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Amazon Fire HD 8 (2017) review: A great budget tablet

Jonathan Bray Christopher Minasians
26 Sep 2018
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
80
inc VAT

Page 2 of 2Amazon Fire HD 8 review: Camera, Connectivity, FireOS & Verdict

Amazon's Fire HD and Kids Edition tablets are top buys in 2018

Pros 
Fantastic battery life
Superb build quality
Inexpensive
Cons 
Terrible camera
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Amazon Fire HD 8 review: Camera

One thing you won’t be using the Fire HD 8 for is photography. Its 2-megapixel rear camera is a rather token effort from Amazon, and outdoor shots showed a serious lack of detail. Colours were washed out, too, and grain was evident throughout. Turning on HDR makes things even worse, thanks in no small part to the lengthy amount of time it needs to take an image.

There’s no rear flash either, making dark indoor shots near impossible to make out. You’ll have to rely solely on natural light when taking family snaps indoors, but even if you do manage to find good lighting conditions, the Fire HD 8’s high noise levels mean you’d simply be better off using your smartphone.

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Amazon Fire HD 8 review: Connectivity

The Fire HD 8 comes with dual-band 802.11abgn Wi-Fi 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. Its inclusion of the 5GHz band is a pleasant surprise, as it isn't often you'll find a sub-£100 tablet come with dual-band capabilities.

Bluetooth 4.1 LE is also at our disposal, allowing you to connect the latest and greatest Bluetooth products (such as speakers and headphones) to your Amazon Fire HD 8.

Amazon Fire HD 8 review: Fire OS and Amazon Alexa

Like the rest of Amazon’s tablet lineup, the Fire HD 8 runs Amazon’s Fire OS (more specifically Fire OS 5.4.0.0), which is based on Android. It’s not quite as flexible as your typical Android tablet since you’re tied into using Amazon’s dedicated app store, as well as most of its own services such as Amazon Music, Audible audiobooks and Amazon Photos when it comes to media consumption.

As a result, anyone knee-deep in an Amazon Prime subscription will probably benefit greatly, but non-Prime customers or those less familiar with Amazon’s services may not find it so open and inviting.

Either way, Fire OS 5.4.0.0 is certainly much easier to use compared to previous versions of the OS, as its awkward carousel layout has now been replaced by a more traditional grid system. You still have dedicated tabs such as Home, Books, Video and Games, which also advertise other recommended products to you, but I didn’t find it particularly intrusive.

More irksome were the constant barrage of adverts on the lockscreen, which I found very irritating each time I turned it on. You might not find this particularly bothersome, but I’d much rather pay an extra £10 to get the "Without Special Offers" version of this tablet and never see them ever again.

Its integration with Amazon Alexa is fantastic. By navigating to Settings | Device Options, you'll be greeted with the option to access Alexa directly from the home button. By holding down the button you'll have quick access to Alexa. This is, of course, optional and you can completely disable Alexa altogether if you so wish.

There's also a dedicated Alexa app that shows you all your recent voice searches and gives you eloquent-looking in-app widgets of location-based searches.

Amazon Fire HD 8 review: Verdict

Despite its shortfalls, Amazon’s latest Fire HD 8 tablet is quite the tablet. At just £80 for the basic 16GB version (and £100 for the 32GB variant), its excellent battery life, superb build quality and decent performance make it a great choice for those looking to save a bit of money, and it’s a particularly good choice for kids.

It has its shortcomings, but at this price, you’d be hard-pushed to find a better-value Android tablet for less. It wins the Expert Reviews Recommended award.

Hardware
ProcessorQuad-core 1.3GHz
RAM1.5GB
Screen size8in
Screen resolution1,280 x 800
Screen typeIPS
Front cameraVGA
Rear camera2 megapixels
FlashN/A
GPSN/A
CompassN/A
Storage (free)16GB (12.09GB)
Memory card slot (supplied)Micro SD (256GB)
Wi-Fi802.11b/g/n
BluetoothYes
NFCN/A
Wireless dataN/A
Dimensions214x128x9.2
Weight341g
Features
Operating systemFireOS 5.4.0.0
Battery size4,750mAh

Page 2 of 2Amazon Fire HD 8 review: Camera, Connectivity, FireOS & Verdict

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