The Amazon Fire HD 10 is a well-rounded budget tablet with a 10.1-inch FHD+ screen, decent performance, a robust design and enough battery life for most. The lack of Google apps is a minus, as is Amazon’s insistence on selling its services to you, but overall, this is a solid tablet that will work well for most people.
- Robust design
- Enough performance for most
- Loud dual speakers
- Very slow charging speeds
- No Google apps
- Focused on selling Amazon services
- A kid-friendly tabletThough it isn’t the most powerful, the Fire HD 10 has powerful parental control options and a kid-optimised interface available.
- Great for watching moviesWith a large 10.1-inch display and FHD+ resolution, the Fire HD 10 remains a solid budget option for watching movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime.
- All-day battery lifeThe claim of 13-hour battery life largely rings true, making the Fire HD 10 an all-day device for many.
As regular as clockwork, Amazon’s annual tablet update is here once again. To be expected of a product line now in its thirteenth generation, these tend to be iterative and rarely exciting as a consequence.
Last updated in 2021, we now have the new Fire HD 10 (2023), improved from its predecessor in many small ways. There’s a bigger selfie camera sensor, slight battery life enhancements and a bit more power, plus it’s a little thinner too.
It is a safe suite of changes that does nothing to rock the boat, however the scene has changed since 2021. Back then, there were few rivals to the Fire range at the price point, but that’s no longer the case. There’s also the inconvenient truth that it is no longer the top of the Fire range tablet; that would be the Amazon Fire Max 11.
So, is playing safe ‘enough’ to continue selling tablets? Does evolution rather than revolution mean that the Fire 10 is stale, or is it a steady constant in a sea of change?
- Flat display
- 8.6mm thick
- Weighs 434g
What is there to say about the design of the Fire 10 (2023)?
For at least the past five years, Amazon has stuck doggedly to an extremely similar body design, which is to say the tablet is plastic and comes in three muted colourways.
It is larger than the Fire HD 8, smaller than the Fire Max 11, and nominally lighter than its predecessor which was released in 2021. A saving of 34g doesn’t seem like much on paper, but in the hand, it means the Fire 10 feels light without seeming insubstantial.
The use of plastic is to be expected given the price of £149.99, though I wish the colours offered had a little more punch. Lilac, Ocean and Black are all pleasant enough to look at, but they don’t offer much in the way of personality.
Going around the tablet, it has a MicroSD card slot (which can be opened with a fingernail), charges over USB-C and has a 3.5mm headphone jack, all features that will likely make it popular with travellers. The MicroSD card slot is particularly crucial given that the built-in memory is limited to either 32GB or 64GB.
Though it is budget, there are a few gives that show the age of the design, not least the bezels. At roughly a centimetre thick all around, they give something to hold onto, but they date the look of the tablet considerably.
The Lenovo Tab M9 and Tab M10, both offered at similar price points, have smaller bezels overall and look more modern as a consequence. To some it may not matter, but it is a mark against the Fire HD 10. The Tab M9, in particular, is around £40 cheaper and boasts metal construction, which may make it more attractive to some.
Overall, within a use-case context of sitting on the sofa or whiling away the commute, the Fire HD 10 fits the bill. Although its design is dated, it works well, is robust and light enough to use comfortably one-handed should the need arise.
- 10.1-inch IPS LCD
- 1920 x 1200 resolution
- 60Hz refresh rate
The Fire HD 10 is a budget device through and through. No part of it feels even vaguely premium, and the screen is no exception.
At FHD+ (1920 x 1080) it has just enough resolution for the size to avoid pixelation. That is pretty much the limit of the listed screen specifications, though these are easy enough to deduce.
For instance, not that we would expect to see any higher at the price point, the refresh rate is set to 60Hz. There’s no stated brightness measure, but the Fire HD 10 struggled to compete with the harsh winter sun (on those rare occasions it appeared). At night it gets dim enough for bedtime reading, which is a plus given that the Kindle app comes pre-installed.
The colours are a little washed out and dull, set a bit too blue and cool for my liking. Again, for the price this is hardly a surprise, but it is a shame to see nonetheless.
For most purposes, the Fire 10 does suffice, but it never excels. Whether watching TV, reading or otherwise, it will do the job, but it will never wow you like a more expensive offering might. But again, given the exceptional discounts that Amazon typically offers, that might not matter – at a discounted £80 that we saw during Black Friday 2023, the screen on the Fire 10 is exceptional.
- 5MP selfie camera
- 5MP main camera
- No LED flash on the rear
Amazon has long offered tablets, and they have always come with cameras that have a quality setting stuck on ‘potato’.
With the Fire HD 10, the firm is doing something to challenge that assumption, though admittedly not much. This year, the front-facing camera has been upgraded to 5MP to make it equivalent to the sensor on the rear. That’s the limit of the upgrades; nothing else has been done. It is still fixed focus, and neither the front nor the rear has a flash.
Not that this will matter a great deal to many thinking of buying the Fire HD 10. Tablet cameras have long been ridiculed and for good reason – most are terrible and outdone by even the cheapest smartphones. If they are used at all, they are used for video calls or document scanning, and the Fire HD 10 is sufficient for both.
As is to be expected, both the front and the rear sensors produce grainy, dim, washed-out and uninspiring results in good light. In low light the situation worsens still. The message is clear: this isn’t intended as your primary photographic device.
Coming to video, the situation is, remarkably, much more positive. Though it doesn’t challenge the likes of many smartphones, the selfie sensor produces video with decent colour and low noise. It easily improves on the results offered by most laptop webcams, and as a result, will be a welcome boon to anyone who regularly takes video calls.
So although the Fire 10 isn’t a photographic powerhouse, it is more than sufficient for basic everyday use. If you want something to improve your video calls, this is a good first step.
