Amazon Fire HD 8 vs. 8 Plus: Which should you buy?
Do you want to turn your Fire tablet into an Echo Show?
Perfect for everyone
The 2022 edition of Amazon's Fire HD 8 tablet packs in iterative updates, including improved processor capabilities and fresher color options. In some respects, it may be bested by the Fire HD 8 Plus, but we still think it offers great value for the asking price. We like the funky color options too.
- Great battery life
- Quick and easy access to Amazon services
- Lightweight and portable
- Built-in microSD card slot
- Game Mode
- More expensive than the previous model
- Performance is just okay
- You're still "stuck" with the Amazon App Store
Bonus premium features
The Fire HD 8 Plus marks the first time Amazon has attempted to differentiate tablets in the same lineup with some premium features. While some of these features (e.g. wireless charging) will surely come to other products in the lineup, but if you want them now, this is the tablet to get.
- More RAM than Fire HD 8
- USB-C charging port
- Fast-charging and wireless charging support
- 5MP rear camera with 1080p recording
- Game Mode
- More expensive than Fire HD 8
- Only available in one color
- Front camera still limited to 720p video capture
Amazon recently updated almost all the devices in its Fire tablet lineup, ranging from the bare-bones, impulse-buy Fire 7 to the more expensive and immersive Fire HD 10. Even the "Kids Edition" versions of these devices were upgraded in lockstep with the regular ones.
However, Fire fans like myself have been waiting nearly two years for an update to the HD 8, which I've often called the Goldilocks of tablets for its "just right" balance of price, performance, and value. Now that the Fire HD 8 has been updated along with a more premium Fire HD 8 Plus, what is someone in the market for a tremendous mid-size tablet to do?
Amazon Fire HD 8 vs. 8 Plus: Nitpicking the differences
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Since this is the first time we've seen separate Fire tablets in the same product line (aside from the Kids Edition versions), it's a good idea to check out all the differences between these two tablets.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Fire HD 8 (2022)||Fire HD 8 Plus (2022)|
|Display||8-inch HD||8-inch HD|
|Resolution||1280x800 (189 ppi)||1280x800 (189 ppi)|
Expandable up to 1TB
Expandable up to 1TB
|CPU||Hexa-core 2.0 GHz||Hexa-core 2.0 GHz|
|Charging Time||5 hours||3 hours|
|Cameras||2MP front and rear||2MP front and 5MP rear|
|Weight||11.9 ounces||12.1 ounces|
|Dimensions||7.94 x 5.40 x 0.37 inches (202x137x9.7mm)||8.0 x 5.4 x 0.4 inches (202mm x 137mm x 9.7mm)7.94 x 5.40 x 0.37 inches (202x137x9.7mm)|
|Colors||Black, Denim, Rose||Gray|
As you can see from the above table, there isn't that much that separates these two versions of the Fire HD 8. They look and feel the same, almost weigh the same, and even share accessories such as cases and covers. The most significant differences are on the inside (RAM, charging capabilities, and rear camera), and color choices are also different. But that's really about it.
Amazon Fire HD 8 vs. 8 Plus: What improvements do these devices share?
Amazon didn't make a ton of substantial changes to this iteration of the HD 8, but we found the iterative changes it did make (to both models) to be welcome improvements during our review.
For starters, it increased the battery life from 10 to 12 hours, which doesn't sound like much, but can make a significant difference on long road trips or flights (and if you're at home, it just means that you can wait that much longer before charging again!). Amazon also brought USB-C to the lineup (first introduced with the 2019 HD 10) so hopefully, we'll start to see that on all of the company's new devices moving forward.
Amazon updated the color options of the HD 8 to better match the color choices of the Fire 7 (2022), and improved the processors for better performance. The Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 8 Plus also have more RAM (2GB and 3GB, respectively), and even though the 32/64GB storage options remain, microSD expandability now allows up to 1TB expansion cards to be used. This makes the devices great for storing movies, music, games, and more for extended trips or when you're in areas with low network coverage.
This marks the first time a Fire tablet has had the front-facing camera on the side in a horizontal or landscape orientation, and I, for one, think that was a wise decision. I know that I tend to hold my tablets that way when trying to get a better view of the content on the screen, so it makes sense that this would be a better experience for video chatting with others. Also, if you want to use a Bluetooth keyboard, landscape orientation makes a lot more sense.
Finally, Amazon is introducing a distraction-free gaming experience called Game Mode, which blocks notifications from intruding on your gameplay. And the best part is that it's on by default and comes on automatically when you launch a game. You can always turn it off from the settings if you don't mind the interruptions, but why would you?
Amazon Fire HD 8 vs. Plus: What does the Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus offer?
2020 marked the first time Amazon tried to create a more premium tier in its Fire tablets with the Fire HD 8 Plus, and has continued it with the 2022 models. On the surface, the Plus version doesn't really look any different than the "regular" Fire HD 8, aside from only being available in a Gray color. No, for the HD 8 Plus, it's what's on the inside that counts.
For starters, the HD 8 Plus comes with 50% more RAM (3GB) than the HD 8 (2GB), an addition that should help games and movies appear more fluid, and make it future-proof for longer than other Fire tablets. The HD 8 Plus can also charge faster via its included 9W adapter, which makes it great for those who want to top off the battery more quickly, particularly before a road trip.
Speaking of charging, the real selling point with the HD 8 Plus is that it is capable of Qi wireless charging. Amazon is selling a unique Wireless Charging Dock, but it also works with some of the best wireless chargers. Using the Amazon dock means that you can quickly put your Fire HD 8 into Show Mode and leave it like that without having an ugly wire sticking out or worrying about the battery running out. This turns it into an Echo Show, but it's an Echo Show that you can pick up and take with you anywhere.
Amazon Fire HD 8 vs. 8 Plus: Which should you buy?
As a fan of Amazon's devices, I was thrilled to see that the Fire HD 8 tablet was finally updated after two years. These are two of the best Android tablets on the market, so I was also happy to see Amazon introducing more premium features in the HD 8. Both versions of the tablet are great options, but the HD 8 is the way to go for most people. Sure, it doesn't have wireless charging, nor does it charge as quickly as the HD 8 Plus, but I don't think that matters to most Fire tablet customers. Yeah, they're "nice-to-haves," but they're not "need-to-haves." And when these devices aren't on sale, there's about a $20+ difference in price, meaning that most people will be just fine with the base version.
That said, even at its max storage capacity and with accessories such as the Wireless Charging Dock, the Fire HD 8 Plus is over $150 cheaper than the cheapest iPad, and thus, is still an excellent value for a personal or family entertainment device. Add on the fact that with the wireless dock, it can basically become a full-time Echo Show replacement, and you get two fantastic Amazon devices for the price of one. Not a bad deal!
Just what you need
The 2022 edition of the Fire HD 8 includes all the basic improvements that you'd expect over the 2020 version, and honestly, that's more than enough for most people. It continues to be a reliable device that offers amazing value.
If you were waiting for more innovation from the Fire tablet line, the Fire HD 8 Plus delivers. It includes all of the incremental updates from its sibling, but adds faster and wireless charging capabilities, which isn't something you'll find anywhere near at this price point.
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Jeramy is the Editor-in-Chief of Android Central. He is proud to help *Keep Austin Weird* and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw.
- Andrew MyrickSenior Editor - Chromebooks, tablets, and wearables