Friday, July 1

Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus review

The Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus is a 10.1-inch Android tablet aimed squarely at people who are looking for something that is good enough. Starting at $ 179, one of the best Android tablets you can buy, the Fire HD 10and it does a little better.

You’re still stuck with Amazon’s FireOS, which means limited access to Android apps. Performance won’t be on par with premium devices, and it’s a bit bland, aesthetically. But if you’re willing to make a few compromises, maybe that’s okay: The Fire HD 10 Plus offers stellar battery life, a decent screen, and enough performance to deliver great value.

Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus review: price and availability

The Fire HD 10 Plus starts at $ 179.99 for the 32GB model. You can double the storage capacity to 64GB for $ 219.99, but the tablet supports microSD cards up to 1TB, which might turn out to be a better deal, especially if there are sales. The base model shows ads on the lock screen and you will need to pay $ 15 for an ad-free model. It’s well worth the expense, although the ad-free variants seem to suffer from availability issues (a situation I frequently encounter when purchasing Kindles); you can pay a fee to remove them after the fact, if you don’t want to wait.

Amazon also offers a “Productivity Bundle,” which includes a 12-month subscription to Microsoft 365 Personal and includes a bluetooth keyboard sleeve. It would be hard to reach for a Fire tablet over an iPad or Surface when I need to get things done, but there’s enough power here to make it useful in a pinch.

Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus Review: Design

Amazon’s Fire HD 10 Plus is harmless. That’s not exactly high praise but aesthetically, you get what you pay for. The tablet’s soft-touch finish feels similar to a generic case that you might otherwise put on a tablet at this price point – a bit rubbery, but comfortable to hold for long periods of time. It’s also sturdier than expected, exhibiting little stretch or flex until I over-twisted it. Amazon offers a variant of the Fire HD 10 line for kids, if you need something that will withstand higher levels of abuse.

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

The Plus is almost identical to the Fire HD 10, save for a few minor changes: the Plus variant adds wireless charging, the aforementioned soft-touch finish, and 4GB of RAM (instead of 3GB). It measures 9.7 x 6.5 x 0.4 inches and is technically heavier than the non-Plus variant at 16.5 ounces, up from 16.4 ounces. Its closest Android-based competition comes from the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 ($ 229), which will deliver a full Android experience in a slightly larger package, without costing much more. That device has its own drawbacks, so you’ll have to consider whether the limitations of Amazon’s Fire operating system are too great to avoid.

Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus review: display

The 10.1-inch, 1920 x 1200-pixel display is a pleasant surprise at this price. I spent time browsing through Prime Video offerings and found the screen on this tablet to be bright and colorful.

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

The sprawling green views of Clarkson’s Farm looked suitably vibrant, and the sharp images, coupled with the tablet’s (relatively) light weight and comfortable chassis made watching (and bingeing) an enjoyable experience.

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

The Fire 10 HD Plus produces 107.9% of the sRGB spectrum in our colorimeter and outputs an average of 406.3 nits of brightness. Color accuracy drops when looking at the screen from extreme angles and reflections become problematic in direct sunlight, but these issues persist across the entire tablet landscape and aren’t particularly bad here. The tablet is clearly oriented to be held horizontally for streaming video, but I spent most of my time holding it vertically, while flipping through my Kindle library.

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

E-readers are lightweight and compact, and a proper e-ink display will offer a much better reading experience, but at this price, the versatility of a real tablet (albeit limited to the Fire OS) makes it worth the compromise.

Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus review: audio

The Fire HD 10 Plus speakers are less impressive, but the tablet is still above its weight class. Leaving the volume set at about the middle of the tablet’s range produced the best results, from the percussive “push” of instruments to dialogue on a TV show. If you climb too high, the experience begins to suffer, as the sound takes on an unpleasant, metallic spring. The headphone jack and Bluetooth connectivity will come in handy if you are looking for the best audio experience.

Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus review: performance

A 2.0 GHz octa-core processor and 4GB of RAM power this budget tablet experience. It’s capable enough for casual use, and I flipped through the menus and turned on the music and videos with no problem. Things were decidedly less fluid when more horsepower was required. I took Asphalt 9 for a spin and while the performance didn’t feel as mediocre as we saw in the Fire HD 10, the loading can seem endless at times, and the frame rate drops regularly when the on-screen action gets especially intense.

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

The Fire HD 10 Plus scored 1,399 on the GeekBench 5 multi-core benchmark, vastly outperforming the Fire HD 10 (969), but lagging behind the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 (1,405). Apple’s iPad 2021, for the sake of comparison, scored 3,387 in the same test, but starts at $ 329.

Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus review: battery life

The Fire HD 10 Plus lasted 14 hours and 2 minutes in our battery drain test, which consists of browsing the web while on Wi-Fi, with the screen set to 150 nits of brightness. With Amazon’s Auto Low Power Mode, which kicks in by default once the battery reaches 20% capacity, we saw 14 hours and 35 minutes of battery life. These are tremendous results that outperform the competition; the Galaxy Tab A7 lasted 13 hours and 13 minutes, while the non-Plus Kindle Fire HD 10 lasted 13 hours and 45 minutes.

As an anecdote, I’d been using the tablet extensively for a few days, switching between marathon reading sessions and docking Prime Video deals, before noticing that the battery level had dropped to 8% (oops!). It’s always good to use a device that you can almost forget needs to be charged from, and the combination of USB-C connectivity and wireless charging comes in handy here, as I’m never more than a few feet away from something that can recharge the tablet.

Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus review: cameras

There are a couple of cameras available – the front camera has a 2.0 megapixel sensor, while you’ll find a 5.0 megapixel sensor on the rear. However, don’t plan on using any of them a lot.

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Details were lost in all my test shots, regardless of lighting conditions or subject. Colors feel flat and cloudy, and the distinction between hues is almost completely lost in the resulting photographs.

Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus Review: Software

Amazon’s Fire OS pales in comparison to the full Android experience, offering a fraction of the apps you’ll find on the Google Play Store. That said, if you have an Amazon Prime subscription, a large library of e-books bought from Amazon and elsewhere, or you just don’t use that many Android apps (I check all three boxes), what’s available might be enough. It’s a bit like walking down a grocery store aisle, looking for the Amazon-branded variant or some respectable-looking facsimile of that Android app you like.

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Amazon’s Silk browser has certainly come a long way, but some confusing UI decisions, likely a result of my familiarity with Chrome and Safari on tablets, can make it cumbersome to use. There’s no official YouTube app either, but limitations like that lead me to read a lot, which is a win in its own way.

Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus review: verdict

If you’re already entangled in the Prime ecosystem (and can get a deal during an Amazon sale), the Fire HD 10 Plus offers quite a bit of device for your dollar. It doesn’t exactly outperform the budget price competition, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 It’s still a solid option if only for offering an unadulterated Android experience. But Amazon’s offering handles the basics with poise and you’ll feel right at home with someone who wants to relax with a book or video in real time. Just don’t come looking for a lot of apps.

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