Tempted to buy an Amazon tablet or Fire TV? Read this first

Fire TV

When it comes to the Amazon Prime Day sales, a frequently discounted staple is the company's line of Fire tablets, Fire TV sticks and boxes.

Both sets of devices are both already relatively cheap—the Fire TV Stick is $39.99 while Fire 7 tablet starts at $49.99—but Amazon's "Black Friday in July" event is a particularly good time to find deals.

Here's what you should know about the company's latest line of tablets and TV devices.

Tablets

Fire 7 with Special Offers

Prime Day price: $29.99 (regularly $49.99)

Pro: Very cheap, available in multiple colors, Kids Edition case ($69.99 on Prime Day, regularly $99.99) is very durable

Con: Slow, screen is unimpressive, cameras are underpowered, will need to buy a memory card if you plan to save pictures or download videos. Also, Special Offers will show you ads on the lock screen ($15 extra to get it without the Special Offers).

Fire HD 8 with Special Offers

Prime Day price: $49.99 (regularly $79.99)

Pro: HD screen, multiple colors, stereo speakers, 12 hours of battery life.

Con: Screen is not full HD, the processor isn't great, cameras are underpowered, Special Offers will show you ads on the lock screen ($15 extra to get it without the Special Offers)

Fire HD 10 with Special Offers

Prime Day price: $99.99 (regularly $149.99)

Pro: Full HD display, faster processor, more storage (32GB or 64GB), , ability to summon Alexa using just your voice even if the screen is off or the device isn't plugged in to turn this into an "Echo tablet"

Con: Cameras are underpowered, Special Offers will show you ads on the ($15 extra to get it without the Special Offers), not as much battery as the Fire HD 8 (10 hours instead of 12).

What tablet should I buy?

When it comes to Amazon's tablets you really are getting what you pay for. While the Fire 7 for less than $50 seems great, even for basic tasks like Netflix or browsing the web it pales in comparison to a more powerful Apple iPad.

If you are looking for something cheap, or a first tablet that you can give a young kid, then Fire 7 and Fire 7 Kids Edition at heavy discounts will be solid fits.

But if you are buying it or the Fire HD 8 and hoping to find an will be an "iPad replacement," you will likely be disappointed.

Out of Amazon's entire line, the Fire HD 10 is most powerful and capable. With its sharper, full HD screen, quad-core processor and higher storage it was already a compelling deal at its regular price of $149.99 and is the Fire tablet people will be most happy with. At $99.99 on Prime Day for the "Special Offers" version, that deal becomes even better.

How does it compare to the iPad? With a sharper screen, better apps, nicer software and a more affordable $329.99 starting price (or even cheaper if you are willing to buy the 2017 model), Apple's tablet is still the best you can buy.

But if you're looking to save money and are mainly using your to watch videos and browse the web Amazon's Fire HD 10 for $99.99 is tough to beat.

Fire TV

Amazon's answer to Google's Chromecast and Roku has become a popular Prime Day discount item. The devices, which add a variety of apps and streaming services to your TV including HBO, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video just by plugging into your TV's HDMI port, have continued to evolve since their introduction in 2014.

One thing to note: There is no YouTube app for Fire TV as Google and Amazon are currently engaged in a bit of a fight. You can, however, access YouTube if you use Amazon's Silk browser or download the Firefox app.

Here's what you should know about the latest versions.

Fire TV Stick

Prime Day price: $19.99 (regularly $39.99)

Pros: Cheap, allows for Alexa through voice remote.

Cons: Lacks support for 4K or HDR found on newer TVs, slower than 4K models.

Fire TV

Prime Day price: $34.99 (regularly $69.99)

Pros: 4K and HDR 10 support, support for Dolby Atmos sound, Alexa voice remote.

Cons: Needs to be powered by an included wall adapter for the best experience, few apps support 4K HDR content, no support for Dolby Vision.

Fire TV Cube

Prime Day price: $89.99 (regularly $119.99)

Pros: Hybrid of an Echo and a Fire TV complete with built-in speaker, can control your TV with Alexa, 4K and HDR 10 support

Cons: Pricey compared to other Fire TVs, the speaker isn't as good as a regular Echo, few apps support 4K HDR content, no support for Dolby Vision.

Which should I buy?

If you're the average consumer, go for the Stick. It's a cheap, reliable way to bring the Internet to your TV. If you're all about 4K and hi-def programming, spend the extra $20 for the regular Fire TV.

Contributing: Mike Snider


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User comments

Jul 17, 2018
Amazon has also made it near impossible to root (understandable given the economics of their discount) either device.

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