+ Excellent speakers
+ HD glare resistant screen
+ Long battery life
+ Cloud sync
+ Dual band wi-fi
- No rear camera
- Not many apps HD compatible yet
- Touchscreen not as responsive as iPad
- Advertisements worked into the OS
The Kindle Fire HD is the 2nd generation tablet released by Amazon.
Kindle Fire HD Photos
- 1280×800 HD display with polarizing filter and anti-glare technology for rich color and deep contrast from any viewing angle
- Exclusive Dolby audio and dual-driver stereo speakers for immersive, virtual surround sound
- World’s first tablet with dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi for 40% faster downloads and streaming
- High performance 1.2 Ghz dual-core processor with Imagination PowerVR 3D graphics core for fast and fluid performance
- Over 22 million movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, books, audiobooks, and popular apps and games such as Facebook, Netflix, Twitter, HBO GO, Pandora, and Angry Birds Space
- Integrated support for Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo! and more, as well as Exchange calendar, contacts, and email
- Free Skype video calls with front-facing HD camera
- Free unlimited cloud storage for all your Amazon content
- Kindle FreeTime – a personalized tablet experience just for kids. Set daily screen limits, and give access to appropriate content for each child. Free on every Kindle Fire HD. Coming next month
- Prime Instant Video – unlimited, instant streaming of thousands of popular movies and TV shows
- Kindle Owners’ Lending Library – Kindle owners can choose from more than 180,000 books to borrow for free with no due dates, including over 100 current and former New York Times best sellers and all 7 Harry Potter books.
Amazon stepped into the touchscreen tablet game in November 2011 with the original Kindle Fire and now have released their 2nd generation multimedia tablet the Kindle Fire HD. They have revamped the hardware and have added on several different size and storage options. We got some hands on time with the 7″ Kindle Fire HD so this review will be based off the 7″ model only though there shouldn’t be too many differences between the 7″ and the 8.9″.
Cosmetic Appeal & Design
The basic design and look hasn’t changed all too much from the original Kindle Fire, but it is noticeably sleeker. The device still features the same rubberized back which keeps it nice and snug in your hand at all times. The tablet feels substantial enough to feel of high quality, but is not necessary heavy by any means. We did notice the power and volume buttons were very stiff and difficult to push. This may be due to the fact that the product was brand new and needed to be “worn it”, but it was noticeable enough to note. Though not a deal breaker we were fairly surprised to see that Amazon did not add a rear facing camera (similar to the iPad) to the 2nd generation Kindle Fire. They likely did this to cut down production expenses in an effort to keep the retail price of the device down.
Features & Function
The Kindle Fire HD has been revamped internally which provides a significant boost in the speed and efficiency of the tablet. The operating system is a customized “Ice Cream Sandwich” version of Android. We experienced a pleasantly long battery life that coupled with the portability of the 7″ model makes for a great device to carry on the go. The front facing camera works well as expected and is great for making video calls using the Skype application. Since the size storage size of the device is often a factor for some users, it is a great advantage to be able to use the free and unlimited cloud sync to store all your Amazon content (such as eBooks, Amazon MP3s, or downloadable Prime content.
Dolby Digital Plus technology has been added to the tablet to add superior audio quality. The audio quality of this tablet is truly one of the best on the market currently especially at the $200 price point. A new HD glare-resistant screen is the most obvious upgraded feature in this 2nd generation Kindle Fire. The clarity of the screen really is stunning and the glare-resistant technology is impressive to say the least. We were a bit disappointed in the screen responsiveness similarly to the original Kindle Fire. It’s touch capability functions properly, but is considerably less smooth and responsive than the iPad. Amazon has hyped up the fact that this is the one of the first tablets to offer dual band Wi-Fi support and it also features two antennas. Though it’s a nice feature to have included, the speed difference wasn’t all that significant and the average user probably wouldn’t notice.
Our biggest gripe with Amazon’s new Kindle Fire HD tablet? Simple, the addition of advertisements in the operating system. What we mean by this is that Amazon has chosen to fill parts of the operating system such as the lock screen with additional advertising in order to offset the cost of the device. So while you’re using your device you will get advertisements and “special deals” within the user interface. After shelling out $200 of our hard earned money for a multimedia device, the last thing most consumers want to see is annoying advertising invading the use of their device. We didn’t like it and I’m sure most of you wouldn’t either. The positive side of this issue is that you are able to remove these advertisements by paying an additional $15 fee.
Overall Value & Final Thoughts
To sum up our thoughts on the Kindle Fire HD we think it is a quality product at a reasonable price. We were happy with many of the changes compared to the previous model, but we were very disappointed with the additional advertisements that are worked into the operating system. We would like to see Amazon provide a wall charging cable instead of just a USB cable (without a USB adapter). Another gripe we had with this device is that since its HD compatibility is so new, the vast majority of the applications are not updated with the resolution therefore the HD screen is very useful at this time. How does the Kindle Fire HD compare to the iPad? Well honestly the 7″ model cannot really be compared. This is because they are similar in the way they look and function, they serve different general purposes. The iPad is an all around versatile tablet that can pretty much replace the need for a laptop in the vast majority of instances. The Kindle Fire HD on the other hand is a device that is primarily focused on multimedia. It is great for gaming and watching movies, but realistically it does not have the capabilities that the Apple iPad harnesses. We do love the fact that Amazon is the mastermind behind this product since as many of you know their customer support is top notch!