Amazon Fire HD tablet upgrades make it warrant a second look
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Amazon has given its once fairly mediocre Fire HD 10 an upgrade that warrants giving it a second look if you’re in the market for an Android-based tablet. Once targeting the higher end of the tablet market, Amazon has been churning out cheap, but popular Fire tablets with very little to recommend them other than their price. The latest Fire HD keeps the price down, but brings key upgrades that make it a much more attractive option.
The key upgrades include a new quad-core processor that is 30 percent faster than before and twice the RAM. There is also a new 10.1-inch 1080p display and stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos Audio. Storage comes in either 32 GB or 64 GB options with support for microSD expansion up to 256 GB. This could come in handy given that Amazon Video, Netflix and Showtime all now offer offline video downloads. The Fire HD 10 also incorporates dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac for fast streaming and a battery that is rated to last up to 10 hours under mixed use conditions.
In a first, the Fire HD 10 will provide hands-free support for Amazon’s Alexa personal assistant. Amazon says that customers can expect an over-the-air update starting October 11 that will enable the new functionality. Users just need to say the wake word “Alexa” and ask Alexa to control video playback, launch apps, play songs or read and audiobook aloud. Alexa can also control a wide range of smart home functions via compatible devices from SmartThings, Insteon, ecobee, and Wink among others.
The Amazon Fire HD 10 is available for pre-order now starting from US$149.99 with ads, or US$164.99 without. It will start shipping from October 11.