The Best Amazon Fire Tablet (2023): Which Model Should You Buy?
Fire tablets from Amazon are some of the few high-quality and extremely affordable tablets. The prices seem too good to be true – and in a way they are – but Fire tablets are also full-featured, reasonably capable devices. To help you decide if one of these boards is right for you, we’ve reviewed each model. These are our unfiltered recommendations. We’re listing Amazon’s base price, but we recommend spending the extra $15 to get an ad-free model.
Be sure to check out our other buying guides like best tablets, best iPads, and best Alexa speakers.
Updated January 2023: We’ve updated the Fire HD 8, Fire HD 8 Plus, and Fire HD 8 Kids tablets to the latest models and added a new section on useful Fire HD accessories.
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Best Fire Tablet
The Fire HD 10 is Amazon’s largest and fastest tablet. Amazon refreshed it in 2021 (7/10, WIRED Recommends) with a brighter screen and 3 gigabytes of RAM. There’s also a Fire HD 10 Plus, which increases RAM to 4GB and adds wireless charging, which is worth the extra $30 if you want to do more than watch movies and surf the web. And Amazon hopes you’ll do more, since there’s a “productivity bundle” that includes a nice keyboard (no trackpad, though) and a one-year subscription to Microsoft 365. Working on the Fire HD 10 isn’t bad, as long as you don’t need Google apps. None of Google’s Office apps work on the Fire HD 10, not even in the browser. (There is a workaround.)
The Fire HD 10 has a larger screen with more pixels (1080p) than its siblings, making it better for watching videos. And like the Fire HD 8, you can shout commands to Alexa from across the room. To use Alexa’s Show mode, swipe down on the notifications overlay and check the Show mode box. After that, you can place your HD 10 on a stand (if you go for the Plus model, we like the official wireless charging stand) and it essentially becomes an Echo Show.
You can choose between 32GB or 64GB models (with a MicroSD slot on both, so you can add up to 1TB of storage later if you need more space). Whatever you choose, Amazon will display ads on the lock screen. To get rid of that, you’ll have to shell out $15 more for the non-“specials” version.
Best value Fire tablet
Amazon’s recently updated 2022 version of the Fire HD 8 (6/10 WIRED Review) features a faster processor and a slightly thinner design, but it’s primarily an incremental update. The processor upgrade is welcome and makes this more travel-friendly tablet almost as fast as our top pick. The big difference is the screen, which isn’t nearly as nice as the Fire 10 HD’s screen. On this smaller model, pixels are often still visible and films often feel flat.
Still, the HD 8 has most of the benefits of the HD 10, including hands-free Alexa, stereo sound, USB-C, and nearly 12 hours of battery life. I recommend Amazon’s Magnetic Stand if you want to watch movies or TV, or if you go for the Plus model, the Wireless Charging Dock, which turns your tablet into an Echo Show speaker.
Best Fire Tablet for Kids
Given that “kids” covers a wide range of hand sizes and other factors, Amazon offers two different Kids Edition Fire tablets. There is the regular Kids Edition and a “Pro” model. The latter is aimed at older kids and has a slim body with slightly less padding. We think the 2022 Fire HD 8 Kids ($150) is the best device for younger kids, while the 2021 Fire HD 10 Kids Pro ($200) is Yes, really big in little kids hands, is better for older kids. The Fire 7 Kids ($110) is an even cheaper option for young kids, although mine found the 7-inch screen size increasingly difficult to use.
The Kids Edition versions are exactly the same as the regular Fire tablets, except they come with a tough case and a two-year worry-free guarantee, meaning Amazon will replace the tablet for free if your kids break it. It also comes with a year of Amazon Kids+, which provides access to kid-friendly movies, books, games, and apps. It costs $5 per month after the first year ($8 for Prime subscribers if you don’t have Prime). Be sure to check out our guide to managing Amazon Kids+ content.
Best Budget Fire Tablet
Last year Amazon refreshed its smallest Fire tablet, the 7-inch model. The 2022 version has a slightly more powerful processor, twice the RAM and longer battery life. It is also charged via USB-C. Unfortunately, the measly 16 gigabytes of storage space remain, although the supported SD card size has increased to 1 terabyte. So if you want more storage (and believe me you do) you can add it. Also high for this version is the price, which jumps from $49 to $59.
In the past we’ve recommended avoiding this one as it was underpowered and the small screen makes it less useful. After a few months of testing, it turned out that the processor is actually good enough – not fast, but sufficient for web surfing and watching videos. The screen, on the other hand, remains small. We still think you’re better off shelling out $40 more for the Fire 8, but if that’s out of your budget, the new Fire 7 will do.
Best fire accessories
Get a cover
Fire tablets are sturdy enough, but I’ve found the screens to be scratched fairly easily. It pays to protect your investment with a cover. Amazon’s cases are nice – they’re not too bulky and offer good protection – but they’re expensive. At $30, Fintie’s folio cases aren’t that much cheaper, but they often go for upwards of $15-$20. If you can snag one at this price, they’re worth it.
Get a keyboard for work
I won’t go so far as to suggest that a Fire tablet can replace your laptop, but I’ve found that I can get a fair bit of work done on my Fire HD 10 when paired with the Finitie Bluetooth keyboard ($50 ) couple. This is the same keyboard that Amazon sells as part of its productivity bundle. It lacks a trackpad and the buttons are a bit smaller, but otherwise it’s a good typing experience. If you score a Fire HD 10 during a $55 sale, pick up the $55 keyboard (it often sells for less) and use our guide to install the Google Play Store and you have a very usable working tool for about $100. That’s hard to beat.
Amazon sells older Fire tablets. Don’t buy them
Only buy one of the 11th or 12th generation Fire tablets. We recommend sticking with the models we’re talking about in this article (also listed here). Older models of Fire tablets don’t receive software updates as long as the current generation. You’ll also miss the faster processor and more RAM in the newer models. A far better idea is to wait for Prime Day or another sale when you can get the new models at 30 to 50 percent off.
If this doesn’t put you off buying an older Fire tablet, make sure you have the latest update available for the tablet you’re considering buying (find it on this sheet) with the compare latest version of Fire OS See how current your software will be. And remember, Amazon is cutting off old devices from accessing its content.
What is WIRED on all Fire tablets?
A tap for Amazon content: By subscribing to Amazon’s Prime service, you can consume all the included movies, music, TV and books, buy all the items you can get with free two-day shipping, and browse your free Amazon photo storage. You can do most of the same things from an Android tablet or iPad, but the Fire OS interface was designed specifically for Amazon merchandise delivery, with wipeable pages for every type of media Amazon sells.
Built “Good Enough”: Physically, Amazon’s Fire tablets are made out of cheap plastic, but they’re carefully designed so the build quality doesn’t bother you too much. The Kids Editions are also some of the highest quality tablets for kids, housed in a sturdy bumper and all featuring MicroSD slots so you can add extra storage. (We recommend this $17 128GB MicroSD card.)
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