• Strong build
• Fast processing speeds
• Amazon store advantages
• Lacks customisation
• Low app selection
Amazon seemed very proud to announce the new Kindle Fire range and we can see why, they have a nice new design, fast speeds and the UI is uniquely Kindle. They’ve kept the cheap price too, so it is perfect for someone who just wants to browse and download from Amazon’s epic store.
Amazon’s ethos is never to sell a device for profit, as they want the profit to come from the user actually using the device and buying software and content. This makes the Kindle Fire HD one of the cheapest offers on the market, now we need to check if it is worth purchasing at all.
The Kindle Fire was a pretty good device, even though the major sales came from the fact is was about $300 cheaper than the iPad.
Amazon want to keep the Kindle Fire HD at the low price, but they’ve upgraded the design a little to make it feel less like a brick of plastic and more premium.
It is still made of plastic but has a nice rubbery back that allows the user to hold onto the device better. There are dual-stereo speakers on the back too, for better sound quality.
There is quite a lot of space on the front for users to hold their fingers, instead of having them on the screen and disorienting the touch UI. We believe this was a good decision, although it does make the screen look rather small.
The resolution of this device is 1280x800 and has the same pixels per inch as the Google Nexus 7, at 216.
While this isn’t as good as the iPad, we wouldn’t have expected this from a tablet $300 cheaper. It is still a good quality screen and one of the best one the market.
We found that sometimes colours can seem a little bit more washed out then they would on the Nexus 7, but it has sharper and more detailed images and sometimes we found the Nexus 7 over-saturated images, while the Kindle Fire HD doesn’t.
Amazon have tried to make it clear that while they are using a version of Android 4.0, it has been skinned and redesigned to look completely different and unique.
Now you have a carousel of items you’ve purchased all in order of what you most recently used. When not assorted, these can be apps, magazines and movies, but you can sort them for easier use.
The problem some users have is the ads that Amazon have added the Kindle Fire HD lock screen and the “other people who have read this” option, you can pull out the ads but the offers will stay.
In terms of content, that being movies, books, magazines and TV programs, the Kindle Fire HD store is second to none. Their book store is the largest and the TV and movie selection is very good.
LoveFilm is an Amazon product and so when you get the Kindle Fire HD it does come pre-loaded, although you still have to pay. It is a good streaming service.
There is tons of music on the store, enough to fill most taste buds. Amazon are improving their store and adding more content daily and we can honestly say it is the best content store out of all them.
Their only problem is app selection, the Android store is already weak enough without Amazon pushing away some of the apps. Amazon need to bolster their app selection and make developers add their tablet optimised apps to the Amazon store as well.
X-Ray is a new feature that allows people to stop a movie and check who is in that exact scene. While the feature is still being worked on it is impressive when you notice an actor’s face but not what he or she was off. This can also be used on books to check writers and characters.
WhisperSync is another feature but tailored only for books – it allows a user to switch from an audiobook to reading the book without having to find the correct line they were listening or reading on.
The Kindle Fire HD also has family settings to restrict kids from using or buying apps that they aren’t allowed to. It also has multiple user profiles so the whole family can use one
Currently, the Kindle Fire HD is only on WiFi version and Jeff Bezos has only said the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 model will come with 4G.
That being said, we do find that you can use a lot of your content offline and it doesn’t bar the experience not to be able to use the web.
Battery life is very good, ranging at about 7 to 9 hours, although it can go as high as 12 hours if you aren’t using the device very often.
We found that because of the Texas Instruments processor not being quad-core it actually reduces the amount of battery it needs.
Amazon have really shown they have what it takes to make an affordable but good looking tablet. With the biggest content store, the only reason you wouldn’t buy the Kindle is if you are a fierce app user or you want the 10-inch feel.
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