Amazon Fire HD 8: Mid-spec Nokia Lumi... er, MediaTek slab

Amazon's Fire tabs shift in wake of Fire Phone debacle


Come on baby, light my fire

While you couldn't describe the HD 8’s screen as high definition, spreading 800 x 1200 pixels over an 8-inch diagonal still results in a dots-per-inch figure of 189, which is just enough to avoid any pixelation issues. The difference between 189dpi and 149dpi, which is what you get with 10.1-inches and 800 x 1200, is clear to behold.

HD8_cardslot

Card slot good for cards up to 128GB. Useful now that you can download Prime video content to view off-line.

Resolution aside, the Gorilla Glass-covered IPS panel is bright and colourful and can be looked at from any angle without you getting the feeling you’ve dropped some bad acid. The one problem is the absence of an ambient light sensor so you will be regularly adjusting the brightness.

The HD 8’s media playback credentials are underlined by the excellent Dolby Atmos-enhanced speakers built into the left-hand side. Or the top, if you are holding the thing in landscape. Held thusly, the speakers are clear of being accidentally covered by your hands (a Hudl failing) and pump out a strong, loud and impressively composed sound.

HD8_speakers

Stereo speakers are well positioned and sound very good.

The Fire HD 8 runs on a MediaTek MT8135 chipset, which boasts a quad-core processor with two 1.5GHz cores and two 1.2GHz. That is combined with 1GB of RAM and a PowerVR Rogue G6200 GPU. That list of components didn’t give me any reason for optimism when I read it. Nor did the fact that AnTuTu, my preferred benchmark app, refused to even run.

But credit where it’s due, the HD 8 motors along quite nicely. The UI is fluid, the screen flip from portrait to landscape is prompt even when playing video. Using the GeekBench 3 app, the HD 8 produced a single core score of 773 and a multi-core score of 1497. That compares to the Hudl’s scores of 796 and 2159 respectively.

HD8_UI1

Benchmark scores not bad, Documents app a bit buggy, parental controls impressive.

When it comes to real world performance, the HD 8 and Hudl are again broadly similar and that’s praise for the Amazon slab. To test the graphics performance of the HD 8, I ran EA Games' Real Racing 3 and it played perfectly. There was no undue build-up of heat either.

The latest version of Fire OS is called Bellini and is based on Android 5.0 Lollipop. It’s the most Android-like of the Fire OS incarnations to date. Gone is the messy ticker-tape icon list at the bottom of the screen to be replaced by virtual back/home/recent buttons. If you didn’t know better you’d swear it was just a heavily skinned version of Android rather than a fork.

HD8_home

Fire OS 5 Bellini looks a lot like Android 5.0 on which it's based.

Across the user interface’s 10 screens everything is arranged in an idiot-proof manner. The principal page holds all your apps and scrolls vertically. You can condense icons into folders to keep things neat. To the left of the home page you’ll find all your recent app, file and media interactions, to the right your Amazon-rented books, videos, games, apps and music, the Amazon store proper and the Amazon news-stand.

Similar topics

Broader topics

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • Running Windows 10? Microsoft is preparing to fire up the update engines

    Winter Windows Is Coming

    It's coming. Microsoft is preparing to start shoveling the latest version of Windows 10 down the throats of refuseniks still clinging to older incarnations.

    The Windows Update team gave the heads-up through its Twitter orifice last week. Windows 10 2004 was already on its last gasp, have had support terminated in December. 20H2, on the other hand, should be good to go until May this year.

    Continue reading
  • Throw away your Ethernet cables* because MediaTek says Wi-Fi 7 will replace them

    *Don't do this

    MediaTek claims to have given the world's first live demo of Wi-Fi 7, and said that the upcoming wireless technology will be able to challenge wired Ethernet for high-bandwidth applications, once available.

    The fabless Taiwanese chip firm said it is currently showcasing two Wi-Fi 7 demos to key customers and industry collaborators, in order to demonstrate the technology's super-fast speeds and low latency transmission.

    Based on the IEEE 802.11be standard, the draft version of which was published last year, Wi-Fi 7 is expected to provide speeds several times faster than Wi-Fi 6 kit, offering connections of at least 30Gbps and possibly up to 40Gbps.

    Continue reading
  • Windows box won't boot? SystemRescue 9 may help

    An ISO image you can burn or drop onto a USB key

    The latest version of an old friend of the jobbing support bod has delivered a new kernel to help with fixing Microsoft's finest.

    It used to be called the System Rescue CD, but who uses CDs any more? Enter SystemRescue, an ISO image that you can burn, or just drop onto your Ventoy USB key, and which may help you to fix a borked Windows box. Or a borked Linux box, come to that.

    SystemRescue 9 includes Linux kernel 5.15 and a minimal Xfce 4.16 desktop (which isn't loaded by default). There is a modest selection of GUI tools: Firefox, VNC and RDP clients and servers, and various connectivity tools – SSH, FTP, IRC. There's also some security-related stuff such as Yubikey setup, KeePass, token management, and so on. The main course is a bunch of the usual Linux tools for partitioning, formatting, copying, and imaging disks. You can check SMART status, mount LVM volumes, rsync files, and other handy stuff.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022