Amazon introduces new Fire HD 8 tablet with hands-free Alexa and upgraded front camera

As was expected, Amazon has just introduced an all-new Fire HD 8 tablet that replaces the previous model, which was released a little over a year ago. The new tablet is mostly identical to the previous model but comes with a couple of key upgrades. The new Fire HD 8 now supports hands-free Alexa that is always available, just like the flagship Fire HD 10 tablet. The new model also upgrades the front-facing camera to a 2 MP shooter that is capable of 720p video for much better video calling quality, compared to the previous model. Amazon has added these improvements while maintaining the same price of $79.99.

Compared to the outgoing Fire HD 8 model, this new model is a minor update to an already great tablet. The new Fire HD 8 still has a quad-core 1.3 GHz CPU with 1.5 GB of memory. It still has an 8-inch HD screen with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. Connectivity still includes dual-band 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth. Internal storage options are still 16GB or 32GB and there is still a micro SD card slot for up to 400GB of expandable storage that can be used for things like downloading Prime Videos for offline viewing.

Around the back there is still 2 MP camera but Amazon has upgraded the front-facing camera from a measly 0.3 MP shooter on the previous model to a 2 MP camera that can shoot 720P video on the new model. The decision to update the front camera was clearly made to improve the tablets video calling capabilities, since it fully supports calling and messaging through Alexa.

Speaking of Alexa, the new Fire HD 8 makes improvements in that regard as well. The previous model launched with Alexa, but you had to hold down the tablet’s home button to make requests. Amazon later updated the tablet to support hands-free Alexa, but because it only worked if the tablet was plugged in or if the screen was already on. The new Fire HD 8 announced today supports hands-free Alexa that is always available, regardless of whether the screen is on or not, or if the tablet is plugged in.

The addition of always listening hands-free Alexa does to take a toll on battery life because Amazon says the new Fire HD 8 can last up to 10 hours, while the previous model lasted up to 12 hours. However, if you’re concerned about the reduced battery life, the hands-free Alexa feature can be disabled to restore the battery life back up to 12 hours.

The new Fire HD 8 tablet is available to pre-order today and will be released on October 4th. It’s available with 16GB of internal storage for $79.99 in black, yellow, blue, and red. If you want double the internal storage, the 32GB model costs $109.99 and is available in the same black, yellow, blue, and red colors. Also available is a Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet for $129.99 that combines the new tablet with a 2-year replacement guarantee, a 1-year Amazon FreeTime subscription, and a kid-friendly protective case.

Since the new Fire HD 8 shares the same body as the previous model, it is compatible with the Show Mode Dock that was released a few months ago. The dock essentially turns the tablet into an Amazon Echo Show by automatically switching to a full screen Alexa interface when docked. The Show Mode Dock is $39.99 on its own, but Amazon is running an introductory offer that bundles the new tablet and dock for $94.99, which saves you $25 versus buying the dock and tablet separately.

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11 comments
  1. Charlie says:

    Wonder what will drop next?

  2. Mark B says:

    I know it’s a cheapy cheap tablet and that Android tablets are literally a dying market but those cpu/memory specs are still terrible. Your only going to give people a bad impression after they try to switch between multiple apps. Making it 3GB would add a few dollars to the price and would make for a much better user experience. We all know it’s a loss leader anyway and they’ll be on sale for $49 in a few months…

    • Mr Unknown says:

      I have the HD 10 and while initially impressed for the price paid (£89), it’s beginning to feel like it’s getting sluggish and performance is quite jittery/choppy at best. This is from Amazon’s ‘top-end’ model. I dread to think how users cope with the HD 8 especially now, knowing that Amazon haven’t updated the CPU and memory. However, I should humble and remind myself that for the price, it’s actually pretty decent.

      • tampa8 says:

        Took the words out of my mouth. I have the HD 8 32gb and for a good while it was reasonably fast. Just as so many have reported then it slows and slows. I thought it might be because I added Google Play store but alas that is not it. I have cleared cache partition, cleared app cache, put most apps to sleep at start up etc etc. It even has trouble streaming now with momentary freezes sometimes when other devices on the same network have no problem acting like it just can’t keep up.

        While the price is enticing especially when on sale and it has some good features I won’t buy again as the slow speed is exasperating. Unless the processor is much improved AND it comes Google certified I will go without a tablet or pay more for one from a major brand.

        • Pete Whalen says:

          I don’t have that problem at all with my unrooted HD 8. I run a lot of apps. Sometimes it does get slow if I haven’t rebooted in a couple of weeks.

          Here’s what I do: I kill running apps and the cache. Then reboot. It then is as fast as when it was new. I use Greenify to quickly see what’s running.

          P.S. I recently got the HD 10. Its sound is extremely inferior to the HD 8. Since I installed Speaker Boost the volume and clarity for the spoken word is fantastic on the HD 8, less so for the HD 10. Speaker Boost is the only volume booster that has ever worked at all. It’s a non-commercial, hobby app. I had thought that volume boosters on non-rooted devices didn’t have the permissions to alter the audio globally. VLC’s EQ did a good job in VLC, but that was it.

          IMO, the HD 8 is an extraordinary tablet for the price but even apart from the price it’s a damn good device.

      • Don Draper says:

        Really? I love the Fire HD10’s I have (especially for $100). They outpreform my Samsung tablet. Once rooted and with the addition of App2SD providing even more RAM with Swap Files, I never use my laptop anymore

  3. J says:

    Are they also going to update their other models as well to the 2018 editions?

    Such as the Fire 7, and the Fire HD 10″ ?

    I would tend too believe so, but I want to make sure.

    Thanks.

    • Don Draper says:

      They could, I guess, but the Fire HD10’s are amazing for the price in my opinion. They are easy to root, easy to add additional RAM (using App2SD) with Swap Files and I find them even faster at processing videos than my laptop (which had 16gb of RAM and a 1TB SSD)

    • AFTVnews says:

      I don’t expect the Fire HD 10 to be updated this year. The Fire 7 is harder to predict, but if I had to guess, I’d say it will be updated before Christmas. My guess is that they needed to get the new Fire HD 8 on the site because they ran out of the previous model. There doesn’t appear to be the same shortage for the Fire 7.

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