If spending £500 on an iPad Air seems a bit rich then one popular option is Amazon’s Fire tablet range. These budget devices have been a huge success for the online retailer and the firm is now back with another update to its mini PCs. The Fire HD 10 Plus has just gone on sale and offers a bump in performance and a refreshed design that now features a soft-touch slate-coloured finish. With prices starting from just £179.99 it seems like a pretty decent bargain but is this tablet really worth your hard-earned cash or should save up a little more and just buy an iPad? Express.co.uk has been putting it to the test and here’s our full review.
FIRE HD 10 REVIEW
Right out of the box this new device still looks very much like an Amazon tablet. Although there’s that tactile soft-touch finish on the rear case everything else appears the same as before. That means you still get some pretty chunky bezels around the screen which are now starting to look very long in the tooth.
Of course, this is a very cheap gadget so we expect some compromises but if you want the best-looking tablet in town the Fire HD 10 Plus probably won’t be for you.
Switch things on for the first time and the next thing you’ll be faced with is endless prompts to sign up to Amazon’s plethora of subscription plans. Many of these, such as Prime Video, Amazon Music Unlimited and Kindle Unlimited offer hugely tempting free trials, which are fine, just be aware that once these end you’ll start getting billed on a monthly basis.
Once you’ve navigated past these constant pop-ups things are actually pretty impressive.
The 10.1-inch full HD screen is good and perfectly adequate for surfing the web and watching the odd movie and boxset on Prime Video. The Octa-core processor isn’t the fastest but basic tasks can be performed with a hint of a stutter and this model gets a tiny bit of extra RAM to help it cope with more intensive activities.
The overall performance is pretty good with our only main gripes about the usability coming from the pretty poor speakers which sound horribly tinny and lacking any ounce of bass.
There’s also a slight issue with apps. That’s because, despite the Fire HD 10 Plus running on Android it can’t access the Play Store and all of its millions of applications. This means you are stuck with Amazon’s own app marketplace which is fine but simply can’t compete with what Google or Apple has to offer.
You can’t even install Chrome or Gmail on the Fire which is pretty irritating. If that doesn’t bother you and you simply want a tablet for a bit of web surfing and shopping on Amazon it’s pretty hard to fault the HD 10 Plus.
Although those niggles are a bit annoying one thing that has improved on the Fire range are the accessories with this new tablet is you can now add a keyboard case to turn it into a mini laptop.
Amazon is even offering a Productivity Bundle which includes a keyboard plus full access to Office 365 and all of its apps, such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote, for a whole year. That means you will be able to enjoy a Windows 10-style experience without the hassle of endless security updates, bug threats, and complicated menus.
The standard Fire HD 10 Plus costs £189 with the Productivity Bundle costing £275 which isn’t bad value for money.
Of course, being an Amazon tablet there’s hands-free access to Alexa with the chatty assistant being summoned without needing to touch the screen. You can even turn the screen into an Echo-style smart speaker which is a really nice and very useful touch.
If you’re heading out on the road, you’ll get around 10-12 hours of battery and when things do run low it can be recharged wirelessly – not even the iPad Pro gets that feature!
FIRE HD 10 VERDICT
PROS – Nice 10.1-inch screen • Good battery life • Wireless charging • Great value for money
CONS – Design looks dated • Lack of apps • Terrible speakers
If you’re already a big fan of Amazon and its subscription services there’s plenty to like about the Fire HD 10 Plus.
It has a decent screen, long battery life and just about enough power for the average user. The inclusion of the extra RAM and wireless charging are nice additions and the option to add a keyboard and Microsoft’s applications is a welcomed addition.
It’s not the fastest or prettiest tablet out there and the lack of apps may be an issue for some. Those niggles mean this is definitely no iPad killer.
That said, for the price, this tablet offers excellent value for money and, if an iPad simply seems too expensive, this is a solid option for anyone on a budget.
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Tech Feed