Features Fire's largest screen yet – 10.1" display with HD image. Enjoy hands-free option thanks to Alexa. Also compatible with Echo. Durable build plus extremely speedy apps. Dolby sound is rich and clear.
The downside to the size and build is that owners of previous gen Fire's may find it bulky. Mixed experiences on the battery life. Minor issues with WiFi connectivity noted.
Inexpensive, yet includes plenty of features. Apps load quickly. Good screen resolution and battery life. Alexa integration is a big plus for many users.
Tablet must be rebooted every few days or responsiveness will suffer. Email app is confusing for some. Web surfing is glitchy. Ad-supported format.
Easy-to-grip case protects Fire tablet fairly well. 256 GB expandable storage spot is a big draw for users. Parents and kids like the included FreeTime app. Great battery life.
Parental restrictions need more control at the app level, some owners note. A few parents are frustrated with the FreeTime app’s settings.
Crisp screen and intuitive user interface. Alexa integration works well. Snappy app performance.
Some reported issues with charging cable not seating correctly. Tablet speakers or screens can stop working after a few months of use, some owners report.
Sturdy build and bevel design, yet fairly lightweight. Proprietary apps work smoothly on the device. MicroSD card slot for additional storage is a big plus. Screen resolution is acceptable. Streaming video works okay.
Tinny-sounding speaker. Front and rear facing cameras have lower resolution than higher-priced HD models. Processor doesn’t handle intensive apps very well. Reports of charger shorting out after a few weeks of use.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
It’s a bit of an understatement to say that Amazon makes a lot of products – it’s known for having its own brand of everything from gym socks to batteries – but there are only a few product categories where Amazon is truly thinking outside the box, and one is tablets.
Amazon Fire tablets are based on the Android mobile operating system but run a customized version that’s designed around the company’s services, so the tablets do all of the things that other tablets do, but they also integrate with Amazon services, Amazon FreeTime for kids, or Prime Video for Amazon Prime members.
If you’re a fan of Amazon’s ecosystem of services, content, and products, you’ll get a lot more out of a Fire tablet than you will from a traditional tablet. Read on for our shopping guide to Amazon Fire tablets to discover which one is right for you!
Tablets are everywhere, and just about every tech manufacturer out there makes its own. To stand out from the crowd, Amazon offers several features you can’t find anywhere else. Here are our favorites.
Amazon’s voice-controlled digital assistant, Alexa, is several orders of magnitude better than any of the competing services (like Apple’s Siri, or Google Home). With a Fire tablet, you can use the built-in microphone to access everything Alexa offers, from news updates to control over your smart home devices. Having Alexa on a tablet is like having the best digital butler in town at your beck and call.
Amazon’s iPad-killer gets everything right
The Fire HD 10 is about as close to flawless as a tablet gets – its gorgeous 10.1” screen delivers outstanding video, its 10-hour battery lives up to the claims, and it supports hands-free Alexa, so you can interact with the world-class digital assistant without lifting a finger. What’s not to love?
One of the best features of Amazon’s Echo line of digital assistant products is how each can be used for audio and video calling with one another. And now Fire tablets are getting in on the act. When paired with the right charging dock, you can use the built-in camera and microphone to call a loved one’s Echo device or accept calls from the Amazon devices of friends and family.
Amazon’s Fire Kids Edition tablets aren’t just built for surviving your child’s rugged lifestyle – they’re also designed to keep children engaged with healthy content and safe from online dangers. Whether you need to make sure your kid is only using educational apps, or you simply want to manage screen time, Fire Kid Edition tablets offer an unparalleled level of control and safety.
If you want to make video calls with someone who doesn’t own an Alexa device, you can still use Microsoft’s Skype service. The Skype app can be installed on any Fire tablet, and Skype offers apps for all major popular platforms including Windows, OS X, and iOS.
Amazon offers a variety of Fire tablets, each designed for unique uses. Here’s how to tell them apart.
These are typically on the small side – around 7 inches – and feature low-resolution screens. Standard Fire tablets do the basics well: run apps and play media, and they’re snappy and responsive. However, entry-level Fire tablets do cut a few corners. For example, each has only one speaker instead of two and much less random-access memory (RAM) than other models.
The perfect tablet for casual use
Amazon’s Fire HD 8 is a perfect middle ground: it strikes the right balance of size, specs, and affordability, and it’s relatively speedy to boot. If you’re looking for a tablet that’s portable enough to go on vacation with you and capable enough to help you document it through photos and social media, the HD 8 is your best bet.
