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CNET First Look
Amazon's new, improved Fire HD 8 tablet is a bona fide bargain at $90Big price chop and a bump up in storage capacity, RAM and battery life, make the zippier HD 8 (2016) the budget alternative to the iPad.
[MUSIC] Amazon's new Fire HD 8 looks a lot like last year's Fire HD 8, but there are few key differences the biggest of which is the new lower price tag. Much lower in fact, $90 compared to the previous version which started at a $150. That model came with only 8 gigabytes of storage while this new one includes 16 gigabytes An expansion slot for adding micro SD memory cards up to 200 gigabytes in capacity. While the quad core processor is a new chip, Amazon says the real performance boost comes from a bump in RAM from 1 gigabyte to 1.5 gigabytes and battery life now goes up to 12 hours. The other note worthy feature edition isn't available yet, but will be in the next few months. Alexa the cloud base voice service makes her debut on Fire tablets, including last years HTA, the $50 entry level Fire and Fire HD10. Available in four color options, the new HTA does feel a little zipper than the previous model. And thanks to stereo speakers tuned with Dolby Audio it outputs a decent amount of sound and works well for movie watching. The front and rear cameras are nothing special. But at least they're there and available for such apps as Skype. While this is an eight inch widescreen AC display with 1280 by 800 resolution it's not as sharp or vibrant as the iPad Mini 2 screen. The other downside is that even though Fire OS is built on an Android foundation, you're locked into Amazon's operating system and its app store, and can't access the Google Play store without tweaking your device in ways that Amazon would rather you not do. However, if you are an Amazon Prime member, that $100 Prime membership gives you access to a lot of free content, including music, movies Games, books, and apps. I recommend getting a cover for it, none is included, and the Amazon hopes you'll buy its cover shown here, but others are available from third party resellers. The bottom line is, that if you are a Prime user The HD8 2016 edition is a great value and an excellent option for kids. You really don't need an expensive iPad. To spend it so, so display,you just won't find a tablet with this features and performance at this price point. I'm David Carnoy for CNET.com, thanks for watching.