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Amazon Fire HD 10 review

The Amazon Fire HD 10 is a flagship device without a flagship price. It has decent power and battery life. Just don’t go thinking it will replace your laptop anytime soon.

Our rating 
4.2 out of 5 star rating 4.2
£149.99
Amazon Fire HD 10 review

Our review

A flagship device with decent battery life and power, but without a flagship price.
Pros: Very affordable way to buy a full HD tablet
Wealth of content on tap
Easy to setup and use
Three gadgets in one – a Fire tablet, Echo Show and Kindle
Cons: Doesn’t have the wireless charging seen on the Fire HD 8 Plus
Lacks support for native Google apps – including Drive, YouTube and Gmail

Amazon’s entire Fire tablet range has been designed to appeal to the widest possible demographic. The Fire 7 is a cheap and cheerful entry-level device. The HD 8, and HD 8 Plus occupy the lower and higher ends of the mid-range spectrum. There are even Kids Editions in each size. Then there’s the Amazon Fire HD 10.

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It’s a flagship device without a flagship price. It’s more powerful, with a larger display than its siblings – to appeal to more “pro” tablet users – all while offering the same level of entertainment features. In fact, it’s the only HD Fire tablet that actually has a Full HD screen (more on that later).

But are all of these upgrades worth paying three times as much as the Fire 7? Plus, if you’re in the market for a more pro tablet, does Amazon’s flagship tick the boxes?

In our Amazon Fire HD 10 review, we look at what the 10-inch tablet offers compared to its siblings, we review its performance and display upgrades, and we see if there is still a place for a relatively cheap 10-inch tablet in today’s tablet market.

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Amazon Fire HD 10 review: summary

Price: £149.99

Key features:

  • 10-inch Full HD tablet powered by Fire OS – Amazon’s take on Android
  • 32GB or 64GB of storage, both expandable to 512GB via microSD
  • 2GB RAM
  • 12-hour battery life
  • Alexa-built in meaning this tablet can double up as an alternative to the Echo Show 10

Pros:

  • Very affordable way to buy a full HD tablet
  • Wealth of content on tap
  • Easy to setup and use
  • Three gadgets in one – a Fire tablet, Echo Show and Kindle

Cons:

  • Doesn’t have the wireless charging seen on the Fire HD 8 Plus
  • Lacks support for native Google apps – including Drive, YouTube and Gmail

The Amazon Fire HD 10  is available at Amazon for £149.99.

Amazon Fire 10 HD Prime 2

What is the Amazon Fire HD 10?

In the wider Amazon devices range, the Amazon Fire HD 10 is positioned as the flagship tablet. It’s more expensive than any of its siblings and promises 30% more power than the previous version. It also claims to have a 12-hour battery life.

It comes in at £149.99, meaning the HD 10 is three times the price of the entry-level Amazon Fire 7. Yet it’s only £40, and £60 more than the Fire HD 8 Plus and Fire HD 8 respectively. If anything, the Amazon Fire HD 10’s nearest competitor, price-wise, is the £139.99 Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition. For the latter, though, you get a free Amazon Kids+ subscription bundled in, which explains its higher price.

All Fire tablets, so the Fire HD 10 included, come with less-than-adequate 2MP cameras on the front and rear, and all are powered by Amazon’s take on Android – Fire OS. This software looks and feels largely like pure Android, albeit with a whole load of Amazon promotions and ads thrown in. However, the biggest difference is the lack of a Google Play Store and namely the lack of native Google apps.

This means you can’t download apps for Google Drive, Google Docs, YouTube, Gmail and more. It is possible to access each of these services via Amazon’s pre-installed Silk browser as bookmarks, but the experience is clunky and less than ideal, especially if you’re a heavy Google user.

Amazon doesn’t position the Fire HD 10, or any of its Fire tablets for that matter, as being productivity workhorses. They’re built for entertainment, and that’s what Amazon wants you to use them for, meaning the lack of Google apps won’t be a dealbreaker for many.

