Amazon Fire HD 10 Review

The largest of the latest run of Fire tablets, the Amazon Fire HD 10 is great for enjoying media but it's not that portable.

Sections

Verdict

A huge improvement over its predecessor.

Pros

  • Good screen
  • Cheap
  • Great if you love Amazon content

Cons

  • You really need Amazon Prime
  • Poorly placed buttons

Key Features

  • Review Price: £149.99
  • Hands-free Alexa
  • Android with Fire OS 5
  • 1080p screen

What is the Amazon Fire HD 10?

The Amazon Fire HD 10 is the largest member of the company’s most recent Fire tablet range, sharing in the values of its predecessors in terms of affordability but also bringing new features like a 1080p display.

If a 10-inch tab such as this seems too big for your needs, check out Amazon’s more compact Fire HD 8. In Amazon’s eyes, this 10-inch model is the one to opt for if you’re into watching video, ideal for those family members who prefer to break away from the family to indulge their guilty pleasure of a TV soap habit.

This affordable slate is ideal for those who’ve bought into Amazon Prime, although if you’re not familiar with the company’s ecosystem, the user experience might be a tad jarring at first.

Amazon Fire HD 10 – Design

Compared to the majority of similarly-sized slates, the Amazon Fire HD 10 comes in with a footprint that’s larger than most.

After using the HD 10 for more than a few minutes, it’s easy to see why 10-inches is not the go-to size for most tablets. 10-inch tablets like the Fire HD 10 just feel awkward, especially when you try to use them out and about. The HD 10 suffers particularly badly from a top-heavy form and trying to hold it to read books just isn’t a comfortable experience.

Amazon Fire HD 10

So why am I throwing such criticisms at the HD 10 when the likes of Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad might not endure the same scrutiny? The Fire HD 10 is styled as a widescreen tablet, toting a 16:10 aspect ratio. Larger tablets with such proportions always feel more cumbersome than a slate that opts for a more approachable 4:3 aspect ratio or something similar. With this in mind, the Fire HD 10 is best kept for use in the home.

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The design of the Amazon Fire HD 10 appears to prioritise ease of engineering over comfort, aesthetics or ease-of-use. All the controls and ports lie along the top face – a trait it shares with so many cheap, unbranded tablets.

This isn’t hugely practical. Held upright it means the controls are out of easy reach and when the device is held in a landscape orientation, your hand will always rest over either the power or volume buttons.

Compromise is a common theme here. While there’s a metal frame inside the Amazon Fire HD 10 that helps to stop it flexing – under normal pressure, it doesn’t flex at all – on the outside, it’s covered in matte plastic. Overall, it just feels a little cheap.

Nevertheless, if you’re picking up the Fire HD 10 for the kids to happily chuck around, or keep entertained on long journeys, it fits the bill perfectly.

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Amazon Fire HD 10

Amazon Fire HD 10 – Screen

The most obvious upgrade to the new version of the Fire 10 is the screen. No longer is it a terrible 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 blur-fest, but a perfectly respectable 1080p display.

The IPS panel offers decent viewing angles and colours displayed onscreen are nice and bright but it lacks the deep blacks and pop of saturation that an OLED panel can offer. Nevertheless, for a tablet that costs £150, it remains quite impressive.

Movies streamed from Prime Video or Netflix look good, and text in Kindle books is crisp enough to comfortably read for long periods. I do find the whites a tad bright, often with a yellow tinge – but once again, it’s forgivable at this price.

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Amazon Fire HD 10

This is a huge jump forward from the older model.