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I might be a bit late to the game when it comes to Amazon’s Fire tablets, but now that I’ve had a chance to play around with one, I’ve been enjoying the experience. Amazon recently launched the newest version, dubbed the “all new” Fire HD 8, and it’s got some good improvements over the previous generation.
Getting this device set up couldn’t have been easier. Once it’s charged up you’ll log into your Amazon account and it automatically populates you previously purchased e-books and Prime videos.
There are some changes and improvements to this tablet from previous versions (none of which I’ve tried). While the price has increased from the Fire 7, you’re getting a bit of a bigger device; the previous Fire was 7″ to the new one’s 8″ size.
The resolution has been increased, from 1024 x 600 (171 ppi) to 1280 x 800 (189 ppi) and putting it into HD territory. Storage has been increased, as has the RAM. Storage previously was 8 or 16 GB (expandable by up to 256 GB) the new Amazon Fire HD 8 now has 16 or 32 GB (expandable by up to 400 GB). The CPU is still the same (a Quad-core 1.3 GHz) but where it had 1 GB of RAM before, now it’s got 1.5 GB of RAM. Battery life has also increased from 8 to 12 hours. Camera and quality
Fire HD 8 includes an improved front-facing 2MP camera with 720p video for HD video calling.
How to take a screen shot on Fire HD 8?
To take a screenshot on a Fire HD tablet, just press and hold the volume down button and the power button simultaneously.
The audio quality is also good; the tiny speakers get really loud and should be enough to annoy your whole row and everyone around you on the plane! Fortunately, the headphone jack means you shouldn’t have to.
It takes about 6 hours using the micro-USB power adaptor included in the box, or slightly longer with other micro-USB power adaptors that you may already have. That should give you about 12 hours of battery life.
No Alexa connectivity in Canada… yet
Fire Tablets in the USA have Alexa smart digital assistant functionality built in, but this feature hasn’t been enabled in Canada yet. You’ll see the app on the tablet and you can click on it to open it up, but nothing works yet. I asked Amazon why it’s not working and when it should be enabled, and all they could tell me is– they’re working on it.
And… No Show Mode… yet
With Show Mode on your Fire HD 8 or Fire HD, Alexa voice responses are enhanced with full screen visuals. Since Alexa isn’t enabled on this tablet, the function doesn’t work, but what this feature is supposed to do is turn your tablet into a defacto Echo device with a screen, like the Echo Show.
Since this feature isn’t available in Canada, I wasn’t able to test it out.
And no Video Calling…yet
Once again I have to point out a feature that’s not yet available. For video calling to work on this tablet you need Alexa to function. Annoyingly, I can see my Fire HD tablet inside the Alexa app on my phone, but it just reads, “offline”.
Again, I hope the Alexa issue is resolved soon so all these fun and helpful features can be taken advantage of.
Overall thoughts on Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet
I was surprised by how much I like this tablet. It’s compact and light but it is a bit on the thick side. Even so it’s quite versatile; it makes me realize just how much I’ve come to rely on Amazon for things like shopping, music and now videos.
While this tablet definitely doesn’t have the capabilities of something like an iPad Pro, it’s also a much less expensive tablet, priced at an astoundingly affordable $99CAD for the 16GB size and $129 for twice the memory at 32GB.
The screen and audio quality are fine and the variety of apps available is excellent.
What I disliked most about this tablet is all the features that aren’t available… yet. Video calling, Alexa voice control, Show Mode and more. While these will likely be delivered in a future software update, it’s too bad they’re not ready now. Even so, if you’re getting this tablet, at least you know some of its future potential. But if these are features you need and want now, you might be better off with a different tablet, though you’re definitely going to pay more for it.
Overall there’s a lot to love about Fire HD and there will be even more when Alexa comes to play. if you want a low priced but versatile tablet for travel or the kids, or to supplemetn another tablet you may already have, getting the all new Fire HD 8 is a no brainer.