Amazon announced two new updates to its affordable line of Fire tablets today. The Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 sport enhanced internals and Amazon's voice-controlled AI assistant, Alexa.
The Fire 7 is the smaller of the two and the more entry-level device. It is lighter and thinner than its predecessor, weighing 295 g (10.4 oz) and measuring 192 x 115 x 9.6 mm (7.6 x 4.5 x 0.4 inches). It has a 7-inch 1,024 x 600 (171 ppi) display with improved contrast for a better reading experience. It contains 8 GB or 16 GB of built-in storage and gets up to 8 hours of battery life per charge. Starting price is a mere US$49.99.
The Fire HD 8 weighs in at 369 g (13 oz) and measures 214 x 128 x 9.7 mm (8.4 x 5 x 0.4 inches). Its 8-inch display has 1,280 x 800 (189) HD resolution. It gets up to 12 hours of battery life and is available with 16 or 32 GB of built-in storage. With Dolby Atmos dual stereo speakers, it also has better audio than the entry-level Fire 7. The Fire HD 8 starts at $79.99.
Both devices have been updated with a quad core 1.3 GHz processor and a microSD slot for expandable storage. Color options are black, blue, red and yellow.
Of course, Alexa is the most notable new addition to these tablets. Alexa access makes it possible to perform certain actions on your Fire device with voice control as well as interface with other Alexa-supporting smart home devices.
In terms of raw power and features, these tablets are no match for high-end options like the Samsung Tab S3 or the iPad Pro (or for that matter, Apple's entry-level iPad). However, for those who see tablets as strictly recreational devices, these options could provide a good mix of capabilities for the right price.
The Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 are available for pre-order today, to start shipping on June 7.