The heart of tech is coming to the heart of the Mediterranean. Join TNW in València this March 🇪🇸

This article was published on October 11, 2017

Amazon Fire HD 10 is a lot of bang for just a few bucks

Amazon Fire HD 10 is a lot of bang for just a few bucks
Rachel Kaser
Story by

Rachel Kaser

Internet Culture Writer

Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback riding. Check her Twitter for curmudgeonly criticisms.

Amazon’s Fire HD 10 is a lovely tablet to look at, especially for a relatively low price. It’s got a few drawbacks, but between the screen and Alexa, there’s plenty to like.

Admittedly, this was my first Android tablet, even if it is a modified Amazon version of the OS. I’ve played with them before, but this was my first time actually living with and using one — I’d been an Apple person for a long time, and my tablet experience is primarily with iPads. Still, I think this relatively inexpensive tablet has got me rethinking my brand loyalty.

At $150, the tablet isn’t as expensive as it feels, and the specs are decent:

  • 10.1-inch widescreen display (1920 x 1200)
  • 224 ppi
  • Up to 10 hours of battery life
  • 32 and 64 GB options, with microSD expansion supported
  • Quad-core processor with up to 1.8 GHz and 2GB of RAM
  • Free unlimited cloud storage for Amazon content
  • Dolby Atmos stereo speakers
  • Dual band Wi-Fi
  • Alexa hands-free

It comes pre-loaded with mostly Amazon apps, including Music, Prime Video, and Audible. The device was synced to my Amazon account, meaning I could buy or play anything immediately without even having to log in.

The Fire didn’t make the best first impression, admittedly – when I turned it on, it asked me for the usual language selection and to connect to Wi-Fi. But when I went to agree to the Registration Status, and affirm that I am Rachel Kaser, the screen would flicker, and it would go back to the language select screen. No matter how many times I tried to tap that button, it’d flicker back to Language Select. This happened about ten times before I tried the age-old method of turning off, turning it back on again, which seemed to set it right.

The first thing I noticed while using the Fire 10 was how gorgeous the screen is. Seriously, I can’t say enough about how nice it was to watch stuff on this tablet. While watching Wonder Woman on Amazon video, I got the clearest, most beautiful HD picture I’ve ever had on a tablet. The speakers were also very smooth-sounding, and able to fill a decently-sized room at max volume.

The screen does run a little dimmer than I’m used to. I had to crank the brightness up to 75 percent to save myself from squinting, while my iPhone usually requires only 60 percent.

I didn’t notice any significant app slowdown, even while running multiple apps and a browser at the same time, and everything loaded very smoothly. The battery was also decent. I didn’t actively try to drain it, but I was able to watch an HD movie for an hour while only draining about 10 percent of the battery.

The biggest plus is having Alexa in the tablet, hands-free. While eating, I could watch my movie without having to fumble for a pause button with unclean hands. She was also able to execute more complex tasks without my physical input, such as starting my free Amazon Music trial and downloading a requested song when I asked her to play it (she did ask my permission first).

That said, there were a few minor problems getting Alexa to understand me. I could say, “Alexa, pause” while watching a video or listening to music, and she would pause without a problem. But if I said the same thing while listening to an Audible recording, Alexa wouldn’t appear for a few seconds, then go away without pausing the audiobook.

There were a few other minor quibbles. The camera on the Fire HD is only so-so. I accidentally activated it while pointing it a wall in a dim room and it looked grainier than a bowl of cereal. The front-facing camera was unfortunately no different. I also couldn’t access the Google Play store which, while expected, was disappointing.

Still, if what you want is a tablet that looks and sounds great, without a whole lot of extra material, the Fire HD 10 is a good option.

The Fire HD 10 releases today for $149.

Get the TNW newsletter

Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.