Review: Amazon’s Fire HD8 is the best tablet you can get for $80

If you want a tablet and don’t care about a premium media experience, get Amazon’s Fire HD8.

I can pretty much end this review there. If you can’t or won’t spend ~$500 on an iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, there simply aren’t many decent choices. At just $79 – and sometimes less wh- the Fire HD8 is a no-brainer.

I was already a fan of last year’s model, but Amazon managed to drop the price another 10 bucks, while improving the tablet in some important respects. The specs this time around:

  • 8-inch LCD display
  • 1280 x 800 resolution (189 ppi)
  • 1.5 GB RAM
  • 16/32 GB Storage
  • Stereo Dolby Atmos speakers
  • Quad-core 1.3 Ghz Mediatek processor
  • VGA front camera + 2 MP rear camera
  • Colors: Black, Marine Blue, Punch Red, Canary Yellow
  • 12 hour rated battery life

Amazon isn’t trying to beat anyone in the spec war, but the important thing is that it doesn’t have to: the HD8 is a solid performer that hits the ‘good enough’ targets in almost every respect.

While the tablet doesn’t feature any premium materials, that doesn’t mean it’s not well-built. If anything, the textured plastic feels far more rugged and grippy than the metal or glass backs of most other tablets. This isn’t a tablet you’ll have to worry handing to the kids or tossing around haphazardly. It’s nice to feel like I don’t have to baby my gadgets.

The 1280×800 resolution might seem a little low by modern standards, but it’s certainly manageable at this screen size. It has a higher pixel density than the aging-but-still-popular MacBook Air (192 vs 128), for instance, and the screen is just bright and non-reflective enough to comfortably read in sunlight. The colors are little dull and the screen a bit too yellow, but it’s hardly a dealbreaker.