Amazon Fire HD 8 Review

We are taking a look today at the Amazon Fire HD 8. We looked at their $50 tablet a while ago. This is now their $ 89 tablet which is subsidized by advertising that you'll see every time you turn it on, but it is a pretty good value overall and we'll get into the hardware here in just a second.


Hardware
So, let's get into the hardware and see what makes this thick, actually it feels like a pretty decently built device. I have looked at a lot of really cheap tablets in the past and while the screen kind of feels like those cheap tablets, the casing of the device feels a little better than that. So Amazon has put a little bit of effort into the overall industrial design to make this feel a little sturdier than others. This is an 8 inch IPS display, so you get decent viewing angles so pretty good for reading. I think it's 1280 by 800 in its resolution which gives it a slightly higher resolution than the $ 50 Amazon Fire 7 inch tablet, and not all that bad for reading, I think it's about 189 pixels per inch. So it's not quite a retina quality display that you might get on a more expensive tablet, but I think good enough for media consumption, especially so reading and movies and that sort of thing are what it's really designed for.

Specifications
It has a 1.3 gigahertz quad-core processor. They don't say what one it is, so I'll have to dig a little deeper into it. The moment they don't list the processor type, it has a gigabyte and a half of RAM 1.5 gigabytes of RAM. This model for $ 89 has 16 gigabytes of storage of about 11 gigs free when you get it, but there is an SD card slot here on the side that will take up to a 200-gigabyte micro sd card, and one of the things that I like about. Amazon's video services are that they let you download the video for offline viewing if you are a prime member and they have a service very competitive with Netflix so you can put those movies on that SD card if you wish to do that. A couple of cameras on it, they're not great but you do have a good enough camera for doing some basic web conferencing and maybe taking a picture of something for somebody. But I wouldn't consider this a photography device by any stretch. You got a micro USB port for charging and you could also probably plug in some USB devices with an OTG cable, a volume rocker up and down and then a Headset microphone adapter in there. I believe it also has a built-in microphone too for talking into it. If you are on a web conference without a headset on the bottom, you've got stereo speakers and these, of course, work best when it's in tablet mode, like so in it's a landscape mode because if you are in portrait mode the sound is going to be stereo. Coming out of the left side of the device are really designed for when you're watching a movie or something to get that stereo sound. It sounds okay, it's a little tiny as you might expect from a cheap tablet but good enough. There are a couple of other versions of this so you can get it without the ads for 105 dollars. You can also get a 32-gigabyte version of this with the ads for one hundred and twenty dollars or if you want them off, you can get the 32 gig for one hundred and thirty-five bucks.

Let's take a look now and see how the device performs. It supports wireless N @ 2.4 and 5 gigahertz. It doesn't support the faster AC standard, but given what this has under the hood wireless N is fine. It also has Bluetooth so you can connect keyboards mouse and speakers, and that kind of thing too. Now, this is running with Android but this is an Amazon version of Android which means that you do not get the Google Play Store on it out of the box. There are ways to kind of shoehorn Google Play into it, but it may not be all that easy for many consumers to do especially if you're not all that tech savvy. So my often frequent recommendation with these Amazon devices is as if you have a lot of money invested in Google Play apps on your phone and you're a little scared of trying to shoehorn something on to your device. This may not be for you again, there'll be people in the comments saying how easy it is, but I found a lot of times it isn't so easy for some folks.

So again, this is really going to be steering you into the Amazon App system, we have got the Amazon App Store front and center. What is cool about the Amazon ecosystem though is that they have a lot of free apps for Prime members that might cost money on the Play platform. So there are some advantages to using the Amazon stuff, but again if you've got a lot of money and apps on other devices, this will not be an easy transition for you. The web browsing performance though is pretty decent, it does feel pretty snappy and the screen doesn't look all that bad. Of course, you want to zoom in on different articles to get what you're looking at, but web browsing does seem to respond pretty quickly.

There are a bunch of apps that you will be familiar with like Netflix and Plex, and many games you're like Pac-man 256. A lot of android games are basically just ported over to the Amazon, App Store and will be available when you get it. So a lot of the free stuff you should be able to find without too much issue. Things like YouTube don't have an app, but they have kind of a little virtual app you can install off the App Store and it feels a lot like regular YouTube on an Android device, but it is using their web-based interface. So it will not always have the same kind of polish to it that you might have a standard dedicated application. But it will be good enough and it's also a pretty decent gaming device. A lot of the games that are popular on the Google Play Store are also downloadable from the Amazon App Store. An example of one of those is goat simulator and in fact, this is one of the free Amazon Prime games that you can download. I like to test this one just because it's a 3d open-world with some physics going on and it seems to work pretty nicely. I also found that the Pocket Edition of Minecraft runs pretty well on the Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet too and it has got a decent frame rate on that too. So if you've got kids that play some of these games, they should run just fine on there. I also ran some benchmarks to see how it compares to other tablets in or around its price range and on the 3dmark slingshot benchmark test, we get a score of 232 which definitely puts it on the lower end of the spectrum, especially when you compare it against the Nvidia shield k1, which cost more than twice as much and gets 2484 on that test. But I think, for the most part, many of the popular Android games are currently being targeted at hardware around this performance level. So I think for the moment at least, most games should run pretty well on here, but there will be games that will start stressing the hardware further that this will not make a good choice for it, but again for most folks. I think this will certainly be passable. I also ran the older ice storm test, which is what we use to test the $ 50 fire 7-inch tablet we got a score on that one of 6090 3, which definitely puts it ahead of the seven-inch tablet from Amazon. So you can see where this kind of falls into play performance-wise with their less expensive device.

Another interesting feature of the Amazon tablets is that they have multiple user profiles and I believe this is something rolling out on a newer Android devices too, but Amazon's put together a kid-friendly interface for their profiles that you can have a sign for your children, so you can keep them out of things you don't want them to see as you pull down that menu. The only downside though is I can't seem to find how to add some of the Amazon Prime video content that I downloaded from their streaming service here. Battery life is about where Amazon says it is you'll get anywhere from 10 to 12 hours, depending on how heavily you're taxing the device and that'll do it for this review of the Fire HD 8.

So that is the Amazon Fire HD 8 and I often steer people towards Amazon tablets when they're not looking to spend all that much money but want something decent with some decent customer service to back it up. That'S what Amazon delivers the one thing, though, to keep in mind on this tablet, as well as the $ 50 one we looked at a few months ago, is that the warranty is only 90 days on it. You can, of course, buy an extended warranty, but I wouldn't recommend that, because even after a year or so, these things are going to be kind of slow and obsolete. So you might want to think about just taking the risk on the 90-day warranty or buying one of their more expensive, higher performing tablets that have a better warranty


Amazon Fire HD 8 Review Amazon Fire HD 8 Review Reviewed by Debby Peters on May 07, 2018 Rating: 5
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