Amazon's Fire HD 10 is still half the price of the new iPad

Is Apple's new tablet really the better bet for schools? Or the kids at home? Plus: A $30 PC game for free!

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
3 min read

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!

Enlarge Image

Meet the new iPad price; same as the old iPad price. (Unless you're a school, in which case it's $30 cheaper.)

James Martin/CNET

So the new iPad has arrived, and the rumors were true -- kind of. It's a little cheaper ($299), though only if you're a school. Consumers will still pay $329, which is the same price as the 2017 baseline 9.7-inch iPad, which it replaces in the line.

What you're actually getting is more for your money: a more powerful processor, a better camera, built-in LTE and various features borrowed from the iPad Pro (such as tilt, pressure and Pencil support).

I find it interesting that Apple's goal here is to challenge Chromebooks in the classroom, because the new iPad doesn't come with a keyboard. It's like Microsoft calling the Surface "the tablet that can replace your laptop" -- even though it doesn't come with a keyboard either.

But never mind all that. Apple has exactly one real competitor in the tablet market, and that's Amazon . Right now, schools and consumers alike can buy an Amazon Fire HD 10 for $149.99, half the price of the iPad for schools. And the Fire HD 10 routinely goes on sale: It was $100 on Black Friday and $120 a couple times since. Expect to see similar discounts at least once or twice before Prime Day in July -- and probably a repeat of the $100 sale on the actual day.

So, at face value, you've got two 10-inch tablets with high-resolution screens and a big ecosystem standing behind them. But how does the Fire HD 10 really compare as an educational tool? Should schools consider it instead of the new iPad? Should parents?

I can't give you a definitive answer, because different people have different needs. The iPad has a much deeper bench of educational apps and Pencil support is great -- for art class and beyond. Of course, for the price of a single iPad and Pencil (which is $99 standard, $89 with education discount), a school could probably procure real-world art supplies for every student in that class.

Watch this: Apple unveils new 9.7-inch iPad with Pencil

I'm pretty sure schools buy Chromebooks so kids can do web stuff, word processing and presentations. Any tablet can do that (provided it has a keyboard). I'm not sure that a fast processor, high-resolution camera and LTE are all that important in a classroom setting.

All this is to say that you could buy two Fire HD 10 tablets for the price of a single iPad -- and get the same core tablet experience. Apple has long been synonymous with education, but nothing about the new iPad adds "affordable" to that equation. Adding more features doesn't help schools put a tablet on every desk.

Your thoughts?

See the new iPad from every angle

See all photos

Bonus deal: I abhor guns in real life, but really love guns in shoot-'em-up games. I also love shoot-'em-up games that you can get absolutely free with no strings attached.

Like this one: For a limited time, and while licenses last, Humble is offering the FPS The Darkness II (on Windows or Mac) for $0. Price on Steam (which is where you'll redeem your code): $30. This is yet another amazing giveaway from the Humble folks. The only requirement is that you set up an account -- also free.

Released in 2012, meaning its graphics should still hold up pretty well, The Darkness II is a horror-themed shooter that GameSpot called "a lot of fun." (Read GameSpot's review for the full scoop.)