7-inch tablets have seemed a lot less useful since smartphones have edged towards that size territory anyway. 8 inches is where it’s at for a Goldilocks in-between device — just ask the iPad Mini or Amazon’s Fire HD 8, which just got a refresh for its sixth generation (or 11th, if you’re counting all of the various Fire models). The new version is thinner, lighter, more powerful, a tad bit more expensive, and up for pre-order today. It ships in October.
The standard Fire HD 8 is getting a new six-core processor that Amazon claims is 30 percent faster than the 2020 model. Hopefully, it will be enough to make up for the rather pokey RAM, which remains just 2GB. Storage comes in 32GB and 64GB flavors plus whatever you can fit in the MicroSD card slot, a disappearing feature on Android hardware these days. The 8-inch HD screen can stay on for up to 13 hours. The device charges using a standard USB-C cable. The base model starts at $100, a $10 premium over older designs. Colors include black, denim, and rose.
As with other members of the line, the tablet will be available in an upgraded HD 8 Plus model, which comes with an extra gigabyte of RAM, faster charging at up to nine watts, Qi wireless charging with compatible chargers, and a “vivid” 5MP rear camera. (Seriously? Yup, I’m looking at it right here: Amazon says five measly megapixels counts as “sharper.”) The upgraded model starts at $120 in a dimpled grey finish.
The base model of the HD 8 is designated Kids editions, as usual. The regular Fire HD 8 Kids is designed for younger children, with an impact-resistant case, two years of damage protection (including that all-important broken screen replacement), and one year of Amazon Kids+ with access to ad-free books, games, videos, and apps. The Fire 8 HD Kids Pro is the same hardware (NOT the upgraded Fire 8 HD Plus), designed with revised software for kids 6-12, with access to a limited version of the Amazon Appstore with curated selections like Roblox and Minecraft. Parental permission is still required.
Both the regular Kids and Kids Pro tablets cost $150 for the 32GB model in various colors. If you’re a fan of mega-corp crossovers, you can get the Fire HD 8 Kids in a “Disney Design” variant with either Mickey or Disney Princess cases for an extra $10.
Michael is a former graphic designer who's been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.