Amazon Fire HD 8 review: easily the best tablet you can buy for £80

amazon fire hd 8 review

Amazon’s bigger, 8in HD version of its rock-bottom tablet, the Fire HD 8, has always played second fiddle to the £50 Fire 7, but not any more.

Fatter, heavier but cheaper

Unlike the new Fire 7 tablet, the 2017 Fire HD 8 is actually thicker and heavier than the previous version, weighing 28g more and being 0.5mm thicker at just under 1cm deep.

Side-by-side with 2015’s Fire HD 8 it’s hard to see any difference. The outside is still hardwearing plastic, the sides and corners still rounded, but now it comes in a collection of bright colours.

The back is one solid-feeling piece of textured plastic.
The back is one solid-feeling piece of textured plastic. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian

Amazon claims it’s twice as durable as Apple’s iPad mini 4 and it certainly feels like it could take a knock or two without much issue. At 369g, it weighs as much as a large paperback.


One of the best bits about the Fire HD 8 is its speakers, which are mounted in the side (or top if held in landscape orientation) and produce fairly good, clear and loud audio, for a tablet. They were pretty good for watching a TV show while cooking, and make using Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa – which is now built into the tablet – much more like the experience you might get from an Echo Dot than the tinny speaker of the Fire 7.

The 8in, 720p screen is good but not great. Text is crisper than on the Fire 7, but still not up to the standards you might expect of a modern smartphone or premium tablet. It has good viewing angles, solid colours and is bright enough to be watched indoors, but struggles a bit outdoors.

I found reading on it surprisingly good though it’s nowhere near as clear and sharp as an e-reader. The integrated Blue Shade feature helps keep reading at night comfortable by reducing brightness and the amount of blue light emitted by the screen.


  • Screen: 8in (1280 x 800) LCD (189ppi)
  • Processor: 1.3GHz quad-core
  • RAM: 1.5GB of RAM
  • Storage: 16GB; microSD slot also available
  • Operating system: Fire OS 5 based on Android 5 Lollipop
  • Camera: 2MP rear camera, 0.3MP front-facing camera
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi n, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 214 x 128 x 9.7 mm
  • Weight: 369g

A day’s battery

The microSD card slot is in the side of the tablet for if you need more storage than 16 or 32GB.
The microSD card slot is in the side of the tablet for if you need more storage than 16 or 32GB. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian

The new Fire HD 8 has the same 1.3GHz quad-core processor and 1.5GB of RAM as the last one, and performs similarly. It will handle most apps and games perfectly fine, if with slightly longer load times and slower frame rates than you might be used to on a top-end smartphone.

It is not what I would call snappy, but the Fire HD 8 scrolled, launched apps and switched between apps without any moments of lag that made me question whether I actually tapped a button or not.

With the brightness set at around 70%, the Fire HD 8 easily lasted long enough between charges to view three movies with a bit of light internet use in between and battery to spare. Playing games hurt the battery life a bit more, as did setting the brightness to max, but all in you’ll get around a day’s usage out of the HD 8. Charging it took forever, though, at around six hours, so best done overnight.

Fire OS 5.4

Alexa integration is the highlight of Amazon’s new version of Fire OS.

OnePlus 5 review: The best flagship killer asks for more

The OnePlus 5 bolsters the firm’s flagship-killing heritage, but raises the price

Lengthy battery life
Blazingly fast performance
Beautiful new design
Rising cost

OnePlus, it seems, has suffered from a severe case of tetraphobia. That is, the superstitious fear of using the number 4. The Chinese manufacturer’s latest isn’t called the OnePlus 4, as you’d expect the phone succeeding the OnePlus 3T to be called. No, this is the OnePlus 5, and it’s the best (if most expensive) smartphone the firm has ever produced.

OnePlus may have been overly cautious with its name, but not so much when keeping key details under wraps prior to the official unveiling. Again, and not uncommon for 2017, little was left to the imagination ahead of Tuesday’s launch – we knew everything. Don’t let that stop your excitement, though: there’s plenty on offer that makes the OnePlus 5 a worthy contender for phone of the year.

