In the world of consumer-level 10-inch tablets, there are basically two to buy: At the high end, there’s Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad, and at the lower end, Amazon’s Fire HD 10. But Amazon’s newest tablet aims to blur that line as much as possible.
Amazon’s fresh 10-inch Fire HD tablet ($150 and up on Amazon) is a huge improvement over the prior generation in nearly every way. It starts with the screen, which is now 1080p Full HD (1900×1200 resolution) rather than 720p (1200×800). It also has a 30 percent faster 1.8GHz quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM, which is double the amount the previous model. There’s more storage too—32GB in the base model instead of the paltry 16GB—and battery life has been upped from 8 hours to 10 hours.
You’ll also get hands-free Alexa support. The previous iteration required you to tap and hold the virtual home button to summon the digital assistant, but with the new Fire HD 10, you need only say, “Alexa,” and it will respond to your query. Amazon says you’ll also be able to ask Alexa to bring up the live view from your Nest, Ring, and Arlo smart home security cameras.
Amazon has made some tweaks to the software, too. There’s new For You page that acts as a home screen launcher for things you might be interested in, as well as weather and photos. Amazon says For You wil learn what from the way you use your tablet and offer personalized recommendations of books, videos, songs, apps, and other things available through Amazon’s digital storefront.
But the biggest change is in the price. While the first Fire HD 10 was a solid bargain at $230, the new model slashed the price all the way down to $150 for 32GB or $190 for 64GB. Mind you, those are the “special offers” prices, which display ads on your lock screen. The ad-free versions are $165 and $205—still significantly lower than the model it replaces.
The Fire HD 10 tablets comes in black, blue, and red, and are already available for pre-order. They will ship on Oct. 11.
The big picture: While the Fire HD 10 is no match for Apple’s 10.5-inch iPad Pro, it could conceivably eat into some of the 9.7-inch iPad sales. Apple sells its entry-level iPad for $329, more than twice as much as the Fire HD 10, and their use-cases are pretty similar: browsing, watching movies, and playing games. With the holiday shopping season quickly approaching, Amazon could have a winner on its hands.
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Michael Simon has been covering Apple since the iPod was the iWalk. His obsession with technology goes back to his first PC—the IBM Thinkpad with the lift-up keyboard for swapping out the drive. He's still waiting for that to come back in style tbh.