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Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) review: Firing on most cylinders

Our Rating :
£114.99 from
Price when reviewed : 150
inc VAT

Improvements are light, but with no price increase and a dearth of alternative options, the Fire HD 10 is still the budget tablet to beat

Pros

  • No price increase
  • Improved performance
  • Supports Amazon Stylus Pen

Cons

  • Amazon’s software issues persist
  • Minor display downgrades
  • Battery life takes a small hit

Right on time, Amazon has introduced a refresh for its Fire HD 10 tablet two years after the last one. Like its forebears, the 2023 Amazon Fire HD 10 isn’t the most powerful or premium of tablets, instead choosing to corner the market in affordable but functional slates, ideal for kids or to be used as a second device to have lying around.

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Things get interesting, however, when we consider that the Fire HD 10 is no longer the de facto top-end device in Amazon’s lineup. With the shadow of the sleeker but pricier Fire Max 11 hanging over its head, can the Fire HD 10 still prove to be our favourite of Amazon’s lineup, or will it be reduced to a redundant middle ground?

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) review: What you need to know

Like the 2021 model, the Fire HD 10 (2023) has a 10.1in display with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,200. Unlike the 2021 model, the Fire HD 10 doesn’t come with a Plus variant this time around: you’ve still got your choice of 32GB or 64GB of internal storage, and a couple of child-friendly versions (more on that below), but the standard model is as powerful as Fire HD 10 tablets are going to get. For now, at least.

As for changes from its predecessor, the Fire HD 10 (2023) is both slimmer and lighter than the 2021 model, and features a new processor that promises increased performance, a slightly larger 5MP front-facing camera, and, allegedly, a further hour of battery life. Rounding out the slim list of improvements is compatibility with the Made for Amazon Stylus Pen, which debuted alongside – and previously only worked with – the Fire Max 11.

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Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) review: Price and competition

The greatest strength of Amazon tablets is still alive and kicking here, in as much as there’s nothing in the way of direct competition from other brands. In fact, it applies here more than ever, since the Fire HD 10 has avoided bumping the price up over the previous generation.

That leaves the 32GB model at £150 and the 64GB version at £180. Those both feature ads on the lock screen, but if you want to scrap them, the ad-free versions cost an additional £10. The closest alternative at this price is Samsung’s Galaxy Tab A8, which originally launched over £200 but can now be picked up for £169. A little higher up the price scale is the Nokia T21 (£199), which has a gorgeous 2K display and a sleek metal body.

In the other direction, we’ve got the Fire HD 8 at £100 and the Fire 7 is even cheaper at £65. You’re going to lose some of the quality of the Fire HD 10 by dropping down to the £100 and less price range, but if you want the cheapest tablets around, those are the ones to look at.

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) review: Design and key features

As mentioned, one of the few changes that the 2023 Fire HD 10 has going for it is a slimmer and lighter design. The tablet now measures 246 x 165 x 8.6mm, shedding a couple of millimetres here and there compared to the 2021 version. The weight loss is more notable, with the new weight of 434g coming in a solid 31g lighter than the 2021’s 465g. In terms of colour options, you’ve got three to pick from: the standard black pictured here, Lilac and Ocean blue.

Holding the tablet in landscape orientation with the 5MP selfie camera at the top, you’ll find all the action on the right edge. At the top, we’ve got the power button, with the volume rocker just below it, and then in complementing positions are the USB-C charging port and 3.5mm headphone port lower down. The rear is as sparsely populated as the edges, with just a matching 5MP camera tucked away in the corner. Neither this nor the selfie shooter are going to win any awards, but for casual video calls, they get the job done.

The Fire HD 10 (2023) is also the first tablet outside of the Fire Max 11 to support Amazon’s Stylus Pen. There’s no magnetic side mounting here, so storage feels less well thought out, but the pen itself works just as well here as it does on the Fire Max 11, with impressive pressure sensitivity and decent tracking while drawing and writing. 

