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(Pocket-lint) - Amazon has updated its mid-sized tablet, the Fire HD 8. One of the best value tablets on the market, this device is firmly pointed at family entertainment, giving you an HD display, a solid body and enough power and battery life to keep you entertained.

Amazon sees it as fusing powerful enough specs with great portability, as it sits alongside the incredibly cheap Fire 7 and the larger Fire HD 10.

The actual hardware changes are few, so if you're an owner, there's no need to rush out and replace your existing tablet. The design is the same, the colours the same and the hardware is pretty much the same - but there are two small changes.

The first change is that the expansion slot will now accept microSD cards up 400GB - that's on top of the 16 or 32GB internal storage. That's a lot of storage.

The second hardware change is that the Fire HD 8 front camera has been upgraded to HD, over the VGA camera of the older version. Why is this important? Because it's going to make your Alexa Calling look much better.

That's where the real update is for the Fire HD 8: it's getting Show Mode, as well as the Show Mode Charging Dock, which will let you dock your tablet on the stand and use it like an Echo Show. 

Alexa - which has been in the tablet for the last year - can now be voice activated, rather than touch activated, making it a whole lot more useful. You'll be able to bark commands at your tablet to play music, interact with your smart home devices or to give you all the information that Alexa is so good at supplying.

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This works whether you have the Show Mode Charging Dock, but if you do take the Dock, then there's plenty for your Fire HD 8 to be doing when you're not using it as a tablet. Show Mode will give you visuals, like lyrics for songs, sports scores and weather icons, as well as being able to pull in news video for updates.

The new Fire HD 8 will be available from 4 October from Amazon for £79.99 and there will be a bundle with the Show Mode Charging Dock for £109.98, saving you £10 off the combined prices. 

It's not a huge change for the Fire HD 8, but it's still one of the best value tablets you'll find, ideal for games, movies and entertainment on the move.

Writing by Chris Hall. Originally published on 5 September 2018.