Amazon yesterday refreshed its low-cost tablet range and brought its Alexa voice assistant to Fire tablets in the U.K. for the first time.

The new thinner and lighter $50/£50 Fire 7 boasts an improved 7-inch 1024x600 IPS screen with higher contrast and sharper text, up to 8 hours' battery life, and more storage than its predecessor. Meanwhile, the new $80/£80 Fire HD 8 features a larger 8-inch 1280x800 display and up to 12 hours of battery life.

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Both devices pack a quad-core 1.3GHz processor, 2-megapixel VGA front and rear cameras, dual-band WiFi, and Alexa voice assistant, which comes as a new feature for tablets sold in the United Kingdom.

Amazon claims its new Fire models are more hard-wearing than Apple's iPads. Even so, the Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 are also available in Kids Editions, for £100/$100 and £130/$130 respectively, which come with a large rubber protective case and a two-year "worry-free" guarantee, as well as more storage, parental controls, no adverting or in-app purchases, and a one-year subscription to Fire for kids unlimited.

With its low-cost, feature-rich offerings, Amazon has managed to buck the trend in a tablet market in which even market-leading brands like Apple have struggled to convince consumers to upgrade to the latest devices. While iPad sales have declined for 13 consecutive quarters, Fire sales have generally improved, seeing double-digit growth in its media-positioned tablets. The Fire 7 has proved particularly popular among parents who want a device for their kids but aren't willing to risk paying a premium price.

The Amazon Fire 7 and HD 8 tablets are available to pre-order now and due to ship on June 7. Amazon will roll out Alexa to more of its Fire tablet devices in the U.K. in June through a software update.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon.

Tag: Amazon

Top Rated Comments

mlovergaard Avatar
67 months ago
I have to say I love what Amazon offers with their Fire tablets. The price is just unbeatable for what you get.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jadot Avatar
67 months ago
For what most people tend to need a tablet for I'd say that there's absolutely no reason for people to get an iPad.

I have an iPad Pro 9.7 and I use it to surf the internet, and check emails. It's amazing, and I love the design etc, but I don't need it.

A Fire tablet is around a tenth of the price - that should be a no-brainer - even if I buy the 10" Fire it's going to come in a around a third of the price of the iPad.

That's nuts when you think about it.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sshambles Avatar
67 months ago
With built in macOS Sierra wallpaper! :cool:
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Relentless Power Avatar
67 months ago
The fire tablets are not bad for the price. Obviously sold near cost. But I just don't like their flavor of android. Maybe I've used iOS too long? Even after putting Google Play on there (which helped a lot) the overall usability in performance and screen was just really poor for anything more than sedate user activity.
You do get a lot for the price point. But the build quality on the $50 Fire tablet is subpar at best and the display is horrible. Otherwise, you can't go wrong if you wanted to try one and Amazon made it highly affordable.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
blackcrayon Avatar
67 months ago
So if these new Fire tablets have Alexa... Then why would anyone buy that ugly Amazon Echo Show? Just get a Fire tablet with a cool looking stand & speakers... And then you can take it off and use it as a tablet if you want.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
maflynn Avatar
67 months ago
I have some friends that have them and they really enjoy it.
In a way its very Apple like in what Amazon did. Provide a device that connects to content that they offer. This is why the Fire is succeeding when other tablets are failing. Tablets are content consumption devices and Amazon's rich content offerings provides the means for people to enjoy its tablet.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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