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Amazon's new Fire HD 8 & 10 tablets come with more Android-like Fire OS 5

Seth Barton
17 Sep 2015
Amazon Fire HD 8 colours
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Latest Fire HD tablets from Amazon look to be the best yet, thanks to Fire OS 5

Amazon has today announced a number of new devices, including this pair of all-new Fire HD tablets. The new tablets come in 8in and 10.1in sizes and look to something of a bargain with decent specifications for just £130 and £170 respectively. More on those in a bit though as the bigger news is that these tablets run the new Fire OS 5 Bellini operating system.

Amazon’s previous Fire OS efforts have always been a spoiler on otherwise excellent hardware. The new version is based on Android, as Fire OS has always been, this time on Android Lollipop. However, now it’s far closer to standard Android, ditching the carousel design we hated for more normal looking homescreens and app icons.

Amazon Fire HD 8

Content is still divided up into separate types with pages for Books, Games, Apps and Video, for instance. Speaking of video the new OS will be able to take full advantage of Amazon Prime Instant Video’s ability to let you download shows for watching on the go; by downloading shows into any spare storage capacity in the background so that you’ve always got something to watch, even if you’re not prepared.

Amazon Fire HD 10

Back to the hardware and, as with previous Fire tablets you get quite a bit for your money. Both sizes of the new tablet use a ‘compromise’ 16:10 aspect ratio, not quite as wide as a full 16:9 TV ratio but still more suited for films and TV than Apple’s square, 4:3 ratio devices. These are budget devices though, so they only use 1,280x800 resolution displays. While that’s acceptable on the smaller tablet at 189 pixels-per-inch, in our experience it will be stretched on a 10.1in display at just 149 pixels-per-inch (as it did on Lenovo’s original Yoga Tablet 10 review back in 2013).

Amazon claims the tablet is more durable than the current iPad Air 2, with it surviving twice as many tumbles in labs tests. Despite this, it’s only 7.7mm thick, which is pretty slender compared to anything but the most expensive tablets around, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2. The only downside of what looks to be a great design is that Amazon has chosen to place the speakers on the rear, where it had used front-mounted speakers to great effect in the past on its HDX range of tablets.

Inside there’s a quad-core 1.5GHz chipset but (the make is unspecified) and either 8GB or 16GB of storage. Thankfully that’s expandable by up to 128GB using the Micro SD card slot. Battery life is claimed to be a respectable eight hours.

The tablets both come in various colour options and will start shipping on the 30th of September. We’re very keen to give Fire OS 5 a go and are expecting Amazon to make a big comeback with these, and other similarly-equipped, tablets.

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