Notebookcheck

Amazon Fire HD 8 (2015) Tablet Review

Michael Moser (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 12/23/2015

A flash in the pan. Amazon's Fire HD 8 tablet features an HD screen and the brand new Fire OS 5 Bellini operating system with the familiar software restrictions. The starting price is 160 Euros (~$175) – if the user can live with adware. In this review read why the spark does not kindle a blazing fire.

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The mail order company Amazon has refreshed its affordable tablet lineup, and aims at the most important device categories with its HD 6 and HD 10. Now, a new mid-range tablet is added to the 8-inch category with Amazon's Fire HD 8, which is available for a starting price of 160 Euros (~$175) depending on the configuration. Our review sample features 16 GB of storage and no annoying adware in standby mode, is priced at 195 Euros (~$214). Adware-models come with a price discount of 15 Euros (~$16). Subscribing and unsubscribing is also possible after purchase.

Thus, it competes with the comparison devices such as Acer Iconia One 8Medion Lifetab S8311 and Lenovo Tab S8. Anyone opting for an Amazon tablet will have to accept considerable software restrictions compared with other Android devices.

Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015 (Fire Series)
Processor
Mediatek MT8135 1.5 GHz
Graphics adapter
Memory
1024 MB 
Display
8.0 inch 16:10, 1280x800 pixel, capacitive, multitouch, IPS, 189 ppi, glossy: yes
Storage
16 GB eMMC Flash, 16 GB 
, 11.6 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm jack, Card Reader: micro-SD (max. 128 GB), Sensors: accelerometer, rotation rate sensor, USB-OTG, limited APP2SD support
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 7.7 x 214 x 128 ( = 0.3 x 8.43 x 5.04 in)
Battery
Lithium-Ion, Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 8 h
Operating System
Android 5.1 Lollipop
Camera
Webcam: VGA (0.9 megapixels, 1280x720 px); rear 5.3 MP HD camera (3072x1728 px), HDR, [email protected]
Additional features
Speakers: stereo speakers, Keyboard: virtual QWERTY keyboard, Keyboard Light: yes, in the box: Fire HD tablet, USB 2.0 cabel, 5W charger and quick start guide, Fire OS 5 (32 bit); Amazon Underground (new app shop with free apps, games and in-app items),, 12 Months Warranty, available colors: black, blue, orange, magenta
Weight
311 g ( = 10.97 oz / 0.69 pounds), Power Supply: 63 g ( = 2.22 oz / 0.14 pounds)
Price
195 Euro

 

Case

Compared with the twice as expensive Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 Tablet, visible cutbacks in the casing are of course inevitable. The back is now only polished plastic. This does not give a particularly high-quality impression, and is extremely susceptible to fingerprints and scratches. Our standard benchmark suite of tests was enough to leave unsightly scratches on the back - and the tablet never left our table. Thus, a protective sleeve is essential if the device is to remain reasonably presentable.

Considering the compact dimensions of the Fire HD 8 compared with the other rivals, we can confirm Amazon's pithy assertion on the product website stating that it is slim and light. However, we cannot agree with the statement that it is more durable than the latest Apple iPad Air 2. Strong pressure on the Fire HD 8 also causes wave formations on the screen. Furthermore, a quiet creaking noise and evident warping are observed under high force. The feel is acceptable and the gaps are also within a tolerable range.

Amazon offers the Fire HD 8 in four colors. In addition to our black review sample, the tablet is available in blue, magenta and tangerine.

Connectivity

The Fire HD 8 is available with 8 or 16 GB of internal storage. The storage capacities of both versions can be expanded by up to 128 GB via a micro-SD. In addition, unlimited Cloud storage is available for Amazon content free of charge. Dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 are on-board, but NFC and GPS are missing.

The Fire HD 8 is powered by the MediaTek MT8135 quad-core SoC with a clock rate reduced to 1.5 GHz and integrated PowerVR G6200 graphics unit familiar from Amazon's Fire HD 6 and one gigabyte of working memory. Amazon has installed a 5 MP camera without LED flash on the rear of the Fire HD 8. The front camera now has a resolution of 0.9 megapixels. Apart from Acer's Iconia One 8, all rivals have higher resolutions.

