Amazon's Fire HD 8 Tablet Gets a Thinner Design and Performance Boost
The next-generation Fire HD 8 tablets are available in several new versions starting at $100, or $10 more than the previous model.
David CarnoyExecutive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
ExpertiseMobile accessories and portable audio, including headphones, earbuds and speakersCredentials
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The last couple of years, there seems to be a trend among Amazon devices: The company releases new models -- in this case, its Fire HD 8 tablet line is getting the upgrade treatment -- and the list price goes up $10. Available now for preorder and shipping in October, the "all-new" Fire HD 8 tablets start at $100 with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. They have a slightly slimmer and lighter design along with a 30% performance boost and slightly better battery life, according to Amazon.
For $20 more, you can step to the 2022 version of the HD 8 Plus ($120), which has the same chassis but includes an additional 1GB of RAM (3GB total), wireless charging (no dock or wireless charging pad is included) and an improved 5-megapixel rear-facing camera (it was previously a 2-megapixel camera). Meanwhile, the Fire HD 8 Kids ($150) comes with a kid-friendly case, a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids Plus content and two-year replacement guarantee should anything happen to the tablet.
The tablet also comes in a Kids Pro version ($150) that Amazon says is designed for kids aged 6 to 12 and includes "access to a digital store where kids can discover and request purchases to parents or guardians for eBooks, apps and games." And for the first time, the Fire HD 8 Kids is available in a Disney Design Bundle that includes Disney Mickey and Disney Princess cases for $160.
That's a lot of Fire HD 8 variations, but the middle model in Amazon's tablet lineup, which includes the step-down Fire 7 ($60) and step-up Fire HD 10 ($150), hits the sweet spot for a lot of folks, particularly Amazon Prime members who get access to Amazon Prime content, looking for an affordable tablet that often goes on sale during the year for $20 to $30 less.
The HD 8's screen still isn't great -- its resolution is just 1,280x800 pixels -- but it's good enough for many people, and these small performance improvements every couple of years typically help make navigating the tablet feel a little zippier. The HD 8 was last updated in 2020, when it added USB-C charging (and wireless charging to the HD 8 Plus) and moved the location of its front-facing camera so the tablet was more suitable for video calls in landscape mode.
According to Amazon, the new HD 8 weighs 11.88 ounces (337 grams) compared to 12.5 ounces (355 grams) for its predecessor. The new model measures 7.94 by 5.4 by 0.37 inches (202 by 137 by 9.6 mm) while the previous version came in at 8 by 5.4 by 0.4 inches (202 by 137 by 9.7 mm).
In conjunction with this release, Amazon also announced that Tap to Alexa is now available on Fire tablets. "With Tap to Alexa, customers can use Alexa via touch instead of voice, helping improve access for people with speech and mobility disabilities," Amazon said.