Amazon Fire HD 8 (2018) Tablet Review

Fire HD 8 Tablet Review – Our Score is 7.9 out of 10

The Fire 8 HD 2018 release is the 8th generation tablet from Amazon. This tablet is a step above the 7 with a high definition display, upgraded speakers, and more RAM. These differences are noticeable, and our recommendation is to purchase the 8 over the 7.

Why use a tablet instead of a phone? Well, I often leave my phone in my truck or garage or somewhere I can’t hear it. This especially happens around Friday afternoon and shows up Monday morning. Just like my college days. A tablet can be “off-grid” to enjoy a few moments away.

Good and Bad

This tablet is a great way to access the Amazon multimedia universe. Reading, watching movies, listing to music, or interfacing with the news is seamless and enjoyable. The more a user is immersed in this ecosystem, the better the experience with the Fire tablet series. Running through the on-board apps is clean and speedy.

If you are new to the Fire Tablets:

  1. The menus are easy
  2. The settings are also clean and easy
  3. Parental controls exist
  4. You don’t need to be a Prime Member
  5. The Fire is for media consumption; the Kindle is for reading
  6. They don’t have the power for heavy gaming
7.9Expert Score
Amazon Fire HD 8 (2018) Tablet Review

The Fire 8 HD 2018 release is the 8th generation tablet from Amazon. This tablet is a step above the 7 with a high definition display, upgraded speakers, and more RAM. These differences are noticeable, and our recommendation is to purchase the 8 over the 7.

Set-up - Less than 30 Minutes
7
Display - High Definition (HD)
8.5
Resolution - 1280 X 800 189 PPI
8.5
Internal Storage - 16 or 32 GB
8
External Storage - 400 GB
7
Battery Life - 10 Hours
9
Processor - 64 Bit quad-core
9
Operating System - OS 6
8
Camera - 2 MP Front and rear
6.5
PROS
  • Alexa enabled
  • High definition resolution
  • Decent external speakers
  • Memory up to 400 GB
  • Dual cameras with HD recording
  • 10 Hour battery life
CONS
  • Google play requires side loading
  • Surfaces hold smudges

Verdict

We like this tablet, and it is my wife’s favorite. The size is in the sweet spot between a phone and laptop being small enough to hold and large enough to showcase the video. If you don’t know which Fire tablet is the right one, go with the Fire HD 8.

For more details, or if you are new to the tablet world, keep reading past our links for our complete review.

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Is Set-up Difficult?

The short answer is nope.

The box contains a Fire HD 8 Tablet, quick start guide, safety instructions, and 5W charger with 36” USB 2.0 cord with micro-B connector.

There is an option to pre-connect to your Amazon account to simplify the set-up process. We used this service for the three fires we ordered and tested. Set-up is around 30 minutes to enter data and get through all the offer screens and download the new updates. There could be fewer offers during this process.

Frustration-Free Setup – Check the link for details when ordering. This set-up works by using helper devices to connect to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Zigbee. If you are a privacy nut, read this to see what you are enabling.

What is the Size?

8.4″ x 5.0″ x 0.4″ (214 mm x 128 mm x 9.7 mm)

This unit feels awkward for a single hand. A better option is to hold it with two hands. My wife and I both like the popups you can buy and add-on.

Weight – 12.8 oz (363 g)

Is the HD Display good?

Yes, colors from different angles are clean with decent blacks and a healthy color range.

The screen is an 8” high definition touchscreen; 1280 x 800 resolution at 189 ppi, HD video playback, with IPS (in-plane switching) technology and advanced polarizing filter.

IPS – A technology for liquid-crystal displays (LCDs). IPS creates clear images with vibrant colors to see the picture from all angles. It reduces touch marks on the screen.

Blue light is a thing. A Blue Shade setting with a brightness reduction and color adjustment helps reduce this light. It also allows for automated scheduling.

Fire HD 8 Storage Options

There are two options with a 16 GB (9.4 GB available to user) or 32 GB (23.6 GB available to user) of internal storage. The on-board apps and operating systems take 6.6 GB on the 16 GB option and 8.8 GB on the 32 GB option.

External Storage – Additional Storage

You can add a micro-SD card for up to 512 GB of additional storage. Typical prices for the 512 GB cards are $35 and up. You can get a 128 GB for around $20, which is 8X the on-board memory. Some apps may require installation on internal storage, and features updates may impact the available room.

The reports for the average movie size from Amazon range from 2 to 4 GB per movie. This range will vary considerably but does give you a sense of what the 9.4 GB available to the user on the 16 GB will hold.

Movies – Approximately 1 to 4

– Or –

Pictures – Approximately 1,800

Cloud Storage – Unlimited for Amazon digtial content

Tip on Optimizing Storage

  1. Open Settings then select storage.
  2. Remove content that is not being used by selecting Archive Now under 1-tap Archive.

Note: Amazon purchased content automatically saves to the Cloud. Removing it from your device does not delete it from your Amazon account.

