2017 Fire Tablet vs Fire HD 8 Comparison Review (Video)

2017 Fire Tablets

We’re lucky if Amazon releases one new Kindle per year these days, so I decided to buy the new 2017 Fire tablets to try out since they’re so cheap.

There are two new models for 2017, officially the 7th generation Fire tablets. Here’s a quick comparison review describing how they differ; I’ll post full reviews of them soon.

Both new Fire tablets are very similar. One has a 7-inch screen and the other has an 8-inch screen. Most of the specs are identical, and both run the same software, so there aren’t many differences between them.

The 7-inch Fire tablet starts at $49 and the Fire HD 8 starts at $79.

Both come in four colors and each is available with or without screensaver advertisements (the ads take $15 off the price).

The $49 Fire comes with the option of 8GB or 16GB of internal storage space, and the Fire HD 8 comes with 16GB or 32GB. Both have a microSD card slot for cards up to 256GB.

For $50 more each model is available as a Kids Edition tablet that comes with a kid-proof case, 1 year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, and a 2-year warranty, as opposed to the 90-day warranty for the regular models.

Main Differences

Here’s a table with a detailed list of Fire tablet hardware differences from Amazon’s website for software developers, so I won’t rehash that here. One error of note is it says the 7-inch Fire tablets have 10-point capacitive touchscreens, but it’s wrong—they have 5.

Screen: The screen is the biggest difference between the two 2017 Fire tablets. The 7-inch model has a 1024 x 600 screen (16:9 ratio with 171 ppi) and the Fire HD 8 has a 1280 x 800 screen (16:10 ratio with 189 ppi). Both have IPS screens of similar quality, but the 7-inch model has a brighter screen, which kind of makes it look better. Also the Fire HD 8 supports HD video and the $49 Fire only supports SD video.

Battery: The Fire HD 8’s battery is rated at up to 12 hours per charge and the Fire 7 is rated at up to 8 hours.

Size: The Fire HD 8 is about half an inch wider and 1 inch taller than the Fire 7. They weigh in at 13.0 ounces (369 grams) and 10.4 ounces (295 grams).

Processor: Amazon lists both as having 1.3GHz quad-core processors and that may lead one to assume they are the same, but the Fire HD 8’s processor is a little better and so is its graphics chip.

RAM: The Fire HD 8 has 1.5GB of RAM and the Fire 7 has 1GB, so that helps the HD loads things like web pages, ebooks, and apps a bit faster in conjunction with the upgraded processor.

Sound: The Fire HD 8 has two speakers that are situated on the edge, whereas the Fire 7 has just one speaker on the back. Obviously the sound quality of two speakers is better and with them on the edge they are less prone to muffling.


The build quality and overall feature-set of the two 2017 Fire tablets is the same, and the software is virtually identical. It mostly just comes down to the size and a few subtle differences.

The Fire HD 8 is better suited for stuff like videos since it adds support for HD, and the dual speakers and extra battery life and RAM are nice advantages too, but the larger screen and battery come at the price of adding quite a bit more weight. That gives the Fire 7 tablet the advantage of being lighter and more portable, and it’s hard to argue with something that only costs $49.

I only plan to keep one to use mostly as a music and video player, but I haven’t decided which one to keep just yet, but I’m leaning toward the 7-inch Fire at this point since the screen and build quality differences are minimal, unlike the earlier 2015 models. I’ll post in-depth reviews of each tablet separately next week after using them more, so check back soon for updates.

Update: After further testing, the Fire 7 is noticeably more sluggish than the Fire HD 8. It’s not a huge difference but it does require more patience for things to load on the cheaper model. Depending on how you’re using it, the Fire 7 can get pretty frustrating at times waiting for things to respond. If you’re the impatient sort you probably want to steer clear of the Fire 7.

$49 Fire vs Fire HD 8 Video Comparison

28 Responses to “2017 Fire Tablet vs Fire HD 8 Comparison Review (Video)”

  1. I have the last gen 7″ and bought that child proof plastic case for it and I feel a lot more safe with that than any of my other devices. Dropped an iPad mini once and that was $$$ down the drain.
    I just checked and they have “All-New Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet, 8″ HD Display, 32 GB, Blue Kid-Proof Case” for $129.99 and I think that’s the best deal…
    My 7″ with the case is nice and I use it more than any other of my more expensive tablets, why? I just like the feel of it not falling out of my hands and on the floor breaking into itty bitty tiny bits of Gorilla Glass like a couple of my tabs did :'(
    I’m not sure how the 8″ with the case would feel, but I know I’d like the bigger screen for watching movies 🙂

