New Amazon Fire HD 8 provides tablet thrills for a low, low price

The retailer’s new slate offers decent specs, long battery life and change out of £100

A new Fire tablet? Is that really anything to get excited about?

Yes! You may already own an iPad Pro or similarly pricy tab, but what about the regular folks who don’t want to spend half their monthly wages on a slate? Who just want something with a sharp screen, decent battery life and the ability to run apps?

Those are the people Amazon makes Fire tablets for…?

Precisely! I mean, look at the new Fire HD 8. It’s an 8in tablet with a 1280 x 800 screen, and starts at just £90! Compare that to the iPad Mini 4, at £380. Even the ageing iPad Mini 2 will set you back £240.

But surely the specs are a bit… naff?

Not really, no. We’re not talking bleeding edge here, of course – there’s a quad-core 1.3GHz processor, 1.5GB of RAM and either 16GB or 32GB of built-in storage (expandable by up to a further 200GB via microSD card). There are also front and rear cameras, Dolby Audio stereo speakers, and a big ol’ 4750mAh battery cell, which Amazon claims produces 12 hours of “mixed use” power per charge.

It’s a marked improvement over the previous Fire HD 8 on paper, but only some proper hands-on time will determine if that represents a slight power boost or a lengthy leap forward.

And it runs on Amazon’s, er, Android thing?

Fire OS 5, yes. That means you get access to apps via Amazon’s own app store – which includes a lot of free stuff that other app stores would charge you for. New additions include Twitch for game streaming and the Amazon-owned comiXology for, er, comics.

And of course the Fire HD 8 is intended to be a gatehouse to all of Amazon’s lovely content: Prime movies and TV shows, ebooks and music.

And when’s it out?

21 September, but you can pre-order it today from Amazon if you want. Prices, as we say, start at £90, and there are four colour options available.

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