The world of tablets is not the growth relay that some imagined. The proof with sales figures that erode inexorably year after year . But all is not black and some actors manage to make a small place. Among them, we find including Amazon and its aggressive strategy of selling Fire tablets at broken prices, through the presence of ads on some models.
Among them we find the star model, the Fire HD 8, the giant e-commerce renews year after year. With a price ranging from € 69.99 (16 GB with ads) to € 104.99 (32 GB without ads), slate attacks the entry-level and consumers seeking a device to leave hanging on a coffee table or for children. So, is the HD 8 a good tablet for even small ambitions? This is what we will see …
Sold around € 100, the tablet is not mechanically a jewel of design. The device is rather thick and heavy (almost 1 cm and 363 grams) and the plastic on the back is not of incredible quality. But in absolute terms, the Fire HD 8 has no fatal flaw. Certainly, the quality of construction is not incredible, but nothing squeaks or creaks once in hand. The tablet gives a pleasant feeling of solidity.
Small black point all the same, all the buttons (volume and on / off) are on the top edge. Impossible to reach them with the hand that holds the device. A strange ergonomic defect on a tablet made to be held in one hand. From a technical point of view, the tablet benefits from a microSD port, a mini-jack and a micro-USB plug for charging. We would have liked to see USB-C and a seal certification, but at that price it is fantasy.
In short, the design and ergonomics of the tablet are simple and effective. Features inherited from the previous model that at the same time had exactly the same design. Amazon has therefore reused the same mold in order to reduce costs, leaving some ergonomic errors again.
Nerve of war on the shelf, the screen alone will determine the quality of the experience offered to the user. Fortunately, that of the Fire HD 8 2018 does not put the user in pain, even if it still has some flaws.
The first and most obvious is reflections. The plastic coating is a real mirror and makes the consultation of the device particularly painful when the light hits on it. Damage to a device mainly focused on multimedia.
Otherwise, calibration side of the screen is drinkable. The color temperature reaches around 7,100 Kelvin – which is correct – but the Delta E is close to 5. In itself, it is not particularly high for a tablet, but some colors reach tops and are very far from a natural rendering.
Finally, in use, the contrast of 1200: 1, the maximum brightness of 378 cd / m² and the minimum of 1.3 cd / m² allow a comfortable indoor use. We regret that the slab displays a definition of only 1280 x 800 px. On a slab of this size, the pixel count is a bit light and does not display particularly sharp characters or a very high information density.
Nothing to report against the side of the touch delay or afterglow, the two values are in the mean (respectively 93 ms and 16 ms). Not enough to notice slowdowns in use. In sum, Amazon has slightly improved the recipe compared to last year, just enough to make the whole acceptable.
Amazon also provides the union minimum on the performance side to ensure a proper experience. In fact, the mobile chip has not changed compared to last year. We thus find 4 hearts clocked at 1.3 GHz and 1.5 GB of RAM to accompany them. Suffice to say that we avoid juggling the demanding tasks under penalty of putting the tablet on its knees. The device is much more for viewing documents, emails or surfing the web.
The advantage of such a chip is that it hardly heats and never rises above 27 ° C, whether in play or use “intensive”.
And of course, without much surprise, the game side the tablet is very limited. On a title like Real Racing , fluidity is not really at the rendezvous; and graphics no longer to tell the truth.
The headphone output of the Fire HD 8 is clearly one of the components where Amazon has made concessions. The signal is certainly clean, with a marked separation of the channels, but the delivered power is ridiculous. Be careful not to pair the device with listening equipment that is too energy intensive.
The speaker also clearly lacks punch and delivers an extremely tight signal and focused on the high mids. Sufficient to watch a series, but not to listen to music.
No need to procrastinate long, the Fire HD 8 is bad in the photo. The photo module does not seem to have changed compared to last year, but the software has offered a small facelift. It is worth repeating: a tablet is not made to take pictures anyway.
In daylight, the 2-megapixel rear sensor produces an image with a correct white balance and color reproduction, but that’s about it. Contrast, details and sharpness are all absent subscribers and leave room for a nice porridge of pixels. Not very surprising considering the definition of the sensor to tell the truth.
From nights, chromatic aberrations appear in addition to the grain and piles of pixels. We must give up all hope of seeing something there. There is not much more to say about it.
On the front module however, there is better compared to the previous generation. The 2018 model has been upgraded to a 2-megapixel sensor (compared to 0.2 MP in 2017). It is sufficient for videoconferencing, but does not allow to take self-portraits of quality. These are always polluted by a strong presence of grain and a lack of contrast.
In the same way, do not expect to film with the tablet. The quality is just bad, the lagtenacious and risky exhibition management. In short, we feel immediately that this chapter was not the most cared for by the manufacturer.
While the Fire HD 8 of 2017 was on the field of autonomy, the new generation model is clearly not as good. With a little less than 6 hours of reading endurance on Netflix, the tablet ranks among the bad students on this point. This weakness is flagrant in actual use. On a weekend, with a couple of hours of use each day, the device claimed its charger as early as Sunday night. Part of the fault is poor standby.
Finally, it takes a little less than 3 hours to recharge the tablet with the adapter supplied.
Interface & OS
At Amazon, there is no question of using Android as Google has thought. The e-commerce giant has developed its own version of the operating system nicknamed Fire OS. The basic code is certainly the same, but the ergonomics and design have been upset.
The OS is divided into several pages, each dedicated to a “universe”. The apps (via the store house), the books (on Kindle), the videos (on Prime Video). In short you will understand, the Fire HD is a machine to consume Amazon.
So much so that if you do not pay attention during the initial configuration of the device, you will find yourself subscribed to Amazon Prime without realizing it. An unfortunate support and a little too fast on the Next button, and it is € 49 that will be debited.
Even if Fire OS does not look like the basic Android, we quickly find its brands since the interface focuses on simplicity and efficiency. The only thing we can really blame the system is the lack of application offer Amazon Appstore compared to the Google Play Store. The basic apps will be there (except for Google), but do not expect to find software a little more pointed.
The version 6.3 of the OS that equips the tablet is based on Android 7.1 Nougat. On the other hand, it’s impossible to know if Amazon is closely following Google’s security patches.