USB-C ports are becoming ubiquitous. Almost every Android phone uses one for charging; they’re on most laptops, including MacBooks, and they continue to expand into a whole host of devices from headphones to monitors. Amazon has notably avoided using USB-C in its products to save costs — all the latest Kindles use Micro USB, for example — but that’s finally changing with the all-new Fire HD 10 tablet.
The charging port isn’t the only new addition — after all, it has been three years since the last Fire HD 10. Here’s everything you need to know about the latest model.
Same display, same design
Fire tablets are known for their low prices, but they deliver tremendous value in a market dominated by pricier iPads. But because Amazon wants to keep the costs low, it doesn’t often change much every time it refreshes its Fire HD slates. The Fire HD 10, for example, has the same screen as its predecessor from 2017: A 10.1-inch LCD panel with a 1920 x 1200 resolution (224 pixels per inch).
It also looks almost exactly the same. You’ll notice the bezels have slightly slimmed down on the sides of the screen, but they’re still extremely large for a 2019 slate. The back remains minimalist with the Amazon logo and a rear camera. Otherwise, the only new addition is a new color, white. It joins existing Fire HD colors including charcoal black, plum, twilight blue, and sage.
There are stereo speakers here with Dolby Atmos for improved sound quality, and a headphone jack is available at the top next to the power button, volume rocker, and USB-C charging port. The latter is new, and it replaces Micro USB. USB-C is a reversible port, so you can plug in the cable in either direction, and it offers faster charging here with the USB 2.0 standard (though it will still take a few hours to charge it back to 100%).
Don’t worry about durability, as Amazon claims the tablet is four times as durable as the latest iPad Pro — likely as it’s not wrapped in glass and uses polycarbonate for the back of the device, instead.
Performance upgrades, Android Pie, and better battery
Amazon claims the new Fire HD 10 is 30 percent faster thanks to an improved octa-core 2.0GHz processor paired with 2GB of RAM. The base storage is 32GB now, with options for a 64GB model as well (there’s a MicroSD card slot you can use to expand storage up to 512GB if needed as well). Amazon also does offer free unlimited cloud storage for all Amazon content and photos.
The tablet can also run for up to 12 hours of “mixed use,” according to Amazon, offering 20% better battery life than before.
There’s a 2-megapixel camera on the rear, and a 720p camera on the front that supports Amazon’s Drop-In feature from Echo devices, which lets you connect with other Alexa-enabled devices like an intercom. Unsurprisingly, you can access Alexa on the tablet with your voice.
The software on the Fire HD 10 is called Fire OS, and it’s now based on Android 9 Pie, with picture-in-picture mode being the latest feature to debut on the tablet. It’s not the latest version of Android, as Google recently released Android 10. But Fire OS is simply a fork of Android — it doesn’t come with Google Play or the usual suite of Android apps available on Android smartphones. Instead, the Amazon Appstore is here and while you’ll find a smaller selection of apps, most popular ones are available.
Fire HD 10 Kids Edition
Want to buy the Fire HD 10 for your kid? As usual, there’s a Fire HD 10 Kids Edition available. It’s exactly the same as the new Fire HD 10, but it comes with a thick case that keeps the tablet protected. The case now has an improved kickstand that affords a variety of adjustable angles, and it comes in pink, blue, and purple.
You still get Amazon’s two-year, worry-free guarantee, which ensures that if anything happens to the tablet, Amazon will replace it for free. This version also comes with one year of Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited service, which offers up kid-friendly books, videos, and games, along with parental controls that allow parents to set screen time by activity, and more. FreeTime Unlimited is $3 a month if you’re a Prime subscriber and $5 per month if you’re not.
There are no ads, in-app purchases, freemium services, or links to social media on this version of the Fire HD 10.
The Fire HD 10 and Fire HD 10 Kids Edition aren’t the only products Amazon announced — there’s also the all-new Kindle Kids Edition, offering up kid-friendly books and some other perks.
Release date and price
The Amazon Fire HD 10 is $149 and the Fire HD 10 Kids Edition will set you back $199. You can pre-order them both today from Amazon and they will ship on October 30. There are cases available for the regular Fire HD 10 too; they cost $39 and come in the same colors as the tablet.