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Kindle Fire HD Review

by Harry Becker

Amazon’s Kindles have come a long way since the original, black-and-white E-readers of yore. The new Kindle Fire HD is an all-purpose tablet, capable for emailing, web-browsing, streaming videos and gaming.

Kindle Fire HD

 

It comes in two models. The first has a 16GB memory and retails for £159. The second comes with a 32GB and retails for £199. Both models come with unlimited cloud storage for Amazon media.

Straight out of the box, the Fire has a sleek, minimalist design. The only noticeable feature on the tablet’s shiny surface is the 1.3 mega-pixel front-facing camera. There is no fixed home button – further adding to the minimalist design. The volume controls, as well as the power switch, are located on the top edge of the device. Amazon have clearly gone to some lengths to hide these controls, resulting in a game of hide-and-seek every time you want to adjust the volume.

One feature of the Kindle Fire HD that stands out from the pack is the display. Amazon claim all kinds of amazing wizardry here with a polarising filter and anti-glare technology. What stands out, however, is the knife-sharp image quality. The Kindle Fire HD boasts a resolution of 1280×800 and a pixel density of 216ppi, making the iPad mini look fuzzy.

The Kindle is powered by a 1.2 Ghz dual-core processor which, although not the most powerful, is certainly no slouch and enables the Kindle is handle HD video and 3D gaming with ease.

According to Amazon, the Kindle Fire HD is the first of its kind to ship with dual-wifi antenna, making it, according to Amazon, 40% faster than the Kindle Fire. While I couldn’t possibly comment on those statistics, I have to say I’m pleased with the way my Kindle has coped when streaming HD videos. Very little buffering at all.

The Kindle also comes with some impressive Dolby Digital speakers which generate some considerable oomph.

The one problem with the Kindle that I’ve found is the limitations that have been placed on its software. For example, access to T.V. shows and films is exclusively through Lovefilm Instant which lacks the quantity of media that other streaming services offer. You are not able to switch from the default browser – Silk – either. Which would be fine, except Silk isn’t able to support certain types of online media. Try watching a video on BBC news … go on, I dare ya. Moreover, the Kindle block access to loads of Android content if it is not exclusively Amazon’s. You wont be able to download any competing E-reading app, for example.

The Kindle Fire HD certainly gives you some nice hardware for your money. It’s a shame that it goes slightly to waste with the limited software. Of course, you can side-load your way around many of those issues but it’s a bit of a hassle. Also the Google Nexus 7 ships at exactly the same price as the Kindle … If you’re deciding between the two, go for the Nexus. Every time.

 

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1 comment

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daveyh01 February 1, 2013 - 5:22 am

There are many reviews of the Kindle Fire HD like this. They all have one thing in common, good for emails, consuming amazon products, a bit of web browsing and little else. This really isn’t the case, l have very little IT savvy but I can read! With very little effort and no angst, I have a different web browser, am running flash, can watch BBC news and youtube videos all by simple sideloading. This terminology worried me at first as it sounded like I would have to connect the Kindle to another PC and get very technical! Forget that it, basically it means downloading from somewhere other than amazon…simple. It can do pretty much anything that the average tablet owner would want to do. This is quite an important point, most people only answer emails, do a bit of web browsing, read books, listen to music, watch movies etc, all the things the Kindle is only good for! If you get bored of that and want to mess around and personalise your tablet home screen then it’s probably not for you. Gamers should probably look elsewhere too, but that’s not my bag anyway. Lastly, don’t knock the amazon purchasing experience until tried, if you don’t think you will like it you can still opt for the freedom of the web but amazon is so slick and simple it’s got to be tried, I am certainly a convert. I bought the Kindle Fire HD for my partner for her birthday and started reading all the reviews, I must admit I nearly took it back before giving it! I didn’t and was so impressed that I bought one for myself as well.

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