23,069 of 23,547 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You Get What You Pay For
I've been an iPad user since the original came out. I also have an iPad 3. I have worked in IT for the past few years so I would say I am pretty good with technology and fancy new devices. With that introduction out of the way, I will be reviewing key points that I have seen touched upon in other reviews. Here goes...
The device feels nice and solid...
Published 8 months ago by TL
1,556 of 1,699 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Competitive Hardware But Software Needs Work
Many shoppers will weigh buying either this device, or the more expensive iPad Mini. I picked up a Mini on launch day, so here is a short comparison. If you are picking up a tablet to be your primary computing device, the Mini wins hands down because of the larger screen, wider selection of apps, smoother interface, more accurate keyboard, much better cameras, access to...
Published 8 months ago by Glenn R. Howes
Most Helpful First | Newest First
23,069 of 23,547 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You Get What You Pay For,
This review is from: Kindle Fire HD 7", Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers (Electronics)I've been an iPad user since the original came out. I also have an iPad 3. I have worked in IT for the past few years so I would say I am pretty good with technology and fancy new devices. With that introduction out of the way, I will be reviewing key points that I have seen touched upon in other reviews. Here goes...
The device feels nice and solid. I'm a little surprised at how heavy it is, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The rubberized backing is always nice for added grip. It's not as nice as say unibody aluminum, but it's not $500 either.
The screen is fantastic. But my problem is the same as when iPad got Retina Display, other than the OS, most apps look rather pixelated. A lot of the games I tried are not high definition, at least not high enough to look smooth on this screen. Hopefully apps get updated to higher resolutions.
LOCK SCREEN ADS
Yeah there are ads on my lock screen. I'm not sure why this is such a big deal. How much time do people really spend looking at the lock screen? The first thing I thought when I saw the ads is WOW the pictures are really crisp! The ads are there to subsidize some of the $200 price tag. I might pay the $15 to get rid of them so I can customize it, but I might not. I feel like this has been blown out of proportion by other customers.
The sound from the speakers is great. Much better than you would get from more expensive devices, very crisp and clean. I have the official Amazon case on and it has not affected the sound at all. Nothing much else to say, I doubt anyone will complain about this.
I've had two apps crash on opening. I don't know if it is the app or the OS. It's probably somewhere in the middle. Again, not a big deal for me. If it crashes, then I just tap it again and it works. I've also watched a few movies using the built in player as well as Netflix and Amazon Prime. No crashes for me at all. I'm sure OS stability will be improved as time goes on.
Compared to my iPad 3, obviously the Fire HD is not as "good" so to speak. I mainly got it because I wanted something smaller. I also mainly used the iPad to surf the web, watch videos, and play some simple games. The Fire HD accomplishes this and does so much more. If you are expecting an iPad killer, or a desktop replacement, or a productivity machine, then you should look elsewhere.
I bought this to be a media device, and I believe that is what Amazon meant this to be. In this regard, I think this is a great device. In fact, I decided to keep this and sell my iPad 3, which will give me another $200+ to spend on other things. Just remember, this device is not for everyone. If you want a media device, you will be happy with this. Do not expect an iPad for $200.
Just wanted to add a few more things I have noticed over the past 24 hours.
- Power/Volume Buttons: There are a bit hard to press, which is somewhat alleviated by having the official case. Maybe it's because I'm a longtime iPad user, but this will definitely take some getting used to.
- Screen Glare: It took me a little while to notice, but I was playing a Seek & Find game while on Caltrain, with the bright Palo Alto sun shining right on me, and didn't have any trouble seeing the screen. I remembered that Amazon mentioned how the screen was changed to reduce glare, and they did an amazing job.
Two days later and I am still very happy with the device. Here are some more thoughts from me:
I have been playing Enigmatis (a hidden object game) for about an hour and a half each day on my commute. This drains about 15 - 20% of the battery with the screen brightness almost at the highest setting. Again, not iPad gold standard, but still very good.
