Amazon is having a “back-to-home-school” sale on its tablets matching the lowest price they’ve ever been. They were lifesavers for distance learning last year. However, they work just as well for watching Netflix while you are crying in your bathtub (or so I hear). Usually, you need to have a Prime membership to get the new Fire HD 10 at its lowest price – $100, but not this time! I love the old version so much that I ended up buying two more. This version of the Fire is mostly the same but with a faster processor.
Readers may (and should) be skeptical about my view in this article. Amazon has a commission program and content producers (i.e. me) make some extra cash by reviewing their products if people decide to buy them. That’s one reason why you see a hundred articles about all the Amazon device deals. Even if I try my best not to be biased, there’s an element of human nature that it isn’t easy to suppress.
With that disclaimer aside, I genuinely like Amazon’s products and services. However, I think the Amazon Fire HD 10 is in another class of value and I wanted to explain why.
Let’s rewind a few weeks.
I sheepishly said to my wife, “There’s a deal on the Amazon Fire, and I think we should get one.” I received the dagger eyes as expected. “How many tablets do you need? You don’t even use them. What are you going to do with the other three we have?”
The truth stings. It stings real bad.
These were all great deals at the time, but every tablet was a compromise:
- That Nexus 7 is still our best Android tablet… and we are in the Android ecosystem. I’d love to find a quality 10″ one for a similar price. You’d think in 4 years the technology would advance to that level, but it hasn’t.
- The NuVision Windows tablet is like walking your pet sloth throw a pile of sludge in the wintertime. It’s terrible. I think the only redeeming value is that I was able to grab some free music off MicroSoft’s Music service before they shut down. I need to have a Windows 10 device and that’s the only thing that worked.
- Our old Amazon Fire is good for watching videos, but non-expandable 8GB isn’t a lot of media and doesn’t have the best resolution. It’s old technology and it was a bargain at the time. I looked to see what I could sell it for now and could maybe get $25-30. That gives you an idea of the quality of this tablet.
Enter the Amazon Fire HD 10… Amazon’s best tablet. It came out last year, so there is that aspect of it being old technology, too. However, a 10-inch, full HD (1920 x 1080) tablet is very different from the tablets above. In any case, a flagship 2017 tablet is going to be better than a 2014 bargain tablet. Maybe Amazon’s top tablet can’t be considered a true flagship, but maybe it is just a notch below.
My secret reason for wanting the Amazon Fire HD 10 is the Scratch Jr. application for our kids. It doesn’t run on a PC and I think it is the best way to get started with it. I tried to introduce the kids to it on our old Fire tablet, but it didn’t go well. They slogged through it with a very cramped display. They got quickly bored of fighting with it. I’m hoping this will work better.
The biggest problem is that the Amazon Fire tablet is locked into Amazon’s world. There are pluses and minuses with that. For example, this “unlocked” all the old books I’ve had over saved or bought really cheaply over the years. I always had access to them, but I was never going to seriously read them on my phone or my PC. I realize that I’m explaining why a bazillion people read eBooks, but this is a new-ish discovery for me.
The other big thing is free new books and media. I was able to set up my library’s Hoopla and Overdrive applications to borrow easily. There’s next-level cool about borrowing a book for free without leaving your couch.
It’s also the perfect device for watching Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ or Amazon Prime. Those work extremely easily, but I was thinking about adding more complex stuff like Plex to access my DVR media. It’s almost like having an extra television around.
The downside is that it is also stuck in Amazon world. Not all of the Android applications are immediately available (though there are hacks to get them). I haven’t even set up a way to check my email on it. I want to learn to make it more of a family device with different accounts. I want to figure out how to get rid of the lock screen as well. I want the kids to be able to use it and not have me needing to unlock it for them. I could teach them the unlock code, which might be easier in the long run.
Last November, I had declared the Amazon Fire HD 10 an exceptional value at $100. Now, I can say from my own personal experience I’ve gotten over $100 worth of value.
The second reason I jumped on the pricing is that I figured, in the worst case, it is a decent digital photo frame. I’m still looking for the perfect app for that, but it is something that I appreciated out of my old HP Touchpad. I’ve been obsessed with Kallax “cubbie” shelving from Ikea lately, and I think a digital photo frame in there would be great when the tablet isn’t actively being used.
I think it’s not bad for being part book reader, library, television, digital photo frame, and a kids’ supplemental education device. I’m sure that people paying much more than $300 for an iPad can say the same thing and a lot more. I personally like spending less money whenever possible and this works for me.
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