We’ve been anticipating this for months and today, Amazon made it official: four new Fire tablets are now available for order, and one of them is just $49.99!
Here’s the rundown on the new models, from Amazon:
All-New Fire Tablet ($49.99, available for order today, ships 9/30/15): This is a groundbreaking new tablet for under $50. The new Fire tablet includes a quad-core processor, 7” IPS display, front- and rear-facing cameras, up to 128GB of expandable storage, exclusive Amazon features and services, and access to the world’s best content ecosystem—all for just $49.99. Customers can also choose to buy Fire as a six-pack for less than $250.
Our take: the specs on this $50 tablet are surprisingly good. Its display is a bit lower in resolution than the current HD6, and its processor speed and battery life are both a little lower than the HD6 as well. But it’s not a dramatic difference, and the new $50 Fire has the same camera and WiFi specs as the HD6. Also, the $50 Fire has one feature the HD6 does not: an SD memory card slot. Overall, this tablet is highly competitive with other Android tablets currently available that are priced much higher, and we suspect this model is a loss leader for Amazon.
Fire HD 8 ($149.99, available for order today, ships 9/30/15) and Fire HD 10 ($229.99, available for order today, ships 9/30/15) – These new tablets are designed from the ground up for entertainment with a stunning 8” or 10.1” widescreen HD display, an incredibly thin and light design, quad-core processor, stereo speakers with Dolby Audio, front- and rear-facing cameras, and microSD card support providing up to 128GB of expandable storage. Fire HD also introduces Fire OS 5 “Bellini,” which brings the best entertainment experience on any tablet, with an updated user interface, deep integration of Amazon-exclusive services, and hundreds of new and upgraded features and platform updates.
Fire HD 8
Fire HD 8 ($149.99, available for order today, ships 9/30/15) – this model is available in your choice of the four case colors shown at no extra charge, and while it’s not pictured above these tablets come with a 5W charger and USB cable.
Fire HD 10
Fire HD 10 ($229.99, available for order today, ships 9/30/15) – this model is available in your choice of a black or white case at no extra charge, and also comes with a 5W charger and USB cable.
Our Take on the Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10: The feature set on these two is virtually identical in terms of technical specifications (same cameras, same processor, same audio, same SD slot, same WiFi, same battery life, same software). The only real differences are that the 8″ model is available in your choice of blue, tangerine, magenta or black case while the 10″ tablet only comes in black or white, the 10″ model has larger options available for built-in memory, and of course the 10″ tablet’s display is larger. The larger screen does not offer higher resolution than the 8″ model, and in fact it’s just slightly lower (189 pixels-per-inch for the 8″ model, 149 ppi for the 10″), but it’s probably not a big enough difference to be noticeable to the typical consumer.
Bottom line: given that both models can take an SD card, the main reason you might choose the 10″ over the 8″ is screen size.
2015 Fire Kids’ Edition
2015 Fire Kids’ Edition ($99.99, available for order today, ships 9/30/15) – Last year, we introduced Fire HD Kids Edition at $149—and parents and kids alike loved it. Today, we’re making it even more affordable—Fire Kids Edition comes with an all-new Fire tablet, an updated kid-proof case, one year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, 20,000 hand-curated and age-appropriate websites and YouTube videos, and our same 2-year worry-free guarantee. Fire Kids Edition is a total value of over $200, and available for pre-order starting today for just $99.99.
Available in your choice of ruggedized case color (blue or pink) at no extra charge, includes 5W charger and USB cable.
Our Take – If you compare the technical specification charts, the new Kids’ Edition Fire is essentially the same as the new Fire HD 7, but it runs a specialized version of software that has built-in parental control features, comes in a ruggedized case and includes Amazon’s 2 year “worry free” guarantee. If you’re considering buying a new Fire tablet for your child, it’s probably worth getting this model for very young kids but the new 7″ Fire should be fine for middle-graders and up. Just be sure to set up parental controls on the regular tablet if that feature is important to you, because unlike the Kids’ Edition, the new 7″ model does not come with controls already built right into the operating system.