At a glance
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
Amazon Fire HD 8
|Dimensions||169 x 117 x 9.1 mm||214 x 128 x 9.7 mm|
|Storage||4GB||16GB / 32GB|
Amazon's Fire HD 8 has a decent screen, great battery life, and impressive overall performance. The camera isn't great, but for a tablet that costs as little as £85 - it's far from a deal breaker.
The Fire HD tablet can be used for watching videos, playing games, reading books, and even work or study tasks like word processing or budgeting, as we look at in our dedicated review of the Fire HD.
By contrast, the Kindle Paperwhite is very much a one-trick pony - focused solely on making the reading experience as pleasant as possible.
Fortunately, the Paperwhite does this very well. Compared with the Fire HD 8, the Paperwhite has a better screen resolution as well as being lighter, easier to hold, and much easier on the eyes during prolonged use.
Winner: The Fire HD 8 is £20 cheaper than the Kindle Paperwhite.
The 32GB version of the Fire HD 8 is currently reduced to just under £85, making it great value considering the smaller 16GB version now costs £5 more.
By contrast, the Kindle Paperwhite can be purchased for just under £110. The more expensive 3G version costs £170, but quite uniquely offers mobile Internet access without additional charges.
If you want to remove ads from the sleep screen on either device, you'll need to pay £10 more.
Side-by-side: Amazon's Fire HD 8 versus the Kindle Paperwhite
Design and build
Winner: The Paperwhite is the more aesthetically pleasing device - it's smaller, sleeker and weighs less in the hand.
Both devices are solidly built with the same textured, hard-wearing plastic.
The Kindle Paperwhite is more shaped for comfortable holding
The Fire HD 8 is larger and more slab-like than the Paperwhite, being 45mm taller and 11mm wider.
Although it's just a fraction of a millimetre thinner, the Paperwhite feels much more slender than the Fire HD 8 - largely thanks to its tapered edges.
The Kindle Paperwhite is thinner and lighter than the Fire HD
The Paperwhite is also the lighter of the two devices - by 152g. It may not sound like a lot, but it is. The extra weight makes the Fire HD 8 uncomfortable to use one-handed.
Winner: The Paperwhite's resolution of 300 ppi is much higher than the Fire HD 8's 189 ppi, and it's easier on the eye too.
The Paperwhite screen is created using e-ink as opposed to the LCD display found in the Fire HD 8.
The Kindle Paperwhite has a back light and high pixel count for crisp reading
Because the display doesn't need to be backlit, it reduces eye strain and makes reading for extended periods of time much easier.
Although the Paperwhite does have its own light, this is technically more of a side light than that found in LCD screens, which direct light into your eyes.
The Paperwhite also has a far better resolution than the Fire HD 8, with crisper text as a result.
However, the Paperwhite is obviously limited in what it can do. After all, it's an e-reader, not a tablet.
The Fire HD 8's screen is actually pretty good, despite its seemingly low resolution (1,280 x 800). You can make it nice and bright, which makes up for some of the slight fuzziness.
Its biggest downside is the reflection from the glass, which can be rather off-putting.
The Fire HD offers a more typical tablet screen
Winner: The Fire HD's battery lasts longer than the Paperwhite's when both devices are used as e-readers.
We found that the Paperwhite's battery lasts for just over 20 hours of solid reading. This tallies with the 21 hours claimed by Amazon.
We found that the Fire HD 8's battery went down by 4% after an hour's reading. If we extrapolate this, you should be able to get 25 hours use before it runs out.
The Paperwhite, by contrast, lasts for approximately 21 hours of reading.
Both devices are charged via the USB port at the bottom, and neither support fast-charging.
The Paperwhite is the quickest to charge, taking around four hours to the Fire HD 8's six.
Winner: The Amazon Fire HD 8 ships with dual-band Wi-fi and Bluetooth.
While both devices have Wi-fi, the Fire HD 8 offers superior dual-band connectivity - a feature not usually found on cheap tablets.
The inclusion of Bluetooth 4.1 LE on the Fire HD 8 also means you can connect to speakers and headphones wirelessly.
It's a little strange that the Paperwhite doesn't offer this feature, as the cheaper ordinary Kindle does.
A useful feature of the Paperwhite is its being able to connect to a 3G network when Wi-fi isn't available. This doesn't mean you can make calls, but it does mean you can buy books.
The Fire HD comes with a microSD slot for extra storage
Summary: Kindle Paperwhite vs Fire HD 8
Overall winner: the Fire HD 8 gives you more for your money, though the Paperwhite is better if you're looking for a dedicated e-reader.
The Fire HD 8 is excellent value - more so if you opt for the 16GB version (which can be expanded anyway via MicroSD).
It's robust enough to survive life with children around, yet performs well enough that it can be enjoyed by adults too.
You can browse the internet, take photos, play games, read books, listen to music - all in a swipe or two.
The addition of Alexa means that Prime members can also manage the various Amazon apps using their voice.
However, if it's reading you're interested in, then the Fire HD 8 can't match the Kindle Paperwhite.
Amazon has been making Kindles for more than a decade and they've pretty much nailed it with the Paperwhite.
It's easy to forget that you're using it - the device is light, easy to hold and easy to read. It also trumps older Kindles by having its own light, so you can read in the dark.
If you're a reader, then buy the Paperwhite. The Fire HD 8 can't double as an e-reader, however admirably it performs as an budget all-round tablet.