The new Amazon Fire HD 8 has been launched; this 2022 update on Amazon’s middle-sized tablet family replaces the 2020 model, and has four different tablets in all.
That’s right, Amazon has launched four tablets: there’s the standard Fire HD 8, a Plus model, a Kids’ Edition version and a Kids’ Edition Pro device, because Amazon clearly isn’t worried about confusing its buyers with too many options.
These all replace members of the Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020) family, though the upgrades are quite limited. To give you an idea as to what’s new, we’ll run you through the new Fire HD 8 below.
Amazon Fire HD 8 price and availability
The new base Amazon Fire HD 8 costs $99 / £99 for 32GB storage, which is a slight price hike over the $89 / £89 starting cost of the last-gen model. A 64GB version of the tablet is also going on sale but TechRadar wasn’t provided the price for that ahead of time.
The Fire HD 8 Plus sells for $119 / £119, which is again slightly more than the $110 / £110 asking price for the previous version of the slate.
Both the Fire HD 8 Kids, designed for younger users, and the Fire HD 8 Kids Pro, designed for older kids, cost $149 / £149 – these models are more expensive because they have protective cases and special software designed for children.
Pre-orders for all these tablets begins on September 21, and they’ll fully go on sale in October.
Amazon Fire HD 8 vs Plus vs Kids vs Kids Pro
Before we go on a deep dive into the standard Amazon Fire HD 8, we should probably run through the variants, so you know how they’re different.
Firstly, the 8 Plus is a more premium version of the standard HD 8. It has more RAM, wireless charging and a higher-resolution camera, but not much else. You can buy a dock for it, which works with the wireless charging to turn the Fire HD 8 Plus into an Amazon Echo imitator if you like too.
Both the Kids and Kids Pro models are designed for younger users: the former is aimed at 3-7-year-olds, while the latter is for 7-12-year-olds. The tablets come with big protective cases and the software is quite restrictive, locking the user to content and apps which are appropriate for this user group. A parental account can be linked to better control what the child can access.
Amazon Fire HD 8 design and display
Amazon’s tablets don’t exactly have revolutionary designs, but that’s to be expected with the price.
The slates, including the new one, are large plastic rectangles with a screen on the front – hey, it’s a tablet, what did you expect? The new model has a USB-C port for faster charging, 3.5mm headphone jack for wired audio, a power button and a volume rocker.
The new Fire HD 8 has seen a few design tweaks from its predecessor as it’s thinner, lighter and, according to Amazon, more durable: the company says the slate was “testing twice as durable as the iPad mini in tumble tests.” But the changes are likely minor.
As with all Amazon Fire tablets, this one is named after its display, which means it has an 8-inch HD screen. This is unchanged over the display on the 2020 model, and we found that the screen on that wasn’t great, but was fine for certain entertainment tasks.
Amazon Fire HD 8 cameras and battery life
You’re probably not buying the Amazon Fire HD 8 for its photographic prowess, but it’s always useful to have something for video calling.
The Amazon Fire HD 8 has a 2MP front and 2MP rear camera, and at that resolution these are fit for video chats but not much else. If you want some additional camera grunt, the Plus model has a 5MP rear camera.
In terms of battery life, Amazon cites the device as lasting for 13 hours of use, which is a single hour up from the 2020 model. That’s for watching content, but you’ll get more time if you’re just reading an e-book or checking your emails.
The charging speed doesn’t seem to have changed though; so you’ll still be waiting well over an hour and a half for the thing to be powered to full.
Amazon Fire HD 8 performance, specs and software
In terms of performance, not much has changed with the new Amazon Fire HD 8. The company says the processor is 30% quicker, but it’s still at 2GB RAM (3GB for the Plus model), so the differences will likely be rather minor.
Amazon’s tablets tend to be pretty slow though, as they’re designed for entertainment purposes like watching TV shows, listening to music and playing low-end games, so you don’t need that much processing power.
You can pick up the tablets with 32GB or 64GB storage, but if neither of those options are enough, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s expandable memory up to 1TB.
As for software, Amazon’s tablets are all locked to the company’s own operating system, which is in fact a heavily modified version of Android. This has heavy integration with the brand’s own services like Prime Video, Prime Music, Kindle and so on, so you’d better be a Prime subscriber to make the most of it.
That doesn’t mean Amazon engages in anti-competitive measures though, and you can also download apps like Disney Plus, Netflix and Spotify, and use various games and apps that are available on Amazon’s app store.
Whether they’ll make it onto our best cheap tablet roundup remains to be seen, but they’ll no doubt find favor with those after an affordable slate with some family-friendly functionality, just like always.