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Amazon Fire HD 10 (2017) Review: Optimum for Prime

4

The Good

  • Affordable
  • Fast access to Amazon content
  • Parental controls

The Bad

  • For Amazon lovers only
  • Budget display
  • No Google apps

If you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber and you’re after an affordable family tablet to keep your clan entertained on the move, look no further. The Amazon Fire HD 10, now in its 7th generation, is a solidly designed portal to all of your Prime content - and one of the most budget-friendly tablets of 2017.

Prime subscribers these days get access to an absolutely ridiculously huge amount of content, as part of their membership. As well as fast delivery on Prime orders, you’ll also have a massive catalogue of virtual content to dive into; more than you could ever possibly consume, in fact.

For instance, Amazon Prime Reading gives you thousands of free books and magazines to download and read on the go, while Prime Video serves up a solid selection of movies and TV shows. That includes some exclusive Amazon productions, which can’t be seen on the likes of Netflix. You even have a Spotify rival in the form of Amazon Prime Music, or Amazon Music Unlimited if you don’t mind spending a little extra.

Of course, it’s all well and good having all of these services at your fingertips, but you’ll need a device that can actually access them all, to make that £79 Prime subscription worth your money. That’s where Amazon’s own Fire tablets come in.

The Amazon Fire HD 10 sports an interface designed by the retail giant, which is geared towards fast access of your Prime content (as well as other digital content that you’ve bought through the website). Sign in with your Amazon ID and yourself and your family can enjoy movies, shows, music, books and other bits, right there on the 10-inch Full HD screen.

This 7th-generation Fire HD 10 is fresh for 2017, replacing the 10-inch tablet from last year. You get updated specs and the same great range of family-friendly features, including some particularly helpful parental controls and full Alexa support. All for £150 here in the UK.

Here’s our full review of the new Amazon Fire HD 10 and check out some of our other Prime-related features in the links below.

How can I watch Amazon Prime Video on my TV?

How can I get Amazon Prime Video on my smartphone?

How students can get free and heavily discounted Prime subscriptions

Best Amazon Prime Video movies

Best Amazon Prime Video TV shows

Amazon Fire HD 10 Review: Design

We recently reviewed the updated 2017 version of the Fire HD 8, which is one of the most compact tablets in Amazon’s current range. The Fire HD 10 is essentially a bigger version of that tab, which makes it less portable - although the trade off is that bigger, sharper display.

As this is an affordable device, you shouldn’t expect a sexy iPad-style finish. The Fire HD 10 rocks a plastic shell which stretches around the back and edges, complete with rounded corners for a comfortable grip.

This is a reasonably rugged finish, although there’s a wee bit of flex around the centre; certainly nothing troublesome. That back also scratches up quite easily, although that’s unsurprising from plastic. I was still perfectly happy handing this to my two-year-old to play around with, whereas I’d be reluctant to do the same with one of Apple’s tabs; and that’s not just down to the price difference.

You get a choice of three colours (black, blue and red), so you can pick whichever hue best suits your mood.

If you want a device for younger kids to use, we’d be inclined towards the smaller HD 8 instead. This tab is quite hefty at over half a kilo, plus it’s rather on the large size. It’s definitely not as portable as the mini model.

What works?

This is one seriously rugged device, perfect if you have kids.

What doesn’t?

The Fire HD 10 isn’t as portable as some of the other models and also not particularly exciting in the design stakes.

Amazon Fire HD 10 Review: Screen and media

A 10.1-inch LCD display is your window into the wonderful world of Prime, complete with a Full HD resolution to keep visuals quite crisp. Of course, as this tablet only costs £150, you can expect a reasonably basic screen.

Colour reproduction isn’t exactly vibrant, for instance. Outdoor photos and other images with lush hues tend to look slightly unnatural or washed out. Contrast levels are also less than impressive, with deep blacks appearing rather grey. Likewise, the ‘Blue Shade’ mode (which filters blue light for a comfortable evening experience) turns everything a seriously ugly yellow or orange colour, even after fiddling with the settings.

Brightness levels are fine for everyday use, although we again struggled with any movies featuring night scenes. Certainly the contrast levels don’t help here. If you like a bit of horror movie action, you might be put off.

Still, if all you want to do is watch some Prime TV shows or hand to your kids for some Peppa Pig action, the Fire HD 10 will do the job. The touchscreen is also perfectly responsive, when skimming around websites and so on.

