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Friday, 27 March 2020

Review of the Fire HD 10 (9th generation): Significant improvements but with a downgraded screen

The latest iteration of the Fire HD 10 (9th generation) is not that different than the previous generation. In this post, I’ll review the Fire HD 10 considering its improvements and if it, in comparison to other vendors, still offers value. I will split the review into three sections: (1) The latest generation’s improvements; (2) The drawbacks of the newest generation; (3) If the newest generation still offers value in comparison to what other vendors provide.

The improvements 

The 9th generation’s significant improvements can be summarised in two areas: battery life and performance. I previously posted about the previous generation’s over-heating and overall sub-par battery life (Amazon over-estimated the battery life). The latest generation has resolved both issues – battery life is substantially improved, and you don’t get the over-heating. I would say the estimated battery-life of ‘up to 12 hours’ is accurate.

Another issue with the previous generation was the battery’s drainage in standby mode. Again, Amazon resolved the problem with the latest generation, and you get vastly improved battery standby time (even when Alexa is enabled).

Amazon advertises a 30% performance boost in comparison to the previous generation. In real-world usage, the tablet does feel significantly smoother than the previous generation. However, the memory remains the same (2GB) so the tablet struggles, for example, when loading multiple browser tabs. 

The replacement of the Micro-USB with USB-C also provides faster charging and file transfer speeds.

The drawback 

Since adopting the budget strategy, to keep the price low, Amazon has balanced upgrades with downgrades with each Fire generation. The 9th generation Fire tablet keeps to this strategy with its downgraded screen. On paper, the latest generation has the same 1920 X 1200 IPS screen. However, the quality of the screen has been downgraded with muted colours and a weaker contrast. I’ve also noticed the screen has a yellow tint. The screen is still good, and the downgrade is worth it considering the upgrades provided.

Still good value? 

At £150 the Fire HD 10, in my view, isn’t the budget value choice anymore. Capable Android tablets have recently become cheaper, and it is possible to find better tablets at a similar price. For example, Android tablets at a comparable or slightly higher price include the Samsung Tab A 10.5, HUAWEI MediaPad T5, HUAWEI MediaPad M5 lite and Lenovo Smart Tab M10 FHD.

However, Amazon regularly discounts the Fire HD 10 between £90 – £110. At that price, the Fire HD 10, in comparison to other offerings, is well worth the price.

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