Amazon is cornering the budget tablet market with its Fire devices. Released in June, the Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020) is the latest in the series, featuring Amazon integration, Alexa, and solid battery life for an affordable $90. It follows in the footsteps of last year’s Fire HD 10 (2019) tablet, which offers a larger, sharper screen and a faster processor for an additional $60. They’re both good devices if you’re looking for a tablet that won’t make a noticeable dent in your wallet, but which one is best?
To find this out, we compared the Amazon Fire HD 8 with the Fire HD 10 across six categories. By looking at their performance, displays, cameras, and price, among other things, this should help you decide which is the Amazon Fire tablet for you.
|Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019)||Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020)|
|Size||262 × 159 × 9.8 mm (10.3 × 6.3 × 0.4 inches)||202 x 137 x 9.7 mm (7.95 x 5.39 x 0.38 inches)|
|Weight||504 grams (17.8 ounces)||355 grams (12.5 ounces)|
|Screen size||10.1 inches||8 inches|
|Screen resolution||1,920 × 1,200 pixels (224 pixels per inch)||1,280 x 800 (189 pixels per inch)|
|Operating system||Customized Android, Fire OS||Customized Android, Fire OS|
|Storage space||32GB, 64GB||32GB, 64GB|
|MicroSD Card slot||Yes, up to 512GB||Yes, up to 1TB|
|Processor||Octa-core 2GHz processor||Quad-core 2GHz processor|
|Camera||Rear 2-megapixel, front 2MP||Rear 2MP, front 2MP|
|Bluetooth version||Bluetooth 4.2 (TBC)||Bluetooth 5.0|
|Ports||USB-C, 3.5mm audio jack||USB-C, 3.5mm audio jack|
|Battery||Up to 12 hours mixed use||Up to 12 hours mixed use|
|App marketplace||Amazon Appstore||Amazon Appstore|
|Colors||Plum, Twilight Blue, Black, White||White, Black, Twilight Blue, Plum|
|Review score||4 out of 5 stars||3 out of 5 stars|
Performance, battery life, and charging
Compared to Apple devices or other Android offerings, the Amazon Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10 tablets are a little underpowered. Both come with 2GB of RAM, while the HD 10 packs an octa-core MT8183 processor, in contrast to the HD 8’s quad-core MT8168 alternative. Anyone used to higher-end tablets will notice the performance difference almost immediately, with apps taking longer to load on both devices, and games occasionally running slower than usual. That said, the Fire HD 10’s octa-core processor means that it isn’t quite as sluggish as the HD 8, even if it’s hardly the Usain Bolt of tablets.
The Fire HD 8 and HD 10 come with 32GB of internal memory as standard, with the option to buy models with 64GB for a little extra space. You can use a MicroSD card to upgrade this storage to 1TB in the case of the HD 8, although the HD 10 can only go so far as 512GB.
As for battery power, Amazon claims that both devices provide 12 hours of mixed use on average. We’ve found via testing that both can usually last a little longer this, so staying power is one area where neither are as unimpressive as their price tags might suggest.
In light of this, we’re calling this round a tie. The Fire HD 10 is a touch faster, but the HD 8 is compatible with larger storage capacities, so it depends on what your priorities are.
Design, display, and durability
There’s not much to say about either the Fire HD 8 or Fire HD 10 if you’ve had Amazon Fire tablets in the past. Both feature basically identical designs, with the same all-around bezels that have bordered Fire touchscreens for years. The HD 8 is noticeably smaller and lighter, however. This may make it more comfortable to hold for extended periods of time.
The Fire HD 10 has the advantage when it comes to the display. It boasts a 10.1-inch IPS LCD with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,200 pixels, which works out as 224 pixels per inch. The Fire HD 8 offers a 1,280 x 800 resolution, which equals 189 pixels per inch. This difference is noticeable in practice, with the Fire HD 10 providing a display that’s bright, crisp, and vibrant enough to watch films and play video games. It holds its own with more expensive devices, while the Fire HD 8 betrays its price a little.
Neither device comes with an official IP rating, so don’t expect either to survive immersion in water. Still, their plastic casings should provide a fair degree of durability in the case of falls and knocks, although it would still be advisable to purchase a protective cover.
This round is a win for the Fire HD 10, given that its display is tangibly clearer and more defined than its stablemate.
Winner: Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019)
The Fire HD 8 and HD 10 feature the same 2-megapixel rear camera lens and the same 2MP selfie lens, both of which support HD video recording at 720p. Compared to your phone, neither lens is going to enable especially detailed or dynamic photos, although the selfie cameras are perfectly usable for video calls.
Software and updates
Amazon’s Fire tablets all run Fire OS, Amazon’s customized version of Android. It doesn’t come with the Google Play Store, so users need to make do with the Amazon Appstore and its more limited selection of apps. Despite this shortcoming, it’s still easy and intuitive to use, so users of both tablets won’t have much to complain about.
One nice touch with both the Fire HD 8 and HD 10 is that Amazon Prime members will be able to access TV shows, films, books, music, and other media on their tablets for free. This may not be much of a draw for people who aren’t regular Amazon customers, but then again, being an Amazon customer is probably one of the main reasons why people begin looking at an Amazon Fire HD tablet in the first place.
It’s tempting to declare this round another tie, given the use of identical software. On the other hand, it’s possible that the Amazon Fire HD 8 will be supported with updates for longer, given that it’s the newer device. However, this is mostly speculation, so we will stick with a tie in this case.
The Fire HD 8 and HD 10 each support Alexa hands-free functionality. This means users can ask Alexa to play a song, start a movie, or find a recipe, as they’d do with an Amazon Echo. It also lets you link either tablet to other smart devices and control them using Amazon’s smart assistant.
Other than that, there isn’t much that’s particularly special about either tablet. The Amazon Fire HD 8 does have the distinction of being a tablet that’s less than $100, although this may not be especially significant for anyone who can afford the HD 10’s price of $150.
Price and availability
The Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020) is $90 from Amazon, which is also where you can buy the Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019), starting from $150.
Overall winner: Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019)
There isn’t a massive difference between the two Fire tablets, but the inclusion of a faster processor and a finer display means that the Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019) is the better device. The slightly stronger performance and sharper screen do make it comparable to other, more expensive Android tablets, while the Fire HD 8 (2020) struggles to keep up with annually improving standards.
Nonetheless, if you want a budget tablet for everyday, lighter use, the Fire HD 8 is still a good device to have. This is particularly the case if you’re an Amazon Prime customer.