Is the new Amazon Fire HD 10 7th Generation as good of a value for your money as the previous generations? Starting at 149 US Dollars we’re getting solid internal hardware and a 10-inch full HD screen. At this price, most competitors offer an HD resolution only. The tablet offers enough storage and supports Alexa Hands-Free. As of now, it is available in the United States and a couple of European countries.
My Fire HD 10 arrived just over a week ago and I almost didn’t take it out of my hands since then. During this week I used it during an 11-hour flight, watched movies, played games and even worked with it successfully. Is the new Amazon Fire HD 10 a good value for your money? That’s what you’ll find out in this review.
Design & Build Quality
The design of the Amazon Fire HD 10 is almost identical to other recent tablets from Amazon. While you can get it in black only in some countries like Germany, in the United States you can also get it in blue and red. As you might expect at this price, it has a full plastic body. Some similarly priced competitors like the Huawei MediaPad T3 10 have at least a metal back.
According to Amazon, the tablet is very robust. Apparently, it is more stable than the 10.5-inch iPad Pro. If that is true? Maybe. It actually feels very solid and it doesn’t have any scratches yet.
Compared to some other 10-inch tablets, it is relatively big with thick black bezels around the screen. It weighs 500 grams and with 9.8 millimeters it is quite thick.
Ports, Cameras, Speakers
We are not getting a lot of ports with the Fire HD 10. Sadly, there is no USB Type C port. Instead, Amazon is using the older micro USB standard. I wish we would see Type C ports more often in cheaper devices but competitors like Huawei or Lenovo use micro USB ports as well. To expand the internal storage there is a microSD card slot and we’re getting a 3.5-millimeter audio jack.
There are two integrated speakers at the bottom of the device. Considering the price, they’re actually not too bad. They’re loud enough but, as usual, they’re kind of lacking a strong bass. If you want really good sound you have to pay much more and get the Galaxy Tab S3 or iPad Pro.
While I’m fine with the speakers, the cameras are not very good. In fact, I wouldn’t use them for Instagram or any serious photography. The front-facing camera is usable for Skype, but kind of bad too. The main camera has a resolution of 2-megapixel and the front-facing camera offers a VGA resolution only.
Display: Full HD For Little Money
Let’s take a look at the display. It is a 10-inch screen with a full HD resolution of 1920 x 1200. That is awesome because similarly priced tablets like the Huawei MediaPad T3 10 or Lenovo Tab 4 10 have an HD resolution only. Compared to those, the Fire HD 10 screen looks much sharper.
It is an IPS panel with solid viewing angles and colors look nice too. The brightness is certainly fine, but not the best. In direct sunlight you can still see a bit, but not too much. Unlike a lot of cheap tablets from China, the display is fully laminated so there is no gap between the IPS panel and the touchscreen.
Overall, I really like the display of the Fire HD 10. Especially at this price – it’s one of the highlights of this tablet. Because, as I said, most competitors offer a lower resolution and those screens don’t look very sharp when reading texts. On the Fire HD 10, it is much better and I enjoyed watching movies on it.
Hardware & Performance
Inside the new Amazon Fire HD 10 runs a quad-core processor from MediaTek. Two of those four cores are clocked at 1.8GHz and the other two at 1.4GHz. In addition to that, we’re getting 2GB of RAM and a 32GB or 64GB internal storage. From those 32GB there are 25.3GB free to use by the user.
We always have to consider the price and for around 150 Dollars the performance is pretty good. The operating system itself runs very smoothly. I also wrote a lot in Microsoft Word, watched movies with Amazon Video and Netflix and didn’t notice any problems with the performance.
The Silk Browser runs smoothly as well. I was able to open a lot of tabs at the same time without noticing any lags.
How good is it for gaming? It is not as powerful as more expensive high-end tablets, but you will be able to play some games on this tablet. I played Star Wars Knights of the old Republic and that worked without any problems. The same goes for Asphalt 8 Airborne. It runs very smooth, especially if you turn down the graphics settings just a bit.
The good performance is reflected in benchmarks as well. In Geekbench the Fire HD 10 gets around 1500 and 3000 points. In AnTuTu I got a result of 62.000. In both those benchmarks, it is actually better than the much more expensive Huawei MediaPad M3 Lite 10 (review).
