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Amazon updating Fire OS on Fire HD 8 (2018) and Fire 7 (2019) - Saying Goodbye to my Fire HD 8 (2017)

Ravynmagi

Diamond Member
Jun 16, 2007
3,092
16
81
I think Fire HD tablets are a great value, but Amazon is terrible at providing updates to them after release. A major OS update is quite rare and the 2018 Fire HD 8 (8th Gen) and 2019 Fire 7 (2019) are getting the Fire OS 7 update based on Android 9. Sadly I rushed to my Fire HD 8 and checked and confirmed I have the 2017 model, so stuck on Android 5.

I cried for a moment over my Android 5 tablet. And then purchased the Fire HD 8 Plus. I do like the super easy trade-in offers. Got 20% off, ontop of the current 30% off deal. Plus a $10 credit. Which came down to $54.
 

sdifox

No Lifer
Sep 30, 2005
85,631
9,702
126
Crap tablet is still crap tablet. I think I have six fire tablets at home. I may do the trade in from a 7 to a new HD 8.
 
Last edited:

nOOky

Platinum Member
Aug 17, 2004
2,090
937
136
My 3rd gen. HDX just got an OS upgrade, but I don't know to what version as it's in the other room and I'm lazy right now.
 

Scarpozzi

Lifer
Jun 13, 2000
25,948
1,484
126
I snagged 2 Fire7's for my kids this year for air travel. I paid $30 each for them @ Target and both tablets for snugly in one case I have. I've been very pleased for $65 out of pocket total.
 

Rifter

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
11,522
748
126
this is why you only buy popular android devices that are easy to root and install whatever the community OS of the day is.
 

Ravynmagi

Diamond Member
Jun 16, 2007
3,092
16
81
Fire tablets aren't perfect, but I don't think you'll find a better value for the $60 price. I'll have to try loading a custom OS on my older Fire HD tablet and see how that goes. I haven't had good success with in the past, but it's been a while.
 

Ravynmagi

Diamond Member
Jun 16, 2007
3,092
16
81
My Fire HD 8 Plus arrived Friday and I've played with it quite a bit over the weekend. A comparison of my old vs new Fire HD 8 tablets...

Fire HD 8 7th Gen (2017)Fire HD 8 Plus 10th Gen (2020)
Android 5.1 (Fire OS 5.x)Android 9.0 (Fire OS 7.x)
Mediatek MT8163V/B 1.3 GHz A53 quad-coreMediatek MT8168 2.0 GHz A53 quad-core
1.5 GB RAM3 GB RAM
1280x800 resolution1280x800 resolution
16 GB base storage32 GB base storage
802.11n802.11ac
4750 mAh battery4850 mAh battery
369 grams355 grams

The HD 8 Plus model is $20 more than the regular HD 8. With that you get 3 GB of RAM instead of 2 GB and wireless charging, but lose out on color options, only Slate blue.

For years Amazon has designed the Fire HD tablets with a portrait mode first design. They had narrow side bezels and large top and bottom bezels when held in portrait mode, with camera on top. This year Amazon has changed the design of the HD 8 models by going with uniform sized bezels and the camera on top in landscape mode. I like this look so much better. The power button has also moved to be closer to the volume buttons, which makes more sense holding it in landscape mode as the old design had the power button resting against my palm.

When you put this on a wireless charger it automatically goes into Show Mode, turning this into an Echo Show device. My old 7th Gen could go into Show Mode, but it is a manual process of plugging in a power, then swiping down on the notification shade and toggling Show Mode on or off. The wireless charger does it automatically, I really like that. Also this works with any wireless charger, I am using a Samsung wireless charger with my HD 8 Plus and it turns on Show Mode automatically, so no need to spend $40 on the Amazon dock if you have a spare wireless charger already.

The performance is where I was really holding my breath. My 3 year old HD 8 has it's struggles with performance and the new 10th Gen seems to be using the same A53 cores. These are "small" ARM cores, not made for heavy lifting like the A72 cores (the HD 10 has A73 and A53 cores). But there is a decent clock speed increase from 1.3 GHz to 2.0 GHz. Also doubling the RAM should help quite a bit as well. I ran Basemark Web 3.0 and Antutu on my two Fire HD tablets and a some others for comparison.

Basemark Web 3.0
586 - iPad Pro 11 (A12X)
493 - iPad Pro 10.5 (A10X)
395 - Galaxy Tab S6 (SD855)
118 - Fire HD 8 Plus (MT8168)
117 - iPad Mini 2 (A7)
102 - Asus Zenpad Z8 (SD650)
68 - Fire HD 8 7th Gen (MT8163)
Antutu CPU
185075 - iPad Pro 11
128678 - Galaxy Tab S6
41025 - iPad Mini 2
39856 - Asus Zenpad Z8
31331 - Fire HD 8 Plus
22607- Fire HD 8 7th Gen

Antutu GPU
312896 - iPad Pro 11
158800 - Galaxy Tab S6
18458 - Asus Zenpad Z8
16015 - Fire HD 8 Plus
0 - Fire HD 8 7th Gen
0 - iPad Mini 2

Antutu Memory
68796 - Galaxy Tab S6
64061 - iPad Pro 11
29213 - Fire HD 8 Plus
25212 - iPad Mini 2
20545 - Fire HD 8 7th Gen
18166 - Asus Zenpad Z8
Antutu UX
76774 - iPad Pro 11
66509 - Galaxy Tab S6
23268 - Asus Zenpad Z8
19540 - iPad Mini 2
15354 - Fire HD 8 Plus
7693 - Fire HD 8 7th Gen


The benchmarks show the new Fire HD 8 Plus can be anywhere from 50% to 100% faster than the 7th Gen HD 8. Even puts up respectable performance compared to an old flagship processor like the A7 in the 2013 iPad Mini 2 and a 4 year old midrange Snapdragon 650 in the Zenpad Z8 at a price still cheaper than these used tablets on eBay.

The Fire OS launcher looks much the same in Fire OS 7 as it does in 5. The Home dumps all your application icons on this one screen. Initially it's a bit messy, but I created a "Misc" folder and dump everything I won't ever use into that folder and it looks much better. I read Amazon books, watch Amazon Prime, and shop from Amazon, so screens dedicated to those services are close by. I don't hate the Fire OS launcher, it's functional, just not very customizeable.

I can install a custom launcher on my old Fire HD 8 with Fire OS 5. However custom launchers never worked smoothly on this device. You can only "partially disable" the Fire launcher and third party launchers would flicker and lag when going back to the home screen. I was really expecting the Fire HD 8 10th gen with Fire OS 7 to be exactly the same, however I was surprised. I'm able to completely disable the Fire launcher now and replace it with Nova Launcher. When going back to home, there is no lag or flickering. It works very seamlessly. My new Fire HD 8 feels very much like a regular Android tablet now. However I may go back to the Fire Launcher since I already have Android tablets and I bought this for the Amazon experience.

Overall, I'm super impressed. Really nice performance improvement over the last two gens of Fire HD 8 tablets. Looks a bit more modern with the uniform bezels. Can run a custom launcher much better than before. Wireless charging turns this into a convenient Echo Show display. I wish Google would make a product like this.
 
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