Amazon Fire HD 8 - tips n tricks

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by sracer, May 9, 2019.

  1. sracer, May 9, 2019
    Last edited: May 10, 2019

    sracer macrumors G3

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    #1
    Introduction
    I've had quite a bit of fun experimenting with the Fire HD 10 and Fire 7. It seems that others enjoyed following my exploits and requested that I do something similar for the Fire HD 8. So for the sake of completeness, I picked up a new HD 8 today because it is currently on sale for $60.

    Click here for the thread on the Fire HD 10.
    Click here for the thread on the Fire 7.

    This time around, I plan on using it for the same purposes as the Fire 7. The HD 8 has 1.5GB RAM and a nicer screen than the 7 so I'm curious to see how it compares. As I mentioned in the Fire 7 thread, Google Services made the 7 very sluggish. I plan on installing Google Services on the HD 8 with a critical eye toward performance. If the HD 8 is sluggish then I'll know it is due to Google Services.

    • reading books (ebooks)
    • reading comics, magazines, catalogs (cbr/cbz)
    • reading news
    • listening to music (locally stored as well as streaming)
    • watching video (local and streaming)
    • light gaming
    • social media (twitter, Facebook)


    Build Quality
    Like the other Fire tablets I own, this is a well-made, solid, and attractive (IMO) tablet. The curved edges make holding the device a pleasant experience.


    Screen Quality
    The IPS screen is bright. The colors are vibrant. The quality of the display is near that of the HD 10. Nicer than the 7. The side bezels are thinner than the Fire 7.


    Performance
    I don't run benchmarks (they don't tell the true and full story) but scrolling and loading websites for testing show that it only slightly lags behind the performance of the Fire HD 10. It'll be interesting to see if this level of performance carries through to other tasks.

    Stay tuned. As always, if you have any experience with the HD 8, please feel free to share it in this thread. If there are things you'd like me to try out on it, let me know.
     
  2. sracer, May 10, 2019
    Last edited: May 10, 2019

    sracer thread starter macrumors G3

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    #2
    I had some time last night to set the HD 8 up and get it running.

    It became immediately clear to me that the HD 8 is far closer to the HD 10 in terms of performance and screen quality than it is to the 7. The 7 is a fun little tablet (particularly when it is on sale for $30-$35 range), and is quite capable of basic media consumption, but the HD 8 looks and feels like a mini HD 10.

    Here is a size comparison:
    Fire 7, HD 8, iPad Mini 4
    fire hd 8.jpg


    INSTALL GOOGLE SERVICES
    Installing Google Services (and the Play store) was as quick and as easy as installing it on the Fire 7 and HD 10. Download 4 APK files, install them and go.

    I saw no perceptible drag on the system (as I did with the Fire 7). If this holds true for the rest of my experimenting then I can leave it installed.


    DISABLE LOCK SCREEN ADS
    Disabling lock screen ads wasn't successful. The method for tweaking the 7 and HD 10 doesn't work for the HD 8. This is due to the newer version of Fire OS (Amazon's version of Android) used by the HD 8. I'll poke around a bit more to see if there is an alternative. If not, no problem. The ads only appear on the lock screen and don't interfere with using the device. If I use the HD 8 as much as I use the HD 10, then I'll simply spring the $15 to disable the ads.


    INSTALLED a 64GB MICRO SD CARD
    Before installing any apps, I installed a 64GB micro SD card. Fire OS 6.3.x allows for using the SD card as "adopted storage" allowing the card to be treated as internal storage. The HD 8 supports SD cards up to 400GB so it'll be interesting to see if the device is useful enough to warrant using a larger card.


    FIRST IMPRESSIONS AT THE 2 HOUR MARK
    It's early in the experiment to draw any lasting conclusions, but after setting the HD 8 up, installing Google Services, installing a dozen or so apps from the Play Store, and kicking the tires a bit, my initial impression is that the HD 8 might turn out to be the best of the bunch.

    The HD 10 is beautiful. The screen and speakers are terrific. Performance is surprisingly good for a tablet that cheap. But the 16:9 aspect ratio (AR) makes the size a bit unwieldy when holding it in portrait mode while sitting on the couch.

    With the HD 8, even though it has the same AR as the HD 10, the smaller screen size (and lower weight) makes it feel more comfortable.

    Next up:
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  3. mi7chy, May 30, 2019
    Last edited: May 30, 2019

    mi7chy macrumors 603

    mi7chy

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2014
    #3
    Here's a potential $64 competitor to the Fire HD 8 if preferring more stockish Android 9 Pie vs Fire OS, 2GB vs 1.5GB DRAM, AGPS for car head-mount and slightly better display with drawbacks of mono speaker and possibly lack of OTG. There's also a larger 10.1" version for $79 or $99 with keyboard cover (thanks to sracer for mentioning this option).



     
  4. sracer, May 30, 2019
    Last edited: May 30, 2019

    sracer thread starter macrumors G3

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    #4
    I've been keeping my eye on those. There are some definite benefits to the Walmart tablets over the Amazon Fires. I've been fighting the temptation to pick up the 10.1" w/keyboard cover for $99. The total number of tablets I own isn't yet in double-digits so I think I'm ok if I pick one of these up. :D
     
  5. Shanghaichica macrumors G4

    Shanghaichica

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #5
    Are tablets your favourite form factor?
     
  6. sracer thread starter macrumors G3

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    #6
    Yes they are... and they'e the one that disappoints me the most. (if that makes sense)

    The Lenovo Yoga Book and Google Pixelbook are the 2 that come closest (relative to other alternatives) to what I'm looking for. They fall short in some ways and fall short enough that I keep pressing on exploring and experimenting with alternatives.

    iPads from the start showed a lot of promise, but Apple has been deliberately slow-walking the adding of features to make the iPad a more capable and flexible tablet. From a business sense that makes perfect sense. With each incremental version, they get a wave of customers who upgrade. If they were to offer the final iteration of an iPad that contains everything that us fans have been asking for, then there is even less incentive to buy newer models as frequently as we do (even though we collectively are holding on to our iPads longer than in the past).
     
  7. apolloa macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    Location:
    Time, because it rules EVERYTHING!
    #7
    That Walmart tablet looks half decent, don’t get them in the U.K. though, reminds me of when the U.K. supermarket Tesco sold its own cheap tablet and it got rave reviews for how good it was, but sadly they stopped making it a while ago now.
     

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