The Good: An amazing value for a 10-inch tablet with a high-res display and stable efficiency. Starts with 32GB of storage, the identical as an iPad. Hands-free Alexa works in addition to it does on an Echo.

The Bad: Really pushes you in the direction of Amazon companies, making different media choices tougher to search out and use. Some fashionable apps will not be obtainable by means of Amazon’s app retailer. The shiny display makes movie-watching laborious at occasions. 

The Bottom Line: It’s lacking just a few key apps and options, however with a cheaper price, sooner processor, extra storage and new Alexa options, the Amazon Fire HD 10 is an amazing value for a high-gloss media tablet.

The 10-inch tablet stays the right dimension for slate-style gadgets. Any smaller, and also you’re in big-screen cellphone (“phablet”) territory. Larger, and one may as effectively get a full-featured laptop computer or convertible. But proper in that candy spot sits Apple‘s class defining 9.7-inch iPad, the marginally bigger 10.5-inch iPad Pro, the 9.7-inch Samsung Tab S3, the 10-inch Lenovo Tab 4 and now, the new-for-2017 10-inch Amazon fire HD 10. While we discovered its 2015 predecessor to be underpowered and overpriced, the refresh of Amazon’s largest tablet is notably sooner, has built-in access to the Alexa digital assistant for the primary time — and comes with an enormous worth lower.

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2017)

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Starting at $150, It’s lower than half the worth of the present primary 9.7-inch Apple iPad, which is $329 (£339 or AU$469). Both gadgets begin with 32GB of storage and HD display resolutions — 1,920×1,200 for the Fire HD, 2,048×1,536 for the iPad.

The new Fire HD 10 is £149 within the UK. It’s not presently obtainable in Australia, however that worth works out to round $AU192. 

But the iPad is, even in spite of everything these years, slick-looking and well-proportioned, with a metallic chassis obtainable in three colours. The Fire HD 10 is, effectively, thick and a bit of unwieldy, with a plastic again. It additionally has shade choices — black, blue and crimson — however simply modifications the colour of the plastic panel on the again.

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2017)
The 2017 9.7-inch iPad subsequent to the Fire HD 10. 

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Apple’s tablet additionally has iOS 11, the newest cellular OS for iPads and iPhones, which provides a redesigned dock, new split-screen multitasking expertise, a brand new file system, and even drag-and-drop in supported apps. The Fire HD 10 has FireOS, Amazon‘s custom-made model of Android, which is primarily constructed round blurring the road between buckets of content material you personal and the almost infinite record of digital items and companies Amazon wish to promote you.

More so than some other system I can consider, Amazon’s tablets make it really feel such as you’re residing in a 24/7 shopping center, and paying for the privilege. And until you fork over an further $15 (£10), lock screens can push further adverts at you. (“It’s not an ad, it’s a special offer!”)

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Amazon’s Fire HD 10 lights your tablet fireplace, for much less


Now that I’ve defined why one thing like Apple’s present iPad has a greater design, extra superior working system, and even feels much less ambitiously aggressive about turning you into an e-commerce zombie, put all of that out of your thoughts.

It seems the brand new 10-inch Fire HD does a lot proper, and at such an inexpensive worth, that you’re going to most likely be blissful to miss its character quirks.

Part of what it does proper is a brand new and improved implementation of Alexa, Amazon’s seemingly inescapable digital assistant.

Look, Alexa, no fingers!

Alexa began life on the Amazon Echo good speaker, however finally slipped the chains tethering her to that single system and migrated to different Echos just like the Dot and Show, different merchandise, such because the Triby good radio and Lenovo Smart Assistant, and now a rising variety of Android gadgets and even good watches. She’ll even be in BMWs soon.

Fire tablets have gotten on the Alexa practice, too, with support going back to the fourth-generation models (this is the seventh-gen Fire HD). The distinction right here is that this is the primary and thus far solely Fire tablet to supply hands-free Alexa entry. That means as a substitute of getting to faucet a button to activate, you merely communicate the omnipotent wake phrase, “Alexa.” Like different Alexa-enabled merchandise, you possibly can change the wake phrase to “Amazon” as a substitute, however the place’s the enjoyable in that?

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2017)

Alexa solutions some queries with each audio and video data. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Alexa on the Fire HD 10 simply works. She heard me each time I stated her title, even when the system was asleep, and answered about as shortly as an Echo speaker does. While the expertise right here is not an actual duplicate of the Echo Show, some reply, akin to concerning the climate, got here with on-screen graphics detailing the response.

