Amazon lights up new Fire tablets

Amazon has pretty much abandoned of the high-end tablet space since the retirement of 2014's second-generation Fire HDX, focusing instead on low-end devices with enough power for content consumption. This trend continues with the release of the retailer's new Fire 7 and Fire 8 tablets. Both machines pack 1.3 GHz quad-core SoCs of undisclosed provenance and microSD card slots for extra storage. Amazon says the updated IPS displays on the new units deliver better contrast and crisper text than the outgoing models. Perhaps the biggest news is that Amazon added its Alexa assistant to the new tablets.

The 7" model has a 1024×600 display and comes with 1 GB of RAM and either 8 GB or 16 GB of storage. Audio output comes from a headphone jack or a built-in mono speaker. The $50 base model has a rather paltry 8 GB of onboard storage and includes ads on the lock screen. Another $20 grants an upgrade to 16 GB of capacity, though buyers have the option of chucking in a microSD card as large as 256 GB. Amazon says the battery is good for eight hours of typical use between charges. The little tablet weighs 10.4 oz (or 295 g).

We suspect few people will choose the 7" model with 16 GB of storage given the $80 asking price of the 8" tablet. This model comes standard with 16 GB of built-in flash. A 32 GB model costs $110. Both of these models include lock screen advertisements. The 1280×800 IPS display, stereo speakers, and 1.5GB of RAM should go a ways in offering a better experience than the lower-end model when running multiple apps. The bigger tablet also has a bigger battery, which the Amazon says can provide enough charge for 12 hours of use. Bigger screens and batteries add extra weight, and the Fire 8 weights in at 13 oz (or 369 g).

Amazon also made kid-friendly versions of both the Fire 7 and Fire 8. These models come with an impact-resistant case and a two-year no-questions-asked replacement policy. The lock screen advertising is disabled on these tablets, as is the Alexa assistant. The Kids Edition models cost $100 for the 7" version and $130 for the 8" model, though the price includes a one-year subscription to Amazon's FreeTime Unlimited. The company says that service grants access to over 15,000 kid-friendly books, videos, apps, and games, as well as usage-restriction features for concerned parents. FreeTime Unlimited costs $3 per month after the first year.

All models have dual-band Wi-Fi, though there's no 802.11ac connectivity. The rear camera is a 2 MP unit capable of recording 720p video, and the selfie camera is limited to VGA resolution. The non-kids versions carry a 90-day warranty. Adults with a distaste for lock screen advertising can remove it for $15.

Comments closed
    • chuckula
    • 2 years ago

    [quote<]Both machines pack 1.3 GHz quad-core SoCs of undisclosed provenance and microSD card slots for extra storage. [/quote<] [s<]Rodents Of Unusual Size?[/s<] SoCs of undisclosed provenance? I don't think they exist.

    • shank15217
    • 2 years ago

    You can buy a shield for $200, why would you get anything else.. If you are that strapped for money maybe there are other priorities that need to be addressed anyways.

    • NTMBK
    • 2 years ago

    Awful screens, no good for reading text or watching video. Useless device.

    • Chrispy_
    • 2 years ago

    No thanks.

    Amazon tablets have always have gimped access to the play store. They’re effectively *not* Android OS, they’re Amazon’s nasty little walled garden that just happens to be running on Android.

    Given that you can get Amazon apps for iPad and Android anyway, why would you subject yourself to a restricted tablet, expecially when similar Android and Windows tablets exist at that price range without Amazon’s restrictions (or advertising).

      • Peldor
      • 2 years ago

      My kids love theirs. It’s not made to impress the Tech Report crowd, but it works well for being cheap enough to not worry about much and serve up media/web/casual games. Gotta get the 16GB version though.

        • Chrispy_
        • 2 years ago

        But they’re still more expensive than better tablets with unrestrictive OSes.

        If your sole criteria is “I don’t want my kids to be able to access the Play Store” then sure, that’s a bonus for these, But there are loads of similar budget tablets with Play Store access for under $100, or if you’re willing to go to Windows 10, you can get vastly better specs for the same money.

        Last year I picked up for £90 (excluding tax) a 10″ Windows tablet with 2GB RAM, an IPS display, 32GB storage, Quad-core Atom, MicroSD slot, HDMI output AND a 128GB Toshiba MicroSD card. It’s no speed demon compared to a desktop, but it’s vastly more capable than the equivalent Android tablets or these woefully-spec’ed Fire tablets. [i<]160GB[/i<] of storage included for the price of Amazon's 8" 32GB model, plus a much better screen-to-bezel ratio and a spec list that isn't so pathetic that "stereo speakers" have to be mentioned just to pad out the list a bit.

          • David
          • 2 years ago

          That Windows tablet is substantially more expensive than a $50-$70 Fire. Not to mention, Amazon regularly has these on sale. I picked up the cheap $50 for $33 around Christmas and I’ve seen it for the same price since then.

          No, it can’t do a lot. I tried to play Hearthstone on it for the hell of it and it took several minutes to load the main menu.

          If I had a kid, I’d be giving it a $30 throw away Fire before a $120 Windows tablet.

            • Chrispy_
            • 2 years ago

            But the “Kid Editions” cost $100 and $130 respectively and I’m not sure how you think an old, completely different device on sale at $33 last Christmas somehow relates to this article as a ‘$30 throw away’….

            • demani
            • 2 years ago

            Well, I believe the CPU in the 8″ at least might be the same as the old one, and the 7″ got bumped to match the 8″. Which also might mean the 7″ would perform better in some instances due to the lower resolution.

            Now, if Alexa is always on then that is a decent perk if you are in that ecosystem. If not then meh.

            I did get a Windows tablet from the Microsoft store for $100 and I’ve been impressed with it-best $100 tablet I’ve used even with the weird Microsoft ideas about touchscreen (if I click in a text field then the onscreen keyboard should automatically pop-up!). But there is a place for the $50-75 device, though I haven’t found one that is particularly compelling (would love a 7-8″, 1920xwhatever IPS screen, running Android more recent than 5.0 with an SD slot). That Windows one has a quad-core atom thing, so it should be doable with a rockchip or something.

            • David
            • 2 years ago

            I’m not suggesting to specifically get the kids edition. Just throw a case on the normal one like you would with the Windows tablet. The current device is replacing the previous device at the same price. There’s zero reason to think they won’t have similar discounts.

    • hungarianhc
    • 2 years ago

    Wow… this is really a set of garbage.

    • blastdoor
    • 2 years ago

    Yuck — what awful specs.

    I wouldn’t use that if it were free.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 2 years ago

    [quote<] The non-kids versions carry a 90-day warranty[/quote<] I get that these things are cheap and whatever, but manufacturing defects aren't covered beyond 3 months? That's just insane.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This