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Amazon Fire HD 8 & HD 8 Plus Review: Crashes After Crashes?

Should you get the Amazon Fire HD 8 or Fire HD 8 Plus in 2023? That’s what you’ll learn in our newest tablet review.

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With the latest 2022 Edition, Amazon has launched new editions of the Amazon Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 8 Plus. As usual, the 8-inch tablets are very cheap, with the basic model starting at just 100 Dollars and the Plus costing 120 Dollars. In the past, I often recommended them – at least if you were looking for something very cheap. But this time I noticed more problems. In this Amazon Fire HD 8 review you learn what these problems are.

Hardware & Performance

The biggest problem starts with the hardware. Both models are equipped with a MediaTek MT8169A hexa-core processor. In addition, we get 2GB of RAM in the Fire HD 8 and 3GB in the Fire HD 8 Plus. The internal storage is 32GB or 64GB. LTE versions are not available.

Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus

Because of its small RAM, I cannot recommend the Amazon Fire HD 8. However, the Fire HD 8 Plus can be a good choice if you're looking for a very inexpensive 8-inch tablet. It's good enough for most tasks, the battery life is long, and it's affordable. Sadly, the Google Play Store is missing out of the box.

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Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus 2022 Geekbench

My Geekbench 5 benchmark shows that the two models are equally fast. They are a good bit more powerful than the predecessors and faster than the Amazon Fire 7. The processor performance is significantly weaker than the slightly more expensive realme Pad mini – however, Amazon’s graphics performance is better, really good for this price. Cheap 10-inch tablets are more powerful.

Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus 2022 3D Mark

The Fire HD 8 Plus scores quite poorly in the 3D Mark Wild Life test. The Nokia T10 and realme Pad mini are marginally better.

I could not run the 3D Mark Wild Life test on the Fire HD 8 because it requires at least 3GB of RAM. And the 2GB RAM is the tablet’s problem. Obviously, the fact that a benchmark does not run is not important in real life. However, games constantly crashed in my test – Geekbench often as well.

First I tried to install Apex Legend and PUBG Mobile, but you cannot install them from the Google Play Store on either model. An error message appears. The Play Store is not officially supported and I was able to install PUBG Mobile from the Amazon App Store on both and it runs fine on the Plus with HD graphics. On the regular Fire HD 8, however, it crashes.

So, I tried Asphalt 9 and although it runs fine on the Plus – it also crashes constantly on the normal Fire HD 8. I noticed this even with simpler games like Subway Surfers and Botworld. Subway Surfers runs great most of the time, but not all of the time.

Read: These Are The Best Gaming Tablets

Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus 2022 World of Tanks

Games like World of Tanks and League of Legends also run great on the Fire HD 8 Plus. Obviously, the graphics don’t look particularly good and most games have to be played with lower settings. The benchmarks also show that. However, they run without stutters for the most part. This is probably due to the 3GB RAM. 2GB is simply too small nowadays.

Simple multitasking is still possible on both. You can certainly use YouTube in one window and the Chrome browser in the other. As long as you don’t open sophisticated web apps, it works.

Generally, most simple apps run well, but intensive multitasking is out of the question. Chrome, the Amazon Silk browser, YouTube, Netflix, Prime Video, all of that works – but with occasional stutters. And I didn’t notice a big difference between the Plus and simple HD 8 except for gaming.

Design & Built Quality

Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus 2022 design

The design has hardly changed compared to the predecessors. Both are completely made of plastic and have symmetrical display bezels. According to Amazon, the tablets are twice as robust as the Apple iPad Mini in drop tests. I did not check that, because the iPad Mini is too expensive for that.

Read: The Best Amazon Tablets In Comparison

Both have a USB C 2.0 port on the sides, a MicroSD card slot that can hold up to 1 TB cards, and a headphone jack. I think it’s a shame that a fingerprint reader is missing, and you cannot unlock it using facial recognition either.

Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus 2022 USB C port

Both have a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, and the main camera on the Fire HD 8 has the same resolution. However, we get a more detailed 5-megapixel camera on the Fire HD 8 Plus. As you can imagine given the price, however, all cameras are merely usable and I wouldn’t take vacation photos with them.

