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Is the New 10-Inch Tablet From Amazon Fire or Flop?
Tablets may have started out as slightly watered-down laptops, but as time has passed, the humble tablet has become a veritable marvel of computational muscle.
Unfortunately, their price has skyrocketed in tandem with their specs, but recently, Amazon took the market by storm with an affordable alternative to the all-singing, all-dancing iPads and Galaxies of the world, its name?...the Amazon Fire
So, what exactly does the Fire bring to the tablet table? And is it obvious where costs have been cut? These are the questions I hoped to answer when I took the new (2021) Amazon Fire 10 for a test drive.
Amazon Fire 10 Tablet at a GlanceThe Fire 10 is Amazon’s largest tablet yet, but it’s also seen some major improvements under the hood since the last generation, and the price tag, well...see for yourself - Fire HD 10 tablet.
- 1080p Resolution
- Works as Smart Hub
- Octa-Core CPU
- Decent Audio
- Great Battery Life
- Restrictive OS
- Poor Video Quality
Amazon Fire 10 Tablet - Features
The display of the new Fire 10 will be the biggest head-turner for most of us. Boasting a full 1080p HD resolution as opposed to the 1280 x 800 pixel-count of the previous generation, pictures are sharper than ever, which makes watching shows and movies a real delight.
I know 1080p is kind of old news at this point, but the smaller scale of the 10.1” display gives the effect of greater pixel-density, amounting to a crisp, clear picture at all times.
Amazon has also been working hard to boost the brightness of the display by 10%, offering a max luminance of 498cd/m2, which means you’ll no longer only be faced with your own disappointed reflection when you try and use the Fire 10 on a sunny day — hurray!
I was a little disappointed that the rear camera of the 2021 Fire 10 has the same 5-megapixel resolution as its predecessor, but we can take solace in the fact that the resolution of the front-facing camera is a full three times better than the frontal Fire camera of old.
That means we can enjoy super high-quality selfies and clear video calls, even if we prop the Fire up and sit at a comfortable distance away. Unfortunately, though, with a maximum video resolution of 720p per camera, video footage isn’t all that.
Even the top-tier tablets aren’t exactly renowned for their audio quality, but much to my surprise, the 2021 Fire 10 has some serious pipes.
Obviously, it’s never going to satisfy the audiophiles out there, but considering the price tag on the Fire 10, their output is pretty amazing.
You will detect a little shrillness on the trebles when you really crank the volume, but the mid-range is tight, and the bass response is particularly fiery for such a diminutive device.
You’d be hard-pressed to find an electronic device with a battery life that lives up to the advertised spec, but lo and behold, not only does the Fire 10 last the advertised 12 hours, it usually pushes just beyond the 13-hour mark.
Smart Home Management
As an Amazon product, it should come as no surprise to you that it slides right into the Amazon smart home ecosystem, acting as a control hub for all your connected smart devices.
Fire OS really lets the side down, I’m afraid. I mean...it’s passable, but if you’re used to Windows 10 or a recent iteration of Mac operating systems, it can be quite jarring.
One of my grievances is the lack of a substantial web browser, which is crazy to me, but I guess Amazon is trying to keep as much development in-house as possible.
It also lacks support for the YouTube app, so you have to use second-rate browsers in order to view the platform’s video content.
As for the Amazon app store, it’s a little, well...bare. Little tumbleweeds might as well roll across the screen. However, if you’ve already inserted yourself into the Amazon ecosystem as a Prime member, your options improve significantly.
Amazon Fire Tablet - Specs
If you have experience with older variants of the Amazon Fire, you’ll instantly pick up on how snappy the Fire 10 feels in comparison.
Whether you’re hoarding tabs, watching clips on YouTube, catching up with a spot of email admin, or even all three, the Fire 10 runs 30% faster.
We’ve got the new octa-core MediaTek MT8183 Helio P6OT processor to thank for this buttery smooth performance. With twice the cores and double the clock speed of the previous generation’s CPU, it can support all kinds of workloads without breaking a sweat, which is great news for the consummate gamers and streamers among us.
You get 3GB RAM to play with, which pales in comparison to the new iPad’s 16GB base model, but as long as you’re not planning to use the Fire for video editing and the like, it gets the job done.
The Fire 10 can be bought with 32 or 64GB storage capacities, both of which are capable of holding thousands of photos and loads of videos, so it’s a win for the Fire on this count.
Amazon Fire Tablet - Design
Thinner and slightly lighter than the previous Fire 10, it’s a very portable design, and as long as you invest in a decent case, it’s as road-ready as they come.
I kind of wish they’d release an aluminum-backed version as they did in 2016, but the standard plastic enclosure is perfectly fit for purpose, and the glass screen is pretty resilient too.
Amazon Fire Tablet - The Final Verdict
Despite being Amazon’s best efforts in the tablet arena so far, the Fire 10 still doesn’t hold a candle to the entry-level iPad, but it’s also roughly half the price, so you have to expect diminished capacities in some form.
As disappointed as I was with the video quality of the cameras, the only thing that really ticked me off about the Fire 10 was the weak OS. It just doesn’t offer enough in comparison to other, more fleshed out systems, especially if you’re not a Prime member.
Having said that, on nearly every other count, it surpassed my expectations. It’s not powerful enough for the pro digital creative world, but for the average user, it’s all you could ever want, and doesn’t cost the Earth. Check it out here.