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Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020) vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0" (2019): Which should you buy?

Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020) tablet standing upright on a field of grass
(Image credit: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

When looking at the Amazon Fire HD 8 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0", it is easy to see all of the elements they have in common. They are both thin and light tablets with an 8-inch HD display and access to familiar apps, but there are plenty of differences to explore.

It might perplex you to know that the older Galaxy Tab A 8.0" costs more. However, the price difference is explained by a few differentiating factors. Does that make the Galaxy tablet a better option over the Fire HD 8? Let's see which of these capable cheap Android tablets is the one to take out its contender.

Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020) vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0" (2019): Tale of the tape

Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0" (2019) held up with two hands in portrait orientation

(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung and Amazon have both been making great, affordable tablets for years now. Each of them offers a tablet with an 8-inch screen that has HD resolution. Though they look very similar at first glance, they start to differentiate themselves in everyday use.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0"Amazon Fire HD 8
Weight12.2 oz12.5 oz
Display8-inch, HD8-inch, HD
Dimensions8.0 x 5.4 x 0.4 inches‎9.52 x 5.89 x 0.38 inches
Storage32GB32 or 64 GB
Operating SystemAndroid 9Fire OS 7 (based on Android 9)
Expandable StorageUp to 512MBUp to 1TB
Screen Resolution1280 x 8001280 x 800
Battery lifeUp to 13 hours of multimediaUp to 12 hours of multimedia
Camera2MP front and 8MP rear-facing cameras with 1080p video recording2MP front and rear-facing cameras with 720p video recording
Voice AssistantGoogle AssistantAlexa
ColorsBlack and SilverBlack, Twilight Blue, Plum, White
AudioDual speakersDual speakers with Dolby Atmos
CaseKid-safe case includedNo case included
Portsmicro-USB, 3.5mm headphone jackUSB-C, 3.5mm headphone jack
Warranty12-month limited warranty90-day limited warranty

Amazon has taken affordable, high-quality tablets to another level with the Fire HD 8. While Samsung's Galaxy Tab A 8" is no slouch for the price and feature differences, Amazon still has a leg up.

Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020) vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0" (2019): Differences abound

Amazon Fire HD 8 home screen in-hand

(Image credit: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

The Fire HD 8 is slightly wider and thicker than Samsung's offering here, but Amazon makes fair use of that space. Tablets are great devices for content consumption like movies, reading, and playing games, so having a good amount of space to differentiate it from your phone is helpful.

When watching a movie, you want to be immersed in it, and with the Fire HD 8, it's much more possible with its fantastic dual-speaker setup with Dolby Atmos support. It brings a significantly improved audio experience to your music, games, and movies. For the times you can't use the external speakers, you can plug in a pair of headphones. While Samsung's tablet also has a headphone jack and dual-speakers, they aren't at the same level as the Fire HD 8.

The Fire HD 8 pulls you in when you're watching your favorite movie or shows with its Dolby Atmos dual-speaker set up.

On the subject of entertainment content, each of these tablets offers 32GB of built-in storage, but Amazon has a 64GB option too. The Fire HD 8 also wins in the expandable storage category as well with a maximum of 1TB extra space, whereas the Galaxy Tab A 8" only goes up to 512GB. This means you can download movies for offline viewing and not have to worry about storage as much on the Fire HD 8.

Samsung does have an edge in battery life, eeking out an extra hour of usability at 13 hours rather than the 12 hours of the Fire HD 8. Another area that the Galaxy Tab A 8" has over Amazon is with its rear camera. While taking photos with the rear camera may not be an everyday activity, the improved 8MP sensor on the Samsung tablet will be a welcome option.

Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020) vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0" (2019): Which operating system is best?

Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0" (2019) held up in one hands and being used by a child and an adult

(Image credit: Samsung)

While there are differences noted above, the most significant difference is in the tablets' operating systems. Both technically use Android, but Amazon uses a custom version known as Fire OS. Currently, each device is using software based on Android 9 Pie.

The Galaxy Tab A 8" uses the Android you are most familiar with. The way you navigate the device, the apps, and Google Play Store, and settings menu all have a familiar feel.

Using an Amazon Fire tablet comes with learning a new operating system. That's not bad, but it does have a learning curve.

When you pick up the Fire HD 8 and begin using it, you immediately notice that it doesn't look your typical Android. Fire OS is based around Android, but it uses an entirely different interface and app store. The tablet software's look is designed for finding content, whether that is books, movies, shows, or games.

Fire OS isn't necessarily bad, but if you haven't used it before, it takes some getting used to. One drawback to it is that you won't have full access to all of the apps the Google Play Store offers. Most of the apps you would want on a tablet, like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime are available, but don't expect the entire catalog of Android apps to be there.

Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020) vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0" (2019): Which way to go?

Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020) held in one hand outdoors

(Image credit: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

Both the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8" and Amazon Fire HD 8 are solid tablets that will make for great entertainment devices. Each has an app store full of choices to get you all of the content you could think of. You'll have a vibrant display for enjoying your movies, games, books, and more.

However, for a device that is squarely focused on content with the capability to do more, the Fire HD 8 should be your top choice. The modern USB-C port, the superior dual-speakers featuring Dolby Atmos, and the higher storage capacity all make for a better overall experience. Pair that up with a great Fire HD 8 case to prop it up while enjoying your shows, and you can't go wrong.

If you need to have the full breadth of the Android apps in the Google Play Store and want a thinner, lighter option, then the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8" is a fine choice. It has a slightly longer battery life and an improved rear camera. However, keep in mind that the Galaxy Tab A 8" uses an ancient micro-USB port for charging and is limited to 512GB expandable memory. As light and thin as this tablet is, be sure to protect this more expensive device with a solid Galaxy Tab A case.

Chris Wedel
Chris Wedel
Chris Wedel is a fan of all things tech and gadgets. Living in rural Kansas with his wife and two young boys makes finding ways to get and stay online tricky. By utilizing his years of experience with the tech and mobile communications industries — success is assured. When not conquering connectivity challenges and testing new gadgets, he enjoys cruising a gravel road in his UTV with some good tunes.
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