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The Fire HD 10 is vibrant, fast, and affordable, but not great for work

woman tapping on tablet screen

Looking for a quality tablet for streaming and e-books (without the Apple prices)? Amazon has pretty much cornered the market in that regard. The brand’s Fire HD 10 is inexpensive and high performing, and ideal if you’re already invested in the Amazon ecosystem with a Prime membership or Alexa-enabled devices. It’s also a solid choice for people who use the Microsoft app suite for work.

The Amazon Fire HD 10 ($149.99) boasts a brighter display, a more durable screen, and 50 percent more RAM than the previous gen Fire 10 tablet — along with a 2MP front-facing and 5MP rear-facing camera. Its low price compared to the iPad (starting at $329) makes it a serious contender in the tablet market, and it comes in four color options (black, denim, lavender, olive).

Amazon also has the Fire HD 10 Plus ($179.99) which has another gig of RAM on top of what the Fire HD 10 offers. It’s also got a soft touch slate-colored finish, and it automatically switches into Show Mode (transforming it into a hands-free assistant) on a Qi-certified wireless charger or Anker’s made-for-Amazon wireless charging dock.

Work

Amazon offers a productivity bundle (starting at $219) for this tablet which comes with a Bluetooth keyboard case. I used to think it was silly to buy a keyboard for your tablet (“Congrats, it’s a laptop!”), but… it’s actually pretty handy. The keyboard is only the width of the tablet, so it’s a little cramped — definitely not a perfect alternative to a desktop or laptop. However, for staying connected while traveling it’s the perfect solution to carrying a bulky laptop bag.

And when I want to hold my tablet upright, I can just snap the keyboard portion off without needing to remove the tablet from the case. It’s magnetic and reattaches easily once you need to use it again. 

One major issue with using this tablet for work is that you only have access to apps available on Amazon. So while you can access Zoom, Outlook, and Microsoft Teams, there’s no access to Google Docs, Asana, Trello, or any of the other major productivity or work apps unless you use the browser. And unfortunately the Silk browser (Amazon’s built-in browser for their devices) is pretty sluggish.

However, the productivity bundle also comes with a Microsoft 365 personal subscription, which includes a free 12-month Office subscription and 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage. Definitely sweetens the pot.

So, if your workplace uses Microsoft apps like Office and Teams, this is gonna be a solid tool for you. Anyone else is probably better off getting an iPad or an Android tablet that provides access to the Google Play Store — either of which offers access to way more apps along with a faster browsing experience.

Play

tablet showing disney+ streaming onscreen

The major streaming apps are available for download on the Fire HD 10.
Credit: Amazon

This tablet definitely shines for leisure time. Admittedly, my idea of “play” is reading — so take that as you will. The Kindle e-reader app is phenomenal, and this tablet delivers a fantastic reading experience. The tablet also comes with three free months of Kindle Unlimited, which allows you to read thousands of books for free. You can continue your subscription for $9.99 per month whether or not you’re a Prime member. You can also download the Overdrive app from Amazon to borrow e-books from your local library (which you can then open in the Kindle app for easy readability and tons of customization options).

I’ve been using Fire tablets to stream workouts for a while, and streaming within an app (even on less powerful Fire tablets) has always been flawless for me — while trying to stream on the browser is always more complicated and slow. My streaming experience on this tablet lines up identically with these previous experiences.

Fortunately, all of the major video streaming apps are available through Amazon (Netflix, Hulu, Peacock TV, Paramount Plus, Disney Plus, Discovery Plus, etc.) as well as several major workout streaming apps (Peloton, iFit, Beachbody On Demand).

And if you’re a big gamer, you may find that you’ll run into the same issue as people trying to use the tablet for work: a very limited selection of apps available through the Amazon app store. However, it is compatible with Amazon Luna, Amazon’s subscription game streaming service.

Connect

The Fire HD 10 has a beefed-up camera compared to the previous generation, and the display is noticeably more bright and vibrant than previous gen Fire tablets — making for beautiful or horrifying video and selfies, depending on your confidence level on any given day. According to Amazon, this tablet is 10 percent brighter than the previous generation, with over 2 million pixels comprising its 1080p full HD display.

And with Alexa, video chatting is a breeze — you can easily chat with anyone with an Alexa-enabled device who you add as a contact within the Alexa app. You can also use your tablet as an intercom to all the Alexa devices in your home, or use it to do video drop-ins on other devices in the home.

However, FaceTime isn’t available on the Amazon app store — so you and your Apple friends will have to settle on an app like Zoom or Skype for video calls to each other. All the major social media apps are available through Amazon, too, so you won’t miss out on one second of the action.

Finally, you can set your tablet in Show Mode if you want it to act more like a hands-free assistant like the popular Echo Show home hubs. I’ve tested the Echo Show 5 and Echo Show 8 as well, and — honestly — if you’re torn between an Echo Show and Fire tablet, go with the Fire tablet. Show Mode allows it to do anything an Echo Show can do, but it still maintains its full functionality as a tablet too.

amazon tablet propped up on counter

The Fire HD 10 acts as a video assistant like the Echo Show lineup.
Credit: Amazon

Add to cart?

The keyboard and Office subscription included in the productivity bundle are really nice, but I mostly use Google apps and Trello for work, so it’s not the best fit for me. Although if you mostly use Microsoft apps like Outlook, Office, and Teams it would be ideal.

You can’t beat the Fire 10 for reading e-books or in-app streaming, so it’s a great choice if those would be your primary uses for the tablet. However, its gaming potential is limited by Amazon’s library of available apps, and the Silk browser is pretty slow — so gamers and casual browsers may want to seek out an iPad or an Android tablet.

Finally, this tablet can do everything an Echo Show can do while maintaining its portability and tablet functionality — so if you’re torn between the Fire 10 and an Echo Show, go with the tablet.

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