For the extra money when buying the Fire HD 10, you get a Full HD screen instead of a regular HD display and an octa-core processor, rather than a dual-core version. These give it both a viewing and power boost. It’s also larger and slightly thicker to accommodate the 10-inch display.

Delving into the specs further, you’ll notice that the Fire HD 10 isn’t a flagship device across all categories. It shares the same battery life but doesn’t come with the wireless charging option of the Fire HD 8 Plus. It also has 1GB RAM less than the Plus model. Elsewhere, it charges an hour slower than the Fire HD 8 (four hours vs five).

It is possible to expand the built-in 32GB or 64GB storage on the Fire HD 10, but it only accepts microSD cards up to 512GB. This is half the amount of additional storage seen on the Fire HD 10’s cheaper siblings.

What does Amazon Fire HD 10 do?

Amazon’s Fire HD 10 follows suit with the rest of the range, providing access to cheap, portable entertainment and browsing. As a result, it comes with all of Amazon’s own-brand services – Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Music, Audible and Kindle pre-installed – and the likes of Netflix and BBC iPlayer are a click away via the Amazon App Store.

  • Media streaming with Amazon Prime Video installed by default
  • Netflix, BBC iPlayer, All 4, ITV Hub, SkyGo and Disney+ available from the Amazon App Store
  • Kindle e-reader and access to the Kindle Store, plus Kindle Unlimited (for an extra fee)
  • Show Mode turns the Fire HD 10 into an Echo Show, complete with Alexa Skills 
  • Alexa built-in means you can use the Fire HD 10 Kids Edition to control Echo, plus other compatible smart devices, using your voice or the Alexa app
  • Available in black, plum, blue and white
Amazon Fire HD 10 Kindle view
Amazon Fire HD 10 Kindle view

How much is Amazon Fire HD 10?

Unlike the smaller models in the Fire range, it’s not possible to pay extra to remove the lock screen ads on the Fire HD 10. This means you only get to choose between the 32GB or 64GB model and which colour you want.

The Amazon Fire HD 10 price, when bought directly from Amazon, is as follows:

You can also buy the Amazon Fire HD 10 from the following places:

Is the Amazon Fire HD 10 good value for money?

If you’re in the market for a cheap 10-inch tablet, even one that offers the hardware and entertainment of the Fire HD 10, £150 may seem steep.

In this respect, Amazon is very much a victim of its own success. By selling tablets so cheaply across the board, it makes a very affordable, Full-HD tablet that would – in normal circumstances – seem like a great deal, feel overpriced.

It’s not, though. The Fire HD 10 is almost staggeringly cheaper than some of the rival 10-inch tablets from the likes of Samsung and Huawei. These rivals range from £170 up to £500+ for wildly different specifications.

And, of course, Amazon isn’t stupid. It’s actually very shrewd with its tablet pricing strategy. By making the £150 10-inch version seem expensive, it makes the Fire HD 8 range more appealing. By pricing the HD 8 Plus at only £20 more than the lower-end HD 8, people almost feel obliged to go for the 8 HD Plus because it feels like such great value for money, comparatively.

Amazon Fire HD 10 Prime 3

Amazon may lose out on £40 per sale for the HD 10, but it’s more likely to sell a greater number of the 8 HD Plus, meaning the losses are soon swallowed. All while offering a 10-inch model to those who really care about the better screen.

This explains why Amazon added wireless charging to the 8 HD Plus and the 8 HD Plus only and why the expandable storage is better on the Fire HD 8 range.

All things considered, the Fire HD 8 Plus represents better value for money than the HD 10, but we’d still recommend the latter. The larger, Full HD display lends itself much better to be a portable entertainment device, and it packs a whole load of punch for relatively very little. Despite what the pricing strategy would have you believe, the Fire HD 10 is still great value for money.