READ NEXT: Best smartphone 2017

OnePlus 5 review: Tl;dr

The OnePlus 5 is a flagship killer. Designed to undercut the likes of Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Apple’s iPhone 7 by a considerable margin, without sacrificing neither looks nor performance. Launched in June: the OnePlus 5 is a 5.5in smartphone with an AMOLED Full HD screen and a dual-lens camera that doesn’t look out of place on the shelf next to those other, top-dollar smartphones launched in 2017.

OnePlus 5 review: Price and competition

Essential to the OnePlus 5’s lasting appeal lies in its more wallet-pleasing asking price. At £449, OnePlus’ sixth smartphone undermines the mortgage-inducing price tag of its flagship competitors.

However, 2017 has already been a phenomenal year for flagship-killing alternatives. There’s Samsung’s Galaxy A5 mid-ranger, complete with a 22-hour battery life for just £293. The Honor 8 is still kicking about, too, with its brilliant low-light camera at £370. That, and the OnePlus 3T can be picked up for £400.

OnePlus 5 review: Design

At first glance, the OnePlus 5 looks like typical smartphone fare. You can’t veer too far from a black rectangle after all, and it looks eerily similar to Huawei’s P10 (and the iPhone 7 it imitates).

It’s a bold new look for OnePlus nonetheless. In keeping with Apple’s minimalism, there’s the aluminium unibody design, with just a handful of distinguishing features, including a dual-lens camera protrusion on the back. Rest assured – that beloved “do not disturb” switch makes another appearance on the left edge, too.

Next to it, you’ll find the volume rocker, and on the opposite side, the power button. A 3.5mm headset jack is at the bottom (phew) sitting next to a solitary USB Type-C with Dash Charge support and a central fingerprint scanner as before. This is the skinniest OnePlus yet, measuring just 7.25mm, and it feels phenomenal in the hand.

OnePlus 5 review: Performance and battery life

As the leaks suggested, the OnePlus 5’s internal architecture comes from Qualcomm’s latest 2.45GHz Snapdragon 835 chip, up from the 2.35GHz Snapdragon 831 inside the 3T. It will be a near-perfect multi-tasker with a generous 6- or 8GB of RAM, with storage options starting at 64GB.

It’s no surprise then, that the OnePlus 5 is one of the best performers we’ve seen thus far. In short, as you can see by the graph below, the OnePlus 5 is near-identical to Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and the HTC U11 in both single-core and multi-core performance, with the OnePlus edging slightly ahead. Fantastic then, considering the OnePlus 5 is almost £200 cheaper than its identical performers.

Likewise, the OnePlus’ graphics performance is more than good enough to handle anything Google Play throws at it. Again, as the below chart proves, the OnePlus 5’s on-screen result is identical to the iPhone 7 Plus’, and beats the Galaxy S8 by a considerable margin. Why’s this? Well, the S8’s added screen resolution plays a massive part, having to render at 2,960 x 1,440 resolution rather than the OnePlus’ 1,920 x 1,080 – i.e double the amount of pixels.

The last thing to test, and crucially the most important, is the OnePlus’ battery life. Longevity is the biggest thing people look for when making their smartphone buying decision these days, and the OnePlus 5 doesn’t disappoint.


Best Robot Vacuums 2017

Vacuuming sucks. Literally. Who wouldn’t want a robot vacuum to take over the brunt of this odious chore? These little droids, which range in price from $100 to more than $1,000, can free up time to do other chores. That’s why it’s not all that surprising that robot vacuums make up 20 percent of the worldwide vacuum market, according to iRobot’s CEO.

Before you buy, you need to decide if you’re looking for a simple duster of floors or a heavy-duty piece of machinery. This will help determine how much you spend. You’ll also want to take into account the size of the dustbin, to determine how often you’ll need to empty it. If you’re interested in a robot vacuum, this guide will help you find the droids you’re looking for.

Currently, the Roomba 650, Amazon’s top-selling robot vacuum, is on sale for $299, which is almost $100 off its regular price. If you’re looking for something less expensive, the iLife A4 costs just $179, has two side brushes, and will automatically dock when it needs to be recharged.

