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Amazon Fire HD 10

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2021) review: A low-cost tablet that's even cheaper this Black Friday

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
150
inc VAT

Upgrades to the 2021 model include a slimmer design, extra RAM and Dolby Atmos, but is the Amazon Fire HD 10 still the best budget tablet?

Pros 
Colour accurate screen
Performance uplift
You really can’t do much better for the price
Cons 
Poor-quality cameras
Fire OS is still restrictive
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Black Friday bargain: Fire HD 10 drops to lowest-ever price

Black Friday has arrived, and predictably Amazon has dropped all sorts of prices across the majority of its own-brand devices. The Fire HD 10 is among them, and it's currently the lowest price it's ever been, now at just £80 (saving £41 on the average price).
Amazon
Was £121
Now £80

Fire HD 10 Kids Edition also drops in price

The Fire HD 10 Kids Edition, which includes a child-proof bumper case and comes with one year of Amazon Kids+ and a two-year no-fuss warranty, is also cheaper than ever in the Black Friday sales. Now Only £110, you'll be saving a sizeable £55.
Amazon
Was £165
Now £110

Amazon’s Fire HD tablets may not be the last word in luxury or horsepower but they do the job for the price and often make great gifts for kids or tablet newbies. Somewhat predictably, Amazon updates its budget tablet lineup every couple of years or so, and the latest device to receive an upgrade is the most expensive model, the Amazon Fire HD 10.

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Amazon Fire HD 10 (2021) review: What you need to know

The Fire HD 10 is an affordable 10.1in tablet with a Full HD screen. It runs Amazon’s Fire OS Android overlay and comes with Amazon’s App Store and Alexa voice assistant pre-installed. You have a choice of either 32GB or 64GB of internal storage, with space for a microSD card up to 1TB in capacity. It also has the same 2MP front-facing camera as the 2019 model.

That’s about it when it comes to similarities. As for headline changes, the new Fire HD 10 is thinner and lighter than the previous model, the 1,200p resolution display is quoted as being 10% brighter, it has 50% more RAM (3GB) and the tablet now supports Dolby Atmos audio.

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2021) review: Price and competition

As with last year’s Amazon Fire HD 8 refresh, there’s also a ‘Plus’ model to consider this year. The Fire HD 10 Plus shares most of the non-Plus’ specs and features, although it has 4GB of RAM instead of 3GB, a slightly different soft-touch finish and wireless charging via Amazon’s own charging dock (sold separately) or any other Qi-compatible charger.

The Fire HD 10 and Fire HD 10 Plus cost £150 and £180 respectively for the models with 32GB of storage, while the models with 64GB of storage cost £190 and £220. At these prices, they come with lock screen adverts, with Amazon charging an extra £10 to remove them.

There’s also a new “Productivity Bundle'' available for each tablet, which includes a new detachable keyboard case (sadly this wasn’t supplied for review) and a 12-month Microsoft 365 subscription for an extra £60.

At those prices, it’s no surprise that the low-cost Fire HD 10 finds itself in a league of its own. Apple’s entry-level iPad – currently in its eighth iteration with the latest model released in 2019 – starts at £329.

What about Android alternatives, I hear you cry? Alas, the market for big-screened Android tablets is no longer what it once was and serious alternatives can only really be found coming out of Samsung’s factories these days. Perhaps the most affordable 10in Samsung tablet (which we’ve reviewed) is the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite, which costs £285.

There’s also Huawei’s MatePad lineup of tablets to contend with but, since they don’t run the full version of Android – with a sorely limited app store and lack of security updates – they aren’t worth buying at this time.

If you don’t mind taking a substantial hit in terms of specifications, design and features, then the Fire HD 8 is the next tablet down the list and starts at £90, while the Fire 7 costs even less at just £50.

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2021) review: Design, key features and Dolby Atmos

If you’ve seen one Fire tablet, you’ve seen them all and the Amazon Fire HD 10 does nothing to dispel this notion. It’s a big slab of plastic and glass, with thick 15mm screen-bordering bezels and neatly rounded corners. Since it’s so cheap, you can’t really expect the Fire HD 10 to outdo the iPad in the design stakes, but for the most part, it’s absolutely fine, and it’s nice that you get a choice of colours, too. It’s available in black, green, lavender or blue.

The new model is now slightly slimmer and lighter than the 2019 version, measuring 9.2mm and weighing 465g. The tablet’s small 8% weight reduction is marginal, but every little helps if you’re planning on lugging it in your backpack on long journeys, and it feels quite rugged, too, as if the Fire HD 10 could survive the occasional drop from your train seat.

Elsewhere, it’s a pretty standard affair. The tablet’s ports and buttons are all located on the right edge when held in landscape orientation, with a volume rocker sitting above the Fire HD 10’s power button, USB-C charging port and 3.5mm audio jack. The tablet’s Dolby Atmos integrated dual speakers are situated on the top edge.

