Review: Amazon Fire HD 10: Big Screen on a Small Budget

If your computing needs are more casual and perhaps it crossed your mind you could best be served with a tablet rather than a laptop or a computer you may want to feast your eyes on the all-new Amazon Fire HD10.

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As the name suggests, it’s equipped with a 1080p full high definition 10.1-inch widescreen display with 16:10 aspect ratio making it ideal for your entertainment needs. For the techies, it displays a respectable, 1920 x 1200 pixelsat 224 ppi (pixels-per-inch). Either way you’ll be able to enjoy access to millions of eBooks, movies, TV shows, games, apps, and music. Stream or download videos from Prime Video and Netflix or simply watch YouTube. And should you need to connect to a projector an HDMI-USB dongle should do the trick.

It also features dual stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos, a built-in microphone for Skype or video calls and enhanced Bluetoothto connect wireless speakers or an optional keyboard.

9thGeneration Updates

Amazon Canada’s 9thgeneration model with albeit the same name has an updated from a 1.8GHz quad-core to a 2.0 GHz eight-core processor 30% faster than its predecessor This Battery life has been bumped up by 20% to up to 12 hours of mixed-use so with its built-in PIP (Picture-in-Picture) function, you can now have lots more time to watch YouTube, Netflix or Prime Video while doing something else like checking your e-mail.It has a minimal 32GB of built-in storage (or 64GB) and now easily expandable up to 512 GB (up from 256GB) by simply purchasing an optional micro SD card. The rear camera remains at 2 megapixels (circa 2012), very light by today’s standards and the front camera has been bumped up from VGA to standard hi-def 720p. Another notable change is the use of standard USB-C for charging.

While the Fire HD 10 has a robust polycarbonate shell, its look is fairly Plain Jane, simply adorned with the Amazon swoop in the back. It certainly doesn’t have the sleekness or the refined finish or the bells and whistles you might find on an iPad or higher end Android tablets.

An entry-level iPad has a significantly more powerful processor, an 8-megapixel camera that you can do some serious photography with and a front-facing 1.2-megapixel camera with Retina flash for example.  The iPad takes advantage of Apple’s full iOS operating system and with literally millions of apps can virtually replace your computer – and you can operate it with an Apple pencil.

Fire HD on the other hand runs it own operating system, Fire OS, a customized version of Android 9.0 Pie. It’s designed for functionality as shown above and not necessarily for those who need to be on the leading edge of technology. The front facing camera is adequate for video calls and the back camera is passible for simple screen res photos taken in adequate lighting conditions. It offers limited Google Services, and a smaller app offering so you won’t get access to the full library of apps and games the Google Play Store has to offer.  

It does however offer some accessibility features that some may find handy. Its VoiceViewscreen reader enables access to the vast majority of Fire tablet features for users who are visually impaired using text-to-speech or a connected refreshable braille display. The Screen magnifier enables users to zoom in and out as well as pan around the screen. In addition there are accessibility settings for Closed Captioning, Font Size, High Contrast Text and Colour.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for the basics, this tablet can be a perfect companion for home or on the road for those who are already connected to the Amazon eco-system – those who subscribe to Amazon Prime or Prime Video.

And if that’s enough for you, even better, it’s also less than half the price of an entry-level iPad and makes for a great stocking stuffer.

Amazon Fire HD 10 (32GB) retails in Canada for only $199.99 ($40 more for 64GB).  It includes a USB-C charging cable and power adapter. You can find them at your local Best BuyThe Source and of course on Amazon. It is fairly large and can easily slip out of your hands, so to protect it and have hands-free viewing; it might be a good idea to pick up a matching tablet case.

Amazon Fire HD10 Kid-Proff Edition

Special Kid’s Edition

If you like your kids to have their own Amazon has a special Fire HD 10 Kid’s Edition featuring a blue or pink “kid-proof” case with a built in stand. It comes with a 2-year “no worries” replacement and a free one-year subscription to Amazon FreeTime Unlimitedan optional monthly subscription that offers thousands of content titles for children including games, movies, apps and educational books for children ages three to twelve years old.

Holiday Season Sale: These models seem to be a popular discount item at many retailers with prices as low as $149.99 for the 32GB model.

Greg Gazin, also known as the Gadget Guy and Gadget Greg, is a syndicated veteran tech columnist, communication, leadership and technology speaker, facilitator at Crestcom International, blogger, podcaster and author. Reach him @gadgetgreg or at GadgetGuy.ca.

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