I have a Samsung Galaxy S3 and used an app called Easy Phone Transfer to get all my music from iTunes onto the phone. It transferred everything, including album covers, and I was hoping to find something like that for this device. I tried iSyncr, a $3 app, which did the job, but did not sync over album covers. I uploaded all my music into the Cloud, then downloaded it from Amazon, which increased the audio quality for a lot of my songs and added artwork, but this still did not show up on the device.
I got very frustrated getting all the album artwork over and eventually just gave up. It's not a big deal but I am kind of anal about those kinds of things. Just a heads up if anyone else out there is crazy about it like I am.
I got a call from Amazon Customer Service about this review, which surprised me very much. They advised me the best way to get the artwork to show up is have the songs in both the Cloud Player as well as the device, which I know does work fine. I was hoping to have the artwork show without needing things in the Cloud, but not a big deal any more.
I am more impressed with the fact that Amazon called me to give me advice on how to remedy the situation and ask if there were any other questions I had on the Kindle. The representative said he wanted to make sure I was happy with the Fire HD. This is one of the big reasons I went with the Kindle, and with Amazon in general. I have had great experiences with their customer service, who have always been able to handle my issues quickly and efficiently. No need to set up an appointment days later with a wannabe IT guy with a hugely overstated job title.
So this update is not really for the device itself, but sometimes it's not just the device, it's the company that offers it that makes a difference. This is why I no longer have any Apple devices, as cool as they may be. But it's not 100% gravy, as I have noticed lately that the keyboard keeps popping up randomly on screens where there is nowhere to enter text, ie. while playing a game. I just have to press the Back arrow to get rid of it, but maybe a bug the Amazon engineers want to take a look at.
So I don't know if it was always there, but over this past weekend I noticed a dead pixel on my Kindle's screen. I called Kindle Support and after a short 5 minute call, they sent me a new Kindle, no questions asked. So once again, very happy with Amazon customer service. I am still very happy with the device, and have some more thoughts on it:
I bought an HDMI cable to hook up the Fire to my 46" Samsung and was quite impressed with the results. The quality was very good, not Bluray quality of course, but better than SDTV on an HD screen. You actually see every single thing you do on the big screen, like you are using a giant Kindle.
GOOGLE PLAY APPS
One of the main drawbacks in my opinion is, or should I say was, the lack of all the Google Play apps available on the Kindle. With a little research, I found out how to add apps that are not available in the Amazon store. It is pretty easy to do and works very well with the apps I tried. This greatly improves my opinion of the Fire HD.
PLASTIC AROUND THE SCREEN
The outer most edges of the Kindle are plastic. I noticed some kind of discoloration on the corner of mine, and just thought it was some dirt to scratch off. So I rubbed my thumb nail on the area, and noticed there were visible marks on the plastic. It appears this plastic can scratch some what easily, but I think this is just cosmetic as not of the plastic actually flaked. If you are not very anal about how your stuff looks, you probably won't notice it.
Here are two small gripes I have with the OS that I'm sure could be fixed with an OS update:
- Battery Meter: It would be nice if the battery meter could show percentage instead of just a graphic bar. Some people have mentioned Battery HD, but you still have to swipe down to see the percentage, so this makes it easier but does not solve the issue I had.
- Personal Videos: The mp4 videos I put on the device are located in the "Personal Videos" app, which shows screen shots of all the videos I put in. The problem is, all that is shown are the screen shots. You can get more info by holding your finger down on each video, but when you have multiple seasons of a show on the Kindle, it can get confusing. Ideally we should be able to look at videos in a list like our music.
Still very happy with the device. Here are some more thoughts:
LEFT HAND MODE
I did't think this would be a problem until I played a Solitaire game that DID have a left-handed mode. As a lefty who usually uses the Fire in landscape, I often have to reach across the screen to access the Settings or Home button in the menu. It's a small grievance, but can be really annoying when watching a movie or reading something. If there was an option for a left-handed layout with the menus on the left side of the device, that would be great.
