Amazon Fire HD 8 and 8 Plus Review (2022): Unbeatable Value

7 months ago
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If you want a little more power there is also Fire HD 8 Plus ($150), which offers an extra gig of RAM, wireless charging, and a 5MP camera (compared to the 2MP base model – both aren’t great, so don’t let that be a Plus advantage). The extra RAM is welcome, but the difference isn’t as noticeable here as it is with the 10-inch Fire HD Plus. If you want to get some real work done, you can do it on the 10-inch Fire HD, but none of the Fire HD 8 models will work for you.

Fire HD 8 Kids

Photo: Amazon

Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet with game controller

Fire HD 8 Playset

Photo: Amazon

Along with the Plus model, Amazon has quite a few other packages such as Child Models Fire HD 8, which include protective cases, additional software and content packs, and parental controls. Also now there is game package which comes with Luna Controller ($169)although given the limitations of Fire OS, I can’t imagine many gamers will like it.

This is where the main problem with Fire tablets is Amazon software.

What’s the matter

By default, Amazon Fire tablets offer an experience that reminds me of a hyper-advertised world. Idiocracy.

From the moment you try to unlock your Fire HD 8, you’re faced with an onslaught of ads and dark pattern designs designed to make you click on something, especially if you opt for the ad-supported models. Just don’t. Spend an extra $20 to free yourself from some ads. Don’t worry, you’ll still be forced into Amazon content every time you look at your Fire HD 8. It’s an entry fee, as they say. Looking for an inexpensive tablet? You’ll get a tablet that feels like it’s going to suck more money out of you at every turn.

Fire OS, Amazon’s fork of Android, has been updated to use Android 11, which is still two full versions behind stock Android. Other than the app switching screen and a few minor theme details, I didn’t notice much of a difference. Fire OS still offers the same basic experience, which isn’t necessarily bad, but limited to the app store.

By default, Fire HD 8 tablets do not offer any Google apps or access to the Google Play store. Choosing from the Amazon app store is what you might call a downside. Want to watch YouTube? Chat on Slack? No, it doesn’t. Even if you want to claim that this is a tablet primarily for consumption and doesn’t require much of what’s in the Google Play store, YouTube is a blatant oversight. I would suggest if you have certain apps that you want to use check out the Amazon app store before you buy to make sure what you want is available (if you have an android device you can download and view the store Amazon apps). here).

How about “downloading” Google Play? We have a guide on how to install the Google Play Store on an Amazon Fire tablet., but unfortunately this guide does not work for this model. Or at least it doesn’t work with the current version of Fire OS. Some Reddit users who received the Fire OS 8.3.1.3 software update claim they were able to install and use Google Play. My review unit is still stuck on Fire OS 8.2.1.2, which I can confirm will install the Google Play Store on its own, but won’t let you sign in and install any apps from it. I’ll update our guide with information on how to do this as soon as I can confirm it works. At some point, you will probably be able to install the Play Store, but not now.

The 2022 Amazon Fire HD 8 is still good at what it’s designed for: streaming Amazon content. If you’re a Prime subscriber and want a small, inexpensive device for use on the couch, in the kitchen, or even with a stand to simulate an echo show, the Fire HD 8 isn’t bad. But if you can afford it, the 10-inch model offers a much better overall experience and remains our top pick. If you really want to make a deal, wait until the next Prime Day, when you can usually get Amazon Fire tablets for half the price.

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