I recently picked up an Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet for use with Xbox's Project xCloud game streaming service, owing to its price. During Black Friday, Amazon's Android tablet is just $80, making it a great budget option for those looking to get a second, larger screen for Xbox Game Streaming. For that end, it works fine, with far more screen real estate to see all of those unscaled UI elements. I found myself wanting more, however.
The Fire HD 8 tablet is slow, painfully so in fact. It's fine if you stick to a single app, for even the vaguest hint of multi-tasking, it kind of struggles. Oh, and it's plastered with Amazon ads out of the box and doesn't have Google Play, meaning you have to sideload unsupported apps and the like.
I wanted something more powerful, easier to use with the Google Play Store, and something with just, all-round better build quality. Which is why I'm delighted with Samsung's Galaxy Tab A, which is on sale for Black Friday right now.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8-inch model is far more powerful than the Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet, with much sleeker design and better battery life. It also comes with the latest full version of Android, and Samsung's modern One UI. Android isn't the best tablet OS out there for usability, probably, but if you don't want to submerge yourself Apple's ecosystem when Project xCloud or other similar services like Google Stadia eventually launch more broadly, this is your next-best option.
I wanted an 8-inch model so that I could indulge my laziness and prop it up in a bed mount, like this one for playing when my girlfriend commandeers the TV.
It's also incredibly light, with a bright display, making it a great option for Netflix, YouTube, Comixology, Kindle books, and practically any other media app you can think of. I probably won't be doing much social media or chatting on this thing, due to its cumbersome size. For me, it's a second screen for Xbox Game Streaming first and foremost. In that role, it works incredibly well.
Tablet for xCloud
Best value Android tablet right now
While the Amazon Fire HD 8 is cheaper, you sacrifice a lot to get down to that price point. The Galaxy Tab A makes far fewer compromises, making it a far better option across the board for tablet fans.
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