Amazon’s on a roll with upgrading its line of Fire tablets and following the Fire 7 in May, they’re now turning attention to the Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 8 Plus. These tablets keep a modern build with smooth, rounded edges but get a speed boost in from a new processor.
The other change though is a price increase with the Fire HD 8 starting at $99.99 and the Fire HD 8 Plus starting at $119.99. Both of these cost $10 more over the previous versions that dropped in 2020. These are up for preorder right now at Amazon (AMZN) and will begin shipping next month.
Ahead though we’re breaking down all that’s new on the Fire HD 8 and 8 Plus, along with the Fire HD 8 Kids and Fire HD 8 Kids Pro.
Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 8 Plus: What You Need to Know
Just like its predecessors, the Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 8 Plus stick with an 8-inch HD display. Amazon notes that it's stronger -- mainly against scratches and cracks -- on the front thanks to an aluminosilicate glass layer. And going off the previous model, I fully expect the screen here to be a-okay and great for most tasks. Be it streaming Thursday Night Football, a quick video call, or scrolling through emails.
And regardless of standard or plus, you'll also find the tablet running Amazon's custom FireOS software, which is essentially a heavily customized version of Android. It comes pre-loaded with Amazon apps, easy access to Alexa, and no access to the Google Play Store. Instead, you'll download applications from Amazon's App Store, which luckily has all the big players.
For instance, in the realm of streaming services, you can get Hulu, Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+, and Prime Video.
Thanks to the deep integration with all-things Amazon, you'll be able to say "Alexa" to ask the virtual assistant a question, order something, or control a smart home gadget hands-free. All your Amazon Prime benefits, like Music and Photos, are here.
Amazon also notes that the design here is thinner and lighter than the previous generation. The Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 8 Plus are powered by a new Hexa-core processor, which Amazon promises is 30% faster than the Quad-core 2.0 processor powering the previous generation. These extra cores should make using the Fire HD 8 or 8 Plus more seamless and swift in everyday use. You'll also get more mileage over a Fire 7 for multitasking or taking a call while streaming, browsing the web, or gaming.
The difference between the Fire HD 8 and the Fire HD 8 Plus mostly comes in the performance world. The Fire HD 8 Plus gets 3GB of RAM versus 2GB of RAM in the standard 8.
And while both models should deliver up to 13 hours of battery life, the standard HD 8 can recharge fully in five hours with a 5-watt adapter, while the HD 8 Plus speeds things up with a 9-watt adapter and a three-hour recharge time. Luckily, both of these features a USB-C port.
The Fire HD 8 Plus will also support wireless charging through the Qi-certification standard and pairs with a dock to make the Fire HD 8 less like a tablet and more like an Echo Show.
A new difference with this generation of Fire HD 8 would be that the Plus gets 5-megapixel rear-facing camera versus a 2-megapixel primary in the standard version. Keep in mind that both of these stick with a 2-megapixel front lens.
If you're after the most performance possible and plan to multitask or game, the Fire HD 8 Plus for just $20 more is likely worth the extra up-front cost. But if performance isn't all that important, the standard Fire HD 8 at $99 should deliver some good value.
- Amazon Fire HD 8 in Black, Denim, or Rose (starting at $99.99 at Amazon)
- Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus in Gray (starting at $119.99 at Amazon)
Fire HD 8 Kids and Fire HD 8 Kids Pro: What You Need to Know
Just as there are two standard versions, Amazon’s also rolling out versions of the Fire HD 8 Kids. And these might be perfect if you’re shopping for a child. The Fire HD 8 Kids is meant for children aged 3-7 and takes the Fire HD 8, plops it into a kid-proof case, and tosses in kid-friendly experiences.
Namely, a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids+ offers age-appropriate games, books, videos, and apps. All of these are advertisement free as well. They also come from brands like PBS Kids, Nickelodeon, and Disney. Building off the latter, you can also get a Disney Design Bundle of the Fire HD 8 Kids that includes either a Mickey Mouse or Disney Princess case. After a year, you can continue the Kids+ subscription for $4.99 a month as a Prime member.
And along with the Kids+ subscription, Amazon also tosses in a two-year worry-free guarantee, which means they’ll replace no questions asked. It’s pretty handy since the tablet might see a few drops. The Fire HD 8 Kids is $149.99 with a Purple or Blue ultra-durable case.
The Fire HD 8 Kids Pro takes the standard Fire HD 8 Plus and makes it age appropriate for children 6 to 12 years old. You get all the benefits of Kids+ for a year, a kid-friendly case, and a two-year worry-free guarantee. This edition also features a digital store with safe content for kids and the option to have the purchase approval through a parent. The Fire HD 8 Kids Pro starts at $149.99 and comes in Cyber Sky, Rainbow Universe, or Hello Teal.
Both the Fire HD 8 Kids and Fire HD 8 Kids Pro feature a bevy of parental controls in which you can set goals for using the device, screen time limits, and even manage the content that your child has access to. There’s also a dedicated browser for kids which offers profiles that filter out sites kids shouldn’t be visiting.
And the nice thing about a Fire HD Kids tablet is that when your child is ready, you can also roll back some of the parental controls and even take it out of the case to use it as a standard Fire tablet.
- Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids in Blue or Purple kid-proof case (starting at $149.99 at Amazon)
- Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Disney Design Bundle ($159.99 at Amazon)
- Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Pro in Cyber Sky, Rainbow Universe, or Hello Teal (starting at $149.99 at Amazon)
Let’s Recap the Fire HD 8, Fire HD 8 Plus, Fire HD 8 Kids, and Fire HD 8 Kids Pro
While Amazon isn’t redesigning any of the Fire HD 8 tablets, much like the Fire 7 and other recent tech launches, this is a modest upgrade that should deliver a better user experience. It also builds upon what has been an excellent mid-range tablet for streaming, light work tasks, and even some play.
We're eager to go hands-on with all four of the new Fire HD 8 tablets ahead of them shipping next month, but if you're in the market for a mid-range device you likely can't go wrong here.
Prices are accurate and items in stock at time of publishing.