Amazon Fire 7 vs HD 8 vs HD 10: What Should You Buy?
Dec. 5 Update: Amazon's added new Show Mode calling tricks to the HD 8 and HD 10 models.
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|
|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|
|Weight||10.4 ounces||13 ounces||17.7 ounces|
|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|
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.
The 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.
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.
The 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 307-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 (80 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.
The 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.
Calls and Show Mode
On Dec. 5, Amazon added a new feature for the Fire HD 8 (2017 and 2018 models) and Fire HD 10. These slates, when docked in Show Mode, can now perform and receive Drop Ins and announcements, the calls and notifications you make between friends and family.
Show Mode, if you don't know, is capable if you buy an Amazon Show Mode Dock, which turns your HD Fire tablet into a makeshift Echo Show, the Alexa-capable screen-based device. The Fire 7 didn't get this feature, as it doesn't support Show Mode.
The 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 9 hours and 12 minutes on the Laptop Mag battery test (continuous web surfing at 150 nits) is more than 2 hours longer than the time from the Fire 7 (6:53) and pretty close to the time from the HD 10 (9:04).
Winner: The Fire HD 8 and HD 10 are tied in the lead.
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.
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|
|Specs and Performance||✔|
|Calls and Show Mode||✔||✔|
Sure, 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