The new 2018 Amazon Fire HD 8 is now available and for those considering buying one with the hope of getting a huge upgrade, they would be disappointed. There’s another year to hope for that. The new Amazon Fire HD is almost the same tablet with the previous model, though that’s not entirely bad.

Amazon improved the front-facing camera from 640 x 480 to 720p. And the tablet can now take as much as 400GB through its microSD slot, no longer 250GB as in the previous model. Aside from these two mentioned upgrades, the hardware is basically a clone of the older model. And the software features? That’s where Amazon deployed the most change. The new Fire HD 8 can now be transformed into Amazon Echo Show smart speaker (a cheaper version indeed), through its “Show Mode” and also supports hands-free Alexa. The tablet’s Kids Edition has also been tweaked to include audiobooks for children and kid-friendly interface.

Amazon Fire HD 8 review (2018): Hardware upgrades

The hardware upgrade is basically not encouraging and must be where Amazon will work hard to improve in the next model. The new Fire HD 8 is still powered by the fairly slow 1.3 GHz quad-core CPU and 1.5GB RAM, regardless of the software upgrades. This makes the tablet to lag even more. Amazon has placed a tiny lip around the screen’s edge help prevent the 1,280 x 800 IPS display from scratching or cracking if one drops it. The tablet still has Dolby stereo speakers and a 2-megapixel camera at the rear.

The new Amazon Fire 8 has the same stamina in terms of battery, so don’t expect any increase in battery life. It’s rather shorter than last year’s model by a couple of hours due to Alexa.

As for the tablet’s display, there’s little to notice in terms of difference with the previous version. The specifications are basically the same and the reason is not difficult to understand. None should expect a record-breaking screen quality at the price at $95. However, the colors look decent and one can easily read the text. Because the rear camera quality hasn’t changed, it’s still as disappointing as it before.

Amazon Fire HD 8 review 2018: Software upgrades

The changes Amazon made to its Fire OS software is the most interesting upgrade from the retail giant. Without touching the new Fire HD 8, the tablet can now respond to Alexa keywords and it can provide all Alexa abilities just like in Echo. The “Show Mode” which fires up an onscreen display allows users to see news, time, and tips on how to use Alexa, including visual demonstrations to various Alexa queries.

Also, Amazon has introduced a new interface and redesigned the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition to make it simpler for kids. Amazon has included kid-friendly audiobooks to the unlimited subscription package. The device now has an impact bumper case for protection. Available is still the damage and breakage warranty, and one-year subscription to Amazon Fire for Kids Unlimited service.

Amazon Fire HD review 2018: conclusion

The insignificant hardware upgrade is the only issue with the Amazon Fire HD 8. It’s a good choice for your kids since it has books, can play a few games, lets you watch TV shows and movies and the provision for parental controls. Children can handle a little lag.

For an adult, the new Fire OS features are quite interesting but the poor hardware performance; mostly the rear camera with noisy images could be disappointing. However, there’s no other tablet at $95 that can offer as much as Amazon Fire HD 8.