Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7″ review: does Amazon’s latest light a fire under the Nexus 7?
8 March 2014
Excerpt: Amazon changed the tablet game late last year with the introduction of the Kindle Fire , a $199 7-inch tablet that – while limited by a slim offering of apps and lower-end hardware – really upended the lower end of the market and proved a dramatic success. No other manufacturer could compete on both price and features until Google and Asus dropped the similarly priced Nexus 7 this summer.
Summary: To put a review of the Kindle Fire HD in perspective, you have to peer just a tiny bit into the past. It was barely a week ago that the world watched Amazon begin a magical transformation from that of a humble multinational that retails every product ever made in the world, to that of a consumer electronics powerhouse that wants to bring the fight to Apple on the tablet front.
Pros: Terrific display, Ecosystem with Prime is outstanding, Faster performance all around
Cons: Software can be buggy and sluggish, App selection is still weak, For lean-back experiences only
Conclusion: The first thing users will see when they take it out the box is a very plain, very ordinary looking tablet. It’s unimaginative design is deceptive to the point of doing the device a disservice, as once you switch it on you’re treated to a rich and diverse user experience unlike anything the competition say they may offer. With both the Kindle Fire and Fire HD, Amazon has changed what the sub-brand means and it’s as a result of the hardware on offer.
Pros: Beautiful 7-inch HD display, Excellent stereo sound, Vast library of content, Affordable
Cons: Clunky, generic design, Locked to Amazon apps and content, No expandable memory
Summary: Before anyone gets confused and starts comparing this with the likes of the Google Nexus 7 and the other Android tablets out there, it is imperative to specify that this tablet is made to work in the Amazon ecosystem. While it may be Android at the very basic level, the Amazon skin completely takes over. Excellent hardware and display make this a very good device to read text on, and the gaming performance is impressive.
Pros: Sharp and crisp 7-inch display, Good design and form factor, Intuitive Interface wrapped around Android, Unmatched e-book library, Amazon App Store is clean in terms of quality, Pre-registered with your Kindle account
Cons: Android fans will be disappointed, Every opened item adds to carousel, App Store still has some missing links, Power and volume keys are not designed very well
Excerpt: Amazon announced today that they have opened the doors of their Android appstore to nearly 200 countries worldwide. Previously it had only been accessible to those in the United States since launching in early 2011, and Japan and parts of Europe since fall 2012.
Excerpt: Amazon just introduced new lower prices for the entire line of 8.9″ Kindle Fire HD tablets. They also finally released them in Europe and Japan. Clearly the larger Kindle Fires haven’t been selling as well as Amazon had hoped. Amazon never releases Kindle sales figures, but the bestseller lists don’t lie.
Conclusion: Our bottom line here is pretty much the same as it was for the Kindle Fire HD 7: this is a good device for people deeply invested in Amazon’s products and services. It ties the books, apps, audiobooks, music, and other content together with a nice bow. Plus, no other tablets (except the iPads) offer access to Amazon’s video content. The $300 base price seems low, but isn’t as competitive as the Nook HD+, and that’s not even taking into account the No-Ads tax.
Pros: Excellent Dolby sound, Great access to Amazon content, Clear HD screen, Great battery life
Cons: Lockscreen ads are blatant and annoying, Amazon goes overboard upselling products, Interface is laggy at times, Limited to Amazon services & content, Amazon email/calendar apps don’t match Google’s, No homescreen customization
Summary: Final Thoughts
You know after spending a couple of weeks using the Amazon Kindle Fire HD I am actually more impressed than I thought I would be. This really is a sleek little tablet and honestly a tablet I would recommend for someone looking for a tablet to read, watch videos and do some web browsing on. I think there are two categories of people who purchase tablets. The casual crowd that use tablets to read, watch videos and do a few other things.
Pros: Powerful for its size, Amazon UI is perfect for first time users, HD screen, Tied into the Amazon ecosystem, 1 month of Amazon Prime included
Cons: Can only download applications from Amazon’s App store
Summary: The Kindle Fire HD, hardware-wise, is an amazing tablet. The build quality is good and the display is great. Even with its modest hardware specs, the tablet still performed well. Software-wise, Amazon’s UI looks amazing but sometimes feels confusing especially for someone who is used to a normal Android tablet layout.
Summary: The Kindle Fire HD is a solid choice for someone looking for something like an iPad but without the high price tag. If you're prepared to go for a slightly more complex tablet, the Nexus 7 is better though.
Cons: No offline Lovefilm videos; Slow browser; rivals have better specs.