The 2020 version of the Fire HD 8 is quite possibly one of the best values around for a tablet. The travel-friendly size, combined with a processor upgrade and a Plus model ($110) with 3 gigabytes of RAM and wireless charging, make the Fire HD 8 series nearly as capable as its larger sibling.
It’s portable enough to take with you anywhere, and its screen won’t torture your eyes when you watch Netflix. That said, the screen is not quite as nice as the one on the larger Fire HD 10, which boasts a higher pixel density.
Still, the HD 8 has most of the benefits of the HD 10, including hands-free Alexa, stereo sound, USB-C, and nearly 12 hours of battery life. I recommend picking up Amazon’s magnetic stand-up case if you plan on watching movies or TV, or, if you opt for the Plus model, the Wireless Charging Dock turns your tablet into an Echo Show speaker.
Best Fire Tablet for Kids
Recognizing that “kids” covers a wide range of hand sizes and other factors, Amazon now has two different Kids Edition Fire tablets. There’s the regular Kids Edition and a “Pro” model. The latter, aimed at older kids, has a streamlined case with a little less padding and the option for parents to install apps from a dedicated Kids app store. We think the HD 8 ($140) is the best device for younger kids while the 2021 Fire HD 10 Kids Pro ($200), which is really big in little kid hands, is better for older children.
The Kids Edition versions are exactly the same as the regular Fire tablets, except they come with a rugged case and a two-year worry-free guarantee, which means Amazon will replace the tablet for free if your kids break it. It also comes with one year of Amazon Kids+, offering access to kid-friendly movies, books, games, and apps. It costs $3 per month after the first year.
Avoid the Fire 7
The Fire 7 is Amazon’s cheapest tablet, with a tantalizingly low price. But if you’re making more demands on your Fire tablet than a 3-year-old who loves Carl the Super Truck, you should probably cough up a little extra and buy an HD 8. Like we said in our Fire 7 review, the 7-inch screen feels cramped and its screen resolution is noticeably pixelated. You won’t love the mono speaker, which is easily blocked by a single finger. Its battery also lags behind the other two tablets, and the 8-gigabytes of internal storage is pitifully small, mandating a MicroSD card from the get-go.
Amazon Sells Older Fire Tablets. Don’t Buy Them
Only buy one of the “10th Generation” or “11th Generation” Fire tablets. We suggest sticking to the tablets we talk about in this article (also listed here).
If you’re on a tight budget, the 2019 Fire HD 10 is often available for less than the new one. The downside with it and other, older model Fire tablets is that they may not get software updates for a long as the current generation will. You’ll also miss out on the faster processor and more RAM in the newer model.