PERSONAL VIDEOS APP
I had earlier complained about this app, as it did not list my movies and crashed playing a pair of them. I recently drove down to LA from SF, and put 5 movies on device, only to find that 4 of them would not play! I was pretty mad, until I remembered a simple solution, download another app. I downloaded Avia Media Player, which is not the greatest either, but it played all the movies I put on the Kindle. My faith was restored.
GOOGLE PLAY APPS
A lot of people have asked how to do this. If you are not having luck with Google searches, try this:
An Amazon.com official commented on the review belowSee comments
5,234 of 5,455 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional,
This review is from: Kindle Fire HD 7", Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers (Electronics)I have been an Amazon customer for years having owned the first gen Kindle and currently the 6" Kindle. I have purchased the 1st gen Fires for my children for Christmas last year and I have purchased both the touch and 1st Fire for my father.
I already own an Ipad and did not feel the need to own a Fire, since I believe they duplicated the same purpose. I did however place an order for the Paperwhite, but after thinking about it, why not own a full functional device that is more than just an ereader.
I love the eInk displays and how light the regular Kindles are. One of my main gripes about tables are that they are heavier and you cant read the screen in bright daylight. I'm not really sure why the daylight is such a big deal for me, since I probably only read outside when I'm on vacation (2x a year).
Anyway, I cancelled the Paperwhite and ordered the Fire HD. I love it. It is portable, I never take my Ipad anywhere, just too big. I uploaded my entire music library from Itunes to Amazon Cloud, (so much for being locked down Apple!) and of course all of my books are on it. I regularly borrow books from my local library and was often frustrated that when I was away from home I could not search for books on my regular Kindle, becuase the experimental browser was just not functional enough.
The sound is amazing as everyone has said, as well as the display. No need to go into detail about what everyone else said. My only gripe is that the touch screen is not really as responsive as I would like, but it still works fine. The display does cut the reflection and you can read out doors. That is not to say there is no glare, it's just not an unreadable LCD screen any longer.
As far as the ads go, I don't find them obtrusive. I like knowing what other people bought or may have looked at. What's the big deal? If your friends recommend something to you, do you get mad? Same thing here to me.
I like that I can sync my email and now, actually use the Prime streaming video service. Yes, I know I could use the app on my Ipad, but like I said, I like it all packaged neatly here.
My only question is how many HD movies/TV shows can you download to the device? I like to download them when I travel and delete when I get home.
If you are an Amazon user, you should know that this tablet is no different that any other device (Apple?) that tries to get you completely integrated into their system. Should not really be a surprise to anyway that all of the shopping experiences point to Amazon.
I am pleased to have a tablet that is portable and easy to use.
Great job Amazon.
My word to the rest of the "reviewers" don't actually own the product, but write reviews on products that you don't own, to grip about a feature you read about. It's silly and clutters the reviews for those of us that actually like reading what other people are saying about a product.
After having my fire for a few weeks I still have very few complaints. I pretty much carry it with me whenever I am out of the house. I love having the option to read or if there way available wi-fi watch a movie. I wish it came with 4G but I bet it would make the price out of line with other small tablets.
The only cons I have is the typing experiences. It seems there is not predicitive text for the Silk browser which makes typing a little tough. I hear though there will be an update.
I dislike fingerprints on the screen when reading, but easily remedied with s soft cloth.
I have read 3 books and I am on my 4th and the screen is no issue whatsoever. This was my biggest concern before purchasing. I have no issue whatsoever. Just so you know, I read a lot and love the Eink Kindles, so this was an experiment to see if I could read for long periods of time with no eyestrain. Not an issue at all.
All in all I still love it. I have not used my Ipad since getting my fire.
An Amazon.com official commented on this review(What's this?)
