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The 2020 Amazon Fire HD 8 comes with USB-C port, faster processor, twice the storage, and new horizontal-first design. Do these features justify its higher price?
Amazon has just announced the 10th-generation Fire HD 8 tablet family. The new range includes the regular variant, the version for kids, and the top-end HD 8 Plus version.
There are a few improvements and new features – we list them below. If we leave the Plus version aside, the major new thing in Amazon’s mid-sized tablet is its new design tailored for horizontal use. Other features, such as bigger storage (both internal and via memory card), are something everyone was expecting.
One thing to notice is that Amazon is adjusting the price strategy. Newly released Kindle and Fire models are more expensive that their predecessors, and the same thing applies to the 8-inch Fire tablet.
The price of the entry-level variant, with special offers and 32 GB of internal memory, is set at $89.99. It’s $10 higher than the 2018 model. You may say that the price difference is not essential and you may live with that. The only thing is that if you buy the new tablet, you will need to pay extra for the case, as the new model has a different shape and size. As a result, you will have to pay around $100 for a replacement of your current Fire tablet.
Is Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020) worth it? Let its features speak for themselves. If you want to learn more, make sure to check out Fire HD 8 2020 specs and comparisons with the earlier model as well as the most affordable iPad.
Fast USB-C port
Fire HD 8 released in 2020 is Amazon’s first tablet to feature USB type C connector. The same connection port is used, for instance, in iPad Pro models.
USB-C port enables you to charge your Fire quicker than using the former standard – USB 2.0 micro-B. Using a 5W power adapter that’s included in the box, you will be able to fully recharge the battery in under 5 hours. If you have a 15W power adapter, you will recharge the Fire’s battery in less than 3 hours.
As a reference, in the previous-generation model, 6 hours were needed to achieve full battery level via micro-USB port.
Amazon Fire HD 8 has a completely new look. If in portrait mode, it’s wider than its predecessor. You may assume it’s because of a new display with a different aspect ratio.
The fact is that the display is the same (and not so good) as in the 2018 generation – 1280 × 800 px, with 189 pixel density.
A different look is a result of redesigning the bezel. In a previous generation the sides were narrow, while the top and bottom were larger. In the new model the bezel’s width is roughly the same around the display.
The reason is simple: the front camera was moved from top side in portrait mode to top side in horizontal mode.
This single design decision significantly changes the way you’ll use the tablet. From now on, it is much easier to make video calls in a horizontal mode. In a vast majority of other tablets the camera position is tailored for portrait view, what affects how others see you when talking on Skype or Zoom with a tablet put in a horizontal mode – the camera is on the side of the screen instead of top.
The horizontal-first view is a natural choice for a tablet range that’s designed for watching or two-hand use. It’s also connected with the wireless charging stand (Fire HD Plus version only) which lets you charge the tablet only in the horizontal position.
30% faster performance
The 2020 8-inch Fire tablet is equipped with a faster processor (Quad-Core 2 GHz vs. 1.3 GHz in the 2018 model). Thanks to that, the performance is better by 30%.
Don’t expect the new model to be super-fast, though. Fire tablets usually offer medium-to-low performance compared to tablets from other major brands, naming only Samsung or Apple.
If you have used the Fire before, you know that the speed of a newly released model would be fine for the next couple of months, but after a few updates of the operating system, the tablet will become slow and buggy, even to the point it would be impossible to use it.
Bigger internal memory
Every new generation of Fire tablets comes at least with an upgrade of internal memory. Fire HD 8 2020 offers two storage options: 32 or 64 GB, which is twice as much as in the previous model.
However, if you already own a microSD card, you don’t have to buy the 64 GB variant that costs $30 more. You can store all your movies, photos, audiobooks, and other personal files on a memory card which would also be used with any other Fire model, including the one you will buy in the future.
Support for 1 TB memory cards
Support for memory cards is one of the biggest benefits of Amazon Fire tablets. You can use one card with multiple Fire models.
The new Fire HD 8 comes with a support for 1 TB microSD cards, compared to 400 GB in the 2018 model. It doesn’t mean you have to buy the new card. All you have to do is check out how much memory is used on your current card, and how much more you need in the near future.
It may turn out 200 or 400 GB is more than enough for all the files you have.
2 MP front camera
Fire tablets are meant to be your video calls assistant. They never featured top-end rear cameras for making beautiful photos, but they sport solid front cameras, to help you see more on Skype or Zoom.
Currently, all Fire models features 2 MP camera on the front, and the same 2 MP camera on the back. Both cameras support 720p HD video recording.
This convenient feature is available only in the HD 8 Plus version which costs $20 more. What’s more, to use this form of charging, you have to buy a dedicated Wireless Charging Dock, so in the end you will pay $169.99 instead of $89.99.
The wireless charging dock lets you avoid the cable mess. You can place the Fire on a dock and it instantly transforms into a countertop smart display with hands-free Alexa access in Show Mode.
Wireless Charging Dock will be compatible with future Plus-level generations of the 7- and 10-inch Fire models, but for now, it works only with Fire HD 8 Plus.
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