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Amazon Fire HD 10 Review Roundup: First Impressions Of Experts

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Amazon markets the Fire HD 10 as an intermediate step between premium tablets and entry-level slates. With the Fire HDX 8.9 at the high end and the $99 Fire HD 6 at the other, the new gadget hits the middle ground with a price of $229.99.

Hardware

Fire HD 10 is a 15.2 oz. 10.3 x 6.3 x 0.3 inch plastic tablet that scored double the durability score of iPad Air 2. This might be useful if you plan on cleaning the slate in the washing machine.

Even if the tablet has 2 CPUs, a dual-core running at 1.5GHz and one at 1.2GHz, it had slow loading times when returning to the home screen. With apps, the experience was better. Geekbench gave it a 774 single-core performance score and 1502 multicore, a score half of that of the HDX model.

"As a mid-tier tablet, the Kindle Fire HD 10 is an unpleasant mixture of average and sub-par performance," Lance Ulanoff, Chief Correspondent and Editor-at-Large of Mashable, writes.

Basic features include 1GB RAM and 16GB of internal memory, but the addition of a microSD can take that number up to 128GB.

The display surprises in two ways: firstly, the 16:9 ratio of the screen takes a bit getting used to.

"And while the HDX offers a 4:3 aspect ratio, the new tablets, including this 10.1-inch one, opt for a 16:9 screen. The result is something that is so wide and relatively narrow it's almost unwieldy," Ulanoff points out.

Secondly, the 1,280 x 800 HD disappoints a bit, considering that one of Fire HD 10's main purposes is movie watching. "Screen resolution doesn't hold a candle to rivals, either: 1280 x 800 is a far cry from the 2048 x 1536 of the iPad Air 2 and Nexus 9," says Chris Davies, executive editor for SlashGear.

However, widescreen movies were enjoyable, as were some side-scrolling games. Experimentalists might want to read an e-book in portrait position, where the proportion of the screen turns the pages into oddities. Text-only materials are readable with ease in landscape format, but graphic novels not so much.

The 5MP rear-facing camera shoots average photos as well as 1080p videos, but it is a subpar component when compared to any decent smartphone. For Skype fans, the front-facing camera could be satisfactory, but that's pretty much all it can do.

"I'm loathe to encourage tablet photography, and frankly the results from the Fire HD 10's camera probably aren't going to lure many people into using it in anything but a pinch," Davies states.

Eight hours of battery life can be used for movie watching, e-book reading, Internet surfing or music listening.

Software

The tablet works on Fire OS 5.0, based on Android Lollipop.

The Amazon carousel was replaced with an Android-based interface, making the design more straightforward. There is no longer a content list or activity categories, but labels that users can swipe through quickly. A grid that contains the installed applications will be recognized by HD and Android fans.

The Silk browser, developed by Amazon, received an update. It now works better and faster, and the email client is sharper than ever, but some icon locations are surprising. The compose button, for example, seems placed randomly to the bottom right of the email's subject.

"Unfortunately, the worst thing about the Amazon's OS is its lockscreen. If you're tolerant of ads, then you probably won't spend $15 to get rid of them on your lockscreen," Lauren Hockenson, reporter at The Next Web affirms.

Content

Fire HD 10 behaves best when you use it to access and enjoy Amazon's services. If you have Amazon Prime, you're in for a treat. Amazon Prime Video gives access to both movies and TV shows. You can even download movies and watch them later, during a 48-hour window. The stereo speakers are potent enough to make a video enjoyable.

The company also offers a few reading apps for e-book fans. Word Runner is an Amazon speed-reading app that shows you the text, word by word. Word Wise is bundled in the same menu and can be a great parenting tool for explaining complicated words to children.

The Fire HD 10 costs around $100 less than other similar sized tablets, and offers about the same things. However, the comparison with the better looking and faster working HDX line tablets from Amazon can make a client think twice before investing in the Fire HD 10.

"For a low-cost option to throw around on the couch and out and about, Amazon has done well - but it won't wow you the second you pick it up," Gareth Beavis, journalist at TechRadar concludes.

Summary

The good: thin, light, screen size, Amazon content consumption, advantageous price.

The bad: uninspired design, standard performance, cumbersome wideness.

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