Posted on Oct 1, 2012 5:13:28 PM PDT
The Amazon Kindle team says:
Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. We're glad you're enjoying your Kindle Fire HD, and we are particularly excited to see your encouraging comments regarding the display and sound quality, as the team worked really hard to build an excellent experience.
We wanted to answer your question about storage. HD content is much larger than SD content, which is why Kindle Fire HD starts at 16GB. On average, a 90 minute HD movie is 2GB and a 45 minute HD TV episode is 0.9GB. With your 16GB Kindle Fire HD, you can have up to 6 HD movies or 13 HD TV episodes. This number will vary depending on the other items you have stored or installed on your device.
We hope this information helps.
The Kindle Team
1,514 of 1,587 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kindle Fire HD,
This review is from: Kindle Fire HD 7", Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers (Electronics)I purchased the original Kindle Fire on release day last year. It served me pretty well but was extremely glitchy. It would freeze, restart and stutter while playing games. For what it was, an entry level device, it wasnt bad.
So when the Kindle Fire HD was released, I decided I might as well give it a go as well. So far the Kindle HD looks to be twice the machine the original was. I am gonna keep this short and sweet and just create a pros and cons list for you guys. I dont want to be too long winded, but if you have questions you post in the comments, I will try to respond to them for a little while today.
1. Vibrant Screen
2. Much more responsive to the Touch than the original Kindle ever was.
3. Games that stuttered on the Original, play flawlessly on the HD.
4. The speakers are awesome, Loud, clear and crisp. No need for the Volume + app like on the original fire.
5. The device is slim, sleek and sexy. Really like the curves on the back and the styling.
6. Front facing camera works great for SKYPE. Quality was better than that on my SIII phone.
7. Wifi seems a bit faster, but not by much. Silk still isnt an optimal browser though. I have 65Mbps Download and 15Mbps Upload subscribed service.
8. Cloud sync worked like a charm, almost everything from my old fire is now on my new Fire HD.
9. The device feels sturdy and well built.
1. The "Customers Also Bought" on the bottom of the home screen is terrible. I can care less about what others bought. The advertisements on the Lock Screen are fine and understandable, they really dont bother me at all or with the function of the device. The CAB on the home screen take away from having your favorites immediately accessible and are extremely intrusive with no option to remove it. I would gladly keep the ads on the lockscreen and pay 15 bucks to get rid of the CAB on the homescreen. Enough on that.
2. I work in a hospital and I know 11 people including my wife who now is a proud owner of a Fire HD. One thing we have all noticed is that sometimes when you unlock your device, the speakers will make a popping sound, sort of like a static or feedback. Hopefully this gets fixed.
3. Compared to the Original fire, there is a noticeable delay when clicking on apps or games. It seems more prevalent on certain apps but the same apps have no issue on the original Fire. More prevalent on the HD than on the original.
4. Magic books. For some odd reason, things I remove from the carousel magically reappear to irritate me constantly. I am a bit OCD and only want what I use to be on my carousel and nothing more. Hopefully this will be fixed as well.
5. Certain apps that were available on the Kindle Fire, are not available on the Kindle Fire HD. Accuweather for example is no longer a free app on the HD neither is ScreenDim.
6. I do not understand why we cannot use a different keyboard like Swiftkey. That would be a massive upgrade over the stock keyboard.
1. Flash Player- It isnt so hard to get this to be a flash device. First you need a browser that allows flash to operate. Download a browser like Dolphin 8.8.1 to begin with. Not only does Dolphin perform better than Silk, it is more intuitive as well. Next download Flash Player 11.1 for ICS, make sure its for ICS. Once both are sideloaded, install, and flash should be working. It works on mine. CHECK MY COMMENTS FOR A STEP BY STEP
2. Charger not included- Again, in this day and age, most cellphones and other electronic devices use a mini usb charger. Just use the same plug for the Fire HD. I use my old Fire charger just fine.
