…or should I say “Amazon Crap” as I’d like to talk about Amazon Fire
HD 8. I have been using this tablet for about a year now and at
this point I can say it is absolutely crap …and I love it!
First of all, I’m not a tablet person and I never planned to use my
tablet a lot. I was looking for a cheapish device between a laptop
and a smartphone. I didn’t need it to be beefy, I mostly wanted a
highly portable device with a screen bigger than my phone’s to
comfortably read things on it.
Fire HD 8 caught my attention due to its relatively low price and
supposedly being good enough for light usage as apparently many
very cheap tablets are bad even as paperweights. Importing it to
Poland was a bit of a hassle but a friend abroad gave me a hand
This tablet runs a heavily modified and locked down Android
variation called Fire OS, not even connected to Google services by
default as Amazon intends it to be used with their own ecosystem. I
think this is the most crappy part of Fire HD 8 which ironically makes
it so great. Since the OS is so locked down (being unable to change
my launcher with no heavy hacks was the most painful thing), it limits
my innate need to improve and tinker in things. I am almost certain
if it would be a regular Android tablet, I would fill it with
applications I don’t need, customize the hell out of it and ultimately
make it slow down to a crawl, as is tradition on Android devices when
you tinker with them too much. Additionally it limits my urge to
connect it to too many services, so even if I were to lose it, it’s
no real security concern as I have virtually no credentials there.
I’m speaking from experience: a few years ago I used to have a more
powerful tablet at my disposal for a few months. I quickly got
confused over what I was “supposed” to do on it and what on my
smartphone. Since Fire OS is so annoying, it keeps me from overusing
my tablet. It rules out any significant overlap between my phone
and tablet usage and so also any need for configuration
synchronization between them. Once again, less is more!
I use my Fire HD 8 as a big handheld screen for dumb stuff.
Sketching, reading content unfriendly to a Kindle, sometimes watching
movies or playing some games on the go (nothing too heavy but Baldur’s
Gate works more than fine). Browsing the web is tolerable but the
performance clearly encourages me to use a real computer instead,
which I prefer anyway but might otherwise endure due to sheer
Apart from the screen size, there is one more clear benefit over using
a smartphone here: a separate battery. I can carelessly use up all
the battery in this non-critical device while keeping my phone
operational. In the hindsight, this is the biggest benefit of a
tablet for me.
Amazon Fire HD 8 is absolutely crap …and I wouldn’t have it any
EDIT: For clarification, it is very possible to install Google
Services onto a Fire, they just aren’t there out of the box.