Before you purchase a robot vacuum, there are a number of things you’ll want to consider, such as room size and what you’ll be vacuuming. We’ve put together a handy robot vacuum buying guide to help you determine your needs.

Latest Robot Vacuum News

iRobot announced two new robot vacuums, the Roomba 890 and the Roomba 690, both of which will be connected to Wi-Fi, so that owners can control them from their Android or iOS devices to schedule cleanings, or start and stop the vacuums. Previously, this feature had only been available with its top-of-the-line Roomba 980. The Roomba 690, which is the successor to the Roomba 650, will start at $375, and will be available by the summer. The Roomba 890, whose price has not been announced, will be available later this year.

Additionally, all Wi-Fi-connected Roombas are compatible with Alexa and Google Home (in the U.S. only), so that consumers can start and stop cleanings using Amazon’s or Google’s voice assistant. Other commands include asking the status of the Roomba, locating the vacuum, and telling the vacuum to return to its dock. The Roomba app will also let you control more than one vacuum, though you’ll have to assign them different names.

Here are our favorite robot vacuums.

There’s a reason the brand name “Roomba” has become nearly synonymous with robot vacuums: quality. iRobot’s Roomba 880, combines top-notch vacuuming and navigation technology. It also comes with a HEPA-filter, which means it can collect and contain particles finer than the width of a human hair.

Using the accompanying remote control, you can set a number of preprogrammed cleaning settings, change them in the middle of a vacuuming cycle or take control for spot cleaning yourself. The Roomba 880 also comes with two devices called Lighthouses that you can put around your house to help guide the vacuum or prevent it from accessing certain areas.

What owners are saying about the iRobot Roomba 880

Likes: Amazon customers love how well the iRobot Roomba 880 works on almost any surface and that the device has no brush bristles to clean. They agree that this machine is a great choice for busy people who just don’t have time for vacuuming. One reviewer says, “I have finally found a reliable housekeeper!”

Dislikes: People like that the iRobot Roomba 880 recharges itself, but complain that the battery doesn’t last long enough. Other common complaints include that the device clogs, lacks quality suction and needs to be emptied often, even when not full. One owner says, “If you have dogs that sheds, this unit is worthless.”

Amazon’s top-selling indoor robot vacuum, the Roomba 650 is the company’s mid-range model has a 3-stage cleaning system that’s good for everything from pet hair to cereal. At 3.6 inches high, it should fit under most furniture, and it can be scheduled to clean up to seven times per week. When it’s done, it automatically returns to its dock to recharge.

What owners are saying about the Roomba 650

Likes: “Roomba did a good job covering an awkward area. We captured a full bin of hair from the dogs…The bin was full of fur and even captured some large dog food nuggets.” said one reviewer. Another commented “I have 3 kids and 1 chocolate lab. I spent a lot of time vacuuming dog hair up and food the kids dropped. iRobot Roomba has saved me a lot of time!”

Dislikes: “It covers the same area a lot while missing others and seems to like to climb obstacles it shouldn’t,” said one person. Others complained that it would get lost, and not find its way back to the charging station.


Tubelight Movie Review: Salman Gives A Good Performance But Not His Best!

Tubelight Movie Review: Rating: 2/5 Stars (Two stars)

Tubelight Star Cast: Salman Khan, Zhu Zhu, Sohail Khan, Om Puri, Matin Rey Tangu

Tubelight Director: Kabir Khan

Tubelight Review
Tubelight Review

What’s Good: SRK’s cameo, Salman’s act in the last scene, the extra-sweet Matin, camerawork, the songs Main Agar and Kintu Parantu.

What’s Bad: Weak script, predictable climax, lack of emotional connect.

Loo Break: Yes.

Watch or Not?: Only if you are a diehard Salman Khan fan

In a small town called Jagatpur in Kumaon, Laxman Singh Bisht (Salman Khan), a slow-witted person grows up under the able protection of his loving and caring younger brother Bharat Singh Bisht (Sohail Khan). While others tease Laxman, bully him and call him Tubelight, Bharat shuts them up and protects his brother whenever needed.

