Amazon’s Fire tablets are some of the only high-profile, ultra-affordable tablets around. The prices seem too good to be true—and in some ways, they are—but Fire tablets are also completely functional, reasonably capable devices. To help you decide if one of these slates is right for you, we reviewed every model. These are our unfiltered recommendations. While we list Amazon’s base price, note that we suggest you spend the extra $15 to get an ad-free version.
Be sure to check our other guides, like the Best Tablets, Best iPads, and Best Alexa Speakers.
Updated June 2022: We’ve noted the new Fire 7 and Fire 7 Kids tablets, the upcoming Prime Day deals, and refreshed prices and links.
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Wait Until Prime Day
If you are planning on buying a new Fire tablet right this minute, you should hold off. With Prime Day coming up (July 12-13), Amazon’s line of tablets will be at least 30 percent off. Sure, these slates are already affordable compared to others on the market, but you can save even more. It’s worth the wait.
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Best Fire Tablet
The Fire HD 10 is the largest and speediest of Amazon’s tablets. Amazon refreshed it this year (7/10, WIRED Recommends) with a brighter screen and 3 gigabytes of RAM. Alongside it, there’s a new Fire HD 10 Plus, which bumps the RAM to 4 GB and adds wireless charging, which is worth the extra $30 if you plan to do more than watch movies and browse the web. Amazon is hoping you might do more too, as there’s now a “productivity bundle” that includes a nice keyboard (no trackpad though) and a 1-year subscription to Microsoft 365. Working on the Fire HD 10 isn’t bad, so long as you don’t need Google apps. None of Google’s office apps work on the Fire HD 10, not even in the browser.
The Fire HD 10 has a larger screen with more pixels (1080p) than its siblings, making it better for watching videos. And, as with the Fire HD 8, you can shout commands at Alexa from across the room. To use Alexa’s Show Mode, swipe down on the notification overlay and check the Show Mode box. After that, you can set your HD 10 on a stand (if you opt for the Plus model, we like the official wireless charging stand) and it essentially becomes an Echo Show.
You can choose between a 32-gigabyte or a 64-gigabyte model (with a MicroSD slot on both so you can add up to 1 TB of storage down the road if you need more space). Whichever you choose, Amazon will serve up advertisements on the lock screen. To get rid of that, you’ll need to spend $15 more for the version without “special offers.”
Best Value Fire Tablet
The 2020 version of the Fire HD 8 is quite possibly one of the best values around for a tablet. The travel-friendly size, combined with a processor upgrade and a Plus model ($110) with 3 gigabytes of RAM and wireless charging, make the Fire HD 8 series nearly as capable as its larger sibling. It’s portable enough to take with you anywhere, and its screen won’t torture your eyes when you watch Netflix. That said, the screen is not quite as nice as the one on the larger Fire HD 10, which boasts a higher pixel density.
Still, the HD 8 has most of the benefits of the HD 10, including hands-free Alexa, stereo sound, USB-C, and nearly 12 hours of battery life. I recommend picking up Amazon’s magnetic stand-up case if you plan on watching movies or TV, or, if you opt for the Plus model, the Wireless Charging Dock, which turns your tablet into an Echo Show speaker.
Best Fire Tablet for Kids
Recognizing that “kids” covers a wide range of hand sizes and other factors, Amazon now has two different Kids Edition Fire tablets. There’s the regular Kids Edition and a “Pro” model. The latter, aimed at older kids, has a streamlined case with a little less padding and the option for parents to install apps from a dedicated Kids app store. We think the HD 8 ($140) is the best device for younger kids, while the 2021 Fire HD 10 Kids Pro ($200), which is really big in little-kid hands, is better for older children. The new Fire 7 Kids ($110) is an even cheaper option for young children, though mine have always found the 7-inch screen size more difficult to use.
The Kids Edition versions are exactly the same as the regular Fire tablets, except they come with a rugged case and a two-year worry-free guarantee, which means Amazon will replace the tablet for free if your kids break it. It also comes with one year of Amazon Kids+, offering access to kid-friendly movies, books, games, and apps. It costs $5 per month after the first year (for Prime subscribers, $8 if you don’t have Prime). Be sure to see our guide to managing Amazon Kids+ content.
Best Budget Fire Tablet
Amazon has finally refreshed its smallest Fire tablet, the 7-inch model. The 2022 version features a slightly more powerful processor, double the RAM, and longer battery life. It also charges with USB-C. Unfortunately, the paltry 16 gigabytes of storage remains, though the supported SD card size has gone up to 1 terabyte, so if you want more storage (and believe me, you do), you can add it. Also up for this release is the price, which jumps from $49 to $59.
In the past we’ve recommended avoiding this one because it was under-powered and the small screen makes it less useful. We haven’t had a chance to test the new model yet, but based on the new specs, the Fire 7 now has enough power to keep up with Fire OS. That said, we still think you’re better off spending $30 more for the Fire 8. If that’s out of your budget though, the new Fire 7 will do.
Amazon Sells Older Fire Tablets. Don’t Buy Them
Only buy one of the “10th Generation” or “11th Generation” Fire tablets. We suggest sticking to the models we talk about in this article (also listed here).
Older model Fire tablets won’t get software updates for as long as the current generation will. You’ll also miss out on the faster processor and more RAM in the newer model. A far better idea is to wait for Prime Day or another sale when you can get the new models at 30 to 50 percent off.
Source by www.wired.com