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The best Amazon tablets: It's all about playing with Fire

Looking for a tablet that does everything you'd expect it to, but at a fraction of the cost of an iPad? Amazon has what you want.

Amazon's Fire tablets are known for being some of the most affordable tablets you can buy -- with prices ranging from $35 for the base Fire tablet to $179 for the Fire HD 10 Plus, the biggest and fastest tablet in Amazon's lineup. There are some sacrifices you'll have to make for a tablet that's priced under $180, primarily when it comes to performance and app selection. 

The Fire tablets all run Amazon's Android-based operating system called Fire OS, meaning you won't find any of Google's apps or services on the Fire tablets. Amazon even has its own app store that developers have to use. That said, you can find most of the bigger apps, like Facebook, Zoom, and your favorite mobile games. However, Gmail, YouTube, or Google Maps aren't available. 

Amazon doesn't use the best displays or fastest processors in its Fire tablets, but after using one for a few days, you'll adjust and realize the components inside the tablet are more than capable -- especially when you remember the overall cost. All the models listed below are shown with their base storage allotment, but keep in mind they all have microSD card support ranging from 512GB to 1TB. 

Amazon Fire 7

A $35 tablet? Go on...

Amazon Fire 7

Display: 7-inch display | Processor: Quad-core 1.3GHz | Storage: 16GB or 32GB | Memory: 1GB | Colors: Black, plum, sage, twilight blue | Cameras: 2MP rear and 2MP front-facing camera | Weight: 10.1 ounces pounds | Dimensions: 7.6 x 4.5 x 0.4 inches | Connections: 3.5mm headphone jack, microUSB port | Battery life: 7 hours

Amazon's Fire 7 tablet is the most affordable tablet in the company's lineup, but don't let its price tag fool you. At $35, you get 16GB of storage, a quad-core 1.3GHz processor, 1GB of memory, 2MP front and rear-facing cameras, a 7-inch display with 1024x600 resolution. You'll get about 7 hours of use out of a single charge, and can add 512GB of extra storage via the microSD card slot. 

The Fire 7 is by far the slowest, least capable tablet in Amazon's lineup, but we recommend this one as an inexpensive option for someone who needs a tablet that's used for strictly video calls, keeping kids entertained, or solely as a Kindle eReader, with the bonus of being able to check your email. 

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Amazon App store

Cons

  • Battery life
  • Performance

Amazon Fire HD 8

Amazon's mid-range tablet

Amazon Fire HD 8

Display: 8-inch display | Processor: Quad-core 2.0GHz | Storage: 32GB or 64GB | Memory: 2GB | Colors: Black, plum, white, twilight blue | Cameras: 2MP rear and 2MP front-facing camera | Weight: 12.5 ounces pounds | Dimensions: 8.0 x 5.4 x 0.4 inches | Connections: 3.5mm headphone jack, microUSB port | Battery life: 12 hours

The Fire HD 8 and HD 8 Plus (more on that Plus version below) are Amazon's mid-range tablets. When they were announced, the Fire HD 8 lineup introduced a completely new design that looks much better than the Fire 7. The rounded edges and corners, as well as a relocated front camera, make it easier to hold and make for a more natural feel during video calls.

For just under $50, you'll get 32GB of storage, 2GB of memory, a quad-core 2.0GHz processor, a battery life of 12 hours, and an 8-inch HD display. You can add up to 1TB of storage using the microSD card slot.

The Fire HD 8 is an easy recommendation due to its low price, fresh design, and decent performance. If you're on a tight budget that lines up with the HD 8, you'll be happy with it. However, if you are looking for a little more tablet for not a whole lot more money, then keep reading. 

Pros

  • Bigger display than Fire 7
  • Still affordable 
  • Improved battery life

Cons

  • Performance

Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus

The "just right" pick

Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus

Display: 8-inch display | Processor: Quad-core 2.0GHz | Storage: 32GB or 64GB | Memory: 3GB | Colors: Black, plum, white, twilight blue | Cameras: 2MP rear and 2MP front-facing camera | Weight: 12.5 ounces pounds | Dimensions: 8.0 x 5.4 x 0.4 inches | Connections: 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C port | Battery life: 12 hours

We recommend going with the HD 8 Plus over the standard 8, if it's within your budget. For example, for the higher price, you get 3GB of memory instead of 2GB, and it'll work with a wireless charging pad. The importance of wireless charging is debatable. However, an extra gigabyte of memory means your apps won't reload as often, and overall performance will be slightly improved. 

