Amazon Fire HD 8 Gets Better Selfie Camera, Hands-Free Alexa

Amazon's Fire HD 8 is already one of our favorite tablets, and one of its weakest features is finally getting fixed. 

The 2018 edition of the tablet, as well as its Kids Edition counterpart, offer an improved front-facing camera, so friends and family can see you more clearly on video calls.  

Specifically, the new Fire HD 8 tablets offer a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, which is a significant upgrade over the 0.3-megapixel lenses in the 2017 model. In our review of the 2017 Fire HD 8, we noted that "the front lens is extremely zoomed in; you'll have to extend your arm a bit to get a shot of your whole face," and we hope this fixes that issue.

The other new feature in the HD 8 is that Alexa can now be summoned in the traditional, voice-activated way, without requiring you to tap on the display. 

The rest of the HD 8's specs and features have stayed the same. The 8-inch screen measures 1280 x 800 pixels, the device comes with 16 or 32GB of storage (the latter costs an extra $30), and the tablet is available in black, blue, red and yellow designs.

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

The HD 8 also supports the $40 Show Mode Dock, which allows the tablet to function more like an Echo Show, Amazon's Alexa-enabled display. Amazon claims the tablet will last up to 10 hours, and, provided this model's battery is the same as its predecessor's, that should still be the case. The previous Fire HD 8 lasted an impressive 10 hours and 58 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test.

The new Fire HD 8 will ship on October 4 and retains its $79.99 pricing, while the new Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablet costs $129. We look forward to putting the Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 8 Kids Edition through the rigors of a full review soon.

Amazon has also announced Spanish language versions of its kid-friendly content subscriptions, FreeTime and FreeTime Unlimited. The services include "over 1,000 age-appropriate books, videos, educational apps, games," and will add Audible books and other online content soon.

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