3. Carousel- While most agree customization of the carousel skins would of been a nice touch, it still isnt a deal breaker and I didnt buy it to stare at the carousel.
I probably have over 20 hours on the Fire HD right now. From my memory that is all I can recall. If I remember anything or run across anything, new I will just edit in an update below. Any questions just ask in the comments. Overall, this device seems like a great deal. It should be much stronger once a patch is released to fix some bugs, but what doesnt need a patch these days once a product is released. Overall great showing by Amazon. Good Luck
Update #1 9-17-2012
So this is the second time that I have come home from work and the wifi on my Kindle Fire HD is acting wonky. It worked fine at work, then I got home and if I wasnt in the same room as the router, I couldnt get a page to load even though I had full bars of wifi. A reset of the Kindle HD completely fixed this and now I am outside on my front porch, far far away from my router. Hopefully an update will fix the wifi steadiness. Not sure if its because I switched to a different network or what, but I am gonna submit feedback to amazon regarding the issue.
Update #2 09-19-2012
So the issue occurred again. My Fire HD wifi worked this morning at home. I went to work, it hooked up to the public wifi at work no problems. I get home and unless I am right next to my router, pages will not load. Instead of restarting the entire FIRE HD, I went to options, turned off wifi and turned it back on. Problem was solved. Everything then worked as it should. I am not sure why I am having these issues with Wifi as I am a gaming geek and have brand new equipment and top of the line router and modem. I have the Asus RT-N66U router and Motorola SB6121 DOCSIS 3.0 modem. All other devices and the original FIRE work fine, no issues. If anyone else has these issues try turning wifi off then on again.
Update #3 09-20-2012
So it occurred again. I emailed Kindle Feedback with the issue to hopefully have them fix it in an update. By the way, if you guys want to report issues with your kindle fire, email: email@example.com
So it has been a full work week of use for the Kindle Fire HD. I have probably used the device now for about 50-60 hours of web browsing, shopping, posting on forums, playing games, skyping, watching movies and reading. What is nice is one of those Advertisements on the lock screen that so many people complain about gave me a free 5 dollar credit to rent a movie on Amazon Instant Video for nothing at all. How could they? LOL. Overall the Kindle Fire HD has been a superb device for me. Only a few apps have forced closed on me during this time, just as often as on any other device. I am used to the "Customers also bought" section on the homepage already, I dont even notice it anymore. Like I said before, the advertisements are really a non issue, and actually have paid me by giving me free MP3 credits and free movie credits. Wifi speed is good, picture clarity is great, sound is in a class of itself for tablets.
Update 7.2.1 finally enables us to get rid of the pesky "Customers Also Bought" that many of us were complaining about. Now we have just our normal carousel without anyone trying to get us to buy something that we do not want. The patch still did nothing for the popping noise that the speakers make randomly while using the tablet. I have now noticed it makes a popping noise sometimes even during games, not only when sliding the open bar on the lock screen. This doesnt happen often, but when it does, it is annoying. There are still instances where the wifi drops out or says it is connected and doesnt allow you to surf the web. You must then turn wifi off then back on again on the kindle fire and everything is fine. Amazon says they are working on a fix and I have sent my data log files to them on numerous occasions to help with this issue.
I really dont think you can beat this at its price range at all especially if you are an avid Amazon shopper. The Amazon Prime subscription ($79.00 a year) basically gives you a subscription to a "netflix-like" streaming service (netflix is $96.00 a year for streaming), access to tons of books and free 2 day shipping on most amazon purchases. That benefit right there is what seals the deal, no other tablet provider can lump together all those services at a low price like Amazon. I am really happy with my choice, but sure there are things I would love to have on this tablet, but I knew that before buying it. If anyone has questions just post them in the comments. I do my best to answer them. Also if you see a question on there you feel you can answer, by all means please do. Its nice to help others get the full potential out of their purchases. Have a good one.