Upper edge: Volume rocker, 3.5 mm jack, microphone, micro-USB 2.0, power button
Upper edge: Volume rocker, 3.5 mm jack, microphone, micro-USB 2.0, power button
Right: Micro-SD slot
Right: Micro-SD slot
Lower edge: No interfaces
Lower edge: No interfaces
Left: Stereo speakers
Left: Stereo speakers

Software

The installed operating system is the new Fire OS 5 Bellini, which is based on Android 5.1 Lollipop. Unlike many other manufacturers, Amazon makes more profound modifications in the stock Android OS. Diverse apps are preloaded ex-factory, such as Amazon's app shop, video, Kindle and music. They are also comprehensively integrated into the system; swiping left on the home screen brings the user to the dedicated screens that present media from each personal library as well as recommendations. The software is clearly focused on Amazon's micro-cosmos; Prime users will feel at home right away. It looks good, but sometimes the clarity of arrangement suffers on the subscreens. The step from the old Fire OS 4 seems huge, but overall, the software can be handled quite well, especially when Amazon is not new to the user. Nevertheless - Android 5.1 or iOS 9.1 make a more intuitive impression and also look better.

Another restriction for Android fans: Only Amazon's app store can be used ex-factory, which does not offer the wide variety of Google's Play Store. According to Amazon, all Android apps are to run on Fire OS 5 Bellini with no or only minor modifications. On the other hand, Amazon Underground is an app store where everything, including in-app items, is free - even applications that must be purchased in the normal app shop.

USB OTG is supported, and a Razer USB mouse and a 32 GB Corsair Flash Survivor USB 3.0 flash drive were both identified. APP2SD functions, but not with all apps. The GFXBench benchmark test and Dropbox were just as unmovable as the pre-loaded Amazon apps.

The Amazon-leash can be loosened somewhat when desired: Via sideloading using an app like ES File Manager, i.e. installing the desired apps as APK files after moving them from the download folder on the tablet. Alternatively, the user follows the Work-Around from our "Netzwelt" colleagues. This enables installing Google's Play Store and every desired Android app. However, there are exceptions: However, some apps that are installed on the device without Amazon's app shop might refuse to run.

No GPS
No GPS

Communication & GPS 

The dual-band Wi-Fi module in Amazon's Fire HD 8 supports the standards 802.1 a/b/g/n/ac for wireless communication. During the test the reception strength of half the signal was just enough for browsing on the Internet at a distance of 10 meters (~33 ft) from the router and through three walls. Pages opened slightly slower. The review sample does not have a GPS module. 

The webcam's options are limited. Pictures display heavy image noise and low sharpness, especially in low light
The webcam's options are limited. Pictures display heavy image noise and low sharpness, especially in low light

Cameras & Multimedia

The front camera in Amazon's Fire HD 8 disappoints with its scanty VGA resolution (0.9 megapixels, 1280x720 pixels), but at least it is still satisfactory for video chats. The 5.3 MP camera (3072x1728 px) on the rear offers HDR and records videos in a resolution of 720p. The lens cannot fall back on an LED flash, but a panorama and best shot feature are available. Relatively satisfactory photos are possible in sunny environments, and the sharpness is still reasonably accurate in the center. The photos basically suffer under lack of sharpness and a light bluish tint. On the other hand, the automatic exposure responds very quickly to tapping in the image area of the touchscreen. The low-light performance does not score very well with heavy noise and low sharpness. Amazon's Fire HD 8 records videos in 720p. The below-average quality does not really inspire extensive recordings.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the zoom step. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3
Amazon Fire HD 8: Screenshot of ColorChecker colors. The original colors are displayed in the lower half of each patch.
Amazon Fire HD 8: Screenshot of ColorChecker colors. The original colors are displayed in the lower half of each patch.

Color Accuracy & Sharpness

We also tested the camera in Amazon Fire HD 8 under controlled light conditions with the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport that we photographed in automatic mode. We compare the photos directly, without editing or modifying the white balance afterwards. The result shows that the Fire HD 8 displays all colors too dark and somewhat too strongly. The automatic white balance is too warm, which is particularly evident in the grayscale levels. 

We perform the sharpness test under defined artificial light with an edge-to-edge photo of our test chart. The 100% sized picture section from the center of the test chart reveals the camera's low sharpness in details. Outlines visibly blur; the picture looks very muddy and unfocused particularly at the chart's edge.

