CNET's Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter!
Let me start by saying I've always loved iPads. They're beautifully designed and a pleasure to use.
But the entry-level 9.7-inch model starts at $329, and that's just too expensive -- especially considering today's deal.
Really? The best tablet deal in history?
I actually don't write about tablets very much any more, because I suspect most folks who need one already have one. But I can't let this pass without discussion.
Amazon's original Fire HD 10 was pretty meh -- slow processor, low-resolution screen and kinda pricey given the specs. But just last month, the company introduced a new model: faster, sharper and cheaper. Suddenly, just as the Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 afforded killer alternatives to the iPad Mini, now the Fire HD 10 was the logical inexpensive alternative to the full-size iPad.
Now that it's on sale for $100, I stand by my claim: This is the best tablet deal in history. I'm not saying it's the very best tablet, merely that there's never been better value for the money.
All that and Alexa, too
The current-gen Fire HD 10 offers some notable hardware specs, including a 1,920x1,200-pixel 10.1-inch screen, 32GB of expandable storage, a quad-core processor and stereo speakers.
It also provides hands-free Alexa, meaning you can control it with your voice, just like an Echo. I'm not sure how valuable that really is in a tablet, but if you keep the HD 10 paired with a speaker, well, it's kind of like getting a bonus Echo Dot out of the deal.
All Amazon's tablets work best if you have a Prime subscription, as that affords you access to all kinds of music, movies, TV shows, books, magazines, comics and other goodies. That's an added expense, of course, but even without Prime you can still read books, watch streaming video, play games and all that.
Speaking of movies, if you're already vested in iTunes, no problem: Thanks to, you can watch those titles on a Fire tablet.
I'm going to turn you over tofor all the other salient details. I agree about the glossy screen (so consider buying a matte screen protector) and that you should check to make sure all the apps you want are indeed available via the Amazon Appstore, though you can probably side-load any that aren't.
I also agree that it's a plastic, slightly chunky tablet -- nowhere near as slim and graceful as an iPad. Amazon's Fire OS: also not particularly graceful. How much does any of that matter? For most folks, I'm guessing not $229 worth.
So the brass tacks: This is an incredibly capable 10-inch tablet for $100. Unless you have a very specific need for it, there's no logical reason to spend $329 or more on an iPad.
Agree? Disagree? You know what to do. 😜
Quick aside: I talk a lot about fake reviews and how the algorithms used by both Fakespot and ReviewMeta don't always paint an accurate picture. Case in point: The Fire HD 10 earned a "C" grade from the former and an "Unnatural reviews possible" warning from the latter. That means Amazon itself contributed (or solicited) hundreds of fake reviews, right? That seems highly doubtful. As I've noted before, I think these tools can be helpful, but their algorithms are imperfect. Just food for thought -- I'll be discussing this more in future posts.
Bonus deal: Tired of mobile chargers that charge your mobile devices slooowly? Let's kick portable power into gear, shall we? For a limited time, and while supplies last, you can get the iMuto Z2 20,100mAh battery pack for $47.99 shipped when you apply promo code AV7LSK2F at checkout. Regular price: $60.
This beefy bank delivers PD 2.0 (45-watt) power via a USB-C port -- good for MacBooks, Nintendo Switch and so on -- and QC 2.0 (18-watt) via standard USB. All that amounts to fast charging for current-gen iPhones (though you'll need to BYO USB-C-to-Lightning cable), Samsung phones and other models that support the tech. Everything else USB, it charges normally.
I must also give props to the snazzy design of the casing: It's rounded with a cool checkered pattern, not just a boring black brick. iMuto backs the Z2 with a two-year warranty.
There are a zillion mobile chargers out there. This one offers fast charging at a price that's pretty competitive.
Black Friday deals: See every Black Friday 2017 deal we've found so far.
Holiday Gift Guide: CNET's full gift guide, including dozens of products priced under $25, $50 and $100.