Amazon recently released a new fleet of tablets, including the new Fire HD 8, which will start shipping on June 7 for just $79.99. The new tablet is now available for preorder. The question it poses for many, however, is whether an entrepreneur can feasibly opt for a low-cost Fire HD 8 instead of its pricier competition.
We haven't tested the Fire HD 8 (2017) yet, but based on the specs, you get an impressive amount of power for a very low price. The Fire HD 8 (along with the new Fire 7; $49.99) comes loaded with Amazon's virtual assistant, Alexa. That could be a real boon for business users who rely on the personal assistant for ordering and managing to-do lists.
According to Amazon, the Fire HD 8 boasts a display with "over 1 million pixels," but the pixels per inch (ppi) on the tablet is only 189, compared to the 264 ppi on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro ($599) or the 263 ppi on the relatively inexpensive Asus ZenPad 3S 10 ($299). So, if you're a creative professional who wants to showcase your portfolio on a portable tablet, you probably shouldn't opt for the Amazon Fire HD 8.
If your tablet usage won't be graphics-oriented, the Fire HD 8 might still be a good choice. The new tablet has a 1.3-GHz quad-core processor (many tablets sport lower-powered dual-core processors). It also boasts an impressive 12-hour battery life, dual stereo speakers and a front- and rear-facing camera. However, you should keep in mind that Amazon tablets are limited to the Amazon app store, which offers a limited selection of apps and excludes business features, such as Google's productivity suite.
In the plus column, the Fire HD 8 comes with 16 or 32GB and can be expanded up to 256GB if you add a microSD card. It also comes with free unlimited cloud storage for Amazon content, which is great if you plan on using your tablet to watch movies and listen to music, which is another way for Amazon to push its Prime memberships. The Fire HD 8 comes in Amazon's signature color selection of black, marine blue, punch red or canary yellow. Every tablet has integrated on-device tech support called Mayday. You simply call customer service from the tablet and a tech expert shares your screen to walk you through features, including drawing on your screen to indicate exactly where to click. The company also offers traditional email and phone support.
If the lack of app freedom isn't an issue for you and you don't need a stellar display, the Fire HD 8 is a steal at $80, and it offers decent business functionality. This tablet is best suited for entrepreneurs who have their primary devices covered (laptop, phone, etc.) but want an inexpensive portable tablet for occasional use. And if that's all you need it for, you might even consider the $50 7-inch Fire as well, but note that it is less powerful and has shorter battery life and lower-resolution display.