What’s more, the 32 or 64GB of on-board storage gives you plenty of space to carry around plenty of movies and music, downloaded from Amazon’s Prime services. You can even expand by a further 256GB using the microSD memory card slot.

What works?

The display is perfectly sharp considering the affordable asking price, while the expandable storage means you can carry a massive media collection on the move.

What doesn’t?

The basic screen is lacking when it comes to colours and contrast, which isn’t too surprising.

Amazon Fire HD 10 Review: Features and OS

Amazon’s own Fire OS software is stuffed inside the Fire HD 10 and it’s definitely a winner if you want fast access to your Amazon content.

The main screen offers up your most recently accessed videos, books and so on, while a swipe left or right skips to particular content types. Your Kindle books, Audible audiobooks, Prime Video picks and so on all get their own page, as do your apps and games. These include Amazon’s recommendations, in case you’re bereft of inspiration.

Naturally, you also get a page dedicated to Amazon’s online store, where you can urinate away more cash on stuff you probably didn’t need.

As you might expect, this layout is pretty great if you’re a Prime member. The more committed you are to Amazon services, the more you’ll get out of the Fire tablet - especially if you’re also on-board with Audible and Kindle. If you don’t really dip your toe into these digital services, you’d be better served by a different device.

There’s no sign of the Google Play Store on here, nor any other Google apps for that matter. You only get Amazon’s equivalents, as well as the Amazon Appstore for downloading more stuff. That means no Gmail, Google Docs or Youtube, sadly.

Still, you do at least have the option to get Amazon Underground apps and games, with a massive selection of freebies to keep you entertained on the go.

Likewise, it’s great that the Alexa voice assistant has made it onto the Fire HD 10. You can call her into action at any time with a keyword (default is ‘Alexa’), and she can search all of Amazon’s services or the internet for whatever you need. This hands-free access is particularly handy when you’re busy in the kitchen or trying to control a small child.

Speaking of kids, the parental controls on the Fire HD 8 are also solid. These allow you to virtually rope off any stuff you don’t want your offspring to access, including app browsing, online purchasing and so on. You can also set time limits, so your lovable little tykes can’t stay up all night watching Paw Patrol.

Rounding off the features is a very basic VGA front-facing camera as well as a 2-megapixel rear snapper. They’ll just about do the job for Skype, although you’ll want to use them in a well-lit environment. Otherwise you’ll look like a grainy mess.

What works?

Strong parental controls, Alexa support and easy access to your Prime content makes this a great tablet for anyone who’s signed up to Amazon’s digital services - and especially those with nippers.

What doesn’t?

No Google Play access is a real shame, while anyone who isn’t signed up to Prime or Amazon’s other services will find the interface quite annoying.

Amazon Fire HD 10 Review: Performance and battery life

A simple Mediatek chipset powers the Fire HD 10, although this has been updated for the 2017 model and is now backed by 2GB of RAM. The result is a pretty smooth experience, although you’ll still notice the occasional stutter or stammer.

Thankfully games play with a respectable frame rate and we didn’t spy any crashes or other issues during our few days of testing.

As for battery life, you’ll get close to the ten hours of promised life on a single charge, even when watching movies and messing around with apps. The Fire HD 10 is quite slow to power up however and we didn’t get a plug bundled in the box; just a charging cable. Note that it isn’t a Type-C USB either, but rather the old-school non-reversible version.

What works?

Performance is acceptable for a budget tablet and battery life is solid too.

What doesn’t?

The Fire HD 10 takes a while to charge, even if you find a plug for the cable, while there’s no reversible Type-C USB on offer.

Amazon Fire HD 10 Review: Unboxing video and comparison with the Fire HD 8 2017

Here you can see our full video unboxing and hands-on review of the Fire HD 10 2017, as well as a direct comparison with the Fire HD 8 2017.

Amazon Fire HD 10 Review: Verdict

The Fire HD 10 is a well constructed and feature-packed budget tablet, which is well geared towards families with Amazon Prime subscriptions. Only the lack of Google support disappoints, while anyone who isn’t fully on board the Good Ship Amazon won’t find much to enjoy here.

You can buy the Amazon Fire HD 10 2017 edition right now, for £150.

Key Specs

  • 10.1-inches
  • 1920x1200
  • 500g
  • Fire OS
  • VGA
  • 2MP
  • Mediatek Quad-Core
  • 2GB
  • 32/64GB + MicroSD
  • No
  • Parental controls

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