For less than $150, you can get yourself a 7, 8, or 10 device perfect for watching movies and TV shows, checking your email, or just browsing the web. Of course, if you’ve spent any time researching Amazon ’s lineup of Fire Tablets, you’ve probably seen references to both Fire OS and Android when it comes to its operating system.
So, is the Amazon Fire Tablet a true Android device, or is it something else entirely? As an open source project, Asp allows anyone to start with a basic version of Android before creating their own fork.
They took the code from Asp and modified it to make their Fire operating system. That’s why Amazon used Asp, saving themselves a lot of time and money.
The Fire Tablet isn’t a typical Android device. Even though Amazon was smart to borrow their competitor’s code, they can’t simply appropriate everything.
We use the term “borrow” because Amazon developed its Fire OS fair and square, using an open-source code from Google. Put simply, Amazon wants you to use their products and stay on their side of the court.
The competition between Amazon and Google is pretty heated, and both sides are heavily invested. Note that you can’t download the Google Play Store directly to your Fire Tablet.
These files don’t work on micro SD cards, so make sure to remove them from your Fire Tablet. You need the model name for your Fire Tablet (check it under system device options), so you can download the correct version of each APK file.
On the other hand, if you want Amazon apps to run smoothly, your Fire Tablet is an excellent device. Amazon ’s voice-controlled digital assistant, Alexa, is several orders of magnitude better than any of the competing services (like Apple’s Siri, or Google Home).
With a Fire tablet, you can use the built-in microphone to access everything Alexa offers, from news updates to control over your smart home devices. Having Alexa on a tablet is like having the best digital butler in town at your beck and call.
Standard Fire tablets do the basics well: run apps and play media, and they’re snappy and responsive. These come in larger sizes and offer significant upgrades to standard Fire models, like an HD screen, more memory, and premium audio options (like Dolby Atmos for headphones).
The tablets also include robust parental controls, so you can manage what your children see and how much time they spend in front of the screen. If you plan on using your Fire tablet with a specific Bluetooth accessory, search the web first to determine if it’s compatible.
If your Amazon Fire tablet ever freezes or starts behaving erratically, hold down the power button for 40 seconds to force a restart. Put the apps you use most on the default home screen so you’ll never have to go digging around for your favorites again.
Take advantage of a Fire tablet’s security features and establish a PIN code. Save yourself the headache and keep your information safe by setting a PIN code that only you know.
Can I buy apps for my Amazon Fire tablet from the Google Play Store? While it’s definitely possible to install the Google Play Store (and apps from the Google Play Store will indeed work on Amazon ’s Fire tablets), installing it can only be done by “side-loading,” a process by which you use a separate computer to manually force an app onto a tablet or smartphone.
A. Amazon offers two ways to purchase its Fire tablets : at full price, with no restrictions, and at a discount, with “special offers.” That means personalized ads appear on the lock screen. If you don’t mind seeing an ad every time you unlock your Fire tablet, this can be a great way to save money on your purchase, but if you consider ads a hassle, it might be worth paying full price.
If you buy a fire tablet with “special offers,” you can always change your mind later and pay an upgrade fee to have the ads removed. Tablets are basically touchscreen computers that can be used for both “lean back” activities (like streaming movies or browsing social media) and “lean forward” tasks (like word processing or gaming).
Amazon refreshed it in late 2019 with a slight processor bump and 2 gigabytes of RAM. The bigger news was the addition of a USB-C charging port, which has since spread to the Fire HD 8 models as well.
Most Android phones and several laptops use USB-C for charging, so having it on this tablet means one less cable to carry around. The Fire HD 10 has a larger screen with more pixels (1080p) than its siblings, making it better for watching videos.
Photograph: Amazon The newly refreshed 2020 version of the Fire HD 8 is quite possibly one of the best values around for a tablet. The travel-friendly size, combined with a processor upgrade and a Plus model ($110) with 3 gigabytes of RAM and wireless charging, make the new Fire HD 8 series nearly as capable as its larger sibling.
That said, the screen is not quite as nice as the one on the larger Fire HD 10, which boasts a higher pixel density. I recommend picking up Amazon ’s magnetic stand-up case if you plan on watching movies or TV, or, if you opt for the Plus model, the Wireless Charging Dock turns your tablet into an Echo Show speaker.
Compared to the older Fire 7 ($100), the larger screen is sharper and you get Dolby stereo sound with dual speakers. It also comes with one year of Freebie Unlimited, offering access to kid-friendly movies, books, games, and apps.
But if you're making more demands on your Fire tablet than a 3-year-old who loves Carl the Super Truck, you should probably cough up a little extra and buy an HD 8. You won’t love the mono speaker, which is easily blocked by a single finger.
Its battery also lags behind the other two tablets, and the 8-gigabytes of internal storage is pitifully small, mandating a Micros card from the get-go. The downside with it and other, older model Fire tablets is that they may not get software updates for a long as the current generation will.
You can do most of the same things from an Android tablet or iPad, but the Fire OS interface is crafted specifically to deliver Amazon goods, with swipeable pages for each type of media Amazon sells. Built ‘Good Enough’: Physically, Amazon ’s Fire tablets are made of cheapest plastic, but they’re designed with enough care that the build quality won’t bother you too much.
Tech-savvy users have found ways to add the Google Play Store or side load apps, but these devices are built to serve up Amazon's library first and foremost. They all run on processors that would have impressed 4+ years ago but show their age today with small fits of lag and a general lack of power.
Since many of the apps are built with weak processing power in mind, you don’t notice it too much. The operating system is also dated (depending on which Fire tablet you're buying), which could hide some weaknesses.