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The tablet space is starting to feel a bit crowded with the promise of the Google Pixel Tablet just around the corner, the new surprise-announced iPad just a few days ago, and now the Fire Tablet HD 8 Plus. But the difference between all of these different devices is the intended purpose and audience.
While devices like the iPad are aimed at productivity, the Fire Tablet HD 8 Plus is a more budget-friendly option that’s targeted toward general entertainment. As for the Google Pixel Tablet, who knows what its actual intended use is?
While the Fire Tablet HD 8 Plus doesn’t have quite as many bells and whistles as some of the others, it’s become one of my most-used tablets, especially since it has taken the place of my Kindle. It has a lot going for it, and I find myself using it as my primary way to keep myself entertained.
Included in the Amazon Fire Tablet HD 8 Plus Box
The Fire Tablet HD 8 Plus includes everything you need right out of the box, although some additional accessories can enhance the experience (like a case):
- Fire Tablet HD 8 Plus
- Amazon power adapter
- USB-C charging cable
Amazon Fire Tablet HD 8 Plus Specifications
- 8-inch HD display
- 64GB internal storage
- Quad-core 2.0 GHZ processor
- 3 GB RAM
- Up to 12 hours battery life
- 4-hour charging time
- Dual speakers
- 2MP front- and rear-facing camera
- 12.5 oz
- Dimensions: 8.0″ x 5.4″ x 0.4″
Amazon Fire Tablet HD 8 Plus Design
The Fire Tablet HD 8 Plus looks about like you expect any tablet to look. At only 0.4 inches thick, it can easily fit in a pocket. The screen responds to even light touches, which is good if you’re trying to game on the tablet. The bezels are slightly larger than I would like; they conjure memories of tablets from a decade ago more than recent. There’s also a front-facing camera for video calling, and a rear-facing camera for recording video and taking photos (though at only 2MP, the clarity leaves something to be desired).
The tablet doesn’t have a kickstand in its body, but the official case does include a folded section that acts as a stand. It’s perfect for watching content, something the Fire Tablet HD 8 excels at.
Streaming and Amazon Fire Tablet HD 8 Plus Sound Quality
The Fire Tablet HD 8 Plus has access to almost every major streaming service, including Amazon Prime Video (of course), Netflix, Crunchyroll, and more. There’s an anime convention coming up in my area soon, and I’ve spent quite a bit of time trying to catch up on current series. The Fire Tablet HD 8 Plus was perfect for laying in bed at the end of the day and watching a couple of episodes.
While the built-in speakers aren’t bad, I found that connecting a pair of Bluetooth earbuds resulted in much higher-quality sound (and were less disturbing to my wife when she was asleep). Everything I watched, from animated shows to live-action content, showed up vibrantly on screen, as did any games I played through Amazon Luna.
The entire OS is built with content in mind. Tapping “Library at the top of the screen shows content from Prime Video that you’ve watched, as well as any audiobooks, Kindle books, or anything else you’ve been reading.
Amazon Fire Tablet HD 8 Plus Battery Life
Amazon promises all-day battery life from the Fire Tablet HD 8 Plus, and my experience proves that. I only use it for two to three hours per day at most, and I only need to charge it a couple of times per week. Even after streaming content for several hours, the battery life only decreased by 14%.
Plugging the tablet in to charge overnight is all it takes to bring it back to full. I find I use it as a replacement Kindle, and that seemed to use more battery power than streaming or gaming did.
Other Features on the Amazon Fire Tablet HD 8 Plus
The Fire Tablet HD 8 Plus comes with Alexa built-in — something that came as a bit of a surprise when I tried to have my Echo turn off the lights, only for the tablet to respond instead. The built-in microphone is quite sensitive and can hear commands issued from across the house, which makes it a great alternative to an Echo device for users that don’t have another option.
Of course, the inclusion of Alexa adds to the feature list. It makes it easy to access my to-do list, shopping list, and other features I use on a daily basis. I can even check my email or browse the web thanks to the Amazon Silk browser (although a smartphone does this better).
It can even be used to connect to Zoom meetings if need be. And if the included storage isn’t enough, the tablet is compatible with a 1TB microSD card.
Even gaming on the tablet through Amazon Luna was easier thanks to the on-screen keyboard, although I found using a Bluetooth controller made for a much better experience (with significantly less lag).
The Verdict: Should You Buy the Amazon Fire Tablet HD 8 Plus
I’ve always thought of Fire Tablets as underpowered iPads, but I have been pleasantly surprised throughout my time with this one. The high-res screen makes reading an absolute pleasure (as does the ability to see book covers in full color). When I get tired of reading, I can easily fire up a game or watch a show on the tablet.
The Fire Tablet HD 8 Plus is a solid step up from the previous generation, with more processing power and screen clarity that proves Amazon is taking notice of what improvements fans want. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a full-blown iPad competitor release soon.
If you’re an avid Amazon fan and already immersed in the ecosystem, then this tablet is a natural progression of that. It automatically connects you to all Amazon-related services through your Amazon account, and it’s great for browsing Amazon Music, Prime Video, or just doing a bit of shopping.
- All-day battery life
- Functions like a portable Echo device
- Bluetooth compatible and great for streaming
- No built-in kickstand
- Larger-than-preferred bezels