On that note, while you can’t expect much in the way of audio panache from a budget tablet, the Fire HD 10’s stereo speakers sounded quite good in my tests. There’s more than enough volume, with only a hint of tinniness at the high end, and there’s a surprising amount of bass, too.

I can’t say the same about the Fire HD 10’s cameras. The 5MP rear-facing camera and 2MP selfie snapper both have a maximum video resolution of 720p, and neither is anything special. Video quality is very noisy and lacks detail.

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2021) review: Display

Like the recent Fire HD 8 re-do, the Fire HD 10’s IPS display remains largely unchanged from the previous version. It still measures 10.1in from corner to corner, and has a resolution of 1,920 x 1,200 with a pixel density of 224ppi. The screen’s maximum brightness has increased slightly this year, with a measured peak luminance of 498cd/m2, up from the 398cd/m2 we measured on last year’s model.

On that note, there’s very little at fault with the quality of the screen. With a recorded sRGB coverage of 89.8%, and an average Delta E (colour accuracy) of 1.68, the Fire HD 10’s screen is pretty darned good and is capable of displaying punchy, vibrant colours. This isn’t an HDR-certified panel, however, so you’re much better off watching Amazon’s high-def movies and TV shows on your 4K telly instead.

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2021) review: Performance and battery life

Amazon’s official specification sheet is a bit vague and simply lists the new Fire HD 10’s CPU as an “octa-core 2GHz processor”. That’s not much to go on but after doing a bit of research I’ve worked out that this year’s model is powered by the same MediaTek MT8183 Helio P60T chipset as the 2019 version, which is a bit disappointing.

Unfortunately, the Geekbench 3 test failed to run on the previous model – which is the only version of Geekbench on the Amazon App store – so I wasn’t able to directly compare the performance between the two, but suffice to say the 2021 version is a surprisingly rapid low-cost tablet. Overall, it felt remarkably snappy and responsive in day-to-day use with fast boot-up times and speedy app switching.

As for benchmark numbers, I can compare the HD 10 with the cheaper Fire HD 8, which launched last year and uses a weaker MediaTek MT8168 chipset. In the Geekbench 3 test, the Fire HD 10 outmatched the Fire HD 8’s single-core performance by over 150%, with a whopping multi-core increase of 235%.

The numbers on the graphics side of things aren't quite as impressive. The GFXBench Manhattan 3 on-screen test returned an average frame rate of 20fps, which means the Fire HD 10 should be able to cope with most 3D titles but you might have to dial the visual settings down a bit in order to achieve smooth frame rates.

When it comes to battery life, the Fire HD 10 effortlessly pulls ahead of everything else. In our video rundown test, which plays a looped video at a screen brightness of 170cd/m2 with data connections switched off, the Fire HD 10 reached 19 hours before needing to recharge.

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2021) review: Fire OS 7 and Alexa

As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, the Fire HD 10 runs Android 9 with Amazon’s own Fire OS 7 overlay placed on top. What this means is that the tablet’s user interface isn’t quite the same as it is on your Android smartphone and the list of downloadable games and applications on Amazon’s own app store continues to be rather limited by comparison.

No new tablet launch would be complete without the addition of a handful of new software features and subtle tweaks. New for 2021, is a split-screen mode, which lets you display two apps on screen simultaneously, so you can sneakily read a Kindle book while you’re on a Microsoft Teams call. You can also enable hands-free Alexa, with the Fire HD 10 serving as a makeshift Echo Show.

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2021) review: Verdict

In truth, the Amazon Fire HD 10 (2021) isn’t a huge upgrade. But then, in the absence of much serious competition, it doesn’t really need to be.

No other low-cost tablet comes anywhere near it in terms of sheer value and, with a small uptick in both performance and stamina plus a reduction in slenderness and weight – and no price increase – the Amazon Fire HD 10 retains its status as our Best Buy 10in tablet. If you’re in the market for a tablet with a big screen but you don’t want to splash out on an iPad then it’s a very good choice indeed.

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2021) specifications
ProcessorOcta-core MediaTek MT8183 Helio P60T (4x2GHz, 4x2GHz)
RAM3GB or 4GB
Screen size10.1in
Screen resolution1,920 x 1,200
Pixel density224ppi
Screen typeIPS
Front camera2MP
Rear camera5MP
FlashNo
Dust and water resistanceNo
3.5mm headphone jackYes
Wireless chargingYese (with Fire HD 10 Plus)
USB connection typeUSB-C
Storage options32GB or 64GB
Memory card slot (supplied)microSD
Wi-Fi802.11ac
Bluetooth5
NFCNo
Cellular dataNo
Dual SIMNo
Dimensions (WDH)247 x 166 x 9.2mm
Weight465g
Operating systemAndroid 9 (Fire OS 7)
Battery sizeN/A