With the 2021 generation of the Fire HD 10 and Fire HD 10 Plus, Amazon introduced two new 10-inch tablets that are very affordable. This time you can even get them with a keyboard cover. Its predecessor offered a fantastic value, does that continue this year? That’s what you’ll learn in this Amazon Fire HD 10 and HD 10 Plus review.
I reviewed the Amazon Fire HD 10 and Fire HD 10 Plus together because they are very similar. The standard version costs around 150 Dollars while you can pick up the Plus at around 180 Dollars. For those 30 Dollars extra you’re getting 4GB instead of 3GB RAM, wireless charging support, and the body feels a bit higher-end.
Design & Built Quality
Compared to its predecessor, the 2021 generation has a much better design. We’re getting slimmer and symmetrical screen bezels now. While it’s a plastic body, it’s supposed to be 1.7 times as robust as the Apple iPad 8 when dropping it. That’s what Amazon says, I didn’t check it because I buy all these tablets myself and don’t want to destroy them.
The plastic body of the Fire HD 10 feels a bit cheap, like cheap plastic. With the Fire HD 10 Plus, however, we get a bit higher-end plastic which has a soft touch to it. It’s supposed to be as robust as the standard one.
With 9.2mm they’re quite thick and the weight of around 465g is alright.
On their sides, we get a microSD card slot, a standard headphone jack, and a USB C 2.0 port.
When holding the tablets in landscape orientation, there’s a 2-megapixel webcam right in the middle. Considering its price, photos and videos look fine. With that being said, the 5-megapixel main camera on the back is a bit disappointing.
The 11th generation of the Fire HD 10 and HD 10 Plus have the same 10.1-inch screen with a FullHD resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels. So, texts look sharp enough. It seems to be an IPS panel with decent viewing angles and colors look fine.
According to Amazon, the screens are 10% brighter than their predecessor. I do still own the older version and the difference is hard to see, but I guess those are the 10%. A couple of days ago I used the Fire HD 10 to work in a cafe and the screen was bright enough to use in the shadow. However, when the sun turned, I wished it would be a tick brighter. But of course, in this price range, it can’t be as bright as the much, much pricier iPad Pro or so.
Because the tablets have a Widevine Level of L1, you can use them to watch Netflix and other streaming services with HD resolution. In fact, if you’re looking for a cheap media tablet, I think they are great options. The two speakers offer true stereo separation and are decent too. Sure, not the best of the best at all, but certainly fine for its price.
Hardware & Performance
Inside the Amazon Fire HD 10 and Fire HD 10 Plus sits a MediaTek MT8183 octa-core processor. We’re getting 3GB or 4GB of RAM and 32GB or 64GB internal storage. There’s no LTE version.
My Geekbench 5 benchmark comparison shows that the performance of the simple HD 10 and the Plus version is the same. Of course, it is because the chipset is identical and the memory does not impact the performance much. Its CPU performance is as good as the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 which is a direct competitor. However, Amazon’s graphics performance is much better.
I don’t consider them to be great gaming tablets but they’re decent ones. While I did notice some heavy stutters when playing Asphalt 9, other games like PUBG Mobile run super smooth with HD graphics. Less demanding ones like Shadow Knight and Horizon Chase run great too. So, most games will run just fine, but often you’ve got to live with lower-end graphics.
By the way, Fortnite is not supported.
The system itself and other apps like the Chrome browser, YouTube, and Microsoft Office run great. I didn’t encounter any lags here. Multitasking is possible and you can open two apps side by side which wasn’t possible with previous Amazon tablets.
With single apps, I didn’t notice any difference between the two models. But if you’re into heavy multitasking and want to use Alexa while doing other things, you’ll benefit from more RAM.
Fintie Bluetooth Keyboard
If you’re willing to pay a bit extra, you can get a Fintie Bluetooth Keyboard which is the same for both tablets. Amazon is offering it as a bundle together with a Microsoft 365 subscription as well. I like to work with tablets and that’s why I tried the keyboard.
Sadly, it’s connected using Bluetooth because the tablets don’t have a special connector for keyboards. That means you’ll have to charge it separately which is done using a USB C connector. It’s not too much of a downside because the battery is supposed to last up to 400 hours and I didn’t have to charge mine at all while reviewing it.