Accessories

Amazon ships the Fire HD 8 with a USB 2.0 cable, a 5-watt charger and a quick start guide. Some product-specific accessories such as screen protectors (matte or transparent) are also available for approximately 13 Euros ($14). The high-quality case for the sensitive back cover that can also be used as a stand is recommended. They are available in various colors at 35 Euros (~$38) each. The leather version costs approximately 45 Euros (~$49).

Warranty

A 12-month warranty is included. The usual implied warranty of a further 12 months takes effect after that.

Input Devices & Handling

The capacitive multi-touchscreen responds quite quickly to inputs, and has good gliding qualities. However, we had to tap more than once in some cases before the tablet detected them in the test. The minor delay is still acceptable. The virtual keyboard itself functions decently, and features automatic enabling for swipe inputs in addition to a divided keyboard for small hands. The physical buttons are also satisfactory; however, we would have liked the volume rocker's pressure point to have been more defined.

Keyboard portrait mode
Keyboard portrait mode
Keyboard landscape mode
Keyboard landscape mode
Divided keyboard portrait mode
Divided keyboard portrait mode
Divided keyboard landscape mode
Divided keyboard landscape mode

Display

The resolution of 1280x800 pixels leads to a pixel density of 189 PPI on the 8-inch screen. The resolution of the IPS panel is thus sufficient, but rivals in the comparison, such as Medion's Lifetab S8311 or Lenovo Tab S8 with 1920x1200 pixels, have much more to offer. On the other hand, Amazon's Fire HD 8 places itself unmatched at the top with its maximum brightness of 555 cd/m². Extremely bright 523.3 cd/m² are still reached on average. The illumination of 88% is very homogeneous although Medion's Lifetab S8311 distributes the brightness somewhat more evenly. The most significant measurements are, however, those performed at consistent APL (average picture level). Here, an equal distribution of bright and dark areas is selected (APL 50). Our measurements remain stable; the brightness in the screen's center is 551 cd/m².

488
cd/m²
510
cd/m²
521
cd/m²
492
cd/m²
550
cd/m²
545
cd/m²
496
cd/m²
555
cd/m²
553
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 555 cd/m² Average: 523.3 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 88 %
Center on Battery: 550 cd/m²
Contrast: 1038:1 (Black: 0.53 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 7.77 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 7.48 | - Ø
Gamma: 1.8
Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015
PowerVR G6200, MT8135, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Acer Iconia One 8
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), Z3735G, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Medion Lifetab S8311
Mali-450 MP4, MT6592, 16 GB iNAND Flash
Lenovo Tab S8
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), Z3745, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Screen
17%
4%
34%
Brightness
523
338
-35%
328
-37%
401
-23%
Brightness Distribution
88
83
-6%
92
5%
85
-3%
Black Level *
0.53
0.31
42%
0.53
-0%
0.22
58%
Contrast
1038
1184
14%
609
-41%
1900
83%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
7.77
4.1
47%
4.93
37%
4.19
46%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
7.48
4.38
41%
3.1
59%
4.26
43%
Gamma
1.8 133%
2.33 103%
2.69 89%
2.41 100%
CCT
6633 98%
6394 102%
6654 98%
6246 104%

* ... smaller is better

The given black level of 0.53 cd/m² - also in the APL 50 assessment - and the contrast of 1038:1 are decent rates that Acer's Iconia One 8 and Lenovo's Tab S8 clearly outperform. Nevertheless, black looks quite saturated and the color reproduction is appealingly crisp.

The more detailed analysis via an X-Rite spectrophotometer and CalMAN software reveal only minor deviations from the ideal in the comparison sections. We did not discover the bluish tint often found in this price range. Only a slight green-yellowish tint is seen in the medium grayscale levels. Overall, colors are rendered very natural and rich. The color temperature is also very close to the ideal, but the gamma is slightly low (ideal rate: 2.2). Given the low price, this is a very good performance that even some more expensive devices do not achieve.

CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN Colorspace
CalMAN Colorspace
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps

Time to shine is the motto in this test. Thanks to the extremely high average brightness of 523.5 cd/m², content can still be recognized fairly well even in direct sunlight. However, the screen's reflective surface slightly impairs outdoor use. Amazon's Fire HD 8 cannot serve with a brightness sensor.

The viewing angle stability of the underlying IPS technology is good. Even acute viewing angles do not lead to color distortions; only the brightness decreases slightly. Users who want to watch a video with several viewers on the go should thus set the brightness to maximum.

