Why I Love My $79 Amazon Fire HD Tablet

I don't usually buy cheap. As a matter of fact, that's about as far from my behavior in tech gear as people who have known me will tell you. I've always bought (or overbought) the latest and greatest Apple gear. I would dive in and buy whatever was newest in Android, usually from Samsung, then OnePlus (I still do buy their gear for Android). I would almost always buy a Pixel from Google.

The rationale was simple, those brands build the best of the best, so paying more for it, meant I had the best. But when it comes to tablets, I haven't rushed out to buy a new iPad, as my iPad Pro 9.6 does all that I need. It's still is as fast as any iPad on the market, runs the apps I use, and can be my companion at dinner or when on the plane. But it's got one problem. Even at 10" with the case, it's just too big for me sometimes to tote around.

The iPad Mini is a better device for that, but price and performance wise, it's not justifiable anymore. It doesn't have the fastest processor, and it's not really a phone, even if I can add all the VoIP and Conferencing apps I use.  Even at $399 for a Wi-Fi only iPad Mini 4, it's over 4 times the cost of a tricked out; case carried, keyboard enhanced Amazon Fire HD 8.

But there's something else that has had me fall in love with the Amazon Fire HD 8. It's the audio and video quality when I cast to any Chromecast HD in the house.  It's fuller, richer and more robust than my iPad. Hands down. That and the facts that it's also so small and light and if it's damaged or stolen, I've lost all of $100 (case, keyboard included).

It's become my go-to jukebox to send music to my 4-year-old Samsung 43" SmartTV, and my two less than a year old TCL Roku 65" or 55" Toshiba Amazon Fire TV's that dot the house in different rooms. Each has Google Chromecast's or Android TVs, and even some have built-in Chromecast themselves. Video streams flawlessly. Audio hits the highs and lows, and by choosing the best quality, it's delivering the audio as good as any mobile device can.

When I take it with me on the go, I can tether to either my OnePlus 6T or iPhone 7. It connects quickly to Wi-Fi, and when I need to, I can always latch on to a Boingo powered hotspot.

Amazon's private label program for hardware doesn't end with the HD Fire for me. I also needed a soundbar to connect to my TV. While it's not the best on the market, it sure is good enough to do what I need, and priced at under $75.00 it sure fills the living room, enhancing the audio enough to keep me happy.

Here's the bottom line. Amazon's line of gear is value priced. Yes, you have trade-offs, but for where we've gone tech wise we don't need to buy only Apple to have what we need.