Amazon Fire HD8 (2017) review

Tiny changes for Amazon’s low-cost tablet

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Verdict

The Amazon Fire HD 8 (2017) is just a little tweak of the version Amazon released last year.

Its shell colors have changed a little, the build has been refined and the speakers have been improved significantly.

There’s not much meaningful progress in the cameras, the screen or the performance, but with tablets in general having screeched to a halt in terms of development, that’s no great surprise.

Who’s this for?

The Amazon Fire HD 8 (2017) is for people who want a cheap tablet, but don’t want to gamble with a name they’ve never heard of.

Samsung’s alternative (the Galaxy Tab A 7.0) is double the price, and certainly not double the tablet, so the Fire HD 8 (2017) makes sense as a buy.

Should you buy it?

If you already own the last Fire HD 8, there’s very little point upgrading. A better speaker is something we cherish, but isn’t worth spending another $80/£80 for.

We’d have liked to see more progress made in the hardware this year, but this is still the best tablet you can get for the money.

The Amazon Fire HD 8 (2017) is a strong tablet for the money, but there are other budget contenders. Here are three alternatives you might want to consider.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A 7.0

Samsung’s closest alternative to the Fire HD 8 is the 7-inch A-series tablet. It costs significantly more than the Fire, but actually has fairly similar specs in most areas. It’s the tablet that proves Amazon’s value credentials.

This is one to consider if you can’t stand the idea of Fire OS’s advert-like style, though. It also has better cameras than the Fire HD 8 (2017).

Lenovo Tab3

The closest non-Amazon alternative to the Fire HD 8 in price is the Lenovo Tab3. It is even cheaper than the Amazon tablet, but cuts down some of the specs even further.

Screen resolution is just 1024 x 600 rather than 1280 x 800, and 1GB of RAM means you should expect more serious performance issues than we saw in the Fire HD 8 (2017). The Amazon tablet is probably worth the extra cash, unless you’re strapped and don’t like the Fire OS software.

Amazon Fire (2017)

Amazon makes an even cheaper tablet, simply called the Amazon Fire (2017) or the Fire 7. This costs $49.99/£49.99 and has a smaller, lower-resolution screen and a significantly slower CPU.

Unless you’re looking for a tablet that’ll get used a few times a year, the Fire HD 8 (2017) is worth the extra money.

First reviewed: June 2017