What's more, Amazon sells a wireless charging stand for the HD 8 Plus that, when docked, turns the tablet into an Echo Show. That means you can interact with it like you would the company's smart displays, using voice commands to control smart home devices or watch videos. 

The Fire HD 8 Plus boasts most of the same specs as its less expensive sibling, with an 8-inch display and a resolution of 1280x800, 3GB of memory, 32GB of storage, and a quad-core 2.0GHz processor. Battery life should reach 12 hours. The optional charging stand brings the total to $140, but it's worth it.

Pros

  • Still affordable
  • Wireless charging
  • More memory equals better performance

Cons

  • Performance will still be slower than an iPad

 

Amazon Fire HD 10

The biggest and the best Fire tablet

Amazon Fire HD 10

Display: 10.1-inch display | Processor: Octa-core 2.0GHz | Storage: 32GB or 64GB | Memory: 3GB | Colors: Black, denim, lavendar, olive | Cameras: 5MP rear and 2MP front-facing camera | Weight: 16.4 ounces | Dimensions: 9.73 x 6.53 x 0.36 inches | Connections: 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C port | Battery life: 12 hours

Amazon's Fire HD 10 is the biggest and the best tablet in the Fire lineup. It's the only tablet with a 1080p display, and comes with 32 or 64GB of storage -- which you can expand up to 1TB using a microSD card.

The combination of the display quality and 10.1-inch size means the Fire HD 10 is perfect to catch up on your favorite Netflix series, game, shop or read a book on, and it's priced right at $149. 

Amazon also has a productivity bundle for the Fire HD 10 that adds a keyboard and a 12-month subscription to Microsoft's 365 Personal suite of apps and services, including 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage. 

Pros

  • Big display
  • 1080p resolution 

Cons

  • Performance is still just okay

Amazon Fire HD Kids Tablet

A tablet made just for kids

Amazon Fire HD Kids Tablet
Amazon

Display: 8-inch display | Processor: Quad-core 2.0 GHz | Storage: 32GB | Memory: 2GB | Colors: Blue, Pink, Purple | Cameras: 2 MP front and rear-facing cameras | Weight: 19.4 ounces | Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.2 x 1.0 inches | Connections: USB-C (2.0) | Battery life: 12 hours

All the tablets we mentioned above have a Kids Edtion version. These bundles are slightly more expensive than buying the tablet on its own, but it comes with some extra perks. Each Kids Edition tablet comes with a one-year subscription to Amazon's FreeTime Unlimited that provides access to kid-friendly content and parental controls. 

You also get a case to protect the tablet, and a two-year worry-free guarantee -- where Amazon will replace the tablet, no questions asked, if something happens to it (like your kid dropping it in a swimming pool or bathtub). 

Pros

  • Includes one year of an Amazon Kids+ subscription 
  • Parents can add apps and content to their child's profile 
  • Protective case included for kid-proof activities 

Cons

  • Heavy 
  • No headphone jack 

How did we choose these Amazon tablets?

We selected the group of Fire tablets above after testing all of them ourselves and using the tablets as daily devices for checking email or playing games or simply relegating them to a fancy Kindle for reading books. 

What is the right Amazon tablet for you?

When trying to decide which Amazon tablet is the right one for you, take a few minutes to go over the specifications. The difference between the 2GB and 3GB versions of the Fire HD 8 seems small on paper, but in our experience, there was a notable performance boost. Also, consider how long it's been since each tablet has been updated. Right now, the Fire 7 hasn't received a meaningful update since 2019. The more recent a refresh, the more current the internal components are, which hopefully translates to better performance and a pleasant experience. 

Tablet

Price

Storage

Battery Life

Amazon Fire 7

$35

16GB or 32GB

7 hours 

Amazon Fire HD 8

$45

32GB or 64GB

12 hours

Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus

$105

32GB or 64GB

12 hours

Amazon Fire HD 10

$150

32GB or 64GB

12 hours

Amazon Fire HD Kids Tablet

$70

32GB

12 hours

Are there alternative options worth considering?

Here are a few other Amazon tablet options to consider:


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