Amazon Fire HD 10 Tablet review

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Buy it on Amazon.com

In a world where Apple and Samsung seem to have the tablet market all but wrapped, it might seem like a bit of a challenge to get excited about a new Android tablet on the scene. We have seen more than a few tablet releases from more than one manufacturer that seemed to be simply going through the motions rather than providing their consumers with something useful and innovative. The reason? Aside from a possible loss of inspiration, plenty of blame among industry watchers is placed at Google’s door. Why? Many people are of the opinion that they just haven’t done enough to make their Android operating system tablet-friendly.

Well, it’s for this reason that we can actually get a little excited when it comes to one of their recent releases; the Amazon Fire HD 10 Tablet with Alexa Hands-Free. For a mid-range tablet, it does everything we could we could wish it to and more, providing enough processor power to run all our apps, coming with an excellent 10-inch display, and great Alexa functionality. In this Amazon Fire HD review, we’ll take a closer look at what exactly buyers will be able to look forward to in terms of performance, design, and functionality, as well as some of the areas where the Fire HD 10 tablet falls somewhat short of the mark.

 

Design

Amazon’s line of Fire tablets can’t be said to be targeted at the high-end side of the market, and so we don’t expect the bells and whistles of some snazzier units, but the Fire HD 10 tablet doesn’t do too badly in this respect.

They haven’t changed much when it comes to design from their 2015 model, as the 10.1-inch screen is surrounded by a plastic body and relatively large bezel all around. The agreeable pricing of the Fire HD 10 Tablet can confidently be taken as the reason why there was no aluminum casing option this time around. Rounded edges make the 1.1 pound, 9.8 millimeters thick tablet easy to carry around.

You will find the Fire HD 10 tablet to be surprisingly sturdy for a plastic unit, and it gives the impression that it would hold up quite well in the hands of a clumsy adult of accident-prone child. Perhaps that’s why they didn’t see the need to release an extra-strong ‘Kid’s version’ with an extended warranty and protective casing here, even though they did so for the Fire 7 and Fire 8.

You will immediately notice the Fire HD 10’s 1080p screen to be a definite upgrade from previous models. Behind the curtain, you’ll find it packing double the amount of RAM it had before (2GB) in addition to a 1.8GHz quad-core processor, of which Amazon is justifiably proud. Included in the package are 32 GB of internal memory plus the capacity to add an additional 256GB through the microSD slot.

The surround-sound capabilities of the Fire 10 are boosted by Dolby Atmos technology for headphones which backs up the two stereo speakers it features. To the rear of the phone, a bit of a disappointment awaits you in the form of the tablet’s 2-Megapixel camera, which is a ridiculously low resolution for any sort of primary shooter and is even hard to find in front-facing cameras in the age of the selfie. Well, it gets even worse when you turn and check out the front-facing camera, as they saw fit to equip the Fire HD 10 tablet with a VGA (640×480 pixels) camera. Talk about going old school.

All in all, the Fire HD 10 tablet won’t be blowing anyone’s socks off in terms of its design and hardware package, but it gets the job done well enough for a device in its class. Software Package No Amazon Fire HD 10 review would be complete without giving proper attention to the software capabilities of the tablet, as this is perhaps even more important in determining exactly what you can do with it.

To start with, let’s talk about the virtual assistant referred to as Alexa. It works like a dream when it comes to hands-free communication and functionality. By simply saying the name ‘Alexa’ out loud, you can activate your tablet even when it’s in sleep mode, just as you would with the Amazon Echo, although here you have the advantage of some on-screen feedback as you work with it. The rest of the Amazon Fire’s OS has remained relatively the same, with the familiar ‘For You’, and ‘Home’ tabs being basically all you need to access your Prime Video content, Kindle, and all your apps.

Now, to a point that causes considerable frustration to all Fire fans out there – the absence of Google services on the Fire HD 10. Sure, you can get a hold of popular Android apps such as Netflix and the like, but there is always the gaping hole that Google Maps, Gmail, Youtube and the rest leaves with their absence on Amazon tablets. The standard e-mail app and Amazon’s Silk browser are simply no match for native Chrome and Android Gmail. Of course, the die-hards out there could always hack their devices and install their favorite Google services, but that’s not for an option for your average user. Perhaps this is an area that Google and Amazon would do well to look into.

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How It Performs

Using the Fire HD 10 turned out to be a more pleasant experience than anticipated. Amazon tablets are usually noticeably slower than the competition, but not this time around. The bump in RAM to 2GB combined with the onboard CPU makes it possible to scroll through your social media feeds at lightning speed, navigate dense websites, switch between multiple apps, play your movies, and even run some recent games at a reasonable level of continuity. A bit of a stutter here and there was still happening. A great step up on this front.

The new 1080p screen, however, is what takes the cake when it comes to the Fire HD 10. In the age of 4K TV, this might not sound impressive, but it is for an Amazon tablet. Videos and photos are now a delight to view, and the increased definition makes reading your Kindle books even better than it ever was. For the price, it’s a great addition to the tablet’s value.

The interface might seem a bit cluttered for an Android system, but even then you will never be too far away from a book you want to read, a show you want to watch, or a pair of jeans you want to buy. You’ll get 10 hours of battery life out of the Fire HD 10, even if you’re watching downloaded HD videos for the entire time.

 

The Pros

– Affordable pricing

– Improved 1080p screen

– Upgraded Ram and internal processor

– Alexa hands-free virtual assistant works very well

 

The Cons

– No Google applications

– Some lag experienced with graphics-heavy games

 

The Verdict

As we’ve said, nobody expects the Fire HD 10 to win any awards, but it does fill an important niche in the tablet market. It somehow manages to check all of the most important boxes we consider when looking at a tablet while keeping prices lower than anyone else in the field. A great buy for the budget-conscious who doesn’t want to sacrifice all functionality to save on cash.

Buy it on Amazon.com

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