Android Central Verdict
If you want a cheap tablet that you can throw in the bag or use as a smart home display, the Fire HD 8 has you covered. It offers all-day battery life (and then some), while providing enough of an upgrade in the performance department to warrant your hard-earned dollars.
Great battery life
Quick and easy access to Amazon services
Lightweight and portable
Built-in microSD card slot
More expensive than the previous model
Performance is just okay
You're still "stuck" with the Amazon App Store
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You might be surprised by the title of this review, especially if you're accustomed to thinking that Amazon's Fire 7 tablet is the actual best cheap Android tablet. But I would argue that the improvements that Amazon has made to the Fire HD 8 over the past couple of years have actually been enough to dethrone the Fire 7.
Amazon Fire HD 8 (2022): Price and availability
The Amazon Fire HD 8 was announced in September 2022, alongside the updated Fire HD 8 Plus and Fire HD 8 Kids tablets. Following the announcement, the Fire HD 8 was officially released in October 2022, with a starting retail price of $99 for the 32GB variant, and $129 for 64GB of storage. Additionally, Amazon is offering the Fire HD 8 in three different colors — Black, Denim, and Rose — and you can purchase the tablet with, or without, Lock Screen Ads.
Amazon Fire HD 8 (2022): What you'll like
What is there to say about a tablet that has been slightly upgraded but is largely the same as its predecessor? The Fire HD 8 serves a specific purpose, as it's a solid and cheap Android tablet with a screen that's "good enough" to enjoy the never-ending swath of streaming content that we have at our disposal.
One could argue that Amazon didn't even need to go and update the Fire HD 8, but as we all know, technology is cyclical and if the company could find a reason to release an "updated" device to help make some more money, that's what it was going to do. Cynicism aside, the Fire HD 8 is probably the best tablet for anyone who wants more than what a traditional Amazon Kindle has to offer and doesn't care about not having access to the Play Store.
|Specs||Amazon Fire HD 8 (2022)|
|Resolution||1280 x 800 (189 ppi)|
|Storage||32GB / 64GB, Expandable up to 1TB via microSD card|
|CPU||Hexa-core 2.0 GHz|
|Charging Time||5 hours with included 5W USB-C charger|
|Cameras||2MP front and rear with 720p HD video recording|
|Dimensions||7.94” x 5.40” x 0.37” (201.90mm x 137.34 mm x 9.60 mm)|
|Colors||Black, Denim, Rose|
|Connectivity||2.4/5GHz Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooh 5.2|
|3.5mm Audio jack||✔️|
Battery life is just as good as you would expect, reaching the 13 hours of advertised battery life with ease. It's a bit of a surprise given that the screen and processor have both been upgraded, but the software is still the same so it's just not going to be as power-hungry as something like the Galaxy Tab S8.
Of course, your mileage will vary depending on whether you plan to use this for Amazon Luna game streaming, watching videos, or both. But it'll still easily last you an entire day, and probably quite a bit longer if you don't use it all of the time.
Speaking of watching videos, something else that I'm really happy to see Amazon stick with is the ability to use a microSD card with its various Fire Tablets. Expandable storage is one "feature" that shouldn't have been removed from the best Android phones or tablets, and even though you can get a 1TB microSD card for the same price as the Fire HD 8, there's no such thing as not having too much storage.
In the same vein, there are two different configurations available, as you can opt for either 32GB or 64GB with the Fire HD 8, which is still probably more than enough on its own. But you can always throw a microSD card in your tablet if you want to enjoy watching some movies without streaming.
I've also become quite a fan of the decision to include Show Mode with the Fire HD 8. As I recently mentioned in my Fire TV Cube (2022) review, my discovery of the Google Nest Alexa Skill has made it easy to check my various security cameras without actually having a Nest Hub on my desk in the home office.
Show Mode gives you essentially the same experience you would find if you were to use an Echo Show 8, but on a tablet. It's also probably similar to what we should expect to see from the Pixel Tablet, seamlessly flipping between a tablet and a smart home display depending on your current needs.
