(Pocket-lint) – Amazon’s Fire tablet family remains a popular choice for those who want affordable entertainment devices. Of the family, the Fire HD 8 sits in a great middle position, light enough and compact enough for travel, but large enough to give you a decent experience when you’re watching on the move.
With an updated model arriving in 2022, replacing the variant launched in 2020, just how much has changed and which should you go for?
Price and availability
- Fire HD 8 (2022): from $99.99 / £99 / €114.99
- Fire HD 8 (2020): from $89.99 / £89 / €89.99
Both versions of the Fire HD 8 tablet are available from Amazon, with pre-orders open on the 2022 device, which is due to hit shelves on 19 October.
The 2020 version of the Fire HD 8 is available from a wide range of retailers and is cheaper than the new device which has an elevated launch price.
Design and build
- Fire HD 8 (2022): 201.90 x 137.34 x 9.60mm, 337g
- Fire HD 8 (2020): 202 x 137 x 9.7mm, 355g
There’s not a huge difference between the Fire HD 8 from 2022 and the 2020 model that it updates. Both tablets look essentially the same, but the newer version is slightly slimmer – only by a fraction of a mm – but it’s nearly 20g lighter.
The overall design is the same, using a plastic rear and equal bezels around the exterior of the display to give a little space to grip the device. The color options for the new model are black, denim and rose, while the older model comes in black, plum, blue or white.
There’s also a Fire HD 8 Plus model, which is a little heavier and comes in gray with a few additional features which we’ll explain below.
All models offer stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos, making for a great entertainment device. Those keen on details will note that the volume rocker and power buttons have swapped position between these models.
The 2022 model also uses 35 per cent post-consumer recycled plastics.
- Fire HD 8 (2022): 8-inch, 1280 x 800 pixels, 189ppi
- Fire HD 8 (2020): 8-inch, 1280 x 800 pixels, 189ppi
There’s no difference in the display: it’s the same size, the same resolution, the same overall experience.
This isn’t the sharpest display in the Fire tablet family – that’s reserved for the Fire HD 10 – but it’s a great size for watching movies on the move, with plenty of resolution for that task.
- Fire HD 8 (2022): 2.0GHz hexa-core, 2GB RAM, 32/64GB storage + microSD (1TB)
- Fire HD 8 (2020): 2.0GHz quad-core, 2GB RAM, 32/64GB storage + microSD (1TB)
When it comes to the hardware there are a couple of differences. The big difference is that the 2022 model of the Fire HD 8 moves to a hexa-core processor, over the quad-core of the predecessor.
Amazon says that this leads to a 30 per cent boost in the performance, meaning things will happen just that little bit faster.
That should mean that the 2022 Fire HD 8 offers a better overall experience – while it also benefits from a slightly longer battery life – 13 hours compared to 12 hours on the older model.
The Fire HD 8 Plus models (both the 2020 and 2022 versions) bump the RAM to 3GB and also offer Qi wireless charging as an added extra.
Both of these tablets run on Fire OS, which is Amazon’s version of Android. It doesn’t support the Google Play Store, instead, you’ll have to use Amazon’s AppStore to download apps and services you might want.
That covers most entertainment apps, plenty of games and lots more – and the experience between these devices is likely to be pretty much the same.
The Fire HD 8 2022 introduces Tap to Alexa on the accessibility side of things, although we suspect that an update to the older model will probably bring this feature in the future.
There isn’t a lot to choose between these two tablets. They are fundamentally the same, except for a slight change to a slimmer and lighter design.
The more appealing element will be the power bump as this will make the 2022 model just a little better – and probably worth the minimal price difference.
However, it’s likely that the 2020 Fire HD 8 will attract discounts for Black Friday, but the Fire HD 8 2022 might not – so if you’re looking for a bigger discount, you might be better off choosing the older tablet.
Written by Chris Hall.