Amazon Fire HD 10 vs. the Competition: What's the Best Large Tablet?

Looking for a large tablet on a small budget? Amazon's new Fire HD 10 is a tantalizing option with its low $230 starting price. The 10-inch slate is super sleek and lightweight, and comes with a whole host of Amazon goodies. But how does it stack up to other ten-inch tablets in the market?

Here's a specs and features comparison against the iPad Air 2, Microsoft Surface 3, Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 10 and Lenovo Tab A10 2 to help you decide.

Physically, the 15.2-ounce Fire HD 10 is the second lightest of the lot, losing only to the feather-light Galaxy Tab S2 (13.72 ounces). It's not as thin as the iPad Air 2 or the Galaxy, but is slimmer than the Surface and Lenovo. 

MORE: Our Favorite Tablets for Work and Play

The new Amazon tablet is armed with a 1.5-GHz quad-core MediaTek processor, which Amazon says allows for fast app switching. The Galaxy Tab S2 packs a powerful octa-core Exynos 5433 chip, but Apple's A8X processor is even faster based on the Geekbench 3 benchmark. The Surface 3's Intel Atom CPU fell behind the Apple and Samsung. 

Amazon promises up to 8 hours of use on the Fire HD 10, which would be longer than the Galaxy Tab S2's 7 hour and 32-minute runtime on our battery test. However, it's shorter than the Surface 3's 8:01, the iPad Air 2's 9:20 and the Lenovo's impressive 10-hour times. Of course, we'll have to put the Fire HD 10 through our battery test, which involves continuous surfing over Wi-Fi, to see how it really does. 

Although it trails the rest in specs, what the Fire HD 10 has over its competitors is the wealth of content and special features Amazon provides. There's the brand new On Deck tool, which stores a selection of popular Amazon Prime movies and TV shows, as well as Amazon Original Series on your tablet so you don't have to worry about stocking up before a long flight. On Deck automatically makes room for media you download, so you don't need to worry about running out of storage.

You'll also get free unlimited cloud storage for your photos and Amazon content, such as movies, TV shows, songs, books, magazines, apps and games. The tablet will ship with the new Amazon Underground store that gives away apps that normally come at a price.. Underground even makes in-app purchases in some apps available at no cost, making it a great deal for mobile gamers looking to score bonuses. 

Other Amazon-only features include the Mayday screen sharing tech support feature, FreeTime for controlling how long your kids use the tablet and X-Ray for quickly skimming e-books.

Overall, the Amazon Fire HD 10 is a serious bargain for those who want a large, multimedia tablet. Its On Deck feature is perfect for frequent travelers, and the wealth of content is great for multimedia gluttons. However, other lesser-known Android tablets beat the Fire HD 10 on certain specs. For example, the Lenovo Tab 2 A10 offers a sharper full HD screen and 12 hours of battery life for $200, or $30 less than the Amazon.

Nevertheless, the Fire HD 10 looks like a promising option for those on a budget who want to take advantage of Amazon's growing content ecosystem.

Tablet Guide

Cherlynn Low
Staff Writer
Cherlynn joined the Laptopmag team in June 2013 and has since been writing about all things tech and digital with a focus on mobile and Internet software development. She also edits and reports occasionally on video. She graduated with a M.S. in Journalism (Broadcast) from Columbia University in May 2013 and has been designing personal websites since 2001.