- Good audio quality
- Thin and lightweight
- Good battery life
- Decent color accuracy and viewing angles
- Sluggish performance
- Low resolution display
- Poor camera quality
- Cheap build quality
Amazon's Fire series has lagged behind Android and Apple. In an attempt to rake in a larger market share, they have lowered the prices on their tablets to budget prices. Besides being cheap, the Fire HD 8 is also the first 8-inch tablet from Amazon. At just 0.3 inches thick and only 311 grams it was very comfortable and easy for critics to use for an extended amount of time. Amazon has also stepped away from its black-backed design for a more colorful approach as users can now choose from magenta, blue or tangerine. While reviewers appreciated the pop of color, they were disappointed with how cheap it felt and the amount of fingerprints and dust the back attracted.
The 8-inch LCD display offers a low resolution of only 1280 x 800 for a pixel density of 189ppi. Unsurprisingly, experts noticed pixellation around text and especially when viewing movies. Despite being marketed as a multimedia device, they noticed colors tended to be fairly dull and lacked the visual punch found even on other budget tablets. With that said, they add it does have excellent viewing angles, decent color accuracy and good contrast.
The quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM mean the Fire HD 8 doesn't have the fastest performance. Even at the best of times, reviewers noticed slowdowns even during basic navigation. When connected to Wi-Fi they noticed a further drop in performance. Launching and switching between apps often took several seconds and the camera also took some time to actually snap and display the captured image. Still, they were pleasantly surprised that it was able to handle most games at a good frame rate so long as there were no other apps running the background. They were also impressed with the battery life as it lasted a solid 5 hours of consistent video streaming, which translated to almost two days of moderate use. The only downside to the battery that reviewers found was its recharge time as it took several hours to go from empty to full.
The Fire HD 8 has two cameras: a 5MP rear camera and a 720p front camera. Experts weren't expecting too much so weren't let down when the images were low on detail and grainy even in good lighting situations. They were frustrated with how long it took to actually take a picture, especially in HDR mode as it took 3-4 seconds. The front camera was likewise unimpressive though they found it adequate for video calls.
The biggest highlight of the Fire HD 8 is its sound quality. While reviewers don't qualify it as amazing, most were impressed with its loudness and overall accuracy. Stuff.TV says, "It's good enough to make casual music listening using them more-than bearable." Others agree and add that it sounds better than even some flagship smartphones.
Overall, experts have a hard time recommending the Fire HD 8. Laptopmag states, "The Fire HD 8 misses the mark, due to a low-resolution display, sluggish performance and a cheap overall design." Techradar adds, "Unless this is your first tablet…I'd look elsewhere…For all its shortcomings, however, Amazon has made a likeable tablet…"
What the Critics Are Saying...
- Ryan Whitwam, The Wirecutter
Most people use tablets for streaming video, browsing the web, and reading. The Amazon Fire HD 8 excels at all three. It uses Amazon’s services, not Google’s, which means no Google Play Store or Google apps by default (though you can add them, with effort, if you’re technicall...
- Ed Hardy, TabletPCReview
Despite its sub-$100 price, the Amazon Fire HD 8 is a decent option for people looking for a budget tablet for light personal use. The screen is large enough for ebooks and video, and this model makes a good choice for Amazon Prime subscribers, especially given its immense battery life.
- Chris Barraclough, Recombu
If you’re after a simple and affordable family tablet boasting fast access to all of your Amazon Prime content, then the All-New Fire HD 8 tablet is a worthy purchase. The hardware is basic but backed up by lots of great software features, and the sub-£100 price point makes it easy on th...
- Jonathan Bray, Alphr
The Fire HD 8 isn’t the slickest tablet around. Its camera is a bit naff, it isn’t particularly quick and it feels a touch on the cheap side, but for £90 the rest of it isn’t half bad. For media streaming and web browsing, it’s great, the battery life is exceptional, an...
- Henry T. Casey, Laptop Mag
Amazon took last year's Fire HD 8, fixed its performance issues and added three more hours of battery life. Not only is it arguably the best mid-size Amazon tablet, but the company's decisions to cut the price and double its storage make it an even more alluring purchase.
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