With its Amazon Fire HD 10 2019, the company released a new version of its popular 10-inch tablet after waiting for two years. I thought the predecessor is an excellent value for a long time. But the new one has to compete against a very strong competitor from Samsung. In this Amazon Fire HD 10 review you’ll learn if and for who this tablet is a great value.
Hardware & Performance
Not much has changed compared to the last version. According to Amazon, the 9th generation Fire HD 10 is 30 percent faster than its predecessor. Instead of a quad-core processor, they’re using an octa-core chipset with eight cores that run with up to 2GHz.
While Amazon is not telling us the processor brand, according to benchmark tools it consists of four Cortex-A73 and four Cortex-A53 cores. In addition to that, the tablet offers 2GB of RAM and you can choose between a 32GB or 64GB internal storage. There’s no LTE 4G option.
I got the one with 32GB of storage. Out of the box, you can use 25.52GB.
My benchmark comparison shows that the single-core performance is very similar, but the multi-core performance improved a lot compared to the predecessor. In Geekbench 4, the Fire HD 10 is even faster than the pricier Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 2019. Usually, I’m also testing it with the AnTuTu benchmark but that’s not supported here.
Since the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 is such an interesting competitor, I compared their graphics performance in more detail. In the Geekbench 4 Compute and 3D Mark Slighshot Extreme Tests the Fire HD 10 scores quite a bit better than the Samsung tablet. That’s important to know because if you’re looking for a sub 200 Dollar tablet, you’ll have to choose between the two.
I think real-life performance is great. Especially for its price. Single apps like Chrome, YouTube and Netflix run smoothly. I also edited some photos with Adobe Lightroom and that works as it should. Sure, it’s not as snappy as a high-end tablet. But that’s to be expected of course.
Usually, I also test multitasking performance by running and using two apps side by side. However, the Fire HD 10 does not support a split-screen view.
If you switch between apps, the multitasking performance is good. Not great but certainly good enough. However, because of its 2GB of RAM, apps get closed faster in the background as they do on tablets with more RAM. That’s what I noticed when browsing the web in Chrome too. If you use four tabs or more, chances are at least one of them must be reloaded once you switch to it. So, if you do lots of multitasking, this is not ideal for you.
Fire HD 10 Gaming Test
I tried several games on the Amazon Fire HD 10 and they all run fine. Basically, you’ll be able to play almost every game with this tablet. No matter if it’s from Amazon’s App Store or the Google Play Store. Occasionally, it can happen that one is not supported. But that’s very rare.
One game I tried is the new Call of Duty. It runs surprisingly well. You can set the graphics settings to high and the game looks good. Like my benchmark comparison earlier suggested, the performance is better than on the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1. With that one, you can set the graphics to medium only. In real life, however, it’s hard to see a real difference.
That’s what I can say about PUBG Mobile too. It runs smoothly most of the time and you can set the graphics to HD. However, with both games the graphics are dynamic. That means they get adjusted a bit based on the performance. You can play PUBG with HD settings on two tablets and they look better on the more powerful one, even though the settings are the same.
Asphalt 9 is another game I tried. That runs great as well. I played it with the Microsoft Xbox Wireless Controller I’ve been testing and that works fantastic.
I also check what other people are writing about this tablet. And I’ve read on several occasions that reviewers said the performance is too weak. However, that’s not my experience at all. I think the performance is pretty good. Yes, it’s not great for multitasking but the gaming performance is excellent for this price class. Sure, the new iPad is much faster. But it costs twice as much. For 150 Dollars, the performance is good. You can play most games – sure not with the highest graphics. But at least they do run which is important at this price.
The design of the Amazon Fire HD 10 did not change in the last two years. It has the same 10.1-inch screen and the black bezels around it are quite big. That’s the case in general because it’s 9.8mm thick which is a lot. At the same time, it weighs 504g.
Well, it is a very cheap tablet, so I think it’s okay that it does not play in the highest league regarding its design. It has a full plastic body. Still, the body seems very robust. You can get it not only in black but also in plum, white and twilight blue now. I decided to get the blue one. Those colors make it look a bit higher-end than it really is.
By the way, my Fire HD 10 from last year got visible scratches on its back fast. So, if you don’t want that, I suggest you get a case for it.
A new feature is the USB C port that sits on one of its shorter sides. It’s the first Amazon tablet with a USB C port. Next to it is a power button and on the same side are a headphone jack and the volume controls. On the right side, there’s a microSD card slot. The cards can be up to 512GB in size.
Speakers & Cameras
On one of the longer sides, the tablet has two speakers. You can hear a real stereo separation, which is great. Overall, the sound quality is okay. Sure, not as good as tablets with four speakers. But good enough for its price. It’s fine for watching YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Video.
Both cameras have a resolution of 2 megapixels, and both are capable of recording 720p videos. Well, as you might expect from 2-megapixel cameras, the quality is bad. Yes, even for this price. For video chats it’s kind of acceptable but not more.
Amazon is shipping the Fire HD 10 2019 with the same 10.1-inch IPS screen they used for the 2017 version. It has an aspect ratio of 16:10 and a full HD resolution with 1920 x 1200 pixels. I always think that resolution is fine on 10 inches.
The screen ticks all the important aspects of a screen which makes it better than most if not all cheaper alternatives. It has an IPS panel with wide viewing angles. Color reproduction is fine as well. And I really like that we’re getting a fully laminated screen. That’s what many cheaper tablets are lacking. Its brightness is good too, not great, but good.