The keyboard cover is made of plastic and is not premium feeling. But I do like the design because it consists of two parts. There’s a cover part that protects the tablet and you can use it without the keyboard. That cover then is connected to the keyboard using magnets. On a negative note, the cover covers up the microSD card slot.
If you’re used to working with tablets, as I am, you’ll be able to type quite comfortably on the Fintie keyboard. I didn’t have any problems and gotten used to the layout fast. Sure, it’s not as amazing as the Microsoft Type Cover or so, but I think for its price, it’s fine.
There’s no touchpad built-in which is a bit of a bummer. Many keyboard covers from Samsung, Apple, Microsoft, and others have trackpads these days. So, you’ll have to use the touchscreen.
Fire OS & Android 9
The Amazon Fire HD 10 and HD 10 Plus are running FireOS which is based on Android 9. Sounds old, but Android 9 shouldn’t shock you because Amazon is releasing updates regularly. It’s just that the underlining of FireOS is based on Android 9 but it’s not Google’s Android anyways.
In fact, all apps from Google are missing out of the box. Instead of the Google Play Store, you can install apps using the Amazon AppStore. You’ve got Prime Video, Amazon Music, Audible, the Kindle reader, and all other offers from Amazon are deeply integrated into the operating system.
A very cool feature is Alexa with the Echo Show Mode, of course. You can always activate the voice assistant no matter what you’re doing. And once you active the Show Mode, it acts as a Smart Display. We’ve seen that from its predecessors already and it makes Amazon’s tablets very interesting if you love that ecosystem.
Since the selection of apps inside the Amazon AppStore is quite limited, I always install the Google Play Store which you can download and install easily. It might void your warranty but I think that’s an acceptable and small risk. Once you’ve installed the Play Store, you can download most Android apps and Google’s apps like Chrome, YouTube, Gmail, and so on.
A new feature that I haven’t seen on its predecessors is the split-screen view which I mentioned already. With it, you can open two apps side by side, like YouTube and Chrome or Word and the Silk Browser. Nothing special for most Android tablets, but new for an Amazon device.
In my battery test, both tablets got the same result. When looping an HD video on YouTube at maximum brightness, they shut themselves off after 9 hours. That’s a fantastic result.
Amazon Fire HD 10 & HD 10 Plus: Final Verdict
That’s the end of my review of the Amazon Fire HD 10 and Fire HD 10 Plus. Both are entry-level tablets and that’s why I can recommend them only if you’re looking for a 10-inch tablet and want to spend as little money as possible. They are super interesting if you love the Amazon ecosystem and are using Alexa, Prime Video, and all their other services. If so, the value is fantastic.
I think they’re great media tablets to watch Netflix and Prime Video with but are decent for gaming too. Sure, nothing for hardcore gamers but certainly good enough if you don’t need to play with the highest graphics. And the battery life is fantastic, especially for its price.
Without the Google Play Store, I don’t think these tablets are much fun. So, personally, I always install them because the Amazon AppStore is too limited. That’s why I can recommend them only if you are able and willing to install the Play Store yourself.
The optional keyboard cover is a nice additional feature and great if you sometimes want to answer some emails or get some work done. But I wouldn’t get the Fire tablets if you’re looking for a work device or something for homeschooling. There are more interesting alternatives.
Let’s check out the competition.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 is a direct alternative because it’s very similar to the Fire HD 10. Sadly, the battery life is not as long and the graphics performance is a bit weaker. However, you’re getting standard Google Android here and it behaves as every other Android device does and it includes the Google Play Store. While the official price is a bit higher, usually they cost about the same now.
If you’re a student and want a cheap tablet with a keyboard to get some work done, I think you should check out the Lenovo Duet Chromebook. Yes, it’s a bit pricier but I think it’s the better Office tablet. The built quality is better, the keyboard is a bit better, and you’re getting a full desktop browser. The Google Play Store is included too.
- Solid performance
- Good 10-inch screen
- Very long battery life
- Alexa voice assistant
- Optional keyboard
- Very affordable
- Plastic body
- No Google Play Store
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