Interface and reliability
- The Fire OS interface is easy to use
- Major focus on Amazon content
Navigating around Amazon’s Fire OS is a pretty slick experience. It’s built to be a content showcase, so there are tabs for your movies, games, music, and so on.
There’s also a “For you” tab that tries to combine everything you might want into a single page that includes recently used services alongside suggestions.
The downside is that Amazon’s app store lacks a lot of games and apps that are available in the Play Store or in Apple’s App Store. You won’t find Microsoft’s productivity app suite here. Google’s apps are also missing, so there’s no YouTube, Google Maps, Gmail or, worst of all, Chrome.
That means having to use the inferior Bing-search powered Silk web browser.
Everything works, but Google’s software is far superior, so Android users will feel the absence. It’s worth noting that you can get around this deficiency by sideloading a bunch of Google apps and services, but it requires just enough research and hassle to give the less technically confident pause.
We didn’t have any issues with the interface. Fire OS feels like an old version of Android - in fact it’s built on top of Android 5.0 Lollipop, which is three years old now. Apparently, Fire OS 6, which is based on Android 7.1 Nougat, is due very soon, so hopefully the Fire HD 10 (2017) will get the update.
Ultimately, the Amazon Fire HD 10 (2017) is unashamedly all about entertainment consumption, and the interface is entirely fit for that purpose.
Movies, music and gaming
- Great size for watching movies or gaming
- Dual-stereo Dolby Atmos speakers produce decent sound
- Majority of games run without a hitch
If you have an Amazon Prime subscription then you get access to a wide library of movies, TV shows, books and music. You can always load up Netflix or other services, but you’ll get a lot more from your Fire HD 10 if you dip into Amazon’s ecosystem.
As we mentioned before, your content is divided into themed tabs for games, movies, music, and so on. It’s very easy to find something to do on the Fire HD 10 (2017). Streaming from Amazon or Netflix is smooth at 1080p.
The combination of the 1080p screen and stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos makes this a great tablet for watching movies and TV shows. The picture quality is good and the speakers can put out an impressive volume. The speakers are good enough that you’ll get by without headphones, but there is a 3.5mm headphone jack just in case.
Music doesn’t sound too shabby through the Fire HD 10 either, but a tablet is never going to compete with a proper speaker. As an Alexa-powered music queue for Sonos speakers, the Fire HD 10 was perfect.
We played quite a few games on the Fire HD 10 and it coped admirably most of the time. Dipping in and out of Star Wars: Commander presented no problems, though it wasn’t the speediest to load. More graphically demanding games, like Injustice: Gods Among Us stuttered in places and dropped a few frames.
Curled up on the couch, or in bed on a lazy Sunday morning, the Amazon Fire HD 10 is the perfect companion for reading, TV, or movies. It will also serve casual gamers perfectly well.
Performance and benchmarks
- 1.8GHz quad-core chipset and 2GB of RAM
- Offers fast performance for a budget tablet
The Fire HD 10 has a MediaTek quad-core chipset inside backed up by 2GB of RAM. Amazon says it's 30% faster than its predecessor and it feels fast enough most of the time.
Navigation was smooth and we could jump in and out of apps and games without any major lag, though loading times weren’t the fastest. We think the Fire HD 10 has enough power for most people, but as it ages and games and apps get more demanding it’s going to feel slower.
We ran Geekbench 3 on the Amazon Fire HD 10 three times and got an average single core score of 1,501 and an average multi-core score of 3,021.