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Choosing the Right Amazon Fire Tablet for You

Amazon's Fire tablets have gained popularity for their affordability and functionality. While they may seem too good to be true, these tablets offer a reasonable level of capability. To help you determine which model suits you best, we have reviewed each one and compiled our unbiased recommendations. Keep in mind that we mention Amazon's base prices, but we recommend spending an additional $15 to get an ad-free model.

Choosing the Right Amazon Fire Tablet for You

Best Fire Tablet: Fire HD 10 The Fire HD 10 remains our top pick among Amazon's tablets. In 2021, Amazon released a refreshed version (7/10, WIRED Recommends) with a brighter screen and 3 GB of RAM. There's also a Fire HD 10 Plus that offers 4 GB of RAM and wireless charging, which is worth the extra $30 if you plan to use the tablet beyond casual media consumption. For those seeking productivity, Amazon offers a "productivity bundle" that includes a keyboard (without a trackpad) and a one-year subscription to Microsoft 365. While the Fire HD 10 performs well, it does not support Google apps, except through workarounds. The Fire HD 10 features a larger screen with higher resolution (1080p) than its counterparts, making it ideal for video viewing. Like the Fire HD 8, it supports hands-free Alexa, allowing you to give voice commands from a distance. By enabling Alexa's Show Mode, the tablet can be used on a stand (particularly useful for the Plus model with wireless charging) and transforms into an Echo Show-like device. You can choose between 32GB or 64GB models (both with MicroSD slots for expandable storage up to 1TB). However, be aware that the lock screen displays advertisements unless you purchase the ad-free version for an additional $15. The Max Tablet: Fire Max 11 If you are fully committed to the Amazon ecosystem, the Fire Max 11 (5/10, WIRED Review) is the most powerful tablet Amazon offers. However, with a starting price of $230, it gets closer to the cost of an iPad. While the Fire Max 11 boasts a bright display, decent speakers, and improved cameras compared to other Fire tablets, it is limited by the same Fire OS as the cheaper models. For users seeking more versatility beyond media consumption and web browsing, we recommend investing in an iPad, Pixel, Lenovo, or OnePlus tablet, as they offer a better value proposition. Check our tablet guide for more mid-level options. Best-Value Fire Tablet: Fire HD 8 Amazon's 2022 iteration of the Fire HD 8 (6/10, WIRED Review) features a faster processor and a slightly slimmer design, making it a modest upgrade. While the processor enhancement brings it closer in performance to our top pick, the screen quality is not as impressive as the Fire HD 10. However, the Fire HD 8 retains most of the advantages of the Fire HD 10, including hands-free Alexa, stereo sound, USB-C connectivity, and approximately 12 hours of battery life. Consider purchasing Amazon's magnetic stand-up case or the Wireless Charging Dock (for the Plus model) to enhance your movie-watching experience. Best Fire Tablet for Kids: Fire HD 8 Kids and Fire HD 10 Kids Pro For children, Amazon offers two different Kids Edition Fire tablets: the regular Kids Edition and the "Pro" model. The Fire HD 8 Kids (2022) at $150 is ideal for younger kids, while the Fire HD 10 Kids Pro (2021) with its larger size is better suited for older children. The Fire 7 Kids ($110) is a more affordable option for younger children, but note that its 7-inch screensize may be more challenging to use. The Kids Edition tablets are essentially the same as the regular Fire tablets but come with a rugged case and a two-year worry-free guarantee, ensuring a free replacement if the tablet gets damaged. Additionally, they include a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids+, providing access to kid-friendly content such as movies, books, games, and apps. After the first year, the subscription costs $5 per month (or $8 for non-Prime members). Check our guide on managing Amazon Kids+ content for more information. Best Budget Fire Tablet: Fire 7 Amazon updated its smallest Fire tablet, the 7-inch model, in 2022. The latest version features a slightly more powerful processor, double the RAM, longer battery life, and charging via USB-C. However, it still offers a meager 16GB of storage, although it supports SD cards up to 1TB for expandable storage. Despite its past underperformance, the processor is now adequate for web browsing and video playback. Nevertheless, the small screen size remains a drawback. If you can stretch your budget, we recommend spending an extra $40 for the Fire HD 8, which offers a better overall experience. However, if the Fire 7 fits your budget, it will suffice. Essential Fire Accessories Cover: While Fire tablets are generally sturdy, their screens are prone to scratching. To protect your investment, consider purchasing a cover. Amazon offers protective covers, albeit at a higher price point. Fintie's Folio Cases, often on sale for $15 to $20, provide a more affordable alternative. Keyboard: While a Fire tablet cannot replace a laptop, it can handle some productivity tasks when paired with a Bluetooth keyboard. Fintie's Bluetooth Keyboard ($50), also sold by Amazon as part of its productivity bundle, offers a decent typing experience. Although it lacks a trackpad, it can serve as a viable work device when combined with a discounted Fire HD 10 tablet (typically available for around $100 during sales). Install the Google Play Store using our guide to unlock additional app options. Avoid Older Fire Tablets We strongly advise against purchasing older Fire tablet models. Stick to the 11th and 12th Generation Fire tablets discussed in this article. Older models receive fewer software updates, have slower processors, and less RAM. For optimal performance and longevity, it is best to wait for sales, such as Prime Day, to get the latest models at discounted prices. Amazon's Fire tablets offer affordable options with varying features and performance levels. The Fire HD 10 stands out as our top pick, while the Fire HD 8 provides good value for money. For kids, the Kids Edition tablets offer durability and age-appropriate content. If you're an Amazon enthusiast, the Fire Max 11 may appeal to you. Ultimately, choose the tablet that aligns with your needs, budget, and desired functionality.

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