Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus review: How does the affordable tablet compare to an iPad?

I’ve all the time been an avid reader. My bodily guide assortment is continually increasing, however — thanks to the numerous free library books I learn on OverDrive’s viral app, Libby(Opens in a new tab) — as of late I have a tendency to gravitate towards e-books. They’re handy, moveable, and ideal for studying just about anyplace: in mattress, at the gymnasium, on trip, and so on…and so they don’t crush my carry-on as a lot as my “customary” three-book minimal. 

Over the years, a majority of my e-book consumption has taken place on my iPad — and in determined events my iPhone — however I used to be serious about attempting out Amazon’s newest iteration of the Fire HD 8 Plus tablet(Opens in a brand new tab) as an affordable various to my 8th generation iPad(Opens in a new tab)

Unboxing the Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus

Straight out of the field, the twelfth technology Fire HD 8 Plus tablet is compact, light-weight, and durable. It’s roughly the identical measurement as an iPad mini, however at a 0.37-inch thickness, it’s undoubtedly obtained a bit extra weight than the .25-inch thick iPad mini. As somebody who’s accident-prone (and fearful of dropping a $329 iPad), I appreciated the emphasis on sturdiness, however I wasn’t positive if the plastic again cowl would truly maintain up to Amazon’s claims that the Fire HD 8 Plus is “twice as sturdy” as the iPad Mini. 

Fortunately, Amazon’s appropriate tablet cowl eliminates any of these fears — I popped it on the gadget, and I used to be instantly stunned by how sturdy the mixture felt. It’s a bit of bit heavier than I anticipated, however I’m pretty sure that I may throw this gadget and trigger extra injury to my wall than the tablet. 


The again of the Fire HD 8 Plus feels a bit of low-cost and plasticky, however the tablet cowl makes the gadget really feel tremendous sturdy.
Credit score: RJ Andersen / ClassyBuzz

From there, nevertheless, I used to be a bit of disillusioned by the Fire tablet. It’s nothing particular or spectacular — it seems virtually an identical to the show of my Echo Present 10 — and whereas I recognize the simplicity, it additionally seems a bit outdated. There’s a thick black body round the 8-inch HD show, and the precise expertise of utilizing the gadget felt ages behind my Apple merchandise or my accomplice’s Samsung Galaxy Observe Extremely. The 1280 x 800 display screen was fairly dim in contrast to my different units, the colours have been a bit of muted, and the display screen glare was intense. 

First Impressions of the Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus

For those who’re anticipating an excellent quick and streamlined efficiency from the Fire HD 8 Plus, let’s get this out of the means: You’re going to be disillusioned. Whereas the tablet boasts a 30 % sooner processor than the earlier technology, the working system remains to be fairly gradual and clunky. The tablet auto-wakes if you open the cowl (or you possibly can faucet the energy button as soon as), however I hated the way you couldn’t contact the display screen to wake the tablet from there — your solely choice is to push the energy button once more. From the lock display screen, you’ve gotten three choices: accessing your Amazon “Gadget Dashboard” (the place you possibly can see different Amazon Units you’ve gotten in your account), the middle swipe to unlock, and another choice to view extra particular gives…simply in case the full-screen commercial wasn’t sufficient. 

amazon tablet with advertisement for Fish Ahoy game on lock screen

For those who go for the cheaper model of the Fire HD 8 Plus, your lock display screen is taken up by commercials.
Credit score: RJ Andersen / ClassyBuzz

From there, navigating the Fire tablet is a little bit of a headache. There are three choices out there after unlocking the tablet: a “for you” web page (full with climate, current apps, sponsored apps, and a immediate to proceed studying any books you’ve had open on the gadget), a extra conventional “residence” web page, and your gadget “library.” You may obtain further apps to the gadget — together with Netflix, Minecraft, TikTok, and Zoom — with the evident exception of YouTube (though there are many copycats out there). 

As a result of the Fire tablet makes use of Amazon’s software program launcher, Fire OS, you’re restricted to utilizing their app library — though I’ve heard of individuals loading the Google Play Retailer on earlier variations of the Fire HD 8 Plus tablet — which implies your choices are a bit of bit restricted. That’s not an enormous deal should you’re somebody who makes use of Amazon’s numerous leisure choices (like Kindle Limitless, Audible, Prime Video, and Amazon Music), however should you’re in search of a bit of extra flexibility, the Fire tablet won’t swimsuit these functions. 

Ought to You Get a Fire HD 8 Plus? 

Right here’s the factor: For those who’re in search of a tablet to use primarily for leisure (like studying or streaming), the Fire HD 8 Plus(Opens in a brand new tab) is a good selection. It’s extremely compact and durable, which made it the good exercise companion — driving a stationary bike with my iPad is a terrifying expertise — and the leisure choices have been surprisingly sturdy. I may watch all of my favourite reveals on the tablet with none points, the sound high quality was respectable, the battery life was spectacular, and I rapidly put the prolonged free trial of Kindle Limitless to good use. 

Plus, at $120 for the 32GB model (with lock display screen adverts), the Fire tablet is extremely affordable in contrast to different manufacturers — particularly as a result of it’s regularly on sale on Amazon — which makes it an amazing introductory tablet for anybody serious about leisure capabilities like streaming, social media, and studying on the go. And if in case you have youngsters, the sturdiness issue alone makes it an enticing choice, and there’s an spectacular line-up of parental controls to make it much more kid-friendly.

For those who’re in search of a extra sturdy tablet, nevertheless, I’m undecided I’d advocate this one. It’s clunky and gradual, the complete expertise made me really feel like I used to be utilizing a tool from 2005. Plus, the quantity of sponsored content material — coupled with the app limitations — was past irritating. Clearly, it’s solely $15 extra to get the model with out lock display screen adverts, however there’s nonetheless loads of promotional content material tucked in numerous locations inside the gadget, and — whereas I favored utilizing the tablet for studying — the expertise didn’t come shut to matching any of my different units. It’s undoubtedly cheaper than the iPad Mini, nevertheless it’s shut in worth to different compact tablets similar to the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 or the Lenovo Tab M7. 

For those who’re on the fence or in search of a budget-friendly leisure tablet, you may want to persist with the Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet. At solely $99 (and regularly on sale for a lot much less), it’s not that a lot completely different than the Fire HD 8 Plus. The Plus has a barely sooner processor and wi-fi charging, however the distinction isn’t going to be noticeable for most individuals.

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