Amazon Fire HD 8 is on sale now and is basically an Echo Show that’s also a tablet

With Alexa built in and Show Mode all you need to add is a £30 dock

Amazon Fire HD 8 2018

Amazon has gradually been adding Alexa to its excellent tablets, but now it’s going all in, with the All-New Amazon Fire HD 8. This can do the usual tablet type duties we know and like, but also transform into a voice controlled, graphically rich Echo Show. Add Amazon’s new dock and it even looks kind of like an Echo Show, at  glance.  

You can order the HD8 now with shipping starting October 4.

The 2018 Fire HD 8 offers an 8-inch, full HD screen, 16Gb or 32GB of storage plus microSD up to 400MB, a quad-core processor and a 720p front-facing camera. Other than that it’s remarkabky similar to the previous model, with up  to 10 hours of mixed use battery life and a more than reasonable price of just £79.99.  (opens in new tab)

The killer feature though is Show Mode. Whereas normally the Fire HD 8 doubles up as an Echo device, this turns it into one, with screen offering extras such as lyrics to songs, recipe details, weather for the coming days, more in-depth sports results and video calling and, indeed, video in general. 

Add the Show Mode Charging Dock (this will be £39.99 when it launches as a standalone but currently is a bundle option with the HD8 only, taking the price to £109.98).

Amazon Fire HD8 in its 4 colour options: summery yellow, blue for boys, exciting red and classic black

The HD8 in its 4 colour options: summery yellow, blue for boys, exciting red and classic black

The dock requires you to add a slim case to tablet so that when docked it can charge via induction. This also means that the Fire HD8 knows as soon as it is docked, and transforms into Show Mode.

“Last year, we introduced Alexa hands-free on the Fire HD 10 and customers love it – in fact, it’s our highest rated tablet in the UK,” boomed Eric Saarnio, Head of Amazon Devices, Europe, explaining my above point. 

“We are excited to bring this always-available feature to the all-new Fire HD 8 and take the Alexa experience one step further by introducing Show Mode and the Show Mode Charging Dock. Simply place the Fire HD 8 into the dock for a more visual, full-screen Alexa experience – just ask Alexa to show trending news, see who is at the front door, view movie showtimes, get the weather, and more.”

The tablet + dock package is perhaps the most tempting and good-value Alexa offering to date. I did suggest to Amazon that it would spell the end of Echo Show but they reckon the Show’s superior mics and speaker means it will still appeal to some users. 

Amazon Fire HD8 Kids Edition Tablet

As usual, there’s a kids’ version of the HD8. It comes with a year of access to Amazon Fire for Kids Unlimited, a 2-year, no quibbles guarantee and a blue, pink or yellow bumper case, all for £129.99.  (opens in new tab)

Again, that’s a great deal. Kids Edition Tablets are now on about version 357, and the whole way they work – with an easy-to-use Parent Dashboard to control what your offspring can access, and the huge wealth of age-appropriate content on Fire for Kids – is by now, as you'd imagine, very slick. The tablet itself is exactly the same as the adults version, hardware-wise, and not a toy; only the software is 'childish'. 

Amazon's own rundown of the HD8's highlights

• Vibrant 8-inch widescreen 1280 x 800 high definition display with over a million pixels for a bright, vivid picture.

• Quadcore 1.3 GHz processor and 1.5GB of RAM to quickly and easily switch between apps, stream movies, and browse the web.

• Up to 10 hours of reading, listening to music, watching TV shows or movies, browsing the web, and more.

• 16 GB or 32 GB of internal storage, plus support for up to 400 GB more via expandable storage. Now you can install apps to a microSD card so you can enjoy even more entertainment while on the go.

• Alexa hands-free—Just ask Alexa to play a song, pause a movie, call a friend or family member on their Echo device, Fire tablet or through the Alexa app, read an audiobook, answer a question, show your calendar, control your smart home, and more—using only your voice, even when the screen is on standby.

• Show Mode—A new, immersive experience for Fire tablets that provides full-screen visuals that complement voice responses from Alexa. Show Mode lets you ask Alexa to see trending news, weather, movies trailers, camera feeds, and more—all optimised for visibility across the room.

• 720p front-facing camera; 2MP rear-facing camera, unlimited cloud storage for all photos taken on Fire tablets at no additional cost.

• As measured in tumble tests, the all-new Fire HD 8 is 2x as durable as the iPad Mini 4.

• Dual stereo speakers optimised for Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby Atmos for enhanced realism and dynamic range.

• Dual-band Wi-Fi with support for more Wi-Fi networks and seamless video streaming.

• Amazon-exclusive features: Alexa, ASAP, For You, X-Ray, Second Screen, Amazon Fire for Kids, Family Library, Blue Shade, On Deck, Prime Video downloads, and more.

• Access to millions of movies, TV shows, songs, books, magazines, apps, and games. Unlimited cloud storage for all Amazon content at no additional cost.

• Screen Sharing: let an Amazon expert guide you remotely through any feature on your screen, 24/7, 365 days a year at no additional cost.

Duncan has been writing about tech for almost 15 years, during which time he has attended every event going, apart from Apple ones, as he mysteriously doesn't get invited to them. He has covered everything from smartphones to headphones, TV to AC and air fryers to the movies of James Bond and obscure anime. 

Duncan's current brief is everything to do with the home and kitchen, which is good because he is an excellent cook, if he says so himself. He also covers cycling and ebikes – like over-using italics, this is another passion of his. Duncan also edits T3's golf section because fuck it, someone has to. Dave Usher does all the real work on that bit, though. In his long and varied lifestyle-tech career he is one of the few people to have been a fitness editor despite being unfit and a cars editor for not one but two websites, despite being unable to drive. He also has about 400 vacuum cleaners, and is possibly the UK's leading expert on cordless vacuum cleaners, despite being decidedly messy. A cricket fan for over 30 years, he also recently become T3's cricket editor, writing about how to stream obscure T20 tournaments, and turning out some typically no-nonsense opinions on the world's top teams and players.

Before T3, Duncan was a music and film reviewer, worked for a magazine about gambling that employed a surprisingly large number of convicted criminals, and then a magazine called Bizarre that was essentially like a cross between Reddit and DeviantArt, before the invention of the internet. There was also a lengthy period where he essentially wrote all of T3 magazine every month for about 3 years. 

A broadcaster, raconteur and public speaker, Duncan used to be on telly loads, but an unfortunate incident put a stop to that, so he now largely contents himself with telling people, "I used to be on the TV, you know."