Each model uses a variant of the Android OS that’s tilted heavily toward accessing Amazon services but is also good for streaming video and reading. The particularly important feature here is Show Mode, which makes the tablet act like a hands-free Echo Show smart display, displaying the time and responding to Alexa queries. The new gray Fire HD 8 Plus has more RAM, wireless charging, and a slightly higher-powered charger. That wireless charging, along with the optional charging dock, really makes a difference here, turning the Fire HD 8 Plus into an Echo Show you can take with you. The audio isn’t nearly as good as that of a real Echo Show, but that’s a fair trade-off for portability.
I’ve never been a big fan of wireless charging, but with this device, I get it. The HD 8 Plus works with a matching gray-plastic dock ($30 if sold with the tablet, $40 alone), which can prop the tablet up in a comfortable horizontal or vertical position. The dock becomes a key part of the tablet’s life as a quasi-Echo Show, sitting on your kitchen counter or by your bedside to give you the news, show recipes, or control your smart home throughout the day.
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