Amazon Fire HD 10 Review: An Inexpensive Large Entertainment Tablet
Fire HD 10 Design And Build Quality
The Fire HD 10’s widescreen display is a standout feature as soon as you pick it up. The 16:10 aspect ratio found on the Fire HD 10 means you’ll get greater viewing area than you would with other screens, but it also means the tablet is taller or wider, depending on how you’re holding it. Not only does the Fire HD 10’s 16:10 widescreen display give you greater viewing area while watching widescreen format movies, it also gives you more screen real estate for browsing the web or reading books in portrait mode. Unfortunately, Amazon offers the same resolution (1280x800) on the Fire HD 10’s screen as it does on the smaller Fire HD 8 tablet.
As a result, the Fire HD 10’s screen isn’t as sharp as other displays since it only offers a density of 149ppi. In addition, its glossy screen tends to attract fingerprints. While viewing angles on the Fire HD 10 are very good, glare occasionally does become an issue depending on lighting conditions. For general everyday use, the Fire HD 10’s display is great. However, users who have a critical eye and plan to use this tablet for gaming or higher resolution video will likely appreciate a screen with a better pixel density and resolution.
The Fire HD 10 has slightly rounded edges and corners to help soften its appearance. Although we could hold the tablet in both portrait and landscape mode using only one hand, we felt most comfortable using two hands or using the larger bezel at the base to hold the tablet in portrait mode. The Fire HD 10 is nice and thin, measuring 7.7mm or about 0.3 inches thick which is just 0.2mm thicker than the iPad Air.
If you’re holding the tablet in portrait mode, you’ll find a volume rocker, headset jack, microphone, microUSB port, and power button on the top edge of the tablet. Two speaker grills are located on the left edge. The microSD expansion slot is located on the right edge.
The Fire HD 10’s front-facing 720p camera is centered above the display when the tablet is held in portrait mode. The rear-facing 5-megapixel camera is located in the upper left corner of the Fire HD 10. The rear cover of the Fire HD 10 is made of a glossy plastic that tends to attract fingerprints and makes the tablet feel slightly flimsy in spots. Amazon’s logo is prominent on the back of the tablet.
You won’t find any physical buttons on the front of the Fire HD 10. Instead, Amazon provides the standard Back, Home, Application, and occasional Menu keys on the bottom or right edge of the display when needed.
Internally, you’ll find a quad-core MediaTek processor that consists of two high-performance 1.5 GHz cores and two 1.2 GHz cores, along with 1GB of RAM. Performance from the Fire HD 10 was good most of the time. However, when downloading new apps in the background we noticed a lag in the overall responsiveness of the tablet. We also had a few occasions when the tablet was slow to respond when we had many applications open in the background.
Although the tablet is designed for entertainment, it’s not the best option for heavy gamers. If you’re interested in simple games like Angry Birds or Cut the Rope you’ll be fine, especially if you’re not downloading anythign in the background. For heavy gamers the combination of occasional sluggish responses and comparatively lower resolution screen means this probably isn’t the tablet for you.
There are a number of accessories available for the Fire HD 10. Amazon included its traditional leather cover ($64.99) with our review unit. This cover does a nice job at holding the tablet in portrait or landscape mode on your desk. Unfortunately, the cover blocks the microSD expansion slot so you’ll have to remove the cover when you need to swap microSD cards.
This case leaves the speaker grills uncovered when it's folded back on itself. It also has a cutout for the rear-facing camera. Unfortunately, the camera cutout is covered up by the front flap of the case when you fold it behind the tablet.