Outdoors
Outdoors
Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Performance

Like all Fire HD tablets, Amazon's Fire HD 8 is powered by a MediaTek MT8135 quad-core SoC clocked at 1.5 GHz known from the Kindle Fire HD 6. The working memory has a capacity of 1 GB.

Consequently, the performance is comparable to that of Amazon's Kindle Fire HD 6. The review sample can outrun Acer's Iconia One 8 and Medion's Lifetab S8311 in most benchmarks. Only Lenovo's Tab S8 usually presents a higher performance.

However, the offered performance is not quite convincing in practice. Everyday tasks, such as lightweight multitasking and opening apps or keyboard, recurrently suffer under slight delays. Nevertheless, this is much faster than was the case in Amazon's Kindle Fire HD 6 thanks to the new Fire OS 5 Bellini. Playing music or 1080p videos was also agreeably smooth and problem-free during the test.

Geekbench 3
32 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015
1486 Points ∼6%
Medion Lifetab S8311
1344 Points ∼5% -10%
Lenovo Tab S8
2352 Points ∼9% +58%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6
1465 Points ∼5% -1%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6 Kids Edition
1520 Points ∼6% +2%
32 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015
774 Points ∼17%
Medion Lifetab S8311
262 Points ∼6% -66%
Lenovo Tab S8
768 Points ∼16% -1%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6
765 Points ∼16% -1%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6 Kids Edition
760 Points ∼16% -2%
3DMark
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015
8583 Points ∼14%
Acer Iconia One 8
15430 Points ∼24% +80%
Medion Lifetab S8311
5713 Points ∼9% -33%
Lenovo Tab S8
17466 Points ∼28% +103%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6
8596 Points ∼14% 0%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6 Kids Edition
8497 Points ∼13% -1%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015
10551 Points ∼2%
Acer Iconia One 8
12471 Points ∼3% +18%
Medion Lifetab S8311
4857 Points ∼1% -54%
Lenovo Tab S8
14959 Points ∼3% +42%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6
10955 Points ∼2% +4%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6 Kids Edition
10880 Points ∼2% +3%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015
10039 Points ∼5%
Acer Iconia One 8
13026 Points ∼7% +30%
Medion Lifetab S8311
5024 Points ∼3% -50%
Lenovo Tab S8
15452 Points ∼8% +54%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6
10325 Points ∼5% +3%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6 Kids Edition
10242 Points ∼5% +2%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015
15 fps ∼1%
Acer Iconia One 8
6 fps ∼1% -60%
Medion Lifetab S8311
10 fps ∼1% -33%
Lenovo Tab S8
18 fps ∼2% +20%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6 Kids Edition
14 fps ∼1% -7%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015
23 fps ∼6%
Acer Iconia One 8
24.4 fps ∼7% +6%
Medion Lifetab S8311
10 fps ∼3% -57%
Lenovo Tab S8
17 fps ∼5% -26%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6 Kids Edition
21 fps ∼6% -9%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015 (4.0.2)
0 fps ∼0%
Acer Iconia One 8
6 fps ∼1%
Lenovo Tab S8
9.7 fps ∼2%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015
12 fps ∼11%
Acer Iconia One 8
12 fps ∼11% 0%
Lenovo Tab S8
8.5 fps ∼8% -29%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6
8.7 fps ∼8% -27%
Smartbench 2012
Gaming Index (sort by value)
Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015
2793 points ∼61%
Acer Iconia One 8
3385 points ∼74% +21%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6
2817 points ∼61% +1%
Productivity Index (sort by value)
Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015
3875 points ∼21%
Acer Iconia One 8
2736 points ∼15% -29%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6
4246 points ∼23% +10%
Linpack Android / IOS
Multi Thread (sort by value)
Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015
234.585 MFLOPS ∼8%
Acer Iconia One 8
316 MFLOPS ∼11% +35%
Medion Lifetab S8311
0 MFLOPS ∼0% -100%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6
203.704 MFLOPS ∼7% -13%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6 Kids Edition
209.005 MFLOPS ∼7% -11%
Single Thread (sort by value)
Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015
163.418 MFLOPS ∼16%
Acer Iconia One 8
158 MFLOPS ∼15% -3%
Medion Lifetab S8311
0 MFLOPS ∼0% -100%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6
124.382 MFLOPS ∼12% -24%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6 Kids Edition
123.831 MFLOPS ∼12% -24%
AnTuTu Benchmark v5 - Total Score (sort by value)
Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015 (v.5.7.1)
29380 Points ∼36%
Acer Iconia One 8
33324 Points ∼41% +13%
Medion Lifetab S8311
22774 Points ∼28% -22%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6
26655 Points ∼33% -9%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6 Kids Edition
29177 Points ∼36% -1%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015
810 Points ∼53%
Acer Iconia One 8
837 Points ∼54% +3%
Medion Lifetab S8311
555 Points ∼36% -31%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6 Kids Edition
785 Points ∼51% -3%
Graphics (sort by value)
Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015
575 Points ∼7%
Acer Iconia One 8
692 Points ∼8% +20%
Medion Lifetab S8311
283 Points ∼3% -51%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6 Kids Edition
562 Points ∼7% -2%
Memory (sort by value)
Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015
311 Points ∼8%
Acer Iconia One 8
765 Points ∼20% +146%
Medion Lifetab S8311
421 Points ∼11% +35%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6 Kids Edition
349 Points ∼9% +12%
System (sort by value)
Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015
1350 Points ∼21%
Acer Iconia One 8
1359 Points ∼21% +1%
Medion Lifetab S8311
937 Points ∼14% -31%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6 Kids Edition
1401 Points ∼21% +4%
Overall (sort by value)
Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015
665 Points ∼20%
Acer Iconia One 8
881 Points ∼27% +32%
Medion Lifetab S8311
499 Points ∼15% -25%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6 Kids Edition
681 Points ∼21% +2%
PCMark for Android - Work performance score (sort by value)
Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015
3998 Points ∼49%
Acer Iconia One 8
4739 Points ∼58% +19%

