Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus vs Amazon Fire HD 10: which should you buy?
Two popular Amazon tablets, the Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10 go head-to-head, but which model will come out on top? Here's the verdict.
On the one hand, the choice Amazon offers with its range of affordable tablets means there should be something for everyone. On the other, this can make it tricky to know which is the best tablet for your needs.
It doesn’t just come down to price – in fact, little separates the different devices in Amazon’s tablet range from a cost perspective – you also have to factor in size, battery life, performance, and added extras.
To help you narrow down your choices, we’ve spent the past month putting the two bestselling models (according to Amazon) to the test – the Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus and the Amazon Fire HD 10. The Fire HD 7 is so cheap and basic that it almost doesn’t compare to the rest of the range. While the Amazon Fire HD 8 is remarkably similar to the HD 8 Plus, with a couple of differences, we’ll explain below.
What’s more, only £40 separates these two more expensive models, so unless you’re on a super tight budget, you’ll likely be wondering if it’s worth shelling out the extra or not. In our Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus vs Amazon Fire HD 10 review, we compare the two tablets’ key differences, specs, features, battery life and extra to help you make up your mind.
Amazon recently announced a refreshed lineup for the HD 10 range (with prices starting at £189.99). This versus article compares the 2019 model with the 2020 Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus. They’re more similar in price and specs, with enough differences to warrant confusion about which to buy. Plus, with the launch of the new HD 10s back in May, the price of the previous generation will likely drop.
If your whole family is using the tablet, head to our what is Amazon Kids+ explainer to find out more about the subscription to kid-friendly books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games.
- Key differences at a glance
- Specs and features
- Price and storage
- Battery life
- Verdict: which should you buy?
- Amazon’s Fire HD 8 Plus costs £109.99 versus the Fire HD 10’s £149.99 price
- The HD 8 Plus has an 8-inch display, while the HD 10 has a 10-inch panel
- The HD 10 is the only Amazon tablet in the range to offer full, high-definition image quality; the Fire HD 8 Plus falls short by around a million pixels
- The better quality HD 10 display panel does require more power, and this seemingly causes the battery life on the Amazon 10 to fall short of that seen on the Fire HD 8 Plus (10 hours vs 12 hours)
- The HD 8 Plus offers wireless charging with USB-C, the HD 10 just offers USB-C
- You can expand the HD 8 Plus to 1TB via microSD, but only 512GB on the HD 10
- Both devices have Alexa built-in and can be used in Show Mode, which turns the respective tablets into full-screen devices
- Elsewhere, the software, camera setup, and built-in storage options are identical
Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus vs Amazon Fire HD 10 in detail
Because both Amazon tablets are cut from the same cloth, they share the majority of features, albeit with slightly more screen and more power in the case of the HD 10.
Both run Fire OS which is an Amazon skin placed over the top of standard Android software. Almost every element of this OS is geared towards trying to sell you something – whether it’s an Amazon service (Prime Video, Amazon Music, Audible, and Kindle) or via the Amazon Shopping app.
All are placed front-of-centre on the homepage and throughout the setup process. This feels intrusive on both devices but specifically the HD 8. Its smaller screen means that all you can see is Amazon “ads” upon unlocking it. This, coupled with the lock screen ads that come with both, are somewhat overkill. It’s the sacrifice you have to make for Amazon to be able to price its tablets so low, however.
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Instead of running the Play Store found on pure Android tablets, Amazon runs its own app store. Most of the big hitters are there (Netflix, BBC iPlayer, All 4, ITV Hub, SkyGo and Disney+) with one exception; Google’s suite of apps. This means Google Drive, YouTube, Chrome, and many more cannot be downloaded as standalone apps. You can only access them via a bookmark on the built-in Amazon browser. Clunky and inconvenient, to say the least.
The standout feature for us on both devices is Show Mode. Either by asking Alexa to “enable Show Mode” or enabling it via the on-screen controls, you can transform your HD 8 Plus or HD 10 into an Echo Show. We actually feel that an Amazon Fire HD tablet running Show Mode is more convenient than an actual Echo Show because it’s more portable and has more versatility.
Show Mode replaces the normal tablet menus and app icons with a simple, full-screen that you control with your voice. It’s great for using in the kitchen to follow recipe videos, catch up on your favourite shows, ask questions, get weather and news headlines, and make video calls. Plus many of the other Alexa Skills.
