I bought this tablet for its size, economical price point, and the ability to watch content offline. And it offers exactly that.
If you’ve worked your way through our Amazon Kindle Fire reviews, today’s focus is on the biggest and range-topping tablet, the Fire HD 10.
Since Amazon tweaks all tablets in this collection from time to time, we’ll be investigating the all-new version with a shower of additional benefits…
Not only is the processor swifter, the battery and screen improved along with Alexa now in the house, the price has been slashed into the bargain. You really can’t ask for much more than that!
Although Amazon comes in the firing line for locking people into their own ecosystem, you can’t deny that they put the customer first.
Fire HD 10 is already available for pre-order and will be available for release October 11, 2017.
10-inch tablets have fallen somewhat out of favor with manufacturers now pressing smaller slates and offering them up as alternatives to larger screen cell phones like iPhone Plus models.
The thing is, everyone has different needs. If you have multiple devices, perhaps a smaller tab fits the bill. If so, check out Fire HD6, Fire 7 or Fire HD 8.
If, on the other hand, you don’t have an upscale mobile or a laptop, a 10-inch tablet is perhaps your best option. We’re not to tell you what to buy, simply to provide with all the facts you need to get what works best for you and your family.
Before we break down the full gamut of Fire HD 10’s impressive features, a quick glance at the pros and cons…
- All-new Fire HD 10 gets a battery of improvements across the board while the cost actually comes down: a double win
- Hands-free Alexa now included so perfect for fans of digital assistants and a rival to Echo
- Enhanced HD LCD display with over 2 million pixels for supremely crisp viewing
- Improved storage means ample room for all your content
- Superb battery life to keep you going throughout the day
- Extremely rugged so unleash your kids on Fire HD 10 without any stress about damage
- Swifter quad core processor speeds up operation on all fronts
- Double the RAM of previous generations adds further pace
- Go for ad-free version at a small premium for a leaner, cleaner experience
- Exceptional value for money with a neat balance of price and performance
What We Don't like
- Same low-res cameras that blight all Fire tablets
- Much more suited to content consumption than creation
- Not an ideal device for working purposes (but wonderful for entertainment)
It is important to know before you buy any Amazon tablet that they are not Android .
They run a customized version of Android called Fire OS, developed under the codename Bellini. The current version is 5.
The 10-inch slate is super sleek and lightweight. It comes with a whole host of the usual Amazon perks.
As with all Amazon’s improved products, they have taken the time to boost things where it counts. With any tablet, the screen is the cornerstone of your experience and the enhancements here are incredibly effective.
Previous iterations of Fire had lackluster displays to say the very least. Blacks tended to be gray while colors were not particularly sharp. Definition was lacking. That’s all changed with the new Fire HD 10.
The 10.1-inch display means you can kick back with your favorite TV show or movie without feeling like you are using a cell phone. The screen is the same size as many smaller laptops so things don’t feel cramped.
Full HD, at 1920 x 1200 you will get a more than creditable 224ppi. This translates to over 2 million pixels on screen and is a massive upswing from the deficient displays on lesser Fires with a risible 149ppi.
To put this into clear perspective, iPad Mini is 163ppi while iPad 2 comes out at just 132ppi. We don’t tend to compare Fire to iPad as the prices are so wildly different. As an indication of quality, though, you can see what Amazon has done here without charging you a fortune.
Although it is far crisper than the screen on previous generations of Fire HD 10 or cheaper Fire models, it still suffers from a little dimness inside while using it outside in bright sunshine can be frustrating.
To summarize, you can’t expect much more in terms of display for a 10-inch tablet at this price point. Fire HD 10 punches above its weight and anyone underwhelmed by previous grainy Fire displays will be very pleasantly surprised.
Most inexpensive tablets fall down when it comes to aesthetics. They look… well, cheap.
While Fire HD 10 is not going to run off with any design awards, it looks attractive enough and feels pretty decent too.
The relatively slimline tablet has a soft-touch plastic at the back which might not feel exactly luxurious but is not unpleasant either.
The thick bezel is where most tablets fall down and Fire HD 10 acts almost as a thumb rest the bezel is so substantial.
One of the obvious upsides of the plasticized backing is that Fire HD 10 stands up to plenty of punishment. Whether it’s being knocked around by your kids or taking an accidental tumble, this tablet is built to stay the distance.
Fire HD 10 measures in at 10.3 x 6.3 x 0.4 inches and weigh just under 18oz. For such a large screen, the footprint is pleasingly small and you won’t be burdened by too much weight either. Although it’s not a device that will sit easily in one hand, that’s not its intended purpose.
The main drawback with Fire HD 10 is that it’s really a device much better suited to home use due to its lack of portability. Where it’s widescreen with a 16:10 aspect, it feels more awkward and cumbersome than iPad Air. Our advice is to go for one of the smaller Fires if your primary use is on the hoof.
Like the other uprated Fire variants, Fire HD 10 comes in 3 colorways:
- Marine Blue
- Punch Red
For now, at least, Canary Yellow is off the menu.
If you’re looking for 3G or 4G, Fire is not the right tablet for you. If you have access to WiFi, though, the dual-band connectivity more than cuts the ice.
You have 2 choices of internal storage. The base model has a miserly 16GB. We stridently recommend rolling with the 32GB option. If this still seems a little on the tight side and you’re not a big fan of Cloud storage, you can expand memory up to 256GB thanks to the micro SD slot.
There’s an ad-free version available for anyone who is weary of constant offers. This comes at a small extra cost.
You can also choose to purchase some add-ons:
- Charcoal Black Standing Case
- Memory Card
- Screen Protector Kit
- Enhanced Warranty (2 year rather than 90 days)
Apart from nudging your toward the model with more generous storage, we can’t really advise you when it comes to ads or accessories. That’s purely a matter of personal preference.
General Performance and Fire OS
It’s inside where most of the changes hit home fully with the all-new Fire HD 10…
If you’ve labored with the admittedly sluggish older Fires, you’ll have a spring in your step when you get going with this 7th generation HD 10.
While it might not be a multi-tasking work machine, the quad core processor is almost one-third brisker than ever before. You’ll enjoy a pair of 1.8 GHz cores partnered with a couple of 1.4 GHz cores running in unison. This leads to far less lag when opening apps and a much smoother experience all round. This processor is the same one you’d get in Acer’s well-respected Chromebook R13. From browsing to streaming, Fire HD 10 is a capable beast.
2GB of RAM is double that previously offered so again Amazon have surpassed themselves without picking your pocket.
Fire OS has now been given a little fine-tuning. You’ll get better integration with Alexa and the way in which content is suggested for you has also taken a turn for the better.
Essentially, although it’s a version of Android OS, Fire OS is ultimately little more than a showpiece for Amazon’s own content and apps. This is nothing to get annoyed about and we always look for the silver lining…
With Fire HD 10, that comes in the form of a highly intuitive interface that is less confusing than Android in many ways. If you have younger kids, older relatives or anyone less than IT-literate, the raw simplicity of Fire OS can turn into a selling point.
If you expect a full Android experience alongside access to Google Play and the rest of G-Suite, you’ll be wildly disappointed. If, instead, you want a smooth but punchy tablet that takes care of business with no glitches or tiresome lag, you’ll be more than content with Fire HD 10.
Since starting to introduce its digital assistant Alex to the Fire range, Amazon has upped the ante with Fire HD 10. This is the first Fire slate to boast hands-free functionality which puts it in contention with Echo Show.
Whether or not this is a deal-clincher for you depends very much on your feelings about spoken assistants. For some, there’s nothing to replace physical interaction with the screen while for others, the convenience of barking commands hands-free is almost essential.
Alexa can control your smart home and help you to intelligently control your video, music and browsing.
Whenever you are hooked up to WiFi, even if the screen is sleeping, just call out “Alexa” and you’ll get a rapid response.
Battery life is another key area where Amazon has taken the trouble to ramp things up for your benefit.
In a clear attempt to catch up with iPad and Android competition, you can now reap 10 hours of mixed-use life from the highly efficient battery.
We would qualify this by saying that, understandably, this varies according to precisely what you are up to. If you expect a full day playing a graphic-heavy game with the brightness maxed out, you are not going to make it. If you want to watch some movies, listen to your favorite music and get in a good dose of web browsing, you shouldn’t need to charge up until the sun is down.
It’s a healthy habit to charge Amazon Fire HD 10 overnight. It takes around 7 hours for the micro USB cable to impart a full charge so you can call for Alexa when you wake and be ready to go with 100% on the display.
The brace of Dolby Atmos speakers with an inbuilt mic are housed on the bottom of the tablet. This is perhaps the second best option after front-facing speakers.
Sound seems to us a notch or two up on Fire HD 8 with a reasonable punch and an absence of the thin, reedy sound that can plague some budget tablets.
As long as you are not expecting your room to be filled with a deep, rich sound, we think you’ll be reasonably impressed.
We are always honest when it comes to the cameras on Fire tablets: they are not really up to scratch.
The flash-less 2 megapixel camera facing to the rear will take barely acceptable photos and low quality videos. This is just about the only area where Amazon oversells the Fire. It would be much more transparent if they simply stated that there’s a camera for fun selfies and a video suitable for emergency use when you don’t have access to a superior camera.
You’ll be able to place video calls with the front-facer but don’t expect crystalline detail or a first-class experience.
Know this upfront and you are not likely to curse when you end up with mediocre footage.
Analyze your requirements in terms of camera and video and make your decision armed with the full facts.
Fire HD 10 vs Similar Inexpensive Tablets
Price-wise, Fire HD 10 comes in at around the same cost as a basic, entry-level Android slate.
It’s slightly pricier than Acer’s 10-inch Iconia One while you can pick one up for a little less than a comparable Lenovo.
In the plus column, you’ll enjoy superior RAM, more storage and crisper resolution. On the downside, you’re very much locked into Amazon’s own system and you might bemoan the loss of Google Play.
If you want a neat balance of performance and affordability, we’d point to Fire HD 10 as a very worthy purchase. If you think you’ll find the limitations irksome and you have a little more to spend, it might be worth your time investigating other options.
For anyone looking for a budget-friendly tablet with a host of improvements over older versions of Fire, Kindle Fire HD 10 comes with our strongest recommendation.
While we generally hold back on bandying around superlatives, the new incarnation of Amazon Fire HD 10 really is a strong contender for the best affordable 10-inch tablet on the market.
Pre-order now or wait for the imminent launch and enjoy superb overall performance and first-rate functionality in an entertainment machine fit for all the family.