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In 2021, Amazon released what it called a productivity bundle for the updated Fire HD 10 Plus. The bundle included a Bluetooth keyboard and case, and a year of Microsoft 365. Fire OS, the operating system that powers Amazon's tablets, had some new multitasking features -- such as split screen apps -- and the whole bundle was available for under $250.
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It… wasn't good. Here's my review. But that's in the past. Amazon took lessons learned from its last attempt at a tablet designed for work, and out of that comes the Fire Max 11, a $229 tablet that's available to preorder right now. Deliveries will start in June.
The Fire Max 11 has a completely new design, and for the first time on a Fire tablet, it boasts a fingerprint reader for unlocking the device and accessing apps securely. When I first saw the Fire Max 11, I couldn't help but think I'd seen that specific design before. And, I'm pretty sure I have. It looks just like the Lenovo Chromebook Duet, right down to having a very similar case with a kickstand, keyboard and trackpad arrangement. And that's a good thing; I really enjoy the Duet's design.
Also: This $350 Lenovo Chromebook will change your mind about cheap laptops
Speaking of the case and keyboard, you can get that setup plus a stylus as part of the Fire Max 11's $329 productivity bundle. The keyboard connects to the Max 11 via pogo pins and includes a trackpad that you can use to navigate the tablet's software. The stylus magnetically connects to the side of the tablet for ease of access.
Inside the Fire Max 11 is a MediaTek MT8188J processor that's capable of 2.2Ghz speeds and is 50% faster than Amazon's previous fastest tablet, the Fire HD 10 Plus. Storage options are 64GB or 128GB, with 4GB of memory, Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.3 support. The front-facing camera is 8 megapixels, matching the 8-megapixel rear-facing camera.
There's a USB-C port on the Max 11, but it's USB 2.0, so it'll be slower at transferring data and maxes out at 15W charging speeds. However, you'll need to buy a 15W (or better) adapter if that's what you want -- the Fire Max 11 comes with a 9W adapter in the box.
Also: This $180 Android tablet is capable of things my iPad Pro can only dream of
According to Amazon, Fire Max 11 users can expect up to 14 hours of mixed-use battery life, which, if true, is pretty darn good.
If Amazon can deliver on the overall experience and the software doesn't get in the way of what looks like fantastic hardware, then the Fire Max 11 may very well be the sub-$500 Android tablet to beat when it comes to productivity. But that's a big if, and the only way to find out is to get one on my desk and actually put it to use.
I won't be able to do that until sometime in June, which is when preorders will ship. You can preorder the Fire Max 11 right now starting at $229 for just the tablet, or $329 for the productivity bundle.