The HD 10’s screen size lends itself much better across the board to all of these features and apps. It’s just a little more cumbersome to prop up in the kitchen or anywhere else compared to the HD 8 Plus.
The main point of distinction, beyond the size, between the two tablets is that the Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus offers wireless charging. A first for an Amazon device and the key differentiator with the Fire HD 8, too. The more recently announced Fire HD 10 for 2021 adds wireless charging, but you pay another £40 – so £80 in total – above the price of the HD 8 Plus for the privilege.
If you want to add a charging dock, you’ll pay an additional £39.99 on top of the standard Fire HD 8 Plus price.
The Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus comes in two storage sizes – 32GB and 64GB – and you can choose to buy with lock screen Amazon ads or with the adverts removed. Both sizes are expandable up to 1TB.
The prices, when bought directly from Amazon, are as follows:
- Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus, 32GB storage with home screen ads: £109.99
- Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus, 32GB storage without ads: £119.99
- Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus, 64GB storage and ads: £139.99
- Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus, 64GB storage without ads: £149.99
- Amazon Fire HD 10, 32GB storage with ads: £179.99
- Amazon Fire HD 10, 32GB storage without ads: £189.99
- Amazon Fire HD 10, 64GB storage with ads: £219.99
- Amazon Fire HD 10, 64GB storage without ads: £229.99
Amazon Fire HD 10 is available with Wi-Fi only and comes with 32GB or 64GB storage. You can expand this up to 512GB via a microSD card. 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.
You’d think the larger model, with its larger, 6,300mAh battery (vs the HD 8’s 4750 mAh), would have a better battery life than its smaller sibling. However, the HD 10 actually performed poorly in our streaming test.
We tested both tablets’ battery life by playing an HD video on repeat. We set the brightness to 70% and had aeroplane mode enabled.
Amazon promises that the Fire HD 10 and 8 HD Plus will both last 12 hours. We only got 10 hours and 14 minutes out of the larger model, but an impressive 12 hours 17 minutes on the smaller version. Better than expected.
This is likely because the HD 10 uses more energy to power its more vibrant, Full-HD display, and it’s more powerful. By comparison, the Fire HD 8 Plus is sluggish and lags more times than we could count. We’ll take the battery hit for the sake of a better performing tablet.
As we mentioned in the key differences section, the HD 8 Plus has an 8-inch display that doesn’t quite reach Full HD classification. Despite its name.
To be classified as HD, a display needs to have more than 921,000 pixels. To reach Full HD status, it must have a minimum of 2 million. The Fire 8 HD and 8 HD Plus both have HD screens but miss the mark 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. This makes it the only Amazon tablet in the range to offer full, high-definition image quality, and the difference is noticeable.
Granted, if you’re simply browsing, watching TikTok or similar, or playing games with regular graphics, the upgraded screen won’t feel all that special. However, when you want to watch Full HD shows, play souped-up games or even read on the Kindle app, this increase in pixels will come into its own. Lines are sharper, colours are richer, and the whole experience feels more advanced.
All Fire tablets have the same aesthetic. They all have fat bezels, chunky shapes, rounded corners, and plastic casing. In summary, they look and feel as cheap as their price tag would suggest.
The larger size of the HD 10 does manage to balance all the different design elements and components better than the Fire HD 8 Plus, and it feels lighter and thinner despite the fact it's not. It weighs in at 504g vs the 355g of the Fire HD 8s – which subconsciously gives it a more luxurious, expensive feel.
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. 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 paradox.
In terms of ports on both tablets, there are 3.5mm stereo headphone jacks, USB-C charging ports and microphones.
The Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus and HD 10 share almost as many similarities as they do differences. In the HD 8 Plus’ favour, it has wireless charging and is cheaper, with better battery life. The HD 10 offers a much better screen and is more powerful, but it is £40 more expensive.
If you’re umming and ahhing over these tablets because the price is a major consideration, the HD 10 might seem a lot dearer for not a lot of extra features, but, in our view, it’s a worthwhile investment. Particularly when you factor in that Amazon has just launched a new range of HD 10 tablets, which will push the price of the original down to be closer to the Fire HD 8.
The display is better, the screen size gives you a greater viewing angle for TV shows, and it feels more like a tablet should, as opposed to purely feeling like a large phone a la the Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus.