The Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus is a 10.1-inch Android tablet aimed squarely at folks looking for something that’s good enough. Starting at $179, it takes one of the best Android tablets you can buy, the Fire HD 10, and makes it a little better.
You’re still stuck with Amazon’s FireOS, which means limited access to Android apps. The performance isn’t going to be on par with premium devices, and it’s a little bland, aesthetically. But if you’re willing to accept a few compromises, maybe that’s okay: the Fire HD 10 Plus offers stellar battery life, a decent display, and enough performance to make for a great value.
Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus review: Price and availability
The Fire HD 10 Plus starts at $179.99 for the 32GB model. You can double the storage capacity to 64GB for $219.99, but the tablet supports up to 1TB microSD cards, which could prove to be a better deal — especially if there are sales. The base model serves up ads on the lockscreen, and you’ll need to pay $15 to get a model that’s ad-free. It’s worth the expense, though variants without ads seem to suffer from availablity issues (a situation I frequently encounter while shopping for Kindles); you can pay a fee to remove those after the fact, if you don’t want to wait.
Amazon also offers a “productivity bundle,” which includes a 12-month subscription to Microsoft 365 Personal, and includes a bluetooth keyboard case. I’d be hard pressed to reach for a Fire tablet over an iPad or a Surface when I need to get things done, but there’s enough power here to make it useful in a pinch.
Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus review: Design
Amazon’s Fire HD 10 Plus is inoffensive. That’s not exactly high praise but, aesthetically, you’re getting what you pay for. The tablet’s soft-touch finish feels not unlike a generic case I might otherwise put on a tablet at this price: a bit rubbery, but comfortable to hold for long stretches of time. It’s also sturdier than expected, exhibiting little give or flex until I twisted it excessively. Amazon offers a variant of the Fire HD 10 lineup for kids, if you need something that stand up to higher levels of abuse.
The Plus is near identical to the Fire HD 10, barring a few minor changes: the Plus-variant adds wireless charging, the aformentioned soft-touch finish, and 4GB of RAM (up from 3GB). It measures 9.7 x 6.5 x 0.4 inches, and is technically heavier than the non-Plus variant at 16.5 ounces, versus 16.4 ounces. Its closest Android-based competition comes from the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7($229), which will deliver a complete Android experience in a slightly larger package, without costing too much more. That device has drawbacks of its own, so you’ll have to consider whether the limitations of Amazon’s Fire OS are too great to work around.
Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus review: Display
The 10.1-inch, 1920 x 1200-pixel display is a pleasant surprise at this pricepoint. I spent some time tapping through Prime Video’s offerings, and found the screen on this tablet to be bright and colorful.
The sprawling green vistas of Clarkson’s Farm appeared suitably vibrant, and the crisp imagery, coupled with the tablet’s (relatively) light weight and comfortable chassis made watching (and binge-watching) a pleasant experience.
The Fire 10 HD Plus produces 107.9% of the sRGB spectrum on our colorimeter, and emits an average of 406.3 nits of brightness. Color accuracy dips when looking at the display from extreme angles, and reflections become problematic in direct sunlight, but these issues persist across the tablet landscape, and they aren’t especially bad here. The tablet is clearly geared towards being held horizontally for streaming video, but I spent the bulk of my time with it held vertically, as I thumbed through my Kindle library.
E-readers are light and compact, and a proper e-ink dispaly will offer a much better reading experience, but at this price the versatility of a real tablet (albeit one limited to Fire OS) feels worth the compromise.
Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus review: Audio
The Fire HD 10 Plus’ speakers are less impressive, but the tablet is still punching above its weight class. Leaving the volume set to about the middle of the tablet’s range produced the best results, from the percussive “oomph” of instruments to dialogue in a TV show. Crank it up too far, and the experience starts to suffer, as the sound take on an unpleasant, tinny wharble. The headphone jack and Bluetooth connectivity will come in handy, if you’re looking for the best audio experience.
Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus review: Performance
A 2.0 GHz octa-core processor and 4GB of RAM power this budget tablet experience. It’s capable enough for casual usage, and I flipped through menus and fired up music and videos with nary a hitch. Things were decidedly less fluid when more horsepower was required. I took Asphalt 9 for a spin and while performance didn’t feel as lackluster as we saw on the Fire HD 10, loading could feel interminable at times, and the frame rate drops regularly when the onscreen action gets especially intense.
The Fire HD 10 Plus earned a score of 1,399 on the GeekBench 5 multicore benchmark, soundly outpacing the Fire HD 10 (969), but lagging behind the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7(1,405). Apple’s iPad 2021, for comparison’s sake, earned a score of 3,387 on the same test, but starts at $329.
Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus review: Battery life
The Fire HD 10 Plus lasted for 14 hours and 2 minutes on our battery rundown test, which consists of websurfing while on Wi-Fi, with the display set to 150-nits of brightness. With Amazon’s Automatic Low Power Mode, which kicks in by default once the battery reaches 20% capacity, we saw 14 hours and 35 minutes of life. These are tremendous results that outstrip the competition; the Galaxy Tab A7 lasted for 13 hours and 13 minutes, while the non-Plus Kindle Fire HD 10 lasted for 13 hours and 45 minutes.
Anecdotally, I’d been using the tablet extensively for a few days, switching between marathon reading sessions and binging Prime Video’s offerings, before I noticed the battery level had dipped down to 8% (whoops). It’s always nice to be using a device you can almost forget needs charging, and the combination of USB-C connectivity and wireless charging comes in handy here as I’m never more than a few feet away from something that can top up the tablet.
Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus review: Cameras
There are a pair of cameras available: the front-facing camera sports a 2.0-megapixel sensor, while you’ll find a 5.0-megapixel sensor on the rear. Don’t plan on using either of them much, though.
Details were lost throughout all of my test shots, no matter the lighting conditions or subject matter. Colors feel flat and muddied, and the distinction between hues is all but lost in the resulting photohgraphs.
Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus review: Software
Amazon’s Fire OS pales in comparison to the full-fledged Android experience, offering a fraction of the apps you’ll find on the Google Play Store. That said, if you have an Amazon Prime subscription, a large library of ebooks purchased from Amazon and elsewhere, or simply don’t use all that many Android apps (I tick all three boxes), what’s available might suffice. It’s a bit like traipsing down a supermarket aisle, searching for the Amazon-branded variant or some respectable-looking facsimilie of that one Android app you like.
Amazon’s Silk browser has certainly come a long way, but a few confusing UI decisions, likely a result of my familiarity with Chrome and Safari on tablets, can make it cumbersome to use. There’s also no official YouTube app, but limitations like that steer me towards doing a lot of reading, which is a win in its own way.
Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus review: Verdict
If you’re already enmeshed in the Prime ecosystem (and can catch a deal during an Amazon sale), the Fire HD 10 Plus offers quite a bit of device for your dollar. It doesn’t exactly outstrip the budget-priced competition, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 remains a solid option if only for offering an unadulterated Android experience. But Amazon’s offering handles the basics with aplomb, and will be right at home with someone who wants to kick back with a book, or some streaming video. Just don’t come looking for much in the way of apps.