I will continue to update this thread with all my findings and hope to help people make an informed decision. Thanks
2,847 of 3,015 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reviews From an iPad User,
First, this product is absolutely incredible. I really went into it expecting to dislike it. I even tried to cancel my order, but I was too late and it was delivered. Thus, I opened the package expecting to have nothing but complaints compared to my iPad3 (or whatever its called).
- Image quality is stunning. Really really terrific
- Build quality is, I think, actually better than the iPad (which shocked me)- The reason is that I HATE holding aluminum in my hands for a long time. It doesn't breath and when I'm on a hot airplane, I really hate it.
- Form factor is FAR FAR better than the iPad. Keep in mind, I travel to China and back all the time, so I really want something that is very portable. The form factor is 100% perfect for traveling.
- Flawless integration with Amazon's ecosystem- This is really the reason I bought it (and size). I actually sit there and smile when I use this to get to movies, tv, and all my books and magazines. SMOKES the iPad.
- Usability it terrific. I just turn it on and it works.
Why only 4 stars?
- 5 stars to me means 100% perfect. This is not 100% perfect, but its pretty darn close
- No charger? Really? C'mon. It takes hours to charge via usb. I just sort of feel short changed a little. I just used my iPad's USB charging plug and it works great.
- I've had to restart it 2 times in 4 days. It seems to just sort of get confused when I'm really hammering on it. Restarts take about 30seconds so its no biggie.
- Amazon needs more apps, badly. Granted, all I want is books, video, web browsing, email, and calendar. It does all this perfectly. But more choices would be nice.
Overall, I'm guessing my iPad will make its way to the kids now over time. If you travel a lot, want your amazon content, and do basic email/web/calendar, etc... this device smokes the iPad. I can't believe I'm saying this.
Hope this helps.
1,556 of 1,699 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Competitive Hardware But Software Needs Work,
As for me, I bought the Mini with the intention of testing software at my job, but I like the design and software quality so much it'll be in my cargo pocket from now on. I was surprised by how good the screen looks even with its inferior pixel density, and the Fire HD seems positively claustrophobic in terms of both screen usage and navigating between and within apps.
But this is a review of the Kindle Fire HD.
Build Quality and Materials. This tablet is put together better than the original non-HD Kindle Fire, which had a tendency to peel apart at the seam between the front face and the back, but I can still feel every seam which scratch over my fingers as I handle it. The materials of the back portion are OK. Sort of grippy and look to take scratches and aging gracefully. Certainly better than the ridiculously toylike back of my Touchpad if not the cool perfection of the robot machined iPad. The buttons are noticeably cheap. As for the display itself, the most important part, the glass is of high quality and on a tablet that counts.
Design. This is one of the great leaps forward from the previous generation with two exceptions. The bevel, speaker grills, corners, and choice of screen convey a subtlety and maturity that the previous generation didn't have. This is a design future Kindles can build upon and refine unlike the generic design of last year. The width of the screen bevel is well chosen for comfortable long term grasping; the weight is light enough for the duration of a feature film or at least a TV show. However, the volume buttons and the power button are both hard to find and distinguish. The micro-USB port is near the micro-HDMI port and they are both about the same size and shape, costing me annoyance every time I plug in the charger to figure which port to use and which way to twist the cable.
Technology. The screen is much more than adequate, and in my opinion is the best feature of this device. Nestling somewhere in between the good screen in the iPad Mini and the awesome screen in the full-sized Retina iPad, the screen is crisp, appears to have excellent color reproduction, without the cartoony over saturation you see on competing technologies, and has fantastic viewing angles. The processor/graphics system is much more capable than the sludgy performance of the previous generation. Web browsing is semi-enjoyable and most operations are snappy. The speaker is loud for the size, I have it turned down to one pixel short of zero, and it's almost too loud for late night listening. I've had good luck with Bluetooth on this device, it pairs easily with an iHome Keyboard and streams music without hiccups to an Onkyo Stereo. The camera is mediocre. Battery life for real world mixed use is not great; Amazon tech support called to reaffirm their conviction of 11 hour video watching time, but I get perhaps 5 hours of mixed use. The standby time on a charge is fantastic, however, I could use it for twenty minutes a day at lunch for a couple weeks.