Amazon Fire HD 10 features

If you’ve read our previous Fire HD 8 review, Fire HD 8 Plus review or even our Fire HD 8 Kids Edition review, the below is going to sound very familiar.

The Fire HD 10 runs Fire OS, like all Fire tablets do, which means it also uses Amazon’s bespoke Silk Browser by default. Almost every element of this OS is geared towards making you sign up for various Amazon products and services. Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Music, Audible, Kindle and, of course, the Amazon Shopping app are all front-of-centre on the homepage and throughout the setup process.

This, coupled with the lock screen ads, can become a bit much, but it’s ultimately what allows Amazon to price its tablets so low. So we’ll take that hit. A hit we struggle to take, however, is the lack of Google apps. This includes YouTube, Chrome and many more. This won’t feel like a big problem for some people, but it’s worth noting because we missed these apps.

Amazon Fire HD 10 lock screen ads
Amazon Fire HD 10 lock screen ads

The standout feature for us in the Fire HD 10 – as it was in the Fire HD 8 and HD 8 Plus – is Show Mode. Either by asking Alexa to “enable Show Mode”, or enabling it via the on-screen controls, you can transform your HD 10 into an Echo Show 10. Without forking out an additional £240.

Show Mode gives you the same full-screen Alexa experience as the original. It replaces the normal menus and app icons with a simple screen that you control with your voice. It’s great for propping the Fire HD 10 up in your kitchen to follow recipe videos, catch up on your favourite shows, ask questions, get weather and news headlines, and make video calls. Plus much more.

It’s not an exact like-for-like, of course. The new Echo Show 10’s much better-quality, 13MP camera follows you around the room and keeps you in the frame, thanks to its rotating base. By comparison, the Fire HD 10 has a static, 2MP camera. Measly by comparison. On the plus side, you don’t have to keep the Fire HD 10 plugged into the mains, though. Nor is it £240.

We’d go as far as to say the Fire HD 10 in Show Mode is better than a standard Echo Show because of this increased portability. We must warn you, though, if you’re using multiple Alexa-enabled devices – tablets, Echos or more – in the same vicinity, they’ll all spring into action when you call their name. This can get confusing.

Amazon Fire HD 10 screen and sound quality

As previously mentioned, the Amazon Fire HD 10 is the only Fire tablet to come with a Full HD screen. To be classified as HD, a display needs to have more than 921,000 pixels. To reach full HD status, it must have 2 million, minimum.

The Fire 8 HD and 8 HD Plus both have HD screens, but they fall short of the technical definition of Full HD by around 1 million pixels. The Amazon Fire HD 10 has a screen resolution of 1920 x 1200, which equates to 2.3 million pixels.

The day-to-day difference isn’t hugely stark, and you don’t really notice the shift unless the HD and Full HD screens are next to each other. The edges on the smaller icons and notifications are much sharper on the HD 10 than on the smaller tablets, but that is also because the screen is larger, so these icons themselves aren’t as small by default.

The Full HD screen comes into its own when watching Netflix, Amazon Prime et al. High-quality content looks more crisp and vibrant, while the Full HD makes low-quality shows look even worse.

The quality of sound that comes out of the Fire HD 10’s dual speakers is admirable. Just like the other tablets in the Fire range, its sound certainly isn’t loud enough to fill a busy room, but it’s enough to help you watch shows over the sound of your preparing dinner or similar. Thanks to the partnership with Dolby Atmos, the sound is much more well-rounded and less tinny than we’d expect for such a relatively cheap device. Plus, they do a good job of making voices sound clear when audiobooks are being read aloud or during video calls.

Amazon Fire HD 10 front

Amazon Fire HD 10 design

The Fire HD 10 has the same overall design as the rest of the Fire tablet range – a fat bezel, chunky shape, rounded corners, and plastic casing. Albeit in a larger size.

