Amazon’s Fire HD 8 tablet is built like a tank. And at just £80 a pop you could buy enough of them to build a small and incredibly sturdy house. It’s not heavy, but if you had to choose a tablet to be frisbeed at your skull by an opportunistic enemy, this one would be near the bottom of the list.
The sub-£100 tablet market is unexpectedly fierce, with devices from the likes of Asus and Lenovo united by one sadly common factor: that they’re generally a bit rubbish. The Amazon Fire HD 8 is refreshing insofar as it’s actually not a terrible piece of hardware, bearing in mind that it costs as much as a decent lunch for two in the City.
The ‘HD’ tag is a bit misleading, as the resolution of the LCD screen is a mere 1280x800 – low enough that you can count the individual pixels.
Rudimentary too are the front-facing and rear cameras, but picking on these features on an ultracheap tablet is about as fair as complaining about the top speed of a Ford Ka.
Where the Fire HD 8 excels is in its basic function as a cheap portable media player for your Amazon account. If you’re a regular Prime or a Kindle user, you can stream every film, song and book from your account to this tablet. It’s an ideal family device, if you have one of those families that can’t be trusted to hold something expensive.
It’s a niche product by design, but when it’s more likely than not that the phone in your pocket has a superior resolution and display, it’s tough to recommend to those looking for a way to watch TV shows on their commute. The increasingly ubiquitous Alexa assistant is built-in too, though she’s not always listening, making her less useful here than she is in an Echo speaker.
The Fire HD 8 represents surprising quality for the cost, but you won’t forget you’re using an £80 tablet.