Kindle Fire HD Review
What happens when the oddball sleeper hit gets a big budget sequel? Today we take the newest Kindle, the Kindle Fire HD, out for a spin, in order to find out...
By Chris Messenger | Published 10/11/2012
Amazing display. Great resolution
Fluid ecosystem. Everything Amazon
Great alternative to iPad
Crazy low price of £159
Web browsing experience is below par
Lacks many of iPad's standard features
App store offerings are very slim
No rear camera
Apple’s iPad is the biggest selling tablet computer ever. Surprised? No, neither was I. But you might be when you hear that the Amazon Kindle Fire is right after it.
At the time of its release, I deemed the Kindle Fire to be a standard, reliable tablet that offered a good product at a great price. In fact, I still do. Somehow, without being especially showy or glamorous, the Kindle Fire proved itself to be a massive success. So what happens when the oddball sleeper hit gets a big budget sequel?
Today we take the newest Kindle, the Kindle Fire HD, out for a spin, in order to find out...
The 8.9-inch version of the Kindle Fire HD is something of a beast. It runs Android 4.0, it has up to 32GB of memory, it employs a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor and has a beautiful screen, perfect for movies or books.
In addition, the Kindle Fire’s successor has a dual-antenna for picking up WiFi signals, making it one of the best tablets for Internet use in the world. Oh, it even has a special built-in sound system designed by Dolby Surround. Once again, it isn’t the highest performance tablet around, but this time it is pretty close.
I am pleased to tell you that the Kindle Fire HD is still an affordable tablet, even with all the new features added on. For just under £200, you can get all of the above and a whole lot more. It’s a sense of value that really makes everything that much better.
The Kindle Fire HD performs very well. Movie/web playback is great, the eReader is superlative and the Internet access is generally fast and reliable. The HDMI output works like a charm and delivers true HD that is simply stunning to behold. The sound on the HD’s media playback is detailed and clear and the overall feel is of a much more expensive tablet.
Integrated support for Twitter, Facebook and various other bits and bobs is a welcome feature, as is the extra-long battery life, which seems to go on longer than the Duracell Bunny’s wedding night.
A minor drawback comes from the fact that Amazon won’t let you permanently download movies if you’re a citizen of the UK. Apparently our cousins across the pond can, but we’re not allowed, for some reason! You can upload your own movies, but those taken from iTunes won’t work. LOVEfilm seems to be your only option. In fact, the biggest problems with the new Fire are all to do with a lack of content. You have a beautiful screen, with great sound and the memory to process whatever you need and then most of that content is annexed from the user via greedy corporate BS? Sort it out, Amazon!
What Other Users Say
You’d expect Amazon.co.uk to be suspiciously positive in their opinions of Amazon’s flagship product, but the reviews are actually more of a mixed bag than I was expecting. Reviews like those published by ‘Dant’ (5/5), ‘Stormcat’ (5/5), ‘MarieJ30’ (5/5) and ‘Von’ (5/5) are all gushing with praise and satisfied customer-ness.
However, the Kindle Fire HD has its critics as well and users like ‘A. Murphy’ (1/5), ‘Craig Cable’ (1/5) and ‘Rosco’ (3/5) all criticize, amongst other things, the lack of movie availability, lack of camera and a general feeling that the default Internet browser ‘Amazon Silk’ is anything but smooth.
Overall, of 842 reviews, 457 of them are listed at 4/5 or higher. This is actually not quite the score I would expect, especially since my own experiences were so positive.
Despite a lack of content and the usual hiccups, the Kindle Fire HD is a massive improvement on its predecessor and is, in terms of price, efficiency and reliability, probably the best value tablet around today. If you’re looking for a high spec, yet affordable, tablet, it should come down to a choice between this and the Nexus.
All in all, the Kindle Fire HD is a meticulously designed tablet that at once builds on a strong past and paves the way for an even stronger future. An excellent tablet that offers great value, great performance and much more besides.
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