Amazon’s smallest Fire tablet just got a big upgrade

Amazon's smallest cheap tablet just became a much better buy thanks to improved performance and new software

Amazon Fire 7 tablet (2022 version)
(Image credit: Amazon)

As we reported a few days ago, Amazon's latest Fire 7 tablets have been refreshed for 2022 – but we've discovered that in addition to the improved hardware that makes the 2022 Fire 7 significantly faster and more responsive than the 2019 model, there's new software inside, too. That means this could well be one of the best tablets for budget buyers.

The 2022 Fire 7 tablets start at £59.99/$59.99 or £109.99/$109.99 for the Kids version. Compared to their predecessors they have longer battery life, faster processors and USB-C for charging. But the most important new feature is the operating system, which is now Fire OS 8. That's the first new version of Amazon's tablet operating system since 2019, and it's a significant upgrade.

Why Fire OS 8 makes Fire tablets better

The Fire OS in the previous generation of Fire tablets was based on Android 9, but this new Fire OS (opens in new tab) is based on Androids 10 and 11. That means it's a more efficient OS than before, and there are a host of improvements that might not seem like a big deal in isolation but make a difference to everyday use – so for example there's less background activity in the newer OS, which reduces the drain on the battery and system alike. It's more secure, too, and there's also a battery-sipping Dark Mode that you can apply system wide.

I've owned a few Fire tablets over the years ranging from Fire Kids editions to various versions of the Fire HD 10 and I rate them very highly: you get a lot of tablet for your money. However, I found that the seven-inch model tended to be rather underpowered for even fairly simple tasks and lacked the snappy response of Amazon's more expensive Fire models. But with this new model reportedly 30% faster than before and running a better, safer and nicer version of Amazon's Android OS, the 2022 Fire 7 is looking like a genuine bargain. It's no iPad mini, but it's not supposed to be – and it's roughly 1/8th of the price.

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com (opens in new tab)).