The Fire HD 10 is the latest tablet from Amazon
- Pros – Hands-Free Alexa, Solid 1080p Display, Loud Dual Front-Facing Speakers, Very Reasonable Price
- Cons – Plastic Back Feels A Little Cheap, Greater Value To Those Already Invested in Prime Services
The latest Fire HD 10 tablet is an interesting proposition.
Unlike its competitors, Amazon has resisted the urge to transform its flagship tablet into a productivity-focused laptop replacement, à la iPad Pro.
Instead, the US retail company has doubled-down on features that make the tablet an ideal companion for consuming content – a widescreen 1080p display, stereo speakers with Dolby Audio, and expandable storage up to 256GB.
And while it might just about be possible to make it through a day’s work using an iPad Pro or Google Pixel C tablet, you’d be hard pushed to do more than answer a few emails on the Fire HD 10.
But that’s fine, because the Fire HD 10 really excels at all the stuff you want to do on your way home from work – reading Kindle eBooks, binge-watching the latest series on Netflix, browsing through a magazine, playing video games.
For £149.99, that’s probably enough of a value proposition – especially if you’re already deeply invested in Amazon digital services.
Fire HD 10 is about as far away from a laptop replacement as you can get, but that’s fine
The Fire HD 10 has a generous 10.1inch display, which is great for watching movies and binging television shows.
Fire HD 10 really excels at all the stuff you want to do on your way home from work – reading Kindle eBooks, binge-watching the latest series on Netflix, browsing through a magazine
The display is colourful and vibrant, especially given its price tag, and television shows, eBooks, magazines and movies are all enjoyable on the 10.1inch Fire HD.
Unfortunately, the widescreen aspect ratio makes the Fire HD 10 a little cumbersome when held in a portrait orientation – something that users will likely want to do when reading an eBook or magazine.
That widescreen display is also not the sharpest on the market, boasting a 1920×1200 resolution, which equates to 224 pixels-per-inch.
It’s a sizeable improvement on the 1280×800 resolution panel found on its predecessor, but those looking for the best possible viewing experience on a tablet should look elsewhere.
Amazon has fitted its new Fire HD 10 with the same colourful plastic case as the other entries in the Fire tablet line-up. It’s playful, but lacks the premium feel of rival devices from Google, Samsung and Apple.
Fire HD 10 ships in either Black, Marine Blue and Punch Red.
The all-new Fire HD 10 ships in a swathe of vibrant colours, with a matching origami-style case
Elsewhere, there is a VGA front-facing camera for video calls and selfies, and a two-megapixel rear-facing camera capable of 720p HD video recording.
Both are pretty mediocre – and while the rear camera isn’t a great travesty, it’s a real shame Amazon didn’t put more effort into the front-facing shooter.
Video calls are likely to be a common use for this £150 tablet, and it would be great to see Amazon upgrade the front-facing camera to improve image quality.
The dual speakers, powered by Dolby Atmos, are solid. The Fire HD 10 produces a satisfying amount of volume – more than enough for video calls, podcasts, and movies.
Fire HD 10 runs FireOS 5, which is a heavily-skinned, Amazon-centric version of the Android operating system.
It’s intuitive to use, but power users will yearn for the customisation options available in other Android tablets.
New to FireOS this time around is the For You feature.
This takes the form of a personalised page on the tablet homescreen, which provides shortcuts to your most recent activity on the Fire HD 10 tablet – letting you quickly jump back into reading, watching, playing or listening.
Amazon also uses the new For You tab to recommend other content from its services it thinks you’ll enjoy next. It’s a nifty little feature, and should help Fire HD 10 owners quickly discover new content on Prime Video, the Kindle Store, Prime Music, tailored to their tastes.
Unfortunately, the recommendations are not synced across other Amazon hardware, so don’t expect to see any recommendations based on your latest binge on the Fire TV Stick to appear within the For You tab.
FireOS feels slick and fast on the new tablet, thanks to the quad-core 1.8 GHz processor under the bonnet. The Fire HD 10 also packs twice as much RAM as its predecessor, which helps to improve performance, especially when playing graphics-intensive games.
Amazon has included support for hands-free Alexa in its new Fire HD 10 – a first for the tablet range. Like the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot, users can use the wake word “Alexa” to summon the virtual assistant.
Fire HD 10 owners can summon the virtual assistant with the wake word “Alexa”
Like the standalone Echo, you can ask Alexa to answer your general knowledge queries, read the latest headlines, get traffic and weather updates, set alarms and timers, and more.
Fire HD 10 owners can also use Alexa to control paired smart home appliances, including their light bulbs, central heating system, as well as order take-away from Domino’s and items from Amazon.
Alexa provides voice responses paired with visual cards on the Fire HD 10 tablet’s display, and can even respond when your tablet screen is on standby.
Also, for the first time on a Fire tablet, you will be able to ask Alexa to show you what’s on your smart home security camera with compatible devices from Nest, Ring and Arlo – although this won’t be available at launch.
There’s a lot to like about the Fire HD 10.
Sure, it looks a little cheap with its colourful plastic case, and chunky bezels. But it’s not priced as an iPad competitor, so it’s a little unfair to judge it as one.
Instead, the Fire HD 10 is a no-nonsense tablet designed to make watching the latest Netflix season, blockbuster movie, reading an eBook, playing a mobile game, or reading a digital magazine as enjoyable as possible.
It’s not designed to replace your laptop, but rather keep you entertained on your commute or next longhaul flight. And it does that with aplomb.
The widescreen display is bright, colourful and enjoyable to watch – something that hasn’t always been true of tablets in this price range.
As you’d expect, those who are already deeply invested in the Amazon ecosystem will get the most out of this tablet.
But even those only looking to watch Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and play the occasional game of Crossy Road can’t really go wrong with this £149.99 tablet.