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

Amazon keeps updated its $50 Fire 7, $80 Fire HD 8 and $150 Fire HD 10 tablets, 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.

Amazon Fire 7, Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10 specs

Fire 7Fire HD 8Fire HD 10
Starting price$49.99$79.99$149.99
Screen size (resolution)7 inches (1024 x 600)8 inches (1280 x 800)10.1 inches (1920 x 1200)
CPU1.3-GHz quad-core processor1.3-GHz quad-core processor2.0 GHz octa-core processor
RAM1GB1.5GB2GB
Weight10.1 ounces13 ounces17.8 ounces
Battery Life6:56 (Alexa disabled) | 6:16 (Alexa enabled)9:1213:45
Brightness370 nits380 nits403 nits
sRGB gamut rating66%79%106%
Dimensions7.6 x 4.5 x 0.4 inches8.4 x 5.0 x 0.4 inches10.3 x 6.3 x 0.4 inches
Storage options16GB; 32GB16GB; 32GB32GB; 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.

The Amazon Fire 7

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.

The Fire HD 10 features the brightest, highest-resolution display.
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The HD 10's panel is also the brightest of the three, blasting 403 nits of brightness, which vaults over the 307-nit HD 8 and the 370-nit Fire 7.

You'll only see better color output with the HD 10, as its 106% colorimeter rating trounces the sRGB ratings for the Fire 7 (78%) and the HD 8 (80%).

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 new HD 10 got an even faster-than-before 2.0 GHz octa-core CPU  to compliment its 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 2019 Fire 7 offers twice as much storage, with 16GB and 32GB. 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.

Battery Life

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

In one of the biggest differences between these tablets, the Fire HD 10 owns this round to a large degree. The HD 10 hit a high 13 hours and 45 minutes on the Laptop Mag battery test (continuous web surfing at 150 nits), which leaps over the Fire HD 8's run time of 9 hours and 12 minutes. The Fire 7 (up to 6:56) did even worse.

Winner: The Fire HD 10 is the battery king.

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, but we heard slight distortion in the bass and vocals from both.

Winner: The Fire HD 8 and HD 10 get a win, but it's not a strong one.

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 7Fire HD 8Fire HD 10
DesignX
DisplayX
Specs and PerformanceX
Calls and Show ModeXXX
Battery LifeX
AudioXX
ValueX
Overall325

Bottom Line

Sure, the Fire 7 may be more affordable, but for only $30 more, you get a tablet that's better in nearly every way. Sure, the HD 8 costs $70 less and offers decent audio, but that's not enough for the throne. 

The Fire HD 10 scores more wins with its display and longevity. Yes, it's more expensive, but sometimes you get what you pay for.

Credit: Laptop Mag