When it comes to the “race to the bottom” Amazon is the best. Amazon was first to announce a tablet under $200, which was the original Kindle Fire back in 2012. Since then, Amazon has announced a few other tablets that have gotten cheaper and cheaper with better and better specs. This past week, the company announced 3 new tablets and lowered the price on their Kindle Fire Kids Edition tablet. Amazon announced the Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10, which cements the rumors that they are going bigger, and that their tablets are meant for entertainment. Why also introducing the $50 Fire Tablet. The Fire HD 10 comes in at $229 and the 8-inch version at $149. Making for some really compelling choices. So what’s so great about them? Well let’s talk about it.
With the Fire Tablet, it’s great because it means Amazon can get their Fire Tablet into more hands. Since it is coming in at a $50 price point. Their tablets have always been a gateway into their store. Whether its to read books, watch movies and TV Shows through Instant video, or to order stuff from Amazon to be shipped to their home. The Fire Tablet is also a great first tablet. For your kids, it means its a cheap tablet that can play their favorite games, they can watch Netflix, and most of all if they damage it, it’s only a $50 tablet. And not the $400 Samsung Galaxy Tab S2.
However, since the Fire Tablet is an Amazon tablet, that means no Google services. Well actually you have a few. There is a YouTube app in the Amazon App Store, but don’t expect to see Google Play Games, Google Play Music, Gmail, or really any of their other apps on the Fire Tablet. So that’s what you’re giving up by getting a cheaper tablet. That also means you’re going to need to redownload or rebuy your apps. Since you’re using the Amazon App Store here instead of the Google Play Store. Sucks, but that’s the compromise of a $50 Fire Tablet.
With the Fire HD 8 and 10, we’re looking at fairly high-end specs. Although Amazon went with MediaTek this year instead of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors. However, there is a 1280×800 resolution display here. So not really on par with other tablets coming out these days that typically have a QHD display like 2560×1440. But again, these are less than a third of the price, in many comparisons. You get 16GB or 32GB of internal storage here as well as a microSD card slot that supports up to 200GB. Now this is the beginning of that gateway. Many of you probably know that Amazon has microSD cards much, much cheaper than Best Buy, or anyone that has a physical store. So they get you for the Fire HD 10, but also for buying a microSD card. That is if you want to buy more storage. But overall, spec-wise it’s a great value for the money.
Much like the Fire Tablet, the Fire HD 8 and 10 are great for consuming media, and thats what they were built for. With Amazon Instant Video, Netflix and Hulu+ all being there, it’s a great experience. But similar to the Fire Tablet, there’s no Google services. And you’re stuck with the Amazon App Store over the Google Play Store.
I know, I know, we’re an Android site so we are supposed to hate on Amazon’s new tablets. But actually, I think they are great. I’ve reviewed the Amazon Fire HDX, and a few other members of the Android Headlines team have had time with their other tablets in the past few years. And actually we don’t totally hate them. They serve a purpose. Now would we rather have Google Services? Of course, but these tablets will likely get rooted and get some CyanogenMod support soon. Not to mention, it’s great for watching movies and TV Shows. Especially now that Amazon Instant Video is getting a whole lot more content. Better content. Along with the recent update to Amazon Instant Video that lets you download movies to watch offline. These are great tablets. But don’t go buying one expecting to get the same experience you’d get from the Google Nexus 9 or the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2.
All three tablets will be available on September 30th, but you can pre-order them now (Fire Tablet, Fire HD 8, Fire HD 10). Oh, and I totally forgot the best part of the Fire Tablet, you can buy it in a six-pack. Yes seriously. For $250, you can get a six pack of Fire Tablets. Which if you’re good at math, you’ll know that means the sixth one is essentially free. So you can get one for you, your wife, your kids, even your parents all at once. Amazon needs to use that example to market this. Anyways, that’s the good, the bad and the ugly of the new Amazon tablets. I have to say I’m pretty excited to get these in-house and see what our editorial team thinks about them.