In general, when it comes to jamming appropriate technologies in a box, Amazon has done a great job.
Software Execution. If anything is preventing me from saying this device is more than OK, it is the software. Navigation is a mess and seems to have a primary goal of exposing the user to things to buy. The web browser while now useable, is jerky and things like tap to zoom is non-existent or in the case of pinch to zoom done badly. Inertial scrolling is poorly executed, making it hard to navigate long lists. The app store is filled with mediocrity, a lot of ad supported junk and a few cool titles. There are few apps with layouts optimized for the somewhat bigger than a phone screen. Netflix looks exactly like it does on the iPad except for being a bit cramped and showing less tiled content at once. Amazon has not proven they can put out a competitive software stack for general computing. For finding and consuming content, it works; for even the simplest content creation like, for instance, typing a short Amazon review, the horrible non-adaptive onscreen keyboard makes life miserable.
The FreeTime app for children might be the most compelling aspect of the whole package. For $3 a month on top of my Prime membership, the kids get age appropriate apps, a moderate selection of mixed bag books, and a small selection of fairly old kids TV programming. The most interesting part for me are the apps. I buy a lot of apps, and my kids use them for a few days at best and then move on, so my tablets get cluttered with apps my kids won't be using, and the costs add up. I just watched my daughter joyfully run through 20 puzzles in the Where's Perry app from Disney. There aren't a huge number of apps, and many are indifferently written, but it's well worth the trouble to sign up for a month's trial. Amazon will have to show that new content will be made available to keep me as a subscriber, but what's there--except the video library which is old and limited--will keep my kids engaged for months. I wish they'd concentrate on quality over quantity though; there's a lot of chaff in there. Still, the app actually leverages the simplistic Fire interface to make a product you can just hand to a kid.
I'm concerned that this device might not receive software updates when a year from now, the inevitable new and improved model is released. Amazon did not, and apparently will not, push out an update for last year's non-HD Kindle Fire to match the new software in this year's non-HD Kindle Fire.
Screen Size. This device has a 16x9 aspect ratio measuring 7 inches along the diagonal. What this means in practical terms is it's a little too narrow for comfortable use for browsing the web in portrait orientation, while it doesn't show much vertical content while browsing in landscape orientation. Modern HD TV content, and many movies fit this ratio perfectly in landscape so it is optimal for watching videos. I browse the web more than I watch videos, and even then I prefer to watch videos in portrait while in bed so that I can rest the device on my belly and raise the image up a bit to avoid neck strain. So I prefer a lower aspect ratio.
Ecosystem. I like the Amazon ecosystem. I watch many Prime videos--like whole seasons of Mythbusters--for free which are costly on iTunes or might not be on Netflix, and then there is the huge collection of e-Books on all topics, including free books and books on loan. Right now, I'm reading the first Harry Potter book to my son, which I borrowed for the month from Amazon, no charge. Any purchased content is available on my computer, iPads and iPhone. And I can watch Amazon video on my HDTV using a variety of devices, including this Fire HD, such as a Roku, my smart TV, or any number of Blu-Ray players.
At this point, I'm leaning against paying the $15 to kill the lock screen deals. So far, deals like promotional credits for using a Discover card have been things I might want to use. I'll see, and if you do buy one, I'd recommend withholding judgement as well. On the other hand, the "Customers Also Bought" ribbon on the bottom of the launch screen is starting to get on my nerves. When I go to launch the calculator app I bought, I would rather not be distracted by a group of other calculator or clock apps I could buy too.
