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Amazon's Fire tablets represent some of the best value tablets on the market, offering an affordable range of devices for those who can't stretch to the price of an iPad.
Rather than drastically changing the Fire each time a revision comes along, Amazon's updates are smaller, keeping the design and much of the spec the same. That keeps the price in check, but makes it easier for owners and third-party manufacturers to provide peripherals.
The Fire HD 10 was updated in 2019, giving a spec boost in some areas. So is this the big screen tablet to buy?
Design gets one important change
- 262 x 159 x 9.8mm, 504g
- Plastic construction
- Black, Twilight Blue, Plum and White colours
To look at, apart from changes in the colours, there's no real difference in the 2019 Fire HD 10 compared to the previous versions. There's been a change in how Amazon displays its logo, moving to just an arrow, but otherwise the build and size of this tablet are the same as they have always been.
But there's one important change, partly hardware and partly design and that's inclusion of a USB Type-C rather than the old Micro-USB. Amazon has been a little slow to evolve its devices to this newer standard of connection. While in a smartphone it makes a lot of sense to use this connector, devices like the Kindle and the Fire tablets have got away with using the older standard for some time.
It's welcomed here, as it means you might be spared from carrying around the older charger and can just use one cable for everything. It's also easier to plug in.
There's no escaping that the Fire HD 10 is big and plasticky. While the Fire 7 gets away with it, once you're up to the expansive 10-inch size of this model, there's a lot of plastic to grip, so you don't have the premium feel that you get from an iPad finished in aluminium or some other tablets that might use glass.
At the same time, the weight is kept down and you always have to remember the cost. You're not paying premium prices, so the use of plastics is accepted. It's also easy to wipe clean of sticky fingers and handles wear and tear fairly well too.
For those wanting more protection for the sort of damage that kids might cause, there's the Fire HD 10 Kids Edition that comes with a bumper case and warranty, along with access to Fire for Kids Unlimited for a year. It's well worth looking at if you're buying for kids.
Hardware and performance
10.1-inch, 1920 x 1200 pixels, 224ppi
Quad-core MediaTek CPU, 2GB RAM
32/64GB storage, microSD
With a 10.1-inch display on the front of this tablet - and a full HD resolution - there's a lot of space to touch, play and watch, which is what this tablet is really good for. While the resolution isn't hugely high, for things like gaming and watching movies it's high enough, and the 19:10 aspect suits video content well. This is a great tablet for downloading content from the likes of BBC iPlayer, Amazon Video or Netflix, to keep yourself entertained on long journeys.
Yes, it's an IPS display, but it doesn't have the luscious dynamic range that you might get from an OLED display like you might find on a Samsung or Apple tablet. Again, that's a pricing decision mainly and it's hard to complain about that when this tablet is half the price.
There's adequate brightness for watching in daylight, although it won't quite cut through the harshest of direct sunlight - which might only ever be a problem if you're sitting next to a train window. The Fire HD 10 does have a tendency to drop the brightness fairly aggressively, and we've found ourselves often bumping it back up again when watching movies or gaming to get the best out of the display - you might want to consider turning the autobrightness off.
Amazon has slowly been updating the hardware in its tablets and it's no surprise that the Seattle company turned to MediaTek for it. The 2GB of RAM might not compete with your smartphone, but you're unlikely to be jumping around applications as you would on your phone. Tablets tend to be used for entertainment - and that's a safe space for the Fire HD 10. It's not the fastest tablet around, but it's fast enough.
Load up a demanding game like PUBG Mobile and you'll find that things run on medium settings and it looks and plays well enough: the tablet has enough power, it's just a little bit too big to play this type of game effectively.
There's the option of 32 or 64GB of storage, with a microSD card slot, meaning you can expand that storage up to 256GB, which is pretty generous. The performance of this tablet will slow down if you fill it to the brim with content, so we'd recommend getting an SD card and managing what you store on your device to keep things running smoothly.
One thing that lends itself to a great experience is the stereo speakers on this tablet. Perhaps unusually, the speakers are on one side rather than the ends - you just need to make sure that you're not covering those openings and you'll find an impressively wide sound stage, with appreciable volume.
There's also a 3.5mm headphone socket which is handy for travel, or Bluetooth if you prefer.
10 hours life, 5 hours to charge
The battery life on the Fire HD 10 will last you the stated 10 hours. You'll only really discover this if you sit down and binge movies for 10 hours, so it will likely last you a good couple of days without a charge if you're just using it during the evenings.
One of the things that the Fire HD 10 is pretty good at is holding onto that charge in standby. It can just sit, unused, in standby for weeks and still have charge when you come back to it. Of course, this very much depends on what you've got installed and if those background processes are constantly asking you to do things - but if you're mostly using it for movies, you'll probably find it will hold onto its charge when not being used for a few weeks.
It will take 5 hours to charge, which isn't exactly fast, given that most phones will now fully charge in little over an hour, but as we said previously, the addition of USB Type-C means it's using the latest type of connector.
Software and ecosystem
The Fire tablets all use the same software, which is a customised version of Android called Fire OS. It's designed to dovetail with Amazon's ecosystem rather than Google's and that's exactly what it does. As such it presents your Amazon content around the home screen environment, so you can get to Kindle books you might own - as well as access that content unlocked by your Prime subscription.
You don't have to be a Prime subscriber, but as that gives you access to Amazon Video and some music content too - along with photos and other services - it makes sense. When you get a Fire tablet you're asked to sign into your Amazon account and then everything just falls into place.
The downside of being a forked version of Android is that this isn't the same Android experience you'd get on an Android phone. Yes, there's some parity between apps and services, but you won't find all the latest apps here. There's no Call of Duty: Mobile, for example, but there is PUBG: Mobile - most likely because it takes a little time for some of these apps to make it over to Amazon's devices - and there's no guarantee that they all will.
But most entertainment services are covered, be that Netflix or others, and you're not limited to Amazon's own content by any measure. What Amazon does do well on the Fire tablets, however, is provide a safe environment for children. It's really easy to setup Fire for Kids, so you can hand over your tablet and know that they can only access content that's appropriate for them.
And that's one of the big appeals of the Fire. At this price, there's little better if you want a big tablet for use by kids. Sure, the Apple iPad is a better device all-round, but it's double the price and for playing tap games or watching Peppa Pig, that doesn't make any difference.
O Fire HD 10 continua a oferecer grande valor em um formato de tablet maior. Do ponto de vista do design, é obviamente uma grande fatia de plástico em comparação com o Fire HD 8 menor , que achamos que atinge um ponto um pouco mais doce. Mas há pouco mais que você achará tão bom a esse preço.
O apelo imediato do Fire HD 10 é para famílias, com isso oferecendo um valor muito melhor do que um rival premium, com uma experiência de tablet completa. Sua força é o entretenimento, tornando-o excelente para viagens ou como uma segunda tela para filmes e TV.
Alternativas a considerar
O mais barato da gama de iPads, é sem dúvida um dispositivo de melhor qualidade, com uma melhor construção e exibição, maior variedade de software e uma melhor experiência geral. Mas é o dobro do preço.