Should you grab the Plus model?
The cheapest option
Most people should opt for the Plus model; however, if you just want the cheapest option available no matter what, the Amazon Fire HD 8 is about as cheap as they come.
More RAM is better
Even though the two tablets are identical, the extra GB of RAM and the wireless charging option on the Amazon FIre HD 8 Plus tip the scales in its favor.
Amazon has been making some of the best cheap Android tablets for years now, and every so often, they tend to update the slightly older model with a few new specs to try and keep them useful as technology progresses. This is exactly what happened with the Amazon Fire HD 8 and the Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus.
One of the reasons we named the Amazon Fire HD 8 as one of the best kid tablets you can buy right now is its incredibly affordable price. The MSRP of the Fire HD 8 starts at $100, and the Plus model is only $20 more at $120. Plus, remember that Amazon is the king of discounted tech, so you'll often find deals on both models — especially around Prime Day and Black Friday.
Being Amazon's own creation, the best place to pick one up is through the behemoth itself; however, you'll be able to pick up these newer models at a few big box stores like Best Buy as well.
The 2022 models of the Amazon Fire HD 8 and the HD 8 Plus follow a very similar pattern that comes with Amazon tablets, which is to say that the Plus model isn't too different from the standard one. Still, if you want to know what makes the two tablets stand out and which one you should get, it all starts with the specs.
If it weren't for the extra colors on the standard Fire HD 8, it would be difficult telling these two tablets apart just by looking at them. They have the same design and the same 8-inch LCD with a resolution of 1200 x 800. While the screen doesn't hold a candle to larger tablets or more expensive ones, it's still a decent display for watching movies, browsing YouTube videos, or reading your favorite books on Kindle.
Other than that, you're looking at the same USB-C 2.0 port, which charges up the tablet relatively slowly, though the Fire HD 8 Plus can use wireless charging if you aren't a fan of plugging into the port.
These aren't the kind of tablets to buy if you want a serious work machine or if you feel like multitasking. You'll have to expect some shortcomings, and the software and performance feel sluggish with the Hexa-core 2GHz processor in both models.
The standard Fire HD 8 is stuck with only 2GB of RAM, making it feel really clunky to move around FireOS, which is based on Android but pretty stripped down. The Plus model does fair a bit better, though, thanks to having an extra GB of RAM for a total of 3GB, but you'll still experience sluggish app loading and stuttering if you ever try to push the tablet too hard.
Both tablets excel at very basic tasks, like watching content, and that's likely the reason you're looking to buy one of these tablets anyway. Still, if you want a bit of a less frustrating experience, the Plus model will provide that due to the slightly upgraded specs.
There's no beating around the bush; these cameras are not worth using. Doesn't matter if you go with the Plus model, which does have a 5MP shooter, instead of just the 2MP one on the standard model — you still won't get pictures that you'll want to keep. Unfortunately, the 2MP front-facing camera won't make you look terrific on video calls, either, but it's there if you want to talk to friends and family on video calls. Once again, the cameras are not the reason to buy these tablets.
The good news is the battery life of both models is excellent, which is one of the few perks of having such low-powered hardware. If you're using your Fire HD 8 or HD Plus with mixed-use instead of constantly watching content, you should be able to stretch that battery for a good couple of days. On the other hand, if you are pushing it to its limit, you'll likely get around 12–13 hours before you need to charge up, which isn't a small number for a tablet. Yes, it helps when your screen is only eight inches big, but a win is a win.
Unless you absolutely need to hold on to the $20, you should pick up the Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus.
Both tablets are so similar, but the extra GB of RAM in the Plus model really does help the software experience feel just a tad smoother, which should mean less frustration for you in the long run. Add in the extra perk of being able to wirelessly charge the device, and that extra $20 definitely doesn't feel wasted.
The extra RAM that the Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus provides over the standard model is the biggest reason you should choose the Plus model. It will save you a little bit of frustration as you’re moving around the UI or trying to do tasks. The extra RAM is well worth the $20 higher price tag.
Still, one of the greatest reasons Amazon's tablets sell so well is just how to dang cheap they are. If you're buying a tablet for a kid to watch cartoons or just for yourself as a media consumption device, it's hard to argue with a tablet that costs you $100 or less.
If you’re okay with a slower machine, and you just plan on using the tablet as a streaming device, or you just want one of the cheapest tablets you can get your hands on, the standard Amazon Fire HD is there for the taking.
Luke FIlipowicz has been writing about tech for the better part of a decade and has been obsessed with smartphones since he first picked up an iPhone when he was 18.
While it all started with an iPhone, Luke has also dived into the world of Android, trying out any sort of phone he can get his hands on. Plus, testing out all sorts of technology, including speakers, headphones, keyboards, apps, games, and more.
Luke’s love of technology isn’t just limited to mobile tech; you will often find him tinkering with cameras, microphones, and lights in his off time. Photography and video editing are two passions left over from his college days, where he got his Creative Communications Diploma from Red River College Polytechnic in 2015.