Battery Life

The reported life is 10 hours. This reported battery life matches our testing. With all devices, it depends on what you are doing.

Tips on Conserving Power on the Fire 8

  1. Force close apps running in the background
  2. Dim your screen.
  3. Reduce your screen timeout.
  4. Confirm that your device is using the latest software version.
  5. Use Smart Suspend to disconnect from your network when it’s not in use.
  6. Lower the volume or use headphones.

Charge Time

The reported time is under 6 hours with the included micro-USB power adapter.

Processor

MediaTek8163 is an integrated SOC 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 MPCore, 3D graphics (OpenGL ES 3.1), 13-megapixel camera ISP, DDR3/L up to 800MHz and high-definition 1080p video decoder.

Ram – 1.5 GB

Wi-Fi Connectivity

Single-antenna dual-band Wi-Fi. Supports public and private Wi-Fi networks or hotspots that use the dual-band:

802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, or 802.11n standard

Security: Support for WEP, WPA, and WPA2 security using password authentication

DOES NOT support connecting to ad-hoc (or peer-to-peer) Wi-Fi networks. Wi-Fi 6 (802.11 ax) is not currently supported.

4G Connectivity – NO

Airplane Mode – Yes

Data Usage Meter – Yes

Operating System

The Fire 8 (2018) Tablet device runs Fire OS 6 from Android Nougat (Android 7.1.2, level 25).

Ports

USB 2.0 (micro-B connector) to connect to a PC/Macintosh computer, or to charge your device with the included power adapter; microSD slot for external storage

Bluetooth

Bluetooth picked up my iPhone and LG HBS700 headset. It also picked up one of our printers that is enabled.

Once paired, you can:

  1. Rename the device
  2. Toggle on/off for Phone
  3. Toggle on/off for Media audio
  4. Forget the device

MonkeyHACKS

If you have Bluetooth enabled and it does not see the equipment, leave it on and turn Bluetooth off and then back on. This trick should pick up whatever you are trying to pair.

Audio

There are two integrated speakers with Dolby Audio. On full volume, these sound decent. I tested a streaming movie from Amazon, maxed the volume, and held my iPhone about 2’ away and got this:

Sound Settings include:

  1. Media Volume – Low to High
  2. Alarm Volume – Low to High
  3. Notification Volume – Low to High
  4. Do Not Disturb Preferences
  5. Default Alarm Control – Select 1 of 16 sounds
  6. Screen Locking Sounds – On/Off
  7. Charging Sounds – On/Off
  8. Touch Sounds – On/Off

Sensors

Accelerometer, light sensor

Camera

2 MP front and rear-facing cameras with 720p HD video recording. The still photos are not current phone quality, which is no surprise. It’s OK for fun photos and sharing with friends and family. The photo size is 1200 X 1600 and around 525 KB of size.

Photo/Video Storage

The images reside at Amazon Photos. If you set-up an email account, pictures can go via email. Direct links also include Twitter, Bluetooth, connected printers,

Location Services

Location-based services via Wi-Fi

Available Colors

Black, Marine Blue, Punch Red, Canary Yellow

Additional Features

External volume controls, built-in Bluetooth with support for A2DP compatible stereo headphones, speakers, microphone, and LE accessories support.

Accessibility Features

VoiceView screen reader enables access to the vast majority of Fire tablet features for users who are blind or visually impaired using text-to-speech or a connected refreshable Braille display. Screen magnifier allows viewers to zoom in and out, and pan around the screen. Fire tablets also include accessibility settings for Closed Captioning, Font Size, High Contrast Text, Color Inversion, Color Correction, and Convert Stereo to Mono audio. (Captions are not available for all content.).

Apps and Notifications

There is a comprehensive menu where you can manage all apps. This menu allows you to change permissions, disable, and force stop. Data metrics are available.

Parental controls allow for restricted purchasing, content types, web browsing, and access to other features. Access to Alexa is blocked when parental controls are enabled.

Warranty

90-day limited and service with optional 1 Year, 2 Year, and 3 years Extended.

FAQs from around the web

Is it waterproof?

No

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Can I Insert a Chip?

You can use a micro SD card.

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Do you pay for data usage?

There is no payment for cellular data, just Wi-Fi.

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Do digital pens work?

Yes, you can use a capacitive stylus.

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Can I uninstall Alexa?

No, but you can turn her off.

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Can you read a book and listen to a book at the same time?

Yes

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Should I buy this if I only want a reader?

The consensus is that the Kindle e-reader is superior for reading only.

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Can I use google map, or any other map feature with Wi-Fi?

It comes with a mapping program, called Maps. The Fire does not have GPS, only Wi-Fi. So, you will have to use the Maps program as Google Maps requires GPS. It’s possible to use your phone as a hotspot, although you may as well use your phone.

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Can I install Google Play Store?

The short answer is yes. We did not install play. There are sites with instructions on how to side load. There are reports of installing Google Play voiding the warranty.

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