It may be due to the way you hold the larger 10-inch device or the quality of the Full HD screen, but the Fire HD 10 doesn’t feel as cheap as its siblings. It’s more balanced, meaning it’s more comfortable to hold when used as a Kindle. It’s significantly heavier, too – weighing in at 504g vs the 355g of the Fire HD 8s – which subconsciously gives it a more luxurious, expensive feel.

Conversely, despite this extra weight and heft, the Fire HD 10 doesn’t feel as robust as its smaller equivalents. This may be because there is more screen to break, but it’s a strange paradox.

In terms of ports on the Fire HD 10, there’s a 3.5mm stereo headphone jack, a USB-C charging port and a microphone.

Amazon Fire HD 10 review ports

Amazon Fire HD 10 set-up

Ease-of-use and simple, intuitive screens are at the heart of the Fire tablet range. The HD 10 is no exception.

You’re guided through, step-by-step, how to get your Amazon Fire HD 10 connected to your Wi-Fi, signed into your Amazon account, and how to add on various Amazon services (or sign into them, if you’re already a subscriber.) You’re even presented with a screen of popular apps that you can download from the setup screen, rather than having to find them in the Amazon App Store.

A series of promotional messages punctuate this setup and, while this is a minor inconvenience, it’s an inconvenience nonetheless.

Amazon Fire HD 10 battery life and performance

For every tablet we review, we test its battery life by playing an HD video on repeat. We set the brightness to 70% and have aeroplane mode enabled. This video loops from full charge until the battery goes flat.

Amazon promises that the Fire HD 10 will last 12 hours, but it fell a little short in our test, reaching 10 hours and 14 minutes. This is a tad disappointing and worse than the battery performance of the 8 HD Plus. It’s only marginally better than the 8 HD. We did have a feeling that the HD 10, with its Full HD screen, would miss the mark by comparison, so this isn’t a huge surprise.

The battery lasted a lot longer when using the Amazon Fire HD 10 for everyday tasks. The occasional game of SimCity, catching up with three episodes of a podcast, a video call with our parents, and general browsing for a few hours every day, saw the tablet last into the fourth day. The longest of any of the Fire tablets we’ve tried.

This may have something to do with the fact it has a relatively souped-up, octa-core processor, the only processor in the range to have eight cores. Not only does this help improve the performance and reduce the lag, seen on other Fire tablets, but by seemingly optimising the software to work better with this processor means it works more efficiently with the battery, too.

Don’t get us wrong. The Fire HD 10 isn’t lightning-fast, but it’s a noticeable improvement on other Fire tablets we’ve tested. It can be a little slow to switch between regular and Show Mode, and there can be delays when loading shows, but by and large, its speed is more than adequate for an entertainment device.

Amazon Fire HD 10 Prime menu

Our verdict: should you buy the Amazon Fire HD 10?

When tablets first hit the mainstream, a 10-inch display was the default for many manufacturers. It was large enough to distinguish the tablets from the, then, much smaller smartphone displays while positioning the tablets themselves as laptop alternatives.

Over time, the screens on tablets (particularly those at the cheaper end) have shrunk, while smartphone screens have grown, and the two devices now occupy a very similar space.

Today, you have the choice of smaller, cheaper devices aimed at more general consumers to either compliment or sit in lieu of a larger, more expensive phone. And pricey, 10-inch devices aimed at pro consumers looking to do everything and more on them.

Amazon’s Fire HD 10 occupies a welcomed middle-ground. You get a well-balanced, largely well-designed 10-inch device on which to watch your favourite shows. It has enough power to do a range of tasks, and the addition of Show Mode just increases its versatility and appeal. All without charging a fortune for the privilege.

Rating:

Features: 5/5

Screen and sound quality: 3/5

Design: 4/5

Set-up: 5/5

Battery life and performance: 3/5

Overall rating: 4.2/5

Where to buy the Amazon Fire HD 10  

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Want to compare with other Amazon Fire HD models? Check out our Fire HD 8 review, Fire HD 8 Plus review and our Fire HD 8 Kids Edition review to help you decide.