Legend

 
Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015 Mediatek MT8135, PowerVR G6200, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Acer Iconia One 8 Intel Atom Z3735G, Intel HD Graphics (Bay Trail), 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Medion Lifetab S8311 Mediatek MT6592, ARM Mali-450 MP4, 16 GB iNAND Flash
 
Lenovo Tab S8 Intel Atom Z3745, Intel HD Graphics (Bay Trail), 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6 Mediatek MT8135, PowerVR G6200, 8 GB SSD
 
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6 Kids Edition Mediatek MT8135, PowerVR G6200, 8 GB eMMC Flash

The performance of Amazon's Fire HD 8 in the browser-based benchmark test using the Silk browser (version 45) is throughout worse than that of all rivals in almost all cases. However, they use the considerably faster Google Chrome browser. Subjectively, browsing with the Fire HD 8 is fun. Pages were opened at a decent speed.

Sunspider - 1.0 Total Score (sort by value)
Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015 (Silk Browser 45.1.102.2454.94.10)
1390.6 ms * ∼35%
Acer Iconia One 8 (Chrome 42)
954 ms * ∼24% +31%
Medion Lifetab S8311
1178 ms * ∼29% +15%
Lenovo Tab S8 (Chrome 37)
673 ms * ∼17% +52%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6 Kids Edition (Silk Browser 1.0.406.109)
754.2 ms * ∼19% +46%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6
671.6 ms * ∼17% +52%
Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015 (Silk Browser 45.1.102.2454.94.10)
5894 Points ∼13%
Acer Iconia One 8 (Chrome 42)
6110 Points ∼14% +4%
Medion Lifetab S8311
2820 Points ∼6% -52%
Lenovo Tab S8 (Chrome 37)
5956 Points ∼13% +1%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015 (Silk Browser 45.1.102.2454.94.10)
5694.9 ms * ∼10%
Acer Iconia One 8 (Chrome 42)
5579.6 ms * ∼9% +2%
Medion Lifetab S8311
14278 ms * ∼24% -151%
Lenovo Tab S8 (Chrome 37)
15635 ms * ∼26% -175%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6 Kids Edition (Silk Browser 1.0.406.109)
5563.2 ms * ∼9% +2%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6
5979.2 ms * ∼10% -5%
Google V8 Ver. 7 - Google V8 Ver. 7 Score (sort by value)
Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015 (Silk Browser 45.1.102.2454.94.10)
6023 Points ∼31%
Acer Iconia One 8 (Chrome 42)
6152 Points ∼31% +2%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6
5067 Points ∼26% -16%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score (sort by value)
Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015 (Silk Browser 45.1.102.2454.94.10)
71 Points ∼13%
Acer Iconia One 8 (Chrome 42)
95 Points ∼17% +34%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6 Kids Edition (Silk Browser 1.0.406.109)
74 Points ∼13% +4%

* ... smaller is better

Performance with Androbench using micro-SD slot
Performance with Androbench using micro-SD slot

A 16 GB storage device is installed in Amazon's Fire HD 8 (11.6 GB gross). It can be expanded by up to 128 GB. App2SD does not work with all apps, but OTG flash drives or hard drives can be connected via USB.

