Amazon Hearth HD 10; Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7

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The $229.99 (16GB) Hearth HD 10 pill is residence to Amazon’s largest display but—a 10.1-inch show that is a window for the entire firm’s media content material (assuming you’ve an Amazon Prime membership). In concept, the bigger display ought to make the Hearth HD 10 a good higher multimedia consumption machine than its smaller sibling, the Hearth HD eight. However the bigger pill’s clunky kind issue, grainy show, and elevated worth make the Hearth HD eight the higher purchase, and our Editors’ Selection.

Design and Options

Amazon’s Hearth HD 10 is similar to the Hearth HD eight in each approach, besides dimension. And on this case, these two further inches of display make a giant distinction. The Hearth HD 10 measures 10.three by 6.three by zero.three inches (HWD), so it is each taller and wider than the Hearth HD eight (eight.four by 5 by zero.four inches). It is also slightly taller, however much less huge, than the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 (9.34 by 6.65 by 0.22 inches). It’s a bit of a strange shape that’s a lot more rectangular than most tablets, and doesn’t make for very good ergonomics, which I’ll discuss in more detail below.

The tablet is available in black or white, with either 16GB of storage ($229.99) or 32GB of storage ($259.99).

Rather than the 8-inch, 1,280-by-800-pixel panel you get on the Fire HD 8, the Fire HD 10 packs a 10.1-inch screen, but with the same resolution. This makes for just 149 pixels per inch, which results in a very grainy image. For a tablet built to consume media, video simply doesn’t look very good on the Fire HD 10.

The power button, volume controls, headphone jack, and micro USB port are all located on the top edge. On the left side are two speaker grids near the top and bottom of the tablet, and on the right is a microSD slot that accepts cards up to 128GB.

The back of the tablet has a slippery metal finish, which given its heft (15.2 ounces) and shape, proves to be a bit of a problem. It’s not very easy to hold, especially with a single hand. I doubt many people could keep this tablet propped up comfortably in , say, watch a full movie. And it’s hefty, slippery build mean it’s not an ideal companion for your morning commute.

Performance

The Fire HD 10 comes loaded with Amazon’s latest Android-based operating system. You can read more about how the Fire OS looks and performs in our Fire HD 8 review.

Running on a quad-core MediaTek processor that clocks in at 1.5GHz for two cores and 1.2GHz for the other two, and with 1GB of RAM, the Fire HD 10 turned in average performance results. The tablet scored 775 single-core and 1,478 multi-core results on the Geekbench 3 benchmark, which measures overall performance. This lags significantly behind higher-end tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2, which scored 1,253 single-core and 4,221 multi-core. The Fire HD 8 has 1.5GB of RAM, which means UI icons render more quickly, apps crash less often, and web benchmarks score higher, making for a real difference in usability.

Most standard actions run without a hitch on the Fire HD 10, though you’re not going to see the same buttery smooth performance as you will with a pricier, beefier tablet. Playing Race: Racing Need was fine from a performance perspective, but the tablet’s slippery form factor and ultra-wide screen in landscape mode was a huge distraction during gameplay, and not at all comfortable to hold.

Amazon Fire HD 10

Like on the Fire HD 8, the camera here isn’t great: It’s a 5-megapixel shooter that can take a while to focus (up to a few seconds at a time) and produces grainy shots. The long focus time is especially irksome given the tablet’s heft; it’s difficult to hold still for very long. It’s below average as far as tablet cameras go. The 720p front-facing camera is serviceable for video calls.

And back to that display. Video playback is a particular problem on the Fire HD 10. While the widescreen aspect ratio should be great for watching movies, the 1,280-by-800 screen is just too grainy. It’s also not particularly good for reading, with noticeably pixelated text.

One area the Fire HD 10 outperforms most of the similar-size competition is battery life. The tablet lasted 6 hours and 22 minutes in our rundown test, which streams video over Wi-Fi at brightness. By comparison, the Apple iPad lasted 5 hours and 15 minutes, while the Fire HD was good for 4 hours, 42 minutes.

Conclusions

The Amazon Fire HD 10 is a 10.1-inch window to Amazon’s vast multimedia library. Unfortunately, its clunky form factor, slippery back, and grainy screen don’t justify the jump in price over the Fire HD 8, which offers access to the same content but in a much more manageable body. Even the smaller Fire 7 gets you essentially identical performance and content in a smaller form factor for just $50.

If you’re after a more well-rounded tablet, you’ll have to shell out some extra cash for Apple’s iPad, which has an unbeatable app experience. The Galaxy Tab S2 (and even pricier Galaxy Tab S3), meanwhile, remains superior for gaming and multitasking. Each of these tablets, it should be noted, have better designs and vastly superior screens to the Fire HD 10. But if you’re just looking for a quick and easy Amazon content fix, the Fire HD 8 is your best option, and our Editors’ Choice.

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