Everything was going fine till suddenly a war breaks out – The Sino-Indian war of 1962. Bharat and other youngsters from the town join the Indian army and go to the front to fight. Laxman also tries to join the army but fails the physical test and hence he stays back at home. This leaves Laxman alone, who is innocent, vulnerable and unable to protect himself.

An Indian woman of Chinese origin Lee Ling (Zhu Zhu) comes from Calcutta to stay there with her little son Guwo (Matin Ray Tangu). While Laxman hates them at first, he is forced to follow the Gandhian principle of befriending who you consider your enemy by Banne Chacha (Om Puri). That’s how Lee and Guwo turn Laxman’s only friends in a place where others were mostly unkind in their approach towards him or simply ignore his antics.

Laxman keeps asking the army chief posted there, Major Rajveer Tokas (Yashpal Sharma) when will his brother return from war to which he cannot offer a suitable reply. While others fear Bharat is dead by now, Laxman’s yakeen (faith) keeps him going. Banne Chacha tells him that faith can even move mountains, which Laxman takes very literally and tries to do that. At the same time, he keeps believing that his brother, who has been captured by the Chinese army, will return from the front and declares that he will get Bharat back with his ‘yakeen’.

Tubelight Movie Review
Tubelight Movie Review

Tubelight Movie Review: Script Analysis

The story is hugely inspired by American war-drama film Little Boy with minor changes here and there and the makers give due credit to the original.

Tubelight is a movie, the story of which is relevant in the tensed times of today but the script looks weak. The plot seems to have lost in maze while looking for a purpose. Laxman’s character is not properly scripted and leaves you with many questions. There are several unnecessary characters without whom the film would do equally well.

Also, I failed to understand why Banne chacha almost forces Laxman to befriend Lee Ling and her son in the beginning.The ending is predictable and the climax could be a little more interesting.

Tubelight Movie Review: Star Performance

Salman puts up a nice performance but this is surely not one of his best. His chemistry with real life brother Sohail is endearing. Salman’s act in the last scene to bring a comatose person to sense, reminded me of Kamal Haasan’s act in Sadma to make Sridevi recognize him.

Sohail Khan pulls off an average performance. The lack of expressions on his face is noticeable.

Shah Rukh Khan excels in his cameo and I would like to mention his makeup artiste Arun Indulkar for the brilliant makeup! Yes, you would not want to take your eyes off him in those 8-10 minutes!

Late actor Om Puri delivers a nice performance.

Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub and Brijendra Kala are good actors but the script fails to utilize them properly.

Yashpal Sharma is impressive as the army Major.

Child actor Matin Ray Tangu is extremely cute and talented and you wouldn’t want to take your eyes off him but then he doesn’t have much to do in the film. The same goes for the pretty Chinese actress Zhu Zhu, who makes her Bollywood debut with this fil


Review: The OnePlus 5 is the best phone you’ll find under $500 (and perhaps more)

With the OnePlus 3 and 3T, OnePlus really hit its stride. The company that first marketed its budget-friendly phones as so remarkable to be better than everyone else’s flagships had toned back some of the hyperbolic language and let its devices speak for themselves.

Story image for Best Reviews from TNW

That was the right move. OnePlus buyers tend to be a bit more tech-savvy than the average Android user, as you can’t just buy the device from a local carrier. The company’s allure lied in its bang-for-your-buck value and clean Android experience, even if it didn’t offer much in the way of groundbreaking features.

The OnePlus 5 tries to up the ante further, adding dual cameras, a streamlined design, and small touches of polish throughout. It comes at a small price hike – it now starts at at $479, instead of $439 – but it’s still far cheaper than most of the competition. That’s pretty remarkable, because the OnePlus 5 is one of the finest Android phones you can buy, at any price point.

