Amazon Fire HD 10 review: a wrong corners cut a bad inscription make

November 6, 2015 - Kindle Unlimited

The Fire HD 10 is Amazon’s latest full-sized tablet, though it cuts distant too many corners and isn’t cheap.

Amazon’s Fire tablets have been strike and skip over a past 4 years. They offer a decent screen, reasonable specifications and parsimonious formation into Amazon’s ecosystem of movies, TV shows, music, books and apps during a low cost that undercuts roughly all else. The Fire HD 10 tries to continue that trend.

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Utilitarian outside

The behind of a inscription is a silken cosmetic that picks adult fingerprints and scratches easily. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for a Guardian

The pattern of a Fire HD 10 is really utilitarian. Covered in a soft, silken cosmetic that we managed to symbol within seconds of stealing it out of a box, it looks cheap.

Amazon done a vast understanding about a inscription being durable and flourishing 200 turns in a company’s decrease exam compared to a iPad Air 2’s 30. we forsaken it a few times onto runner though violation it, though didn’t set out to try and destroy it. It feels good put together, though a physique is some-more stretchable than we would have expected.

The buttons and ports all line a tip edge, that means possibly your palm covers a volume buttons and headphones pier or energy symbol and microUSB pier when reason to watch video.

At 7.7mm thick it is surprisingly skinny for a low-end tablet. It also has comparatively compress bezels around a 10.1in widescreen, that creates it feel slight though prolonged for a tablet. At 432g it isn’t too complicated to reason for a 40 notation TV show, though we found myself acid for somewhere to column it adult when perplexing to finish a 2.5 hour movie.

The build and physique are OK. The shade is a biggest let down of all. It’s 10.1in with a 720p fortitude and low pixel firmness of 149 pixels per inch. For comparison many tablets have during slightest 200ppi. Amazon’s prior vast Fire HD, a HD 8.9, had a 1080p shade with 254ppi.

The shade is not sharp, that creates text, icons and cinema demeanour reduction than crisp. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for a Guardian

It doesn’t matter too many for video, that looks passable, with normal colour and good observation angles, though text, icons, photos and other immobile things demeanour noticeably pixelated.

It’s utterly apparent when we try to review a book on it, that looks like something from 5 years ago. Although Amazon’s Bookerly typeface helps – switching to helvetica accentuates a problem – we found it formidable to review for extended durations as a calm was usually not frail adequate during a tiny distance we would routinely read.

The stereo speakers on a side of a inscription were surprisingly good and shrill for inscription speakers. Still not good adequate to use as a dedicated song player, though excellent for examination a video while cooking.


  • Screen: 10.1in (1280 x 800) LCD (149ppi)
  • Processor: MediaTek quad-core (1.5GHz dual-core + 1.2GHz dual-core)
  • RAM: 1GB of RAM
  • Storage: 16 or 32GB; microSD container also available
  • Operating system: Fire OS 5 formed on Android 5 Lollipop
  • Camera: 5MP behind camera, 0.3MP front-facing camera
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 159 x 262 x 7.7mm
  • Weight: 432g

Weak hardware leads to bad experience

A microSD label container is one of a few and points for a Fire HD 10, permitting we to supplement some-more storage easily. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for a Guardian

The Fire HD 10.1 has a quad-core MediaTek processor and 1GB of RAM, that is not adult to a assign of powering a tablet. Some things ran fine, though indeed rising them or switching between opposite tasks was stubborn by a loiter prolonged adequate to make we consternation either a inscription had crashed.

When a inscription initial starts adult it operates fine. Loading a initial video from Amazon’s Prime Instant Video also works fine. But it’s when we start to bucket a second, or switch to another app that things start to creek.

Video playback could infrequently be smooth, though would mostly skip frames and judder. Swiping opposite a homescreen could also loiter badly, while installing apps brought a inscription to a crawl.

Graphically complete games such as Real Racing 3 were probably unplayable, while even Monument Valley stuttered from time to time.

The battery lasted around 7 hours of video playback. The biggest emanate for battery life is that a shade does not have an ambient light sensor and does not adjust liughtness automatically, that means it’s mostly too splendid or too dull.

Charging took forever. It took 5 hours to entirely assign a Fire HD 10. Most tablets assign in dual to 3 hours.

Wi-Fi accepting was also poor. In a same places that a Google Nexus 6P or iPad Air 2 would collect adult a clever Wi-Fi signal, around 12m from a router, a Fire HD 10 would struggle. Download speeds of apps and video were also really slow. The internet tie to a router was not a tying factor.

Fire OS 5

Fire OS 5 is a step adult over prior Amazon handling systems. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for a Guardian

The Fire HD 10 comes with Amazon’s latest chronicle of Fire OS 5, that is formed on final year’s Android 5 Lollipop. A informed app grid is accessible on a homescreen, though swiping left and right to arrange by categories.

Swiping opposite to books, for instance, displays your purchased books during a top, recommendations for giveaway books if we have Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited and afterwards serve recommendations formed on your squeeze history. The same goes for video, games, apps, music, audiobooks, newsstand and Amazon shopping.

The left-most shade shows recently used or watched items, that is a fastest approach of stealing behind into content.

It works well, and creates a best of a consumption-based tablet. It’s a initial inscription program I’ve seen that has left significantly over a customary app grid and is arguably a best thing about a Fire HD 10.

The rest of a program isn’t utterly as good. Swipe down from a tip to see notifications and what looks like a set of discerning toggles for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, shade rotation, do not disquiet and others. But in fact many are usually shortcuts to a settings screens, not toggles, that is disappointing.

One Amazon comment has to be purebred to a tablet, though mixed user profiles including children’s profiles can be setup, that is good for a family tablet.

Fire OS will run many Android apps, though usually has entrance to a Amazon app store. It has a flourishing preference of apps, including paid-for apps accessible for giveaway underneath Amazon’s Prime “underground” promotion, though it is not as endless as Google Play and does not have all a latest apps and games.


The five-megapixel behind camera and front-facing VGA selfie camera are poor. They constraint dim, dull, becloud images lacking in detail.


The lockscreen displays adverts unless we compensate an additional £10 to mislay a ‘special offers’. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for a Guardian

The 16GB Amazon Fire HD 10 with adverts on a close shade costs £170 in black or white. The 32GB chronicle costs £200, while stealing a adverts costs £10.

Samsung’s identical 9.7in Galaxy Tab A costs £179, while a distant higher 8in Galaxy Tab S2 costs £240 from Amazon with 32GB of storage. Apple’s cheapest iPad costs £219. Tesco’s Hudl 2 cost £99, and several of final year’s high-end tablets are accessible for around £200.


The Amazon Fire HD 10 is not a good inscription and does not live adult to a customary set by a predecessors and Amazon’s other hardware.

The new Fire OS 5 has some good ideas and is a step adult from a prior versions of a handling system. Amazon die-hards will like a formation of a company’s movies, TV, books and other services.

But a 10in shade usually isn’t of high adequate fortitude to make a many of Amazon’s services, a processor isn’t absolute adequate to run graphically complete games and it lags with even elementary tasks.

The biggest problem with a Fire HD 10 is that it isn’t cheap. If it was £100, many of a shortcomings could be forgiven, though during £170 there are copiousness of competing tablets that offer improved experiences.

Pros: great Amazon integration, survived a few drops though breaking, microSD label slot

Cons: low fortitude screen, delayed processor, laggy performance, diseased Wi-Fi, not involuntary liughtness adjustment, bad cameras, really delayed charging

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