Amazon Fire 7 vs HD 8 vs HD 10: What Should You Buy?

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UPDATE: This story has been updated, as Amazon's rolled out a new Fire HD 10 tablet.

Amazon has updated its $50 Fire 7, $80 Fire HD 8 and $150 Fire HD 10 tablets for 2017, but despite their price difference, the choice isn't exactly clear-cut. The three offer the same access to Amazon services, including the Alexa assistant, but they differ in more than a couple categories.

  Fire 7 Fire HD 8 Fire HD 10
Starting price $49 $79 $149
Screen size (resolution) 7 inches (1024 x 600) 8 inches (1280 x 800) 10.1 inches (1920 x 1200)
CPU 1.3-GHz quad-core processor 1.3-GHz quad-core processor 1.8-GHz quad-core processor
RAM 1GB 1.5GB 2GB
Weight 10.4 ounces 13 ounces 17.7 ounces
Battery Life 6:53 10:59 9:04
Brightness 335 nits 380 nits 405 nits
sRGB gamut rating 79.4 percent 79.4 percent 104.2 percent
Dimensions 7.6 x 4.5 x 0.4 inches 8.4 x 5.0 x 0.4 inches 10.3 x 6.3 x 0.4 inches
Storage options 8GB; 16GB 16GB; 32GB 32GB; 64GB

Design

At first glance (and feel), the Fire tablets have only slightly different sizes and weights. All measure 0.4 inches thick, but the smaller Fire 7 is lighter, weighing 10.4 ounces to the HD 8's 13 ounces and the HD 10's 17.7 ounces.

image 3146251500392974The Amazon Fire 7 in Punch Red

All Fire tablets offer durable-feeling designs and matte shells, but the HD 8 and Fire 7 come in more color options: Black, Canary Yellow, Marine Blue and Punch Red. The Fire HD 10 isn't sold in the yellow tone, but in Black, Marine Blue and Punch Red.

Winner: The Fire 7's lighter weight makes it more portable.

Display

The Fire tablets reaffirm the axiom that bigger is better for displays. First off, the Fire HD 10 finally brings Full HD resolution to Amazon's slates, with its 1920 x 1200-pixel panel beating the Fire HD 8's 1280 x 800-pixel panel and the Fire 7's 1024 x 600-pixel screen.

hd 10 copy 3146251507725407The Fire HD 10 features the brightest, highest-resolution display.

The HD 10's panel is also the brightest of the three, blasting 405 nits of brightness, which vaults over the 380-nit HD 8 and the 335-nit Fire 7.

You'll only see better color output with the HD 10, as its 104.2 percent colorimeter rating trounces the sRGB ratings for the Fire 7 (78.4 percent) and the HD 8 (79.4 percent).

Winner: The Fire HD 10's screen is the best Amazon makes today.

Specs and Performance

The pricier Fire HD 8 and HD 10 aim to make up for higher price with better performance. The HD 10 packs a 1.8GHz quad-core CPU and 2GB of RAM, which places it above the Fire 7 (1.3-GHz processor, 1GB of RAM) and the HD 8 (1.3-GHz processor, 1.5GB RAM).

In testing, we saw the Fire 7 operate slightly slower than the HD 8, even pausing while it loaded apps. The Fire HD 8 stuttered only when we tried to multitask by jumping among multiple apps and the Silk browser with many tabs open.

image 3146251500393080The Fire HD 8 in Marine Blue.

The Fire HD 8 tablet also starts with more storage, coming with 16GB in the $80 model and 32GB in the $110 model. The Fire 7 comes with either 8GB ($49.99) or 16GB ($69.99). The HD 10 may offer 32GB of memory in its entry-level model, but that $149 version is three times the price of the Fire 7.

Winner: The Fire HD 8 offers a solid combination of value and speed, but we look forward to putting the HD 10 through more testing to see how fast it feels in everyday use.

Battery Life

image 3146251500393147The Fire 7 doesn't last as long on a single charge.

In one of the biggest differences between these tablets. The Fire HD 8's run time of 10 hours and 58 minutes on the Laptop Mag battery test (continuous web surfing at 150 nits) is more than 4 hours longer than the time from the Fire 7 (6:53) and more than 2 hours long than the time from the HD 10 (9:04).

Winner: The Fire HD 8 wins by up to a whopping 4 hours and 5 minutes.

Audio

If you're looking to watch a lot of trailers or listen to music on your tablet — and do so without headphones — you won't want the Fire 7. Amazon's cheapest tablet features only one, rear-firing, speaker with audio quality that muffled both vocals and instrumentals during our testing.

The Fire HD 8 and HD 10 feature stereo sound from dual Dolby Atmos stereo speakers. The HD 8's audio isn't perfect, though, as we heard slight distortion in the bass and vocals. We will test the HD 10 in greater detail soon.

Winner: The Fire HD 8's stereo sound improves over the Fire 7's single speaker.

Value

One of the cheapest tablets ever that we actually like. In fact, the Fire 7's $50 price makes it a steal. The $80 HD 8 costs $30 more, which is a 60 percent increase, and the $150 HD 10 is three-times the price of the Fire 7.

Winner: The Fire 7's $50 price is a far-from-secret weapon.

  Fire 7 Fire HD 8 Fire HD 10
Design    
Display    
Specs and Performance    
Battery Life    
Audio    
Value    
Overall 2 3

Bottom Line

firesSure, the Fire 7 may be more affordable, but for only $30 more, you get a tablet that's better in nearly every way. And while the Fire HD 10's screen is the best of the bunch, the HD 8 costs $70 less and lasts longer on a single charge. The Fire HD 8 is our top pick in this face-off because of its excellent mix of features and affordability, but the best reason to go with the Fire HD 8 is its much longer battery life.

Credit: Laptop Mag

Author Bio
Henry T. Casey
Henry T. Casey,
After graduating from Bard College a B.A. in Literature, Henry T. Casey worked in publishing and product development at Rizzoli and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, respectively. Henry joined Tom's Guide and LAPTOP having written for The Content Strategist, Tech Radar and Patek Philippe International Magazine. He divides his free time between going to live concerts, listening to too many podcasts, and mastering his cold brew coffee process. Content rules everything around him.
Henry T. Casey, on
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