One difficulty — there is no quick-access mute button, as there is on an Echo speaker. So it would perk up each single time somebody says “Alexa,” until you go into the fast settings menu, accessed by dragging down from the highest of the display.  

There’s a built-in characteristic known as ESP, or Echo Spatial Perception, which controls which system solutions if you happen to ask a query in a room the place you might have a number of Alexa gadgets, for instance, each a tool just like the Fire HD 10 and an Echo speaker. It’s frankly a state of affairs much less far-fetched than one may assume. Turn the characteristic off and the system closest to you’ll reply, both speaker or tablet. Turn ESP on, and the Echo speaker will reply, even when your tablet is nearer and listening in.

There’s at all times a tradeoff

For $150, this is nice value. The primary stuff you wish to do with a media-driven tablet — stream video, learn books, mess around with choose video games and apps — all work exceptionally effectively. Other issues, like net browsing, taking photographs, engaged on workplace paperwork and utilizing non-Amazon media sources, really feel like second-class actions, as they at all times have on Amazon’s Fire tablet line.

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2017)

Reading through the Kindle app. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

For motion pictures and TV, Amazon video, both by means of Prime, add-on subscriptions, or bought and rented content material, is the principle focus. Standalone Netflix, Hulu and different apps are additionally supported, however you will must obtain them after which look underneath the Apps tab, somewhat than underneath Video. Similarly, the Music tab is only for Amazon Prime music and Amazon Music Unlimited. For Spotify, Pandora or anything, head over to that Apps tab once more.

That’s one of many few actual complications with the Fire HD 10. The navigation is so tightly centered on selling just a few classes and purchasing alternatives (shoportunities!), that diving down and discovering what you actually need might be difficult at occasions.

While viewing video, the high-resolution display appears crisp, however is a bit of on the dim facet. It’s additionally very shiny, so your room lighting may have a huge impact on the viewability of movies, particularly throughout darkish scenes (as I found attempting to look at the digital copy of “Blade Runner: The Final Cut” I picked up from Amazon this previous weekend). Audio is satisfactory for motion pictures and TV, however I would not set it up on a desk as a speaker for my subsequent feast.

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2017)

Waiting for a spot on the noodle bar. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Most of the apps you count on from a tablet can be found in Amazon’s app retailer, which is in some way extra restricted than Google‘s huge Play app retailer for Android gadgets, but nonetheless jam-packed with junk. As at all times, verify critiques and the names of builders. Within minutes, I discovered a low-quality $2 knockoff of the new Xbox game Cuphead, with a few incredulous one-star critiques from pissed off customers.

But many of the largest Android video games are there, and efficiency within the ones I attempted was glorious. In the benchmarking app 3D Mark, the newest 9.7-inch iPad was sooner than the Fire HD 10, however not by an enormous margin, and each blew away the efficiency of Amazon’s $50 (£50) entry degree Fire 7 tablet. Amazon’s lately refreshed Eight-inch Fire HD 8, which prices about half as a lot because the HD 10, is additionally obtainable.

Some examples of what is within the Amazon app retailer: Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, Instagram and even Plex. Not there: Google’s Chrome net browser, Microsoft’s Office apps and rival video streaming service Vudu (owned by Walmart).

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2017)

Amazon’s app retailer does not have Google Chrome, however does have many of the present high Android video games. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

The low-cost tablet for (virtually) everybody

If you are writing a novel, doing homework or utilizing the built-in cameras to start out your individual YouTube channel, get a laptop computer or at the least a Chromebook. 

Some tablets, such because the iPad Pro, attempt to promote a really laptop-like really feel for both productiveness or content material creation. This one does not. It’s a handheld leisure field, and even improves on earlier fashions by including hands-free Alexa, slicing the beginning worth from $230 (£170) to $150 (£150 or about AU$190) and boosting the bottom mannequin storage capability to a good 32GB (and sure, there is a microSD card slot so as to add extra storage if wanted).

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2017)

Sarah Tew/CNET

Yes, Apple’s primary 9.7-inch iPad is a greater all-around tablet, from a , OS and normal usefulness perspective. But it is also twice as costly. The Fire HD 10 has compromises, however undoubtedly feels prefer it ought to price greater than $150. On a pure price-to-value degree, it is laborious to think about a greater big-screen tablet deal proper now. 

Editors’ word: Amazon charges the Fire HD 10 at 10 hours of battery life. Consider the scores herein to be provisional till these exams are accomplished.

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