Since 2013 I have been a Kindle fan, and with the release of the Fire series of devices, I have only become more entrenched as a customer and user. This review is for anyone who is interested in Fire HD as a tablet platform, and who wants to know what the Fire HD 8’s strengths and weaknesses are.
Before I get into the details of this device, I first want to express that it’s obvious that Amazon designs their tablets to fill a niche of readers who would like to use a tablet as a platform for reading books, novels, and magazines.
What this will mean for someone who purchases a Fire HD 8 or other Kindle devices, is a more “book shaped” tablet in terms of its length and width.
For me, the differences are not an inconvenience, since the drawing card for buying a Fire HD was it’s like reading a real book. In my work, I am constantly accessing manuals, schematics, and digital books, so the Fire HD’s reader-friendly design makes me exceedingly more productive.
The Fire HD 8 is shockingly light weight, and may even feel a little weird in your hands if you are a heavy handed brute like I am.
I find the buttons convenient to use since they blend in with the “natural” way that my fingers tend to try and use the device without ever having looked at a manual.
The device doesn’t come across as low quality at all; however, I wish that there was an option for a matte finish.
I am sure that there are many Fire fans out there that will like and appreciate that the Fire HD 8 comes in a variety of colors, but for me, I prefer black.
It’s a good looking device.
Fire HD has front and rear facing cameras that surprised me with the clarity and quality of the pictures that I took. Now this is not to say that the pictures are as good as the ones that I can take using my phone (an LG G4,) but for a tablet, the pictures are surprisingly nice.
As far as being able to do things like Skype, the cameras are perfect, and I notice no difference in picture quality while using Skype on the Fire HD 8 or using FaceTime on my iPad. This is not the case for pictures though.
Pictures taken on my iPad look better than those on my Fire, but alas, I use my phone for photos anyway.
The speakers offer really nice sound, and are much better than the previous Fire release. Volume and clarity are as good as can be found on a tablet, which was previously a sore spot for many Fire users.
Speed and Responsiveness:
This device rocks in terms of how smooth and fast everything moves on the screen, and how quickly the device responds to my commands.
I have always liked the on screen keyboard of Fire tablets better than iPad’s, and this newest device is no different. The keys aren’t so big that my fingers have to travel by leaps and bounds from one letter to the next, which makes typing much faster on the Fire than what you will get using an iPad.
I saved this one for last because I believe that this is where the Fire HD 8 most strongly distinguishes itself from other tablets for most people.
Fire HD’s version of Android integrates the features that I use every day on Prime right into my Fire tablet’s user experience. From my home screen, I can scroll to my video library, and then to available movies, and documentaries. I can scope out shows on prime, and rent or buy movies by using simple scroll gestures and intelligent search features.
I just timed myself, and from beginning to end it only took me 8 seconds to purchase and begin watching Antman on my Fire HD 8.
If you’re already on prime, then you probably know about the endless music, movies, and literature that you have at your command to download for offline viewing. What this means for others new to Prime, is that you can have your movies saved on a Fire HD 8 tablet to watch on a flight, which will bypass the need for costly airplane Wi-Fi.
Last, the Fire HD 8 has two major features for readers, namely Word Runner, and Blue Shade.
Blue Shade is a proprietary technology within Fire HD tablets that removes the blue light from the screen when you are reading. If you are reading while in bed with someone else, your reading will no longer disturb their sleep, and Blue Shade technology makes your own reading more comfortable without the blinding glare of white backgrounds while reading in the dark.
My favorite feature is Word Runner, because a large portion of my reading is done during mission critical work-related situations.
Word Runner keeps your focus while reading on one spot of the screen and has an adjustable pace for displaying word by word in sentences. It’s a unique concept in reading; however, once you are used to it and have your own speed dialed in, you will find that reading has never gone so fast before. You’ll cut your reading time in half conservatively.
If you need to get through a technical manual fast, there isn’t a better bit of software/hardware out there for this kind of task.
I really like my Fire HD 8, but my uses for it are admittedly niche ones, which is why I would suggest that anyone considering this device be the sort of customer Amazon is trying to attract.
If your desire is to play games, record music videos, or produce award winning photography, there are probably other options better suited for your needs; however, if you lean more on the side of being a reader, and are really into controlling the content of your entertainment, it’s really hard to beat what you get out of the box when buying the Amazon Fire HD 8.
I hope that you found this review helpful, and if you think that this device is for you, CLICK HERE to get one directly from Amazon.
Here’s a demonstration of Word Runner: