For years I’ve recommended the iPad over all other tablets. It’s versatile with an excellent assortment of apps available, but it’s expensive.

Recently, I’ve been testing Amazon’s latest $100 dollar Fire HD 8 tablet and it might be worth the savings under certain circumstances. Here’s why.

The Fire HD 8 was recently updated to be faster, thinner, lighter and have slightly longer battery life – Amazon rates it at 13 hours. There’s also USB-C for charging.

The tablet is a great, compact size with an 8-inch HD screen.

I highly recommend the optional folding cover, both to prop up the tablet and protect the screen. It’s about $30.

I tested the Plus version of the tablet, which costs $20 more and adds more RAM, a better rear camera, faster charging, and wireless charging. I’d recommend the extra $20 just for the extra gigabyte of RAM, which may speed up app loading and operation. There’s also kids version, too.

To test the tablet, I downloaded a bunch of video apps to the tablet and took it on my flights to Japan.

The first thing you notice is that the unlock screen features a distracting ad. You can pay Amazon $15 to get rid of this feature. It’s annoying but not a deal breaker.

I was surprised to learn that the home screen only allows a certain level of customization. You can’t delete some pre-installed apps or a carousel that displays recent items.

Search is Bing by default. In fact, Google is nowhere to be found on this tablet. You can’t even easily install popular Google apps like Maps, Gmail or YouTube. I say easily since more advanced users can follow some steps to install Google Play on this tablet and get these apps up and running. It’s possible, but it will take a bit of know-how.

You can use the web versions of the Google apps. Just be careful searching for Google apps in Amazon’s AppStore since there are a lot of imposters lurking in there.

Default storage on the Fire HD 8 is 32 or 64 gigabytes, but you can put in a memory card to expand that up to 1 terabyte.

Let me be clear: this is not a tablet for content creation. It’s a consumption device, and it’s perfectly fine for keeping you entertained.

I downloaded apps from Netflix, HBO Max, Disney Plus and Hulu. Apple TV+ isn’t supported at this time. I also found that the Amazon version of Paramount+ differed slightly than the version for iOS and regular Android because it wouldn’t allow me to download shows for offline viewing. I could only stream.

Otherwise, streaming and downloading works fine. The screen is bright enough, the audio is loud and if you can believe this, there’s even a headphone jack. A headphone jack in 2022!

If you’re an Amazon Prime member, this tablet really lets you take advantage of your membership. You can watch Prime video, read Kindle Books, listen to Audible, Amazon Music and even use Alexa to control your smart devices.

There’s also a new feature built in called Tap to Alexa which lets you interact with the assistant using touch versus voice. It’s an excellent accessibility and convenience feature.

There’s also a feature that let you type something into Alexa and the assistant will speak what you type out loud.

Overall, for $100, the Fire HD 8 is a great way to watch, listen and even play some simple games. Just don’t push this tablet too hard or you’ll start to see some of its limitations.