Display

Let’s move on to the displays. Both models have an 8-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. So, we have an HD resolution on 8 inches and I think that’s just good enough. Even a bit more expensive rivals like the Nokia T10 don’t have a higher pixel density.

Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus 2022 display

I think many features of the screen okay for the price. They are too dark for direct sunlight, but sufficiently bright for indoors, and colors and contrast are solid. However, I think it’s disappointing that both are not laminated. That means an air gap is visible between the IPS panel and the touchscreen. Yes, this is also the case with the Amazon Fire 7 and even with the Apple iPad 10, but it bothers me there as well.

Netflix and Prime Video can be watched in HD resolution, and that also applies to YouTube. Both tablets have two speakers on top and I think the sound quality is good for such a cheap and small tablet.

Software: Fire OS and Play Store?

While the Fire HD 8 and HD 8 Plus are Android tablets, they don’t run Google’s version of Android, but Amazon’s and they call it Fire OS. The current version is based on Android 11, and Amazon usually releases updates for quite a long time. It’s just their own updates, so don’t expect it to get Android 13.

Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus 2022 App Store

So, out of the box, the Google Play Store and all other apps from Google are missing. Instead, you can get apps and games from the Amazon App Store. There are tons of apps, but the selection is much smaller and it’s quite likely that you won’t find all the ones you want to use.

Additionally, you get quick and easy access to Amazon’s offerings. These include Kindle e-books, Prime Video, Audible and so on.

Read: The Best Android Tablets Tested

Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant, is also included of course. It’s built into the operating system and you can ask her for the weather or the latest news at any time. Alexa works just like with an Echo device. If you want to control it mainly via voice assistant, you can also turn on the Echo Show mode.

Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus 2022 Google Play Store

I installed the Google Play Store on both right away. It’s pretty easy to do, you just have to install four APKs in the right order and log in to Google. And you can install almost all apps from the Play Store and the Fire HD 8 and Plus then behave just like other Android tablets. However, there are exceptions – I already mentioned that games like Apex Legends cannot be installed, for instance.

Battery Life

Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus 2022 battery life

In my battery test, both got a runtime of 9.75 hours. For this test, I’m always looping an HD YouTube video in the YouTube app at maximum brightness.

Amazon Fire HD 8 & HD 8 Plus Test: Final Verdict

I consider the Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus to be a good tablet if you are looking for a cheap 8-inch device. Just the battery life is really good – in almost all other aspects it plays in the lowest league, but it’s also very cheap and that’s to be expected. The Fire HD 8 Plus with its 3GB of RAM is definitely usable for surfing the web, watching videos, and yes, playing games as well.

Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus 2022

We have to make bigger compromises with the Fire HD 8 with its 2GB of RAM. It’s only sufficient for very simple games and more demanding apps can crash sometimes. I think for almost everyone it is worth investing a little more money in the Plus.

Also, I only recommend the tablets if you are either a fan of Amazon and Alexa, or if you are willing to install the Google Play Store. It could be that the warranty is lost by doing so.

If you can spend 40 to 50 Dollars more, I would also advise you to take a look at the realme Pad mini. This is also an 8-inch tablet that I tested. It offers a laminated display, a metal case, Google Android and better performance. Amazon’s only advantage over this is that they will probably release longer updates.

This post is also available in: Spanish


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Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus 2022
Review: Because of its small RAM, I cannot recommend the Amazon Fire HD 8. However, the Fire HD 8 Plus can be a good choice if you're looking for a very inexpensive 8-inch tablet. It's good enough for most tasks, the battery life is long, and it's affordable. Sadly, the Google Play Store is missing out of the box.
Positive
  • Long battery life
  • Rugged build
  • Very affordable
  • HD 8 Plus good for gaming
  • Integrated Alexa
Negative
  • Fire HD 8 has too small RAM
  • Missing Google Play Store
  • Display not laminated
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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Pingback: Lenovo Tab M8 Gen 4 Review: A Bitter Disappointment?

  2. Joe minor

    March 14, 2023 at 7:01 pm

    Yes, the Lenovo tab M8 is a disappointment. The WLAN version has a micro SD cart slot That you can see in the photos but it is a non-functional dummy slot That only works on more advanced versions. The micro USB plug seems to only work for charging, not for data transfer or anything else that you could plug into it (like cabled microphones).

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