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Amazon Fire HD 10 review (2017): Amazon’s Alexa tablet goes hands-free

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Now that they finally have Alexa support, Amazon’s excellent lineup of budget tablets have matured into a much more tantalising purchase. Up until now however, you’d be forced to press a button to get Alexa’s silky voice flowing. That’s all set to change.

With the new and improved Fire HD 10, Amazon’s own digital assistant is hands-free on a tablet for the very first time, transforming the firm’s latest tablet into a cheaper alternative to the Echo Show (although that’s not available in the UK yet anyway).

Amazon Fire HD 10 review: UK price, release date and specifications

  • Display: 10.1in 1,920 x 1,200
  • Processor: Quad-core 1.8GHz
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Storage: 32/64GB (expandable via microSD)
  • Camera: 2-megapixel rear, VGA front
  • Battery: 10-hour battery life
  • UK price: £149 – 32GB /£180 – 64GB (with lockscreen ads); £10 extra to turn off ads
  • UK release date: 19 September 2017

Amazon Fire HD 10 review: Design, key features and first impressions

Amazon’s latest Fire HD 10 isn’t particularly inviting from the outside. Physically, it’s no different to the model it replaces, with the same uninvitingly bland plastic shell despite the addition of two new paint jobs: “marine blue” and “punch red”. What’s special about it is what the folks at Amazon have tinkered with on the inside.

Despite the zero love that’s been given to its exterior, the HD 10 has seen a good bump in specifications over its predecessor. It has a quad-core 1.8GHz CPU that’s “30% more powerful” than its predecessor’s, with twice the RAM at 2GB and an extra two hours of battery life. Audio should also be much improved as well with the addition of Atmos support for the tablet’s stereo speakers.

The Fire HD 10 comes with either 32GB or 64GB of internal storage, expandable up to 256GB via microSD. As for the IPS display, Amazon’s latest now has a Full HD screen (1,920 x 1,200) as opposed to last year’s 1,280 x 800 offering.

Again, the Fire HD 10 runs Amazon’s own Android-based Fire OS, with Amazon’s Appstore front and centre. Little has changed, although there is a new addition to the Fire OS’ UI called “For You”, which provides recommendations for similar items you’ve purchased. It’s a minor feature, but a helpful one.

Amazon Fire HD 10 review: Alexa hands-free

Like the Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 refreshes before it, Amazon’s new Fire HD 10 includes Alexa integration as standard. But something is different this time: Alexa finally goes hands-free.

In short, you no longer have to hold down a button for Amazon’s assistant to start responding to your orders. You won’t find a fancy far-field microphone array on the tablet as with the Echo and Echo Dot, so you won’t be able to bark orders from across the room but provided you’re close enough to the Fire HD 10, Alexa is at your command.

The usual suite of commands are at your disposal, too. Simply ask Alexa to tell you the weather, show sports fixtures or play the latest TV show on Amazon Instant Video and she’ll do just that. It’s a voice command system that just works, and you don’t even have to unlock the tablet to get her going.

Amazon Fire HD 10 review: Early verdict

Once again, Amazon has cooked up a fantastically-priced tablet with its newest Fire HD 10. For all its added improvements – a Full HD screen, faster processor, twice the storage and double the RAM, the 32GB model is also a £20 cheaper than last year’s effort, which also had half the amount of storage.

Add hands-free Alexa into the mix and you’re looking at a product that’s a no-brainer for anyone looking for a cheap, no-frills tablet.

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