Compared to the Tab M9 from Lenovo, it has a higher resolution front facing sensor and a lower resolution rear sensor, however our money would be on the increased quality offered by the selfie camera on the Fire 10.
- MediaTek MT8186A processor
- 3GB of RAM
- 32/64GB of expandable storage
As might be expected, how much performance you need from your tablet will depend entirely on what you use your tablet for.
The Fire HD 10 sits in an odd space, where it is somewhat designed for couch surfing and not much more, but it is also pitched as a productivity device and will likely be handed to children who want to use it for gaming – so how does it fare?
Starting with the processor, it’s a relatively unknown MediaTek MT8186A and is paired with 3GB of RAM. That last part will be a stickler for budding mobile gamers, as it will mean the likes of Fortnite will refuse to install (requiring a base minimum of 4GB).
PUBG is in the Amazon Appstore and can be installed and played without issue, achieving a consistent 30fps. There are a few caveats to that, however, as you’ll experience a lot of texture pop-in, low draw distances and a generally low level of graphical fidelity. Away from this, there’s at least a decent selection of games available from the storefront, including Roblox.
For work, the picture is a little more positive. For one, the Microsoft suite is available through the Appstore, including the InTune company portal. So, provided your work is conducted mainly in Microsoft’s ecosystem, the Fire HD 10 can be a useful companion. I found it worked particularly well with Teams, with the upgraded selfie camera proving to be an improvement over a standard webcam, enhancing the quality of every call.
So although the Fire 10 won’t win any speed tests or ace the benchmarks, it will easily be enough for most people.
- Runs Amazon’s FireOS
- Based on Android 11
- No access to Google apps
For some, it might be a major attraction; for others, it is a major turn-off, but Amazon tablets run custom software. This isn’t completely new per se, but FireOS is a fork of Android and comes minus the Google services framework, and with Amazon’s own app store.
Beginning with the look, it doesn’t take a genius to realise that Amazon’s goal with the likes of the Fire HD 10 is to sell you its services. Amazon Music, Photos, Prime and more are all pushed heavily, as you might expect, along with Amazon Kids+ and everything else the company offers. Coupled with the slightly dated ‘carousel’ UI design, it leaves the tablet feeling a little like an in-flight entertainment screen.
It’s lucky then that the tablet can be used without purchasing these services, and for the most part, the app store has many popular apps and games available. Though it doesn’t have the range of the Play Store, it nonetheless has most of the essentials. If you are already heavily invested in the Amazon ecosystem, it may well be something of a dream device.
For those who are a little more adventurous, it takes relatively little effort to add the Google Play Store, but users doing this should be aware that doing so will invalidate the warranty and that it carries some risk. With the Play Store installed however, the Fire HD 10 acts just like any other Android tablet, with the caveat that this use case isn’t supported.
One consistent bugbear with the software however is the ads on the lockscreen. These come activated by default on the cheaper variant and paying £10 to remove them seems excessive.
What may interest many parents is the presence of Kids+, with which it is possible to create a completely child-orientated profile on the device, which then curates and restricts what they have access to according to the guardrails you agree to at the offset.
The layout is a little restrictive and has no sense of playfulness, however the presence of this cements the appeal of the Fire 10 as a tablet for the whole family.
- Claimed 13-hour battery life
- Negligible fast charging
Somewhat unusually, no formal listing for the battery size of the Fire HD 10 exists. We are left to guess at the volume of the powerpack contained within, with Amazon instead claiming a battery life of 13 hours with mixed-use. There are, of course, some very heavy caveats attached to that statement; with reading, you might achieve more, but with gaming, you might end up with far less. So, how does the Fire HD 10 fare?
Beginning at 7am with some reading, followed by a day of video calls, some light gaming, a couple of hours of Prime video and then streaming music over Bluetooth while cooking, by 10pm it had gone from 100% to 17%.
This suggests that for many people, Amazon’s estimate is reasonably accurate. If you blow through heavy games you’ll see a figure more like four hours, and with reading, as before, you’ll be looking at multiple days of use on one charge.
Though it doesn’t inspire with its battery life, the Fire HD 10 will be able to see most people through most of their respective ‘day’.
Where the Fire 10 falls down is with fast charging, or rather the near complete lack thereof. Included with the tablet is a 9W charger that will take it from 0 to 100% in a mere four hours. It technically can charge faster than that, at up to 15W, which takes the total down to a more palatable three hours. Suffice it to say, that is still a long time.
This isn’t a massive mark against the Fire HD 10 given that the competition at the price point tends to find itself in the same boat. Regardless, it means that you need to pick a charging ritual (i.e. overnight) and stick to it, otherwise you’ll find yourself plugging in for many hours on end.
Should you buy it?
You want a balanced budget tablet
The Amazon Fire 10 (2023) is a true budget all-rounder with no true failings.
You need Google apps
The Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) doesn’t have access to the likes of YouTube out of the box.
We are now on the 13th generation of the Fire tablet line, more than a decade from the launch of the device family that has arguably done more than any other to define what budget tablets can be.
The Fire 10 bears all the benefits of years of iterative design tweaks. It has a screen that is decent but never wows, loud dual speakers, a robust design, strong battery life, enough performance for most people and a selfie camera that allows for clear video calls. That it also comes at a price which can drop as low as £80 is the icing on the cake.
There are a few strings attached of course – you’ll find ads on the lock screen, a profusion of Amazon services trying to sell themselves to you, a lack of easy access to Google’s apps and a restrictive base internal memory allocation.
If you can live with all of the above, the Fire HD 10 is one of the best and most balanced budget tablets on the market today, and as such it earns our recommendation.
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Used for a week before review
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Yes, but only a 9W charger. For a slightly speedier charging experience, you’ll need to pick up your own 15W charger separately.