The rest of the software is less impressive, as all the usual trappings of FireOS are unfortunately present and correct. The app store still refuses to stock any of the popular web browsers, leaving you stuck with Silk, and Google’s entire suite is once again missing in action. Throw in the fact that FireOS 8 is based on Android 11 – and therefore lacks more recent productivity features like floating windows and quick-launch docks – and anyone looking for a tablet to work on will want to steer well clear.

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) review: Display

The 10.1in display doesn’t break any new ground, once again offering a 1,920 x 1,200 resolution arranged in a 16:10 ratio, with an overall pixel density of 224ppi. That’s on the weaker side of things, but an improved contrast ratio of 1,408.6:1 and a lower black level of 0.30cd/m2 help to keep things from appearing fuzzy. Brightness takes a bit of a hit, measuring a maximum of 435cd/m2, compared to the 2021 model’s 488cd/m2.

It’s a similar story in colour accuracy; the sRGB gamut coverage and volume both get bumped up a little, to 91% and 95%, respectively, but the average Delta E colour variance score (1.96) came back a bit higher than the 2021 model (1.68). Closer to 1 is better, so this is technically a minor downgrade over the previous generation, but for a tablet this cheap, both the colour accuracy and brightness fall well within the ranges I’d consider to be acceptable.

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) review: Performance and battery life

The processor is a newer MediaTek MT8186 chipset, clocked up to 2GHz and backed by 3GB of RAM. While we can’t directly compare to the 2021 version due to Geekbench version incompatibility, you only need to look at how the Fire HD 10 (2023) performs compared to pricier tablets like the Oppo Pad Air and Nokia T21 to see how much it’s punching above its weight.

In the multi-core scores, the Fire HD 10 pulls ahead of the Nokia T21 by around 17% and only falls short of the Oppo Pad Air by less than 3%. Considering the difference in prices here, that’s an extremely respectable result.

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) review - Geekbench 5 chart

Things are even more impressive on the GPU side of things, with the Fire HD 10 (2023) pulling to the front of the pack in the GFXBench tests. Of course, the Fire Max 11 didn’t manage to run this benchmarking software, so we can’t say for sure how the two compare, but these results do show the Fire HD 10 (2023) is capable of handling light gaming.

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) review - GFXBench chart

The Fire HD 10 (2023) is marketed as having an improved battery life of up to 13 hours, but my tests showed a minor decrease in stamina. Don’t get me wrong, the result of near-enough 18 hours is still decent for this price, and it’s miles ahead of the Nokia T21, but it’s still a shame to see.

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) review - Battery life chart

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) review: Kids and Kids Pro models

We may be lacking a more powerful Plus variant, but Amazon has split the difference by offering two different Kids versions of the Fire HD 10 this time around. The Fire HD 10 Kids is the child-friendly version we’re used to, suitable for ages three to seven and snugly wrapped in a thick, shock-absorbent case. New this year is the HD 10 Kids Pro, which is aimed at older kids (6 to 12) and comes with a less bulky case.

Both versions retail for £200 and come with a two-year warranty that will allow you to return the tablet, no questions asked, and get a replacement if it breaks. You’re also getting a year’s subscription to Amazon Kids Plus, which offers thousands of child-friendly apps, games, videos and books. The parental controls allow you to control all of this from your phone, including setting limits on usage times and approving requests for certain apps from the store, such as streaming services like Netflix and Disney Plus.

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Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) review: Verdict

I still struggle to fully recommend Amazon tablets, as the software is so obnoxiously outdated that it effectively blocks off one of the main uses for a tablet. If there’s any chance you might want productivity features from your tablet, do yourself a favour and spend a little more on something like the Oppo Pad Air – it’s much more suited to work, has a better display and is currently only £179.

If, however, you’ve no real need for access to Google Drive or the Chrome browser, the simple fact is that you’re not going to find a better tablet for this price. Performance gets a tidy little boost, battery life is still competitive and the display remains sufficient for most people. It’s not the flashiest tablet out there, but for casual streaming, light gaming or something to keep the kids quiet for a bit, the Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) reigns supreme.

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