Amazon's Fire HD 10 is the company's biggest and most powerful tablet, and it's about to get even better. A new 2021 revision, launched Tuesday, adds more RAM, a 10% brighter screen and a slightly updated design. Like its 2019 predecessor, the new HD 10 starts at $150 (£150). The step-up Fire HD 10 Plus offers wireless charging, an extra gigabyte of RAM and a "soft touch, slate colored finish" for $30 more -- $180 (£180). They're available for preorder now and ship on May 26.
Last year Amazon delivered similar updates to its smaller Fire HD 8 tablet and also added an HD 8 Plus with more RAM and wireless charging. Like with that model, Amazon has now moved the 2-megapixel 720p front-facing camera from the narrow "top" to the side, making it more attuned to use in landscape mode. That helps when you're doing video calls with Zoom and other apps, including Amazon's own. The new model seems to be a bit wider than the 2019 HD 10, but it's shorter and the bezel is now a similar width around the whole display, which remains the same 10-inch size (technically 10.1 inches). It's slightly thinner and lighter (465g vs. 504g) than the previous HD 10, according to Amazon.
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The new Fire HD 10 uses the same 2GHz octacore Mediatek 8183 processor that powers the previous Fire HD 10. However, you'll get some performance gains from the bump up in RAM: The standard HD 10 now comes with 3GB of RAM (up from 2GB), while the HD Plus includes 4GB. Both the Fire HD and HD 10 Plus are available with 32GB or 64GB of internal storage, plus support for up to 1TB of expandable storage via a microSD card.
Battery life is the same as what you could get with the previous H10 -- up to 12 hours for mixed use of web browsing, video watching, reading and listening to music.
As noted, the screen offers the same HD resolution (1,920x1,200 pixels) but is 10% brighter. While that display is sharper than the display on the HD 8, more expensive tablets like the Apple iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 feature significantly better displays with higher resolutions.
New Kids versions of the Fire HD 10 include a "kid-proof" protective case, a two-year replacement guarantee and a year's subscription to the Amazon Kids Plus service -- the Fire HD 10 Kids starts at $200. Plus, Amazon is now offering Fire HD 10 and Fire HD 10 Plus Productivity Bundles, starting at $220 (£210), that include a 12-month subscription to Microsoft 365 Personal (with premium Office apps, 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage and more) and a Made for Amazon Fintie detachable keyboard case.
The HD 10 Plus will wirelessly charge with most Qi wireless chargers (10 watts or higher is preferable) and also offers USB-C charging. Amazon says the Made for Amazon Wireless Charging Dock by Anker is available for $50 and can be bought as a bundle with the Fire HD 10 Plus.
Like all of Amazon's recent tablets, the new Fire HD 10 has hands-free access to Amazon's Alexa voice assistant, which means Alexa is always on, listening for your voice commands like an Echo speaker does, though you can turn the feature off and mute the microphones. While Fire tablets don't have the array of microphones that Echo speakers have, when you dock the Fire HD 10 Plus in that Anker wireless charging dock, it essentially functions as an Echo Show, automatically entering Show Mode when you dock it.
We'll have full reviews of the Fire HD 10 and HD 10 Plus when they ship.