Amazon has taken control of the budget tablet market with its range of Fire tablets thanks to its powerful brand and the fact that it can undercut its Android competitors on price.

This means you’ll get better quality hardware than on an Android tablet at the same price. However, there's a catch: Amazon tablets don’t have any Google services on them. If you have an Android phone and you’re used to using Gmail, Google Maps, the Chrome web browser and other apps you may be disappointed that you can’t install them on a Fire tablet. (But you can use most of them in the web browser.)

Instead, Amazon has its own versions of these services and apps, including its own video service, Prime Video and music streaming from Amazon Music.

Ultimately, Amazon wants you to use these services, buy apps from its app store, download books from its Kindle store and buy physical products from its main store. Not entirely surprising if you think about it, and that's largely what Apple does with its iPads.

None of these are reasons not to buy an Amazon tablet. After all, you probably shop on Amazon already and if you’re after a tablet primarily for entertainment, you’ll hardly notice the difference between the Fire range and an Android tablet.

There are loads of big-name apps available including Netflix, catch-up TV services plus lots of free games and apps which are more often than not Android versions, because underneath that dark interface, all Amazon Fire tablets are based on the Android operating system.

Fire tablets are great for kids and adults alike and Amazon offers specific kids versions of all three models. Those cost more but come with a protective case, a great two-year warranty that covers accidental damage and a 12-month subscription to its kids content (Fire for Kids Unlimited or FreeTime Unlimited if you're in the US.) which includes videos, games, apps and books.

So the question is, which model should you buy? Briefly, here’s a summary of the key specs of the latest versions showing how they compare:

 

Fire 7 (2019)

Fire HD 8 (2018)

Fire HD 10 (2019)

Price (from)

£49.99 / $49.99

£79.99 / $79.99

£149.99 / $149.99

Display

7in

8in

10.1in

Resolution

1024 x 600 (171 ppi)

1280 x 800 (189 ppi)

1920 x 1200 (224 ppi)

Colours

Black, Plum, Twilight Blue, Sage

Black, Marine Blue, Punch Red and Canary Yellow

Black, Plum, Twilight Blue, White

Processor

Quad-core 1.3 GHz

Quad-core 1.3 GHz

Octa-core up to 2 GHz

Alexa-enabled

Yes, hands-free

Yes, hands-free

Yes, hands-free

Sound

Mono speaker, built-in microphone

Dolby Atmos, dual-stereo speakers, built-in microphone

Dolby Atmos, dual-stereo speakers, built-in microphone

Storage

16 or 32 GB (expandable by up to 512 GB)

16 or 32 GB (expandable by up to 400 GB)

32 or 64 GB (expandable by up to 512 GB)

Cameras

2Mp + 2Mp rear

2Mp front + 2Mp rear

2Mp front + 2Mp rear

Wi-Fi

Dual-band Wi-Fi (802.11n)

Dual-band Wi-Fi (802.11n)

Dual-band Wi-Fi (802.11n)

Battery Life

Up to 7 hours

Up to 10 hours

Up to 12 hours

Charging

MicroUSB

MicroUSB

USB-C faster charging

Weight

295 g

369 g

504 g

Dimensions

192 x 115 x 9.6 mm

214 x 128 x 9.7 mm

262 x 159 x 9.8 mm

Best Amazon tablet 2019

Fire 7

Amazon Fire 7 (2019)
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The Fire 7 is the smallest tablet with, as you'd guess, a 7in screen. It's great value for under at this price as it has a decent screen and the option of expanding storage with a microSD card.

It's not hugely powerful but you shouldn't expect a lightning-fast tablet for this price and you'll have to put up with waiting a little longer for apps to load than on the Fire HD 10 for example.

The screen uses IPS technology which means good colours and viewing angles, but the Fire 7 has a pretty low resolution of 1024x600. That's why there's no 'HD' in its name.

It has hands-free Alexa like its more expensive siblings, which is pretty handy (if you'll excuse the pun).

It's a particularly good choice for kids and you don't necessarily have to buy the Fire 7 Kids Edition. Even the cheap version comes with the Fire for Kids / FreeTime app that offers great parental controls and there are dozens of free games that kids love.

The cameras are poor, even with the recent upgrade to a 2Mp front camera, but that is a trait of all current Amazon tablets, sadly.

Fire HD 8

Amazon Fire HD 8 2018
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For an extra £30, the HD 8 has a screen that's one inch larger. It also has a higher resolution of 1280x800, but there's really not much of a difference in quality when you put the HD 8 and Fire 7 side by side.

Cameras are the same, as is processing power. What's different is that you get stereo speakers and double the internal storage, with the option to add capacity with a microSD card.

Everything about the interface and available apps and services is the same.  You get Alexa, too, and again she's hands-free so long as the tablet is on and unlocked.

Plus, this 8th-gen model has an optional charging dock (shown in the photo) which, in addition to charging, also turns the tablet into a sort of Echo Show and, with Alexa on-board, you can use it for video calls, music videos and watching Amazon Prime videos.

As with all three Amazon tablets, there's a Kids Edition of the Fire HD 8. It comes with a bumper case, year's subscription to Fire for Kids / FreeTime Unlimited and a two-year warranty.

Read our full Amazon Fire HD 8 2018 review

Fire HD 10

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019)
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The HD 10 costs a lot more than the smaller tablets, but it also gives you a lot more. The 10.1in screen is obviously bigger, but the resolution of 1920x1200 means it has a higher pixel density of 224ppi. It's enough to make it look sharp and - as with its siblings' - it's a great screen with vibrant colours and good viewing angles.

There's a faster processor and 2GB of RAM which means it's more responsive. The HD 10 also has more storage: 32GB as standard with the option for 64GB. Plus, with this new 2019 model you can add a microSD card up to 512GB in capacity.

Charging is now via USB-C, and the battery now lasts for 12 hours instead of 10. 

There are also new colours on offer: Twilight Blue and White. Anyone looking for a standard iPad-size tablet shouldn't be disappointed with the HD 10 considering the £149.99 / US$149.99 price. And it's also available in a Fire HD 10 Kids Edition for £199.99 / US$199.99.

Read our full Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019) review