These come in larger sizes and offer significant upgrades to standard Fire models, like an HD screen, more memory, and premium audio options (like Dolby Atmos for headphones). If you need a capable tablet that will take several years before it starts to slow down, go for a Fire HD.
These are built around the needs of little ones: they come in colorful, durable cases that are built to handle all kinds of abuse, while still including the capable hardware of the Fire HD tablets. Every Fire Kids Edition tablet comes with one free year of FreeTime, Amazon’s digital service for kids that offers access to digital kids’ books, videos, and educational games. The tablets also include robust parental controls, so you can manage what your children see and how much time they spend in front of the screen.
Although all Fire tablets include Bluetooth support, they don’t work with Bluetooth headsets that include a microphone or low-energy Bluetooth devices. If you plan on using your Fire tablet with a specific Bluetooth accessory, search the web first to determine if it’s compatible.
In order to prevent children from making unauthorized purchases or accessing inappropriate content, Amazon’s Fire Kids Edition tablets do not support Alexa, Amazon’s voice-enabled digital assistant.
Each of the different Fire tablets can be upgraded, but not every upgrade is worth it. This is what you’ll get for your money when you shop for an Amazon Fire tablet.
Between $50 and $149: At this price, you’ll see Amazon’s most basic tablets. Models in this range are limited to a 7- or 8-inch screen and include lower storage options (for example, models with 32GB of storage are easy to find in this price range, but if you’re looking for one with 64GB, you’ll have to pay more). If you need a basic tablet for everyday tasks, you can easily find a good deal in this price range, but if you need a bigger screen or a tablet for frequent use, it’s worth considering other models.
Between $150 and $200: Amazon offers its best and brightest in this price range – Fire tablets that include plenty of storage space, plenty of RAM, and bigger, more resolute screens that truly dazzle. If you need a tablet that can keep up with you all day long – or you just want one with a better screen – look into Amazon’s more expensive models.
Built for kids, inside and out
The Fire HD Kids Edition line of tablets was built for parents by parents – every aspect from the ultra-durable housing to the built-in parental controls is designed to give kids a safe, engaging experience. Kids love using FreeTime, Amazon’s subscription-based platform for fun, educational content. Grown-ups love being able to track and manage their kids’ screen time.
Restarting a tablet is always the best first troubleshooting step. If your Amazon Fire tablet ever freezes or starts behaving erratically, hold down the power button for 40 seconds to force a restart. It will resolve most problematic experiences. If your Amazon Fire tablet continues to act up, contact Amazon’s support team – famous for its customer care.
Move all your most frequently used tablet apps to the home screen. You can customize the order in which your apps appear by simply tapping and holding them to rearrange them. Put the apps you use most on the default home screen so you’ll never have to go digging around for your favorites again.
Q. Can I buy apps for my Amazon Fire tablet from the Google Play Store?
A. Not by default. While it’s definitely possible to install the Google Play Store (and apps from the Google Play Store will indeed work on Amazon’s Fire tablets), installing it can only be done by “side-loading,” a process by which you use a separate computer to manually force an app onto a tablet or smartphone. Side-loading isn’t tremendously difficult, but it can require some trial and error. Keep in mind that while it’s certainly an option to use the Google Play Store on Fire devices, there aren’t that many benefits because most useful Android apps are already available through Amazon’s Fire-specific app store.
Q. Why are some Amazon Fire tablets described as coming with “special offers”?
A. Amazon offers two ways to purchase its Fire tablets: at full price, with no restrictions, and at a discount, with “special offers.” That means personalized ads appear on the lock screen. If you don’t mind seeing an ad every time you unlock your Fire tablet, this can be a great way to save money on your purchase, but if you consider ads a hassle, it might be worth paying full price. If you buy a fire tablet with “special offers,” you can always change your mind later and pay an upgrade fee to have the ads removed.
Q. What are the differences between an Amazon Fire tablet and an Amazon Kindle?
A. Amazon’s Fire tablets are Android-based tablets that run a wide variety of apps. Tablets are basically touchscreen computers that can be used for both “lean back” activities (like streaming movies or browsing social media) and “lean forward” tasks (like word processing or gaming). In contrast, Amazon’s Kindle devices are e-readers: black-and-white tablets tailored to the activity of reading e-Books. Kindle devices can be used to purchase and borrow digital books – and boast a much longer battery life – but they don’t run traditional apps.
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