Amazon Fire HD 8 (2022): What you won't
Even Amazon's high-end tablets like the Fire HD 10 aren't really designed to be super performant, and while the company can slap a new processor in it in order to claim "30% faster performance," it's still just a cheap Android tablet. The new "hexacore" processor in the Fire HD 8 isn't going to win any awards or blow anyone away, and that's fine, for the most part at least.
It gets the job done, but I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't at least point out that it was a bit frustrating that the interface felt a bit sluggish at times. It's not something that most people will probably even notice, but in one instance, I tried to fire up Luna and play a bit of Dirt 5 only to feel like the tablet was just being overwhelmed with too much going on at one time. This was just a one-off occurrence, but it's still something worth pointing out considering how popular cloud gaming has become.
As for the aforementioned gaming, we really need an easier way to install and use the Play Store on these tablets. Or, at the very least, it would be beneficial for Google and Amazon to play nice and make it so I don't have to buy multiple versions of games just because I have to use the Amazon App Store instead of the Play Store. Unfortunately, that ship has long sailed and it's really annoying. Amazon has been making improvements to its own App Store, likely thanks to the ability to install Android apps on Windows, but I still would prefer to have all my apps come from one centralized "store" for everything, kind of like GOG for Windows games.
Lastly, while we're happy to have USB-C onboard for charging, there's no "fast charging" to be found on the Fire HD 8. Amazon claims it will take you about five hours to go from 0-100%, and I'm just hoping that we see future Fire Tablets released with the ability to charge faster than an iPhone with a Lightning connector. And unlike the Fire HD 8 Plus, you can't use the Fire HD 8 with a wireless charger, so you'll probably want to make sure you plug in the Fire HD 8 overnight when it runs out of juice.
Amazon Fire HD 8 (2022): The competition
At first glance, it may not seem as though there's much competition for the Fire HD 8 (2022), besides Amazon's own Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 Plus. The former is something that you probably shouldn't consider unless you really want the cheapest of the cheap. But the latter is much more intriguing, as the Fire HD 8 Plus includes wireless charging (great for Show Mode), has more RAM, faster wired charging, and is only $20 more.
The next closest competitor would have to be Walmart's .onn 8-inch Tablet, which offers the same screen size, same storage options, and more colors, all while being $20 less expensive. Plus, you'll also enjoy a traditional Android experience, complete with having access to the Play Store as opposed to the Amazon App Store.
Outside of those two specific options, your best bet, if you're in the market for an 8-inch tablet that won't break the bank, would be to keep an eye out for sales on some of the other best cheap Android tablets. Lenovo's Tab M8 is getting a bit long in the tooth but can be found for the same $100 price as the Fire HD 8, while the Galaxy Tab A7 Lite has a larger 8.7-inch screen but gives you a much more premium build and there have been sales knocking it down to around $110.
Amazon Fire HD 8 (2022): Should you buy it?
You should buy this if:
- You want the best cheap Android tablet.
- You want a tablet that can double as an Alexa smart display.
- You want a tablet that has long-lasting battery life.
- You don't care about not having access to the Google Play Store.
You shouldn't buy this if:
- You want to be able to multitask.
- You are looking for a tablet that includes wireless charging.
- You want to have access to your library of purchased content from the Google Play Store.
Reading through this review, it might sound like I'm not too excited about the Fire HD 8, but that couldn't be further from the truth. For me, the Fire HD 8 has replaced the Fire 7 as the best cheap Android tablet that you should get, even if you're on a strict sub-$50 budget.
It sucks not having access to the Play Store, and the performance "improvements" are negligible, at best. But it's definitely a better overall tablet than Amazon's cheapest option and a fantastic choice for those who just want a media consumption device that can be thrown in pretty much any bag.
Even if you think that the Fire HD 8 is overshadowed by the Fire HD 8 Plus, that tablet's only $20 more and offers even better value, not everyone cares about having a tablet transform into a smart display. That's where the Fire HD 8 fits in and does a damn good job of it in a market that is primarily saturated with outdated products or those from brands you don't know.
The new champ of cheap
Amazon's latest Fire HD 8 (2022) tablet doesn't really do much that would surprise anyone. But it has supplanted the Fire 7 as the best cheap Android tablet out there.
Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.
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