Key specs and features

  • Snapdragon 835 Processor
  • 6/8 GB RAM 64/128 GB Storage
  • LPDD4X RAM, UFS 2.1 storage
  • 16 MP main, 20 MP telephoto cameras
  • Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX HD
  • NFC
  • 5.5-inch 1080p AMOLED display
  • sRGB, DCI-P3 coverage
  • Gorilla Glass 5
  • 3,300 mAh battery
  • USB Type-C (2.0), headphone jack
  • Slate Grey (it’s kinda blue-ish) and Midnight Black colors
  • Android 7.1.1
  • 7.25mm thick


First things first: Sorry, I don’t really see the iPhone resemblance. For those not keeping track, OnePlus received some pre-release flak from the press (including TNW) and fans for apparently aping the iPhone 7. But outside of a web render, the OnePlus 5 looks and feels totally different – and better, if you ask me.

While there’s some superficial similarity from the dual-camera arrangement and curved antenna lines, the shape is quite different. The iPhone 7 has a flat back with rounded sides, while the OnePlus 5 has a curved back and flat sides that are more comfortable and feel more secure. I don’t really think anyone would mistake the two devices in person.


The Full Nerd episode 25: Core i9 review, build an Xbox One X PC, and Creative’s 32-bit sound card

In this week’s The Full Nerd, Gordon Mah Ung, Brad Chacos, Alaina Yee, and Adam Patrick Murray discuss Intel’s new Core i9-7900X ($1,000 on Newegg). This 10-core beast is the most powerful processor ever released, but is it a must buy? We dig in.

The gang also digs into Creative’s Sound BlasterX AE5 ($150 on Newegg), the first 32-bit sound card for consumers, and whether or not sound cards are worthwhile for PC gamers in the first place. (Spoiler: It depends.) Then we try to build an Xbox One X-beating PC for the same $500 price tag as Microsoft’s cutting-edge console. It gets bleak fast—but not as bleak as the current state of emergency around graphics cards.

And as always, we wrap thing ups by answering several questions straight from you.

We’ve embedded the full video above, or you can watch Full Nerd episode 25 on YouTube. If you prefer just the audio, you can also listen to the Full Nerd on Soundcloud.

You can subscribe to The Full Nerd in iTunes (please leave a review if you enjoy the show). We’re also on Stitcher, Google Play, or you can point your favorite podcast-savvy RSS reader to:

Have a PC- or gaming-related question? [email protected] we’ll try to answer it in the next episode, and be sure to follow PCWorld on Facebook or YouTube to watch the show live and pick our brains in real time.


Jeep Compass bookings open

Jeep Compass bookings open

Bookings for the third offering from Jeep, the Compass, have commenced for an amount of Rs 50,000. The upcoming SUV can be booked either on the carmaker’s official Indian website or at the FCA or the Jeep-exclusive showroom. We have driven the upcoming Compass and you can read about it over here.

The Compass is the third vehicle from Jeep in India, after the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee and the first one to be locally assembled in the country. To keep its cost in check, Jeep commenced the production of the Compass at their Ranjangaon facility with around 65 per cent localisation. The Compass will be available in three trims and two engine options with either two-wheel or four-wheel configuration. The American SUV will be available in five body paint colour options.

The Compass in India will have two engine options – the 160bhp Multi-air 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine and the 170bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel. Transmission options include a six-speed synchromesh unit while the automatic transmission is a seven-speed dual dry-clutch unit. The 4.4 variant will feature the Jeep Active Drive and Selec-Terrain Traction Management System for off-road credentials. It is also the first vehicle in its segment to feature an Electric Parking Brake (EPB), which will be available as standard across the segment.

Jeep asserts that the Compass comes with more than 50 safety and security features. Equipment list includes frequency selective damping (FSD), electronic stability control (ESC), ABS with EBD, dynamic steering torque, hill start assist, adaptive brake lights, panic brake assist as standard across the range. It will also get dual front airbags as a standard fitment. The top Limited variant boasts of six airbags with dual-stage passenger airbags.

Kevin Flynn, president and managing director, FCA India, announcing the opening of bookings, said, “We are already receiving an overwhelming response to our new SUV. We have pulled out all stops to deliver the highest quality standard on the Jeep Compass and we are here to set a benchmark in the Indian SUV space. Customers will experience first-hand, the level of sophistication in the vehicle.”