shop, view and update your social media pages, or catch up on the news.
Amazon’s tablets are great for consumption, but they’re not designed for productivity, like writing, creating presentations, building spreadsheets, or editing audio, photos, and videos. If you need a tablet to kick back with on the couch, or take with you on a long plane ride, you won’t be disappointed.
Screen Size: The biggest difference between Fire Tablets is their screen size, which can vary between seven and 10 inches. Each Fire Tablet’s display also varies in resolution (the amount of pixels on a screen); the higher the resolution, the sharper text, photos, and videos will look.
Storage: If you want do download a lot of apps, or media from streaming services like Netflix, you’ll want to get a tablet with a lot of storage. Fire Tablets come with either 16GB (gigabytes), 32GB, or 64GB of internal storage, but you can add way more by popping in a MicroSD memory card.
Operating System: All Fire Tablets run Fire OS, a custom version of Android that Amazon specifically developed for these tablets.
Battery Life: Amazon says you should expect to get between seven to 12 hours of use on a single charge depending on which model of Fire Tablet you get. Settings like screen brightness, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth can also have a big impact on how quickly your battery drains.
Special Offers: All of Amazon’s Fire Tablets are available with “special offers,” which means built-in advertisements. The ads will appear on your tablet’s screen when it’s not in use, they will not pop up when you’re actually using it.
1: Best Overall: Fire HD 8
Amazon’s Fire HD 8 hits a sweet spot between excellent performance, necessary features, and overall value.
The tablet’s 8-inch display has a resolution of 1200 X 800 (720P), so everything you see will look pretty clear, especially HD videos. It has a quad-core 2.0GHZ processor, 2GB of memory, and either 32GB or 64GB of storage. As we mentioned earlier, you can add more storage with a MicroSD Card. Its most impressive spec is the dual-speaker audio system built into the tablet, which supports Dolby Atmos for simulated surround sound.
Amazon says the Fire HD 8 can last up to 12 hours per charge, and fully recharge in five hours if you use the power adapter they include with the tablet. The Fire HD 8 supports fast charging, so you can cut that time substantially if you use this power adapter instead.
The Fire HD 8 supports Amazon’s “show” mode, which turns the tablet into an Amazon Echo Show smart speaker. In this mode, you can control all of its functions (including video chatting) completely hands-free using Amazon’s Alexa smart assistant. Keep in mind the Fire Tablet HD 8’s front and rear-facing cameras only record 2MP (mega pixel) images, so you may appear blurrier than you would when video chatting on your smartphone.
Overall, the Fire Tablet HD 8 checks all the boxes you’d need in a device for everyday use, and has virtually no compromises.
2. Entry Level: Fire 7
Amazon’s Fire 7 tablet is a basic tablet best suited for handling basic tasks.
Its seven-inch screen has a resolution of 1024 X 600, which makes it the only non-HD tablet Amazon offers. Videos will still look good (especially if they’re in HD), but images and text may look a little blurry. The Fire 7 has a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of memory, and either 16GB or 32GB of storage, which you can upgrade with a MicroSD Card. Like the HD 8, the Fire 7 has a 2MP front and rear-facing camera.
It has a mono speaker without support for Dolby Atmos. Amazon says this tablet’s battery lasts up to eight hours per charge, and doesn’t support fast charging. These specs are middling, but the Fire 7 starts at $50, so you’re actually getting pretty good hardware for the price.
If you want a device with a larger screen than your phone for watching videos on the couch, or catching up with the news in bed, the Fire 7 is a safe choice.
3. Premium Pick: Fire HD10
The Fire HD 10 is Amazon’s high-end tablet, and it offers a premium experience.
Its 10-inch screen has a resolution of 1920 X 1080 (1080P), so your videos, images, and text will look very clear. It has an octa-core 2.0GHz processor, 2GB of memory, and either 32GB or 64GB of storage, which you can expand with a MicroSD Card. The processor and higher resolution screen will give you much better performance than either of Amazon’s other tablets.
Beyond those specs, the Fire HD 10 is on par with the HD 8. It gets up to 12 hours of use per charge, and supports fast charging with the right power adapter. It has a stereo audio system that virtually recreate surround sound thanks to Dolby Atmos. Finally, you can use the Fire HD 10 with Amazon’s Show mode. Like the HD 8, the Fire HD 10 has a 2MP front and rear-facing camera.
If you want a large, high resolution tablet, and primarily use Amazon’s services, the Fire HD 10 is the best choice.