The integrated flash memory is not exactly the fastest of its kind. Transferring large blocks - especially in write - is very slow. The review sample only leaves its rivals behind when writing small blocks. These drawbacks are not noticed in everyday use.

The micro-SD slot supports cards with up to 128 GB. We tested its speed with our Toshiba Exceria SD-CX32UHS1 (max. 95 MBit/s read, 60 MBit/s write). The poor performance of Amazon's Fire HD 8 also becomes apparent here. A maximum read speed of 30.76 MBit/s is reached, which is approximately only one third of the card's performance potential. The write rates are also disappointing with a poor 14.58 MBit/s.

AndroBench 3-5
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015
5.41 MB/s ∼7%
Acer Iconia One 8
2.9 MB/s ∼4% -46%
Medion Lifetab S8311
5 MB/s ∼7% -8%
Lenovo Tab S8
1 MB/s ∼1% -82%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6 Kids Edition
3.44 MB/s ∼5% -36%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6
1.22 MB/s ∼2% -77%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015
14.04 MB/s ∼10%
Acer Iconia One 8
17 MB/s ∼12% +21%
Medion Lifetab S8311
19.7 MB/s ∼14% +40%
Lenovo Tab S8
11 MB/s ∼8% -22%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6 Kids Edition
19.25 MB/s ∼14% +37%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6
13.93 MB/s ∼10% -1%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015
12.2 MB/s ∼6%
Acer Iconia One 8
40 MB/s ∼21% +228%
Medion Lifetab S8311
38.7 MB/s ∼21% +217%
Lenovo Tab S8
25 MB/s ∼13% +105%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6 Kids Edition
20.13 MB/s ∼11% +65%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6
10.57 MB/s ∼6% -13%
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015
125.58 MB/s ∼21%
Acer Iconia One 8
126 MB/s ∼21% 0%
Medion Lifetab S8311
148 MB/s ∼25% +18%
Lenovo Tab S8
105 MB/s ∼18% -16%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6 Kids Edition
143.02 MB/s ∼24% +14%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6
113.95 MB/s ∼19% -9%

Games

The PowerVR G6200 graphics solution integrated in the SoC is no longer the fastest of its kind, but its power is still enough for most games. Even the somewhat more demanding "Real Racing 3" always ran smoothly in the test. The available games in Amazon's store are continuously growing, and include some well-known games, such as the implementations of "Ducktales" or "Mickey Mouse: Castle of Illusion".

"Mickey Mouse - Castle Of Illusion"
"Mickey Mouse - Castle Of Illusion"
"Ducktales Remastered"
"Ducktales Remastered"
"Real Racing 3"
"Real Racing 3"

Emissions

Temperature

The surface temperatures of our review sample always stay within a pleasant range. An average of only 28.7 to 29.3 °C (~84 to ~85 °F) is reached during low load. The tablet's underside also only heats up to a maximum of 36.9 °C (~98 °F) under permanent load. The times of the excessively high temperatures of the Kindle Fire HD 6 are past. Thanks to the larger casing and the same SoC, it does not get as warm as Amazon's Kindle Fire HD 6 Kids Edition.

The review sample passes the stress test using the battery test of the GFXBench app, where the T-Rex test runs thirty times in succession, with flying colors. Temperature-related throttling does not occur.

GFXBench battery test: Battery
GFXBench battery test: Battery
GFXBench battery test: Performance
GFXBench battery test: Performance
Max. Load
 33.7 °C35.9 °C36.2 °C 
 34.7 °C36.1 °C36.1 °C 
 34.1 °C35.8 °C36 °C 
Maximum: 36.2 °C
Average: 35.4 °C
34.2 °C34.5 °C32.7 °C
36.9 °C34.9 °C32.8 °C
36.2 °C35.1 °C32.8 °C
Maximum: 36.9 °C
Average: 34.5 °C
Power Supply (max.)  31.9 °C | Room Temperature 21.9 °C | Voltcraft IR-260
Discussion

