We’ve tested all of Amazon’s Fire tablets so you don’t have to. Here are the ones you should definitely get

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Wired

One tap for Amazon content: If you subscribe to Amazon’s Prime service, you can watch all the included movies, music, TV, and books, shop all the items you can get with its free two-day shipping, and browse your free Amazon photo storage. You can do most of the same things from an Android tablet or iPad, but the Fire OS interface is specifically tailored to delivering the Amazon goods, with swipeable pages for every type of media Amazon sells.

Made “good enough”: Physically, Amazon’s Fire tablets are made of cheap plastic, but they’re designed so carefully that the build quality won’t bother you too much. The Kids Editions are also among the best quality tablets for kids, encased in a sturdy bumper, and all have microSD slots so you can add extra storage. (We recommend this 128-GB microSD card for $17.) You can make them even more capable by following our guide to installing the Google Play Store on your Fire device. This will give you access to the full range of Android apps. (Note that some apps won’t work, but 99 percent of apps for Android will run fine.)

Cheap: Did we mention the price? All are $200 or less, except for the new Max 11. If you stick to the cheaper models, they’re great. You can even buy them with Amazon lock-screen ads, which will reduce your cost by $15.


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Lacks non-Amazon content: The biggest strength of these tablets is also their biggest weakness. If you’re not an Amazon Prime subscriber and don’t plan on buying video, audio or books from Amazon, the Fire tablet line isn’t that attractive to you. They do have Alexa, so that could be a plus point, but again, it’s deeply integrated into Amazon’s content library. You can download third-party apps like Netflix on Amazon’s Appstore, but the selection is pretty simple. away This is more limited than the features available on the Google Play Store on Apple’s iPad or a standard Android tablet. To help you overcome this limitation, we’ve put together a guide to installing the Google Play Store on your Fire device. Installing the Google Play Store gives you access to the full range of Android apps. In the end, you get a $60 tablet that’s 95 percent as capable as a $330 iPad.

Old technology: The technology inside these tablets is old. The processors aren’t the fastest, and you’ll notice some lag and a general lack of power compared to more expensive Android tablets. Since many apps for Fire OS are designed with the weaker processing power in mind, you won’t notice it much. The operating system is also older (depending on which Fire tablet you buy), which can hide some weaknesses. Amazon’s latest Fire OS is a revised version of Android 11, which came out in 2020. Amazon continues to update its tablets to some extent, but not as often as it should.

Short Warranty: Only the Fire HD 10 comes with a full one-year warranty. Strangely, the smaller devices come with a 90-day warranty.

special offers: Amazon’s Special Offer ads have gotten more obvious and annoying over time. We recommend you pay the extra $15 to buy a Fire tablet without them.

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