Tablets are no longer as popular as they were once were. Smartphones have become all-encompassing, powerful, and exceedingly more portable devices. The latest tablets have even evolved into laptop hybrids for added appeal and functionality. Amongst the few that still enjoy continued support is the iPad, and that’s thanks to Apple’s infallible branding. But Amazon’s Fire tablets remain unharmed, mostly since they’re dirt cheap but are undeniably good.
One of their bargain-bin-priced yet subtly impressive slates is the Fire HD 8, and right now you can get a refurbished unit on Amazon for 14% off. instead of the usual $70.
The eighth generation of the Fire tablets made it to our list of the best tablets of 2019. Its 8-inch screen is surrounded by chunky bezels, and at the back, there’s a 2-megapixel camera on its upper-left side. Although it’s made of plastic, the material feels surprisingly durable. It comes with a MicroSD card slot so you can expand the memory up to 400GB. Another nice perk is its stereo speakers that support Dolby Atmos. The sound quality isn’t anything mind-blowing, especially since the bass lacks punch, but it can get sufficiently loud and you wouldn’t need Bluetooth speakers if you’re directly in front of it.
The Fire HD 8’s display left us a bit cold, but for the price, it’s decent enough. The LCD screen has a 1,280 x 800-pixel resolution that’s not exactly HD despite its name. Images appear fine and texts are perfectly readable, but you’ll notice some pixels upon closer inspection. It also has bad viewing angles. Try to look at this tablet directly to see everything clearly. The colors are also a little muted, but at least you wouldn’t have any difficulties seeing the screen outdoors as it is bright enough.
The major selling point of the Fire HD 8 is its hands-free Alexa support. Running with the latest version of the Fire OS, you can use this tablet like the Amazon Echo and order it to make calls, stream music, set timers and alarms, and control smart home devices. It doesn’t pick up our voice as well as the Echo does, especially if you’re a bit far from it, but it works well when you’re near. Plus, it’s a bit cheaper.
Its performance is a little sluggish. Powered by a 1.3 GHz quad-core processor and just 1.5 GB of RAM, apps take a significant time to open, especially third-party apps. It’s not unbearable, but it can frustrate the impatient. Just bear in mind that the tablet is dirt-cheap. Fortunately, its battery life is great, capable of lasting up to seven hours when streaming Netflix nonstop, with extra juice to spare. It takes at least six hours to fully charge. Consider yourself warned.
The Fire HD 8 is a great tablet to gift your kid. You can use it yourself, but its sluggish performance might try your patience. But it only costs $60, and that’s an amazing value for your money.
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