The Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 2019 SM-T290 is a new Android tablet that is quite affordable. It directly competes with the Amazon Fire HD 8 that is even cheaper. Both are 8-inch tablets with quad-core processors running Android. Which one should you get? That’s what we’ll discuss in this Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8-inch vs. Amazon Fire HD 8 comparison.
First, let’s check out their pricing. You can get the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 2019 with 32GB of storage starting at around 150 US Dollars. The Amazon Fire HD 8, on the other hand, starts at around 80 US Dollars with 16GB of storage and around 110 US Dollars with 32GB storage.
Design & Build Quality
Both are 8-inch tablets, so they look quite similar from the front – at least if you discard my color choices. On the back, however, they’re much different. While we get a full plastic body from Amazon, the Samsung features a plastic frame with a metal backplate. Because of that, it feels a bit better made. It also is a bit thinner with 8mm compared to the 9.7mm of the Fire tablet.
Sadly, both are charged using the older MicroUSB port. But on the positive side, both still feature a standard headphone jack and you can expand the storage with microSD cards on both. And sure, we get power buttons and volume controls on each.
Speakers & Cameras
Now, my thoughts about the speakers are mixed. Samsung’s are noticeably louder, which is great when you’re watching something with friends or so. However, while we get two speakers as well, they are both placed on one side when watching something in landscape orientation. That means you won’t get any stereo separation.
With the Fire HD 8 on the other hand, you get two speakers at the top or bottom, depending on how you hold it. Here you will hear some stereo separation but it’s not as loud. The sound quality itself is decent from both tablets.
Both feature a 2-megapixel front-facing camera and selfies look pretty similar. It’s hard to see a real difference. However, there are huge difference what the cameras on the back are concerned. The one of the Galaxy Tab is much more detailed with 8-megapixels than the 2 megapixels from Amazon.
The displays are very similar. Both are 8-inches in size, have an aspect ratio of 16:10 and an HD resolution with 1280 x 800 pixels. That means both are equally sharp. Obviously, an HD resolution is not perfect, but I think it’s fine on an 8-inch screen.
Now, both are decent displays with good enough viewing angles. However, when comparing them directly, you can clearly see that the Galaxy Tab A is a bit brighter and colors look a bit better too. With that being said, both are not perfect for the beach or so. But if you’ll use it outside a lot, you’ll be a bit better off with the Samsung one.
Hardware & Performance
Inside the Amazon Fire HD 8 runs a 1.3 GHz quad-core processor with 1.5GB of RAM and a 16GB or 32GB internal storage. Samsung ships the Galaxy Tab A 8.0 2019 with a 2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 429, 2GB of RAM and a 32GB internal storage. Both have microSD card slots and you can get the Samsung one with LTE too. That’s not an option for the Fire HD 8.
The Galaxy Tab A is noticeably faster in my Geekbench and AnTuTu benchmark comparison – especially its graphics performance. And I noticed that during my normal use too. Now, don’t get me wrong. Basic things like Chrome and YouTube run well on both. But especially when switching between apps fast, they load a bit faster on the Samsung one. The Fire HD 8 does not feel as snappy as the Galaxy Tab.
You should keep in mind though, that both are not the fastest tablets. If you want a high-performing one, you’ve got to spend much more. They’re not gaming tablets at all. However, you can do some gaming. Simple games run great on both. And you can even kind of play PUBG Mobile on the Galaxy Tab A. Sure, the graphics look pretty bad and you might see some occasional stuttering. But overall, I’d call it playable. That’s not the case with the Fire HD 8. This one stutters even when just walking a bit.
There are huge differences when it comes to their software. Samsung is shipping the Galaxy Tab A 8.0 2019 with Googles Android 9 Pie with their own One UI on top. Amazon, on the other hand, is using its own version of Android that’s based on Android 7. Don’t worry about that too much, because Amazon is pushing regular updates. They don’t work together with Google though. Amazon calls its software Fire OS and the Fire HD 8 is running version 184.108.40.206 right now.
Well, with Fire OS, you don’t get the Google Play Store. Instead, you’ve got to use the Amazon App Store to install apps. In fact, all of Google’s apps are missing and replaced with Amazon’s apps. They’ve got their own browser, their own cloud services like Amazon Photo, and the voice assistant Alexa, of course. Alexa runs great on here.
You also get fast and direct access to Prime Video, Kindle eBooks, Audible, and pretty much all of Amazon’s services. If you get the cheapest versions, you also have an ad on the lock screen. But that’s not too annoying and you can save some money this way.
Now, if you want, you can install the Google Play Store yourself. And you can install most Android apps if you find the APKs too. Fire OS is still Android and most apps do run just fine. But not everybody might want to or is able to install the Play Store themselves.
Again, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8-inch, on the other hand, is running normal Google Android. You’ve got access to the Google Play Store, YouTube, Chrome, Gmail and so on. It’s basically the same operating system your phone probably uses. Samsung put their One UI on top which adds some features and changes the design. But it’s still normal Google Android.
Some important features that Samsung offers but Amazon does not is a split-screen view. You can open two apps side by side. And Samsung even lets you open apps in free-floating windows. So, it’s probably better suited for you if you want to get some productivity work done too.
In my battery test, the Amazon Fire HD 8 scored a bit better with a runtime of 14.5 hours compared to 13.5 hours of the Galaxy Tab A. For this test, I’m always looping an HD video at medium brightness. Keep in mind though, that this test is not perfect because their screen brightness is different. Adjusted correctly, their battery life is probably about the same.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 vs. Amazon Fire HD 8 Comparison: Final Words
Alright, that’s my comparison between the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 2019 with the Amazon Fire HD 8. Which one is the better tablet? Well, overall, I think the Galaxy Tab A is the winner. It offers a bit better performance, a bit brighter screen, and you get normal Google Android with some additional Samsung features.
With that being said, the Amazon Fire HD 8 is much cheaper. It offers fantastic value too, especially if you want it for basic use only. You’ll be able to browse the web and watch Netflix just fine with it. But you’ve got to deal with the Google Play Store yourself. And yes, you do get a bit darker screen and you won’t be able to play as many games with it.
- Very inexpensive
- Android 9 & One UI
- Long battery life
- Performance good-enough only
- Micro-USB port
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