Amazon Fire HD 10 vs. iPad Mini: which should you buy?

Amazon Fire HD 10 Tent Mode
Amazon Fire HD 10 Tent Mode (Image credit: Amazon)

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019)

Amazon Fire HD 10 official render

(opens in new tab)

The Fire HD 10 gets high marks for its low price, high-definition screen, storage expandability, and multi-user support. With hands-free Alexa, it can serve as a great home automation hub. It also happens to be one of the most durable tablets around.

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019)

Family-friendly

Affordable family tablet
Full HD screen
Great parental controls
Multi-user and multi-login support
Expandable storage
Paltry app ecosystem compared to iOS
You have to sideload Google Apps if you want them

Apple iPad Mini (2019)

Apple iPad Mini (5th Gen) official render

(opens in new tab)

Apple refreshed the iPad Mini in 2019 after several years of stagnation, and the result was a return to greatness. It has the same high power, high-efficiency A12 Bionic chip as the iPad Air (2019) and iPhone XS, and now adds an improved operating system in iPadOS. Oh yeah, and it has Apple Pencil support too.

Apple iPad Mini (2019)

Portable and powerful

Runs full iPadOS
Now has Apple Pencil support
Enormous app ecosystem
Tons of first-party and third-party accessories
Expensive for a small tablet
No real multi-user support

I recently compared the Fire HD 10 (2019) to the newest iPad (2019), and while the latest from Apple narrowly edged out Amazon's tablet in that showdown, will the same hold true here? Let's take a look at how these two devices compare before making the call.

Spec showdown

While the sizes, prices, and form factors are not identical, I thought it was worth comparing these tablets because they will likely appeal to similar audiences: families or those who want a good tablet consumption device that doesn't break the bank. Here's how they stack up against each other on paper.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Amazon Fire HD 10
(2019)
iPad Mini
(2019)
Size262 x 159 x 9.8mm203.2 x 134.8 x 6.1mm
Weight1.11 pounds.66 pounds
Display10.1-inch IPS LCD
(1920x1200)
7.9-inch Retina LED
(2048x1536)
Internal storage32 GB
64 GB
64 GB
256 GB
Expandable storageUp to 512 GB via microSDNo
SpeakersStereo speakersStereo speakers
Dolby audioYes — Dolby AtmosYes — Dolby Audio
Cameras2MP front camera
2MP rear camera
7MP front camera
8MP rear camera
Video recording720p1080p
Operating systemFireOS (built on Android)iPadOS
Smart assistantAlexaSiri
Biometric loginNoYes — Touch ID
Cellular modelsNoYes
Multi-user loginYesNo
Multi-window/multi-tasking supportNoYes, up to 4 windows
ColorsFour plastic-covered
Black
Twilight Blue
Plum
White
Three aluminium-covered
Space Gray
Gold
Silver
PriceFrom $150From $384

Mighty mini

Prior to this version, the iPad Mini last saw a major update in 2015, which led many to think that it might not be long for this world in an era of ultra-high-end iPad Pros and the updated "regular" entry-level iPad. Many Mini fans were pleasantly surprised then when Apple introduced this 2019 version, keeping the beloved form factor while massively upgrading its internals and abilities.

The iPad Mini (2019) is more than capable of running just about anything you throw at it.

The iPad Mini (2019) has the same A12 Bionic processor found on the iPad Air (2019) and iPhone XS and XS Max (2018), so it is more than capable of running just about anything you throw at it. It now runs iPadOS, Apple's tablet-focused fork of its popular iOS operating system, which allows for enhanced multitasking, multi-windows, and other cool features like Sidecar (which turns an iPad into a second screen for your Mac), home screen widgets, and new text editing and productivity features.

The hardware may look the same on the outside, but Apple improved the front camera, video recording capabilities, processor, and also added support for the Apple Pencil. If you wanted to, you could turn this into a pretty useful little note-taking and productivity machine.

It's not all roses though. Some may consider the huge bezels and fingerprint scanner to be of a bygone design era (even though I still love it). While Apple Pencil support is great, this size doesn't lend itself well to Bluetooth keyboard usage and it feels super cramped as a result. It's also annoying that Apple still doesn't support multiple users in iOS/iPadOS, particularly since the Mac has had this feature for years (and education market iPads can support this feature).

The biggest drawback of all though, at least when compared to the Fire HD 10, is the Mini's price. It starts at $400 at most retailers, which is nearly three times as much as the Fire HD 10. That is a lot of dough to swallow for many (mini?) people.

Family fire fun

The Fire HD 10 is Amazon's top-of-the-line tablet device. It features a full HD screen with 1080p resolution, stereo speakers, front and rear-facing cameras, and expandable storage. It's extremely affordable at full retail price, but it often goes on sale and/or is packaged in bundles with other Amazon or third-party devices.

This device is fabulous for families who want a solid entertainment device that can be shared between multiple people.

This tablet isn't all about the affordable hardware though, as you get some nice software features baked-in as well. Hands-free Alexa utility, a convenient smart home portal to control your Ring and Blink devices, and accessibility features like Show and Tell Mode are included with this tablet.

I've said it before, but this device is fabulous for families who want a solid entertainment device that can be shared between multiple people. Amazon's Fire OS allows for multi-user login support, so each person's content and device settings can be preserved. Plus, the company's kid-friendly content management system and parental controls (FreeTime Unlimited (opens in new tab)) are second to none. With up to 12 hours of battery life and expandable storage up to 512GB, everyone can have a chance to watch their favorite movies or shows on that long family road trip.

Just remember that you get what you pay for here: a lower-quality screen, less powerful processor, smaller app ecosystem, and practically nonexistent resale value. Even though it runs a version of Android, if you want Google apps and services you'll have to sideload them yourself. The Fire HD 10 is not a competitor to any iPad in performance or productivity, but that's not the point. Its purpose is to serve as a low-cost, low-barrier entry into Amazon's content and retail ecosystem, and for that, it does its job amazingly well.

This tablet takes it

It is really hard to pick a clear-cut winner between these devices, and there are many factors to consider when making your own decision. How much do you want to pay for a device? Are you going to be sharing it with friends/family? Is it primarily for content consumption, or do you plan to be creative and productive with it?

Even though it was a tough decision, I give the edge here to the Amazon Fire HD 10 (opens in new tab). You may be planning to share it in your household thanks to its multi-user/account support, but you could buy almost three of them for the price of one iPad Mini. Its larger screen does have a lower resolution at 224 ppi vs 326 ppi on the iPad Mini, but because it's full-HD you'll still have a great experience watching videos and playing games. Expect both of these devices to be put on sale over the coming holiday season!

Jeramy Johnson
Editor-in-chief

Jeramy is proud to help *Keep Austin Weird* and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. When he's not writing about smart home gadgets and wearables, he's defending his relationship with his smart voice assistants to his family. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw.