Tech Guide

Amazon's new tablet is easily the best you can buy for $150

The all-new Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet
Todd Haselton | CNBC
Key Points
  • The new Fire HD 10 is just $150 and is a really good tablet
  • It feels cheap, but the screen is nice and there's tons of content
  • You'll get the most out of it if you're an Amazon Prime subscriber

The new Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet is easily the best tablet you can buy for $150.

It's a no-frills tablet, much like its predecessor that carried the same name, but the sharper screen and on-demand support for Alexa turn the Fire HD 10 from a 'meh' first-generation product into a great tablet.

Folks who subscribe to Amazon Prime services will get the most out of it, but it's also a really solid tablet for kids or as a complementary device in households that might have people constantly fighting over an iPad.

Here's what you need to know.

The Fire HD 10 is cheap

Todd Haselton | CNBC

The Fire HD 10 is a large tablet with a 10-inch screen. It feels kind of cheap (because it is!). The body is made out of plastic, as are the buttons, and it certainly doesn't feel premium like an iPad. On the other hand, you can buy two of these for the price of an entry-level $329 iPad.

Even the buttons are cheapo
Todd Haselton | CNBC

The screen isn't anything to write home about, but it's crisp enough to read books and watch movies, which wasn't always true. It also gets nice and bright, though can be hard to read outdoors.

There's plenty of content... if you pay for Prime

The screen is sharp enough and has good viewing angles
Todd Haselton | CNBC

You'll get the most out of the Fire HD 10 if you subscribe to Amazon Prime, which gets you access to Amazon's libraries of movies, TV shows, music and more, in addition to the free two-day shipping for Amazon purchases.

All of that content is presented front and center on the Prime HD 10, which is basically a Trojan horse to get you using these services. In fact, I think that's why it's so affordable -- my guess is Amazon is basically giving these away at or close to cost, so that people consume and buy its digital content. (That's true for the Kindle, anyway.)

Aside from Amazon's Prime content, you can also download Android apps, including popular ones such as Spotify, Hulu and Netflix, in case you want to watch other content.

Get the 32GB model

It was just a hair big for my use-cases
Todd Haselton | CNBC

I recommend getting the cheapest 32GB model.

You don't want to pay the $40 premium for the $190 Amazon Fire HD 10 with 64GB of storage. There's a microSD card slot that allows you to add more memory; a 32GB microSD card can be purchased for about $13, and you can add even more.

Be aware that you might see ads -- this is another way Amazon makes money, but they're only on the lock screen and notification shade and can be swiped away.

Alexa at your fingertips

You can say "Hey Alexa" to pull up Alexa and ask for things like the weather
Todd Haselton | CNBC

The Fire HD 10 is the first Amazon tablet that allows you to speak to Alexa like you would an Amazon Echo. Just say "Hey Alexa" and it's at the ready to control your light bulbs (if you have a smart home), answer questions about the weather and more. Other Amazon tablets have Alexa built-in, buy you need to hold the home button to access it.

I like it so much I... 

The screen is a little large for reading books
Todd Haselton | CNBC

This is silly but it's true. I really liked the Fire HD 10 tablet but found that I was almost exclusively using it to read the news and books and it was just a bit big for reading. So, I ran out and bought the smaller (and older) Fire HD 8 tablet (it's just $80.)

I ended up buying the smaller Fire HD 8
Todd Haselton | CNBC

Most folks may want the bigger screen, especially for watching movies. The Fire HD 10 can also pull up Alexa by voice, instead of requiring a user to tap the home button as on the smaller Fire HD 8.

But the point is: I didn't realize how much I needed this kind of access to Amazon's ecosystem until I had it.

So if your family is looking for a new tablet for the kids to share, or you just want quick access to everything Amazon, seriously consider the Fire HD 10.

Can Amazon's Fire 10 tablet challenge Apple's iPad?