Fire OS Software
Even though the Amazon Fire HD 10 is running Android, it is not Googles but Amazons Android. They called it Fire OS and preinstalled is version 5.5. Compared to other Android tablets, the interface is heavily customized.
From the home screen, you’ve got direct access to the offers from Amazon. That includes Kindle E-Books, Amazon Video, Amazon Music, Audible and, of course, the normal Amazon store. The interface is kind of a shopping window into the world of Amazon.
If you’re using the services from Amazon you probably won’t mind that too much. I often watch movies and TV shows from Amazon and read their E-Books. If you’re not doing that, then you might find the deep integration annoying. It is basically filled with Amazon ads.
That includes the so-called special offers. The special offers are ads on the lock screen, mostly for books. I didn’t mind them because, well, it’s only on the lock screen. If you don’t want that you have to pay 15 dollars extra.
But, underneath, it is still Android. If you’ve ever used an Android device in the past you’ll feel at home quickly, for example when browsing through the settings. Typical accessories for Android devices like Bluetooth keyboards, gamepads or speakers work as well. I am missing one feature that is a part of Nougat though. There is no split screen view so you can’t open two apps side by side.
No Google Play Store
There is another major feature missing and that is the Google Play Store – including the apps from Google. So there is no Gmail, no YouTube, and no Chrome browser. Amazon is replacing these with their own apps.
Instead of Chrome, they preinstalled their Silk Browser, which is based on Chromium. Compared to Chrome I didn’t notice any differences in how websites are displayed.
Where are you getting apps from without the Play Store? Well, Amazon has their own App Store. Inside you can find a lot of apps that are popular on Googles store as well. Including Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, and Netflix. There are a couple of apps missing though.
For example, I couldn’t find Modern Combat 5 and Asphalt Xtreme. While they do offer OneNote, Skype, Outlook and OneDrive from Microsoft, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are missing.
Usually, it is not too hard to find a replacement. Instead of Microsoft Office, you could use WPS Office. Alternatively, you could search for their APKs online and install them yourself. That’s not a safe solution though if the developer is not offering the APK themselves.
Since I could find most apps I needed in the App Store or installed the APKs myself, I was able to use the Fire HD 10 like any other Android tablet. But I wish that Amazon and Google would work together and just preinstall the Play Store.
By the way, if you really want to use the Google Play Store, then you can. As of right now, it is surprisingly easy to install it.
Let’s take a closer look at Alexa. Oh wait, I can’t. In the United States, you already can use Alexa Hands-Free. That means that you can use Alexa like an Amazon Echo, even if the display is shut off. But I got my Fire HD 10 in Germany and here it will only work with a future software update. As of now, that update hasn’t been released yet.
Let’s take a look at the battery life instead. According to Amazon, the 7th generation Fire HD 10 has a battery life of 10 hours. In my standard battery test, it even got a bit better result of 11 hours and 20 minutes. Compared to the competition that is a pretty good but not awesome result.
I’m always doing the same battery test by playing an HD video over and over again until the tablet shuts itself off. Wifi is activated and the brightness is set to 50 percent.
During my everyday use, the battery life was solid as well. During an evening I used it to work and it lasted me 7 hours. During that time the brightness was set to 100 percent and WiFi and Bluetooth were activated. I mainly used Microsoft Word and the Silk Browser.
Amazon Fire HD 10 Review: Final Verdict
As I mentioned at the beginning, the Amazon Fire HD 10 has a good potential to be a great value for its price. And I think that is indeed the case for a lot of people. At this price, the display and performance are great. The build quality and battery life are very solid as well.
One of its few downsides is the deep integration into the services of Amazon. Yes, you can install a different launcher and the Google Play Store. But some users might not want to deal with that. Because of that, I think the Fire HD 10 is awesome for users who use the services from Amazon regularly.
If you are not a loyal Amazon customer I would suggest you look at a couple of alternatives. Depending on where you live, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 might be a great alternative at a similar price. It’s over a year old now but did receive a Nougat update and offers a full HD screen as well.
- Good 10.1-inch full HD screen
- Great performance
- Good battery life
- Very inexpensive
- Filled with Amazon ads
- No Google Play Store
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