    • I dropped my Lenovo 10-inch tablet and cracked the screen a long time ago but I stuck a screen protector on it and it’s still holding together. 😀

      • Yeah, I been doing that with my cell phone after I dropped it… I’m at Republic Wireless and I am grandfathered into their $10 a month deal and if I get a new phone from them I’ll have to pay more for the service and get less. So, that phone is going to be held together with rubber bands, chewing gum, Gorilla Glue, and sealing wax before I let it go 😉

  2. What I found with the 2015 Fire was that it had a horrible WiFi, plastic screen, very slow performance from both the tiny ram and the cpu, an *awful* dim, low-res display, and it lacked voice recognition,

    Other than that … it was just great (which is to say, it wasn’t at all great nor even adequate. It was horrible).

    The 2016 Fire HD8, meanwhile, fixed all of those problems and it is just a much, much better device.

    In looking at the specs, not much has changed in the newer models and, IMHO, you’d have to be crazy to choose the Fire vs the HD8. Spend the few dollars more; you won’t regret it.

    • I thought the Fire HD 8 would be the clear winner too but now that the screens are so similar the decision isn’t as easy. The weight difference is significant. The 7-inch has a big advantage there and in the portability department.

  3. High-resolution on the 8 really makes it much better. Better books, comics web pages and video. The performance is much snappier too… Go 8 I say

    • The resolution isn’t that much higher though, only 18 ppi. The resolution on the 8-inch isn’t great either. Their HDX line used to have nice high resolution screens but it seems they’d rather stick with low end tablets now.

  4. I have last year’s 8 inch 32gb and it is slow. I am not a fast typist but the tablet can not keep up. Also the spell checker fixes words that are spelled right with different words and I have to back space to change them back. I have closed all other programs except the one I am working on and it doesn’t help.

    Everything else is fine. Is there any reason I should upgrade to the new tablet?

    • No reason at all. They’re virtually identical. It’s kind of odd they would even call it a new model at all. The only apparent difference is last year’s model supports memory cards up to 200GB and the 2017 models go up to 256GB. Also the tech specs list says last year’s HD 8 had a gyroscope and this year’s does not.

    • I have a 5th gen. fire he 8 too, I wonder if this newest one is as sluggish

  5. Just wanted to say that this is hands down the most helpful article I’ve found about this years Fire tablets so far.

    I’m trying to decide between the 7 and 8 myself, although now that I know that last years HD 8 is basically the same as this years, I might go ahead and buy the 2016 just to save the extra $10. 😛

    Thanks for the review.

  6. I have purchased the HD 8 n am happy accept some of my downloads r not transferring from my 2015 to upgraded n I find it frustrating that 2 hours of customer service help n they tell me to contact developer…n don’t like that my book marks arent transferable either…but your review was great

  7. Thinking of buying a new Fire tablet for Prime Day but not sure which size I should choose between the 16gb and 32gb. Is it really just a question of storage capacity or does the 32gb perform better?

  8. Yo conseguí la hd8 en Prime Day 2017 16gb en $50 ya veremos como sale gracias por sus comentarios me sirvieron mucho !

  9. You fail to note that you may not be able to run, or even see in your cloud library, some apps you have on your earlier (e.g., 7) tablet.

    • I don’t know why that bears mentioning in a comparison between both new models, but yeah, Amazon is phasing out their Underground appstore for free apps, not just for new Fire tablets but for everything.

  10. I have a 2015 HD8 and is it just me or does it SOUND better than the 2017 HD8? I’d really be disappointed if the sound quality is not at least as good if not better on a newer model.

  11. Well, let me answer my own question. I just did a sound comparison and the 2015 definitely sounds better. So either that’s the case across the board OR the 2017 I got is defective. They are sending me a replacement and I’ll do the test again when it gets here.

    • They probably cut corners with the speakers to try and sell more Bluetooth speakers and headphones. But to be fair you pretty much need those anyway with any tablet if you want decent sound. Even iPad speakers are pretty terrible. Did you mean the 2016 Fire? The 2015 model sold for nearly twice as much back then and it had a nicer design so it wouldn’t be surprising if its better in a lot of ways (I remember the screen was nicer; it had better colors and was brighter).

  12. Yep, the 2015 which is the 5th gen I believe. The touch screen on it is horrible though. The new ones respond to your touch like they are supposed to. My Samsung Galaxy tablet is not even as good in that regard but it does have superior sound to both the 2015 and 17 Kindles not to mention Google apps.

  13. The screen on the HD 8, 2017, scratches insanely easily. There is no way this is gorilla glass. I have a keyboard/case for this and the keyboard is plastic. There is no way a plastic keyboard should ever scratch gorilla glass.

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