An active stylus is not supported. It does have the necessary DRM standards to support Netflix in HD though.
So, while the screen is not new, I think it continues to be fantastic in this price range.
Fire OS: Android 9 Pie
The Amazon Fire HD 10 is shipping with Fire OS in version 22.214.171.124. While it is an Android tablet, Amazon is not mentioning Android. Fire OS is based on the open-source version of Android and has nothing to do with what Google is doing. Yes, that’s why apps like YouTube, Gmail, and the Google Play Store are missing.
It’s interesting to note that the Fire HD 10 2019 is the first Amazon tablet on which the Fire OS is based on Android 9. At least that’s what benchmark tools are saying, and the navigation buttons look like Android 9 too. Besides that, I didn’t notice any big change compared to other recent Fire tablets. I was hoping that they’re going to include a split-screen view now. But as I said, that’s still not supported. With one exception. Apps like Netflix and Prime Video can continue to run in a small window while your surfing the web, for instance.
Amazon customized the interface of Android a lot. For prime members that can be very useful. You’ve got direct and fast access to all their services. These include Kindle books, Prime Video, Audible and the Amazon App Store. Some of Amazon’s own apps are pre-installed as well. We’re getting the Amazon Photo app, their own Silk browser and a couple of standard ones like a calendar, email app and a files manager.
Integrated into Fire OS is Alexa. I’m sure you’re familiar with their voice assistant already. The tablet supports Alexa Hands-Free. That means you can call her even when the screen is turned off. You can also activate the so-called Show Mode. Once you do that, the tablet acts like an Echo Show and will display additional information.
You’ll see ads on the lock screen if you’re getting your tablet with the so-called special offers. Many of these ads are for books but not all. You won’t see ads anywhere else, so it’s not too annoying. If you don’t want ads at all, you can pay 15 US Dollars extra.
Google Play Store
The Amazon App Store has some important apps like Netflix and Spotify. And you can find some interesting games too. However, the selection is much smaller than the one from the Google Play Store. All Google apps are missing. Many from Microsoft are not included either. And if you’re looking for something in particular, chances are you won’t find it.
Well, the Fire HD 10 is running Android, it just does not always look like it. That means you can install pretty much every APK you can find. If you want, you can also install the Google Play Store yourself. That is surprisingly easy, as long as you follow instructions that you can find online. It might void your warranty though.
I installed the Play Store on my tablet immediately because while I like Prime Video and Netflix, I also want to watch YouTube. And I installed many other apps using the Play Store like Call of Duty, PUBG Mobile, Lightroom, Gmail, and Chrome. As I said, you can install most Android apps because it is Android.
Let’s get to its battery life. In my standard battery test, the tablet got a runtime of 20 hours. For this, I’m looping an HD video at medium brightness and activated WiFi for all my reviews.
As you can see, those 20 hours is an excellent result. Amazon is stating a 12-hour battery life. But my result is theoretical. You can get to those 20 hours when watching a movie locally. But when streaming Netflix or Prime Video, the runtime will be much lower.
Yes, I probably should update my battery test eventually. But I’ve been testing all tablets like this for years and it provides at least some comparable results. I don’t want to put down the excellent battery life though, the Fire HD 10 lasts long in real life too.
Amazon Fire HD 10 Review: My Final Verdict
Alright, that’s the end of my Amazon Fire HD 10 review. Can I recommend this tablet? That depends on what you’re looking for. I think it’s very interesting if you’re a Prime Member and are using those services from Amazon. Or if you want to spend as little money as possible. And for some, Alexa is a super interesting feature too.
Since I’m only using it with the Google Play Store, I can only recommend it if you’re going to install it as well. Or if you just want it for watching Prime Video, Netflix, and some games. For your kids, for instance.
The screen continues to be excellent in this price range. And that’s what I can say about the battery life too. Its performance is very good for its price, but the build quality could be a bit better. It seems to be robust, but it does not feel high-end.
With a price tag of 150 Dollars, it is super cheap. And I think it’s the best tablet in exactly this price class. In fact, it’s the cheapest 10-inch tablet I can recommend without having to state tons of downsides. The value is fantastic. Well, at least if you’re going to install the Play Store. Without it, I wouldn’t use it.
If you’ve got the predecessor already, it’s not worth it to upgrade though.
Let’s check out some alternatives.
The most interesting competitor is the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 2019. It features a 10.1-inch full HD screen too and the build quality is similar. That’s the case for most other aspects too – they are very similar. However, the Galaxy Tab is running Google’s Android including the Google Play Store, Gmail, YouTube, and Chrome. It also supports all standard Android features like a split-screen view. When comparing them directly, the graphics performance is not as good as on the Fire, but in real life the differences are not that big.
For most, I think it’s a simpler and easier alternative because you don’t have to install the Play Store yourself. Instead, you get the same operating system you’re probably familiar with from your phone. And you’ll likely get new Android updates too. Prices vary a lot by country, but usually it costs below 200 Dollars. If prices are similar, I’d personally go with the Samsung one.
A cheaper alternative is the Amazon Fire HD 8. It’s much smaller with its 8-inch screen and the performance is weaker too. But it’s a solid, small tablet that works well, as long as you don’t have too high expectations. There’s no cheaper 10-inch tablet I can comfortably recommend right now.
- Good screen
- Excellent graphics performance
- Long battery life
- Fire OS based on Android 9
- Regular updates
- Very cheap
- Alexa works great
- Very customized interface
- Only interesting for Prime Members
- No Google Play Store out of the box
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