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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Which Amazon Fire Tablet Is Best for You?

Amazon's Fire tablets are some of the only high-profile, ultra-affordable tablets around. The prices seem too good to be true—and in some ways, they are—but Fire tablets are also completely functional, reasonably capable devices. To help you decide if one of these slates is right for you, we reviewed every model. These are our unfiltered recommendations.

Be sure to check our other guides, like Best Tablets, Best iPads, and Best Alexa Speakers.

Updated November 2021: We've noted upcoming deals and refreshed prices and links.

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Wait Until Black Friday

If you are planning on buying a new Fire tablet right this minute, you should hold off. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday coming up (November 26–29), Amazon's line of tablets will be at least 30 percent off leading up to the holidays. Sure, these slates are already affordable compared to others on the market, but you can save even more. It's worth the wait.

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Best Fire TabletFire HD 10 (2021)

The Fire HD 10 is the largest and speediest of Amazon's tablets. Amazon refreshed it this year (7/10, WIRED Recommends) with a brighter screen and 3 gigabytes of RAM. Alongside it, there's a new Fire HD 10 Plus, which bumps the RAM to 4 GB and adds wireless charging, which is worth the extra $30 if you plan to do more than watch movies and browse the web. Amazon is hoping you might do more too as there's now a "productivity bundle" that includes a nice keyboard (no trackpad though) and a 1-year subscription to Microsoft 365. Working on the Fire HD 10 isn't bad, so long as you don't need Google apps. None of Google's office apps work on the Fire HD 10, not even in the browser.

The Fire HD 10 has a larger screen with more pixels (1080p) than its siblings, making it better for watching videos. And, like the Fire HD 8, you can shout commands at Alexa from across the room. To use Alexa's Show Mode, swipe down on the notification overlay and check the Show Mode box. After that, you can set your HD 10 on a stand (if you opt for the Plus model, we like the official wireless charging stand) and it essentially becomes an Echo Show.

You can choose between a 32-gigabyte or a 64-gigabyte model (with a MicroSD slot on both so you can add up to 1 TB of storage down the road if you need more space). Whichever you choose, Amazon will serve up advertisements on the lock screen. To get rid of that, you'll need to spend $15 more for the version without "special offers."

The Fire HD 10 with 32 GB costs $150 at Amazon and TargetBest Value Fire TabletFire HD 8 (2020)

The 2020 version of the Fire HD 8 is quite possibly one of the best values around for a tablet. The travel-friendly size, combined with a processor upgrade and a Plus model ($110) with 3 gigabytes of RAM and wireless charging, make the Fire HD 8 series nearly as capable as its larger sibling. It’s portable enough to take with you anywhere, and its screen won’t torture your eyes when you watch Netflix. That said, the screen is not quite as nice as the one on the larger Fire HD 10, which boasts a higher pixel density.

Still, the HD 8 has most of the benefits of the HD 10, including hands-free Alexa, stereo sound, USB-C, and nearly 12 hours of battery life. I recommend picking up Amazon’s magnetic stand-up case if you plan on watching movies or TV, or, if you opt for the Plus model, the Wireless Charging Dock turns your tablet into an Echo Show speaker.

The Fire HD 8 with 32 GB costs $90 at Amazon and TargetBest Fire Tablet for KidsFire HD 8 Kids Edition (2020)

Recognizing that "kids" covers a wide range of hand sizes and other factors, Amazon now has two different Kids Edition Fire tablets. There's the regular Kids Edition and a "Pro" model. The latter, aimed at older kids, has a streamlined case with a little less padding and the option for parents to install apps from a dedicated Kids app store. We think the HD 8 ($140) is the best device for younger kids while the 2021 Fire HD 10 Kids Pro ($200), which is really big in little kid hands, is better for older children.

The Kids Edition versions are exactly the same as the regular Fire tablets, except they come with a rugged case and a two-year worry-free guarantee, which means Amazon will replace the tablet for free if your kids break it. It also comes with one year of Amazon Kids+, offering access to kid-friendly movies, books, games, and apps. It costs $3 per month after the first year.

The Fire HD 8 Kids Edition with 32 GB costs $140 at Amazon and Target

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