Speakers

Unlike the Kindle Fire HD 6, Amazon's Fire HD 8 is equipped with stereo speakers that are situated in the rounded lower edge in landscape mode. A hint of bass is perceptible when the tablet is placed on a table, as it expands the resounding surface. The sound is generally balanced, but the maximum volume could be higher. Nevertheless, we would recommend connecting an external one via the 3.5 mm jack for enjoying various Amazon media files. The maximum volume is also decent here, and the base noise is low.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The power consumption in view of the relatively weak SoC is disappointingly high. Too much power is consumed even when turned off and in standby. The maximum consumption increases to 5.9 watts under load; the rivals consume more power here. A comparison with the rivals is only conditionally appropriate since we now use a new, considerably more precise multimeter, the Gossen Metrahit Energy, for the measurements.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.14 / 0.28 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 1.18 / 3.34 / 3.48 Watt
Load midlight 5.83 / 5.9 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Gossen Metrahit Energy

Battery Runtime

Setting for 150 cd/m²
Setting for 150 cd/m²

The battery life of Amazon's Fire HD 8 is only average; all rivals last longer. The battery lasts for almost 14 hours while idling using minimum brightness, and only 2:24 hours are reached under full load with maximum brightness. We stopped 6:28 hours in our Wi-Fi test using a brightness adapted to 150 cd/m². Acer's Iconia One 8 achieves almost twice the runtime here. Full HD video fans will have to recharge the tablet after approximately nine hours when using an adapted brightness. Approximately 8 hours are realistic in mixed use with enabled Wi-Fi and adapted brightness. However, the charging time of almost five hours in standby mode is rather too long.

A word of advice: The right-hand screenshot with the setting for the adapted brightness of 150 cd/m² is not always transferable for production-related reasons.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
13h 52min
WiFi Surfing v1.3
6h 28min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
9h 01min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 24min
Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015
PowerVR G6200, MT8135, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Acer Iconia One 8
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), Z3735G, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Medion Lifetab S8311
Mali-450 MP4, MT6592, 16 GB iNAND Flash
Lenovo Tab S8
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), Z3745, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Battery Runtime
54%
112%
95%
Reader / Idle
832
1257
51%
1425
71%
Load
144
185
28%
305
112%
315
119%
WiFi
535
610
WiFi v1.3
388
742
91%
H.264
541
795
47%

Pro

+ bright IPS screen
+ good color reproduction
+ decent stereo sound
+ good build
+ fast dual-band Wi-Fi
+ expandable storage

Cons

- tied to Amazon
- low system performance
- low resolution
- very scratch-susceptible rear
- no GPS, NFC or UMTS/LTE
- middling camera modules

Verdict

In review: Amazon Fire HD 8. Review sample courtesy of Amazon Germany.
In review: Amazon Fire HD 8. Review sample courtesy of Amazon Germany.

Amazon's Fire HD 8 still achieves "Good" in our rating. The positive aspects are its color accuracy, the IPS screen, fast dual-band Wi-Fi and decent stereo speakers. The buyer will not find an ambient light sensor or NFC. The system performance could also be higher, the same is true of the screen resolution. However, the weightiest drawback is the strong bondage to use Amazon's services and store. The mail order giant obviously wants to fuel its own media business. We deduct a point in the rating for this strong bondage by Amazon's operating system.

However, when being completely open to the Amazon Universe, the tablet is mainly used for media and the named drawbacks can be accepted, the buyer will get a device without major shortcomings. However, many interesting alternatives without the operating system restrictions exist for the purchase price of 195 Euros (~$214; without adware).

Users who are frequently on the go and do not want to dispense with a strong battery, GPS, UMTS/LTE, good cameras as well as a certain degree of flexibility should look closer at the competition.

Amazon Fire HD 8 inch 2015 - 12/10/2015 v4(old)
Michael Moser

Chassis
67%
Keyboard
68 / 80 → 85%
Pointing Device
81%
Connectivity
36 / 65 → 55%
Weight
86 / 88 → 96%
Battery
89%
Display
79%
Games Performance
58 / 68 → 85%
Application Performance
37 / 76 → 49%
Temperature
90%
Noise
100%
Audio
59 / 91 → 65%
Camera
45 / 85 → 53%
Add Points
-1%
Average
64%
80%
Tablet - Weighted Average

Pricecompare

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Amazon Fire HD 8 (2015) Tablet Review
Michael Moser, 2015-12-23 (Update: 2015-12-25)