The Fire HD 8 is the latest tablet from Amazon and sports a gorgeous screen, bigger battery, and the lowest price of any high-end tablet on the market. If you’ve been thinking about getting a Fire tablet, this is it. This is the one. Don’t even waste your time looking at other options.
What, you need more than that? Well, if you’re a Prime member, Amazon is making it practically impossible to resist picking up a device dedicated only to them. A few days after the announcement of the Fire HD 8, Amazon rolled out their Prime Reading program, which gives Prime members a rotating library of popular titles including best selling novels, current issues of magazines, and, much to my delight, comics. Even better, these aren’t low-end, unpopular titles or single issues. Prime Reading is offering full graphic novels of popular books such as X-O Manowar and Transformers: Robots in Disguise.
And wouldn’t you know it? The Fire HD 8 is a perfect comic and magazine reader. While the screen doesn’t give you an exact 1-to-1 translation of the real thing; it’s closer than just about every device I’ve read digital comics on. The iPad Pro might be bigger; but it’s unwieldy and tiring to hold for long periods of time. The Google Nexus 7 (my old go-to device) was a solid performer, but I would find myself still switching into guided mode so that I could read panels. The Fire HD 8 has just enough extra real estate that I can read the whole page comfortably and it’s ridiculously thin and light – I’ve held it for hours without even thinking about it. The only caveat is that you can’t (officially) load Marvel Unlimited on the Fire, which keeps it from being the perfect digital comic solution – though you can buy single issues of Marvel digital comics on Amazon the day they’re released, which is pretty sweet.
As an e-reader, I still prefer my Kindle Oasis; but extra real estate is nice – it’s akin to making every book an oversized paperback; which I can totally get behind. And call me superficial; but cover art matters to me when I’m browsing for new titles. Black and white gets the job done; but I love seeing that carousel of covers in all their color-saturated glory. If you’re a bedtime reader, you can also enable Blue Shade, a feature that filters out blue light so that it won’t affect your sleep patterns (blue light has been shown to be disruptive to sleep in some studies).
Video is another place where the HD 8 shines. Not only does the extra RAM of the device allow video to load fast and queue quickly, the Fire HD 8 will preload Prime movies and first episodes of its original series to memory with its On Deck feature. So you always have things to watch, even offline (don’t worry, you can disable it if you’re low on space). I’d love it if they expanded this feature so that it would anticipate and load the next episode in a series. Say if you were watching Man in the High Castle, the HD 8 would have the next episode in the series available for your binge. Maybe in a future update?
Speaking of, in the next month or so, the Fire HD 8 will get an update to become Alexa-enabled. So just like you can use a voice assistant now on your Apple and Android tablets, you’ll be able to talk to your Fire and get a myriad of helpful responses. Amazon has been working diligently in the past year to decouple Alexa from Echo and I’m glad to see that effort come to its fruition. Making Alexa accessible to more people will only make it smarter and more useful.
One of the best features about the HD 8? It’s priced to sell. At $89.99, it’s the exact same price as the Fire HD 6, upgraded to 16GB of memory (the base storage for the HD 8). Even if you double the memory on the HD 8 to 32GB, it only bumps to $119.99, or $110 less than the lowest-priced Fire HD 10 tablet. The storage is also expandable up to 200GB with external microSD cards. If you’re comparing cost-to-value ratios among the available Fire tablets, the HD 8 is the clear winner.
If you’re a Prime member and looking for a new way to enjoy all the content that Amazon has to offer you, there’s no better combination of quality and price. The Fire HD 8 lasts longer, works faster, and has a better screen than all but the biggest Fire tablets. Head over to Amazon and grab the color you want today!
Disclaimer: I was provided a Fire HD 8 for review purposes. Opinions remain my own.