Saturday , June 19 2021

Amazon Fire HD 10 review (2017): The 10in Tablet with Hands-free Alexa



The 10in Fire is the last of Amazon's tablets to get its 2017 update, but last does not mean minimum. The changes are much more significant than the £ 49.99 7in model.

Now you get a full HD screen, a noticeably faster processor, more RAM, better speakers and hands-free Alexa.

If your only experience of Alexa was a device where you have to press a button before then the difference in convenience is huge. Even if the tablet is locked you can still say "Alexa, add washing-up liquid to my shopping list".

Amazon Fire HD 10: Price

Black Friday deal: The Fire HD 10 is just £ 99 in the Amazon UK sale, with the Kids Edition at £ 149.

The Fire HD 10 starts at £ 149.99 and gets you 32GB of storage with up to 256GB more via a microSD card. You'll still have to pay an extra ticket when ordering for books, apps and films on the locks screen, but that goes for all Amazon tablets.

There's a 64GB version which costs £ 179.99 and both are available in black, red and blue. For some reason, there is no yellow option as with other sizes.

There's now a dedicated Kids Edition and we've reviewed this separately.

Amazon Fire HD 10: Features and Design

Design-wise the 2017 tablet looks like its predecessor. It's a couple of millimetres thicker and 68g heavier, which is not ideal, but most people will be happy with the extra two hours of battery life.

Amazon Fire HD 10 review 2017

When placed on the left and side of the speakers.

But those are there so they give you decent stereo sound for watching videos and playing games in landscape mode. Amazon says they're Dolby tuned, but although the vocals come through loud and clear there's a distinct lack of bass so you'll prefer to connect headphones or a better quality speaker (probably via Bluetooth) for listening to music. There's a standard headphone jack, too.

Amazon Fire HD 10 review 2017

The unashamedly plastic build may turn off some off, but the HD 10 does not feel flimsy at all. If you really do not like it, stick it in a case and the plastic goes away.

Although screens on Fire tablets have been decent for a while now, this one is clearly the best. The Full HD resolution means it's sharper and more detailed than any other Fire Tablet, and it has great colors and wide viewing angles. If there's any weakness it's that it's not very bright, but in most conditions it's perfectly fine.

Amazon Fire HD 10 review 2017

Performance

You can not expect iPad-like performance for £ 149 but the HD 10 holds up well for general use. The quad-core processor is 30 percent faster than last year's model, but a better comparison is the Fire HD 7, if only to illustrate that it's not just the same innards and a bigger screen.

The Fire HD 7 is underpowered, but the HD 10 is not bad at all. In Geekbench 3 It's more than twice as fast as the HD 7 which got only 1170.

Those scores are when using all four cores. Not all apps are written only to one core that the HD 10 feels a lot faster than the 7. In Geekbench 3's single-core test, the scores are 1503 (higher than the HD 7's multicore score) and the 7 manages a paltry 360.

Graphics prowess is not so great. Running GFXBench revealed that the HD 10 can not manage 30 frames per second in the old T-Rex test (it scores 21fps) and fell below 5fps on average in the Manhattan 3.1 test.

It means that you're not going to see stunning graphics in the most demanding games. However, there's more than enough power for casual games such as Jetpack Joyride and Monument Valley.

Overall, performance is fair for the price – just do not expect the snappy, lag-free experience you'll get with the latest flagship tablets.

Battery life is in line with Amazon's claims of 10 hours' mixed use, and it takes about 3.5 hours to recharge from empty using the included 9W charger.

Cameras

Bizarrely, Amazon has downgraded the cameras. So while last year's tablet had a 5MP camera, it's now a 2Mp camera. And at the front you get a 0.3Mp VGA selfie camera.

Aside from the woeful quality, they're close to useless in low light and have a very narrow field of view. This is as much of a Pancras as fits into the frame – most cameras have a lens that allows the whole building to fit.

Amazon Fire HD 10 review 2017

It's like with the selfie camera – you'll have to be back to that you think for a Skype call. Here's what you can expect in terms of selfie quality:

Amazon Fire HD 10 review 2017

Alexa

Alexa's capabilities are constantly improving and on the Fire HD 10, she can make useful apps, searching for videos, changing the volume and playing music.

However, unlike Google's Assistant, she's not great at answering more general questions like "Did England qualify for the world cup this year?". Also, it's a shame she can not adjust the brightness on the tablet as well as volume.

Amazon Fire HD 10 review 2017

There is a lot she can do but it helps to know what she can and can not do and how best to phrase questions. It's easy to control video playback, including skipping forward or backwards by a certain number of seconds or minutes, or jumping to a certain point by saying "Alexa, skip to 23 minutes".

And like the Echo devices, you can set volume by saying "Alexa, volume six". However, we noticed a slightly longer delay in responding to requests than with the echo.

This could have been down to a patchy internet connection, but it merely highlights that 's on dealing with your request instead of showing the' I am listening 'blue bar at the bottom of the screen.

It's useful to enable or disable the Alexa when the tablet is locked, and we also like toggle from the top of the screen – handy if you want to mute Alexa quick to stop her listening for the wake word.

With the big screen, it's also nice that Alexa will respond to some requests with full-screen 'cards'. When you ask about the weather, for example, you'll see the forecast on the next week. For some reason, these showed temperature in Fahrenheit on our tablet, even though Alexa's spoken response is in Celcius.

Amazon Fire HD 10 review 2017

We'd like to see the range of sports scores expanded as only UK-specific things you can ask about football and cricket.

If you like, you can even use Alexa to buy things from Amazon just as you can with an echo. And – usefully – you can require a spoken password to prevent others from ordering stuff.

Software

Fire OS, which is based on Android 5.1.1, continues to improve. The HD 10 obviously runs the latest version of Fire OS and it can now do things like restoring your apps and home screen from a previous Fire tablet.

It also automatically set up user accounts to match your Amazon account, which means you'll see all your purchased content as soon as you log in.

Replacing the 'Recent' screen is 'For you'. This is essentially an improved recent screen where you see recently used apps, app suggestions and also the ability to resume a video you're half way through.

Amazon Fire HD 10 review 2017

The whole video is designed to make it very easy to buy – just all you can buy or rent videos from its Prime Video service and read from games and games from Amazon Appstore.

Whenever Alexa does not understand a question, she'll either open the web browser for your query or – just as often – fire up the Amazon shop and show items you may want to buy.

Amazon Fire HD 10 review 2017

There are third-party versions of YouTube, but because this is not an Android device you will not find any of the official Google apps, nor can download and install them. Instead, you'll have to use (and sometimes buy) apps to access Gmail and other Google services, or use Amazon's equivalents.

A lot of the big names are on the appstore, including Netflix, iPlayer, Sky Go, Facebook, Messenger, Viber and more, but some are not, like Whatsapp, Nest and Photoshop.

Should I buy a Fire HD 10?

There are two ways to look at the HD 10. One is that's £ 70 more expensive than the HD 8, which itself cost only £ 79.99.

Sure, that tablet does not have the hands-free Alexa or a full HD screen but you could almost buy two for the price of one HD 10.

The other is that it's good value for a 10in tablet with a full HD screen and hands-free Alexa. It's hard to think of another 10in tablet at this price that offers a decent 1920 x 1080 screen.

And if you're worried that Amazon might add hands-free Alexa to its cheap tablets, that's unlikely to happen. They do not have the same processing power as the HD 10, which was beefed up specifically to allow owners to call upon the assistant.


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