As for not coming with an included wall charger, any iPhone or iPad chargers you have laying around or the charger from the original Kindle Fire will work in my experience so you can save yourself the added expense of a charger. The optional Kindle Fire charger is a bit bulky and the charging port is perpendicular to the charging plug, making it harder to find space for than it had to be. The device charges from 0 to 100% in about 3 hours.
In the comments, someone reports that his daughter broke the screen on his Kindle HD and cut her hand. As it happens, I've shattered an iPad screen myself, and I've learned two things. 1) You should put a screen protector on tablets as it won't protect against shattering but it will keep the glass together like a car windshield and prevent cutting children. 2) You should get an accident replacement warranty if children will ever use the device.
In summary, if you want to consume Amazon video, browse the web every now and again, or read the occasional book, or be inundated by deals all while having excellent portability then this is a decent device. If you want something to hand to the kids, to let them play unsupervised with age appropriate content, then this may work. If you want a more general purpose device, with an App Store filled with quality, highly optimized tablet titles, then I think you know what you'll need to do.
306 of 332 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mostly, I love it ... just a few small issues ...,
This review is from: Kindle Fire HD 7", Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi (Electronics)First: I love it. It's almost too much fun. I go to read, but wind up watching a movie. There are so many choices, I get distracted. For the money, for its intended purposes, assuming you understand what it does and doesn't do, it's the best deal you can get. It's an entire entertainment system in one affordable compact package. As a reader, it's great, although adjusting it to the level of brightness that suits you is a bit of trial and error. It's easy to adjust, but my eyes are picky. For just plain reading, my older 2nd gen Kindle is easier.
The sound is very good. Hard to believe you can get that much sound out of such tiny speakers. Impressive. The quality of the video is superb, much better than I expected. I find that I actually do watch movies in bed with my little 7" Fire HD. Because I was already a Prime member, they have so much available for free it will be a long time before I feel I need to buy anyhthing more. I have a huge library for Kindle which I can use either unit or any of my three computers. These migrate automatically.
The new Kindle HD links to the older of my 2 Audible accounts. They cannot yet link an Audible account that isn't under the same email address as your Amazon account NOR have they the technology to link multiple Audible accounts, period. IF you have mulitple Audible account under the same email address as your Amazon account, they can consolidate the libraries, but it will be one single account. They said they are working on this ... and you have to call Audible for this help, though Audible is very good about tech help and always have been, even before Amazon bought them. Audibleis working on solving this, but don't hold your breath.
The device is great for listening to audiobooks, far better for me than an MP3 player because I hate earphones. The Kindle is small enough to carry in a purse and not heavy.
Issues: 16GB is plenty ... unless you want to download HD movies. Streaming them (what I have so far done) uses no memory, so no problem. Regular "print" books are small; you can carry a whole library with you if you want. It's when you get to music and audiobooks (or the aforementioned HD movies) that you realize there's a a bit of a problem. You cannot stream audiobooks: you have to download them to the device. Nor is there any way to add memory. Kindle has no slot for an SD chip or port for a flash drive. Why not? Wouldn't it have been a no-brainer to include a port or slot for a card or flash drive? That, in my opinion, was a bad mistake. You cannot expand beyond the device's embedded memory. Period. No options. Buying the 32 GB version moves the wall, but doesn't remove it. Amazon should add a port for memory, either flash or a card. They should address this issue soon.
You need to understand the limits of the device, what the advertisements don't explain.
Audiobooks can be large. A really long book takes up quite a bit a space. You can load a few books at a time if they are normal-length books, but not 57 hours of "Lord of the Rings," for example. After you listen to a book, delete it. Then download the next. Unlike when you download to your computer from Audible, you cannot download a multi part book in sections. It's all or nothing. A book that is in your Audible library in several parts, which these days is any book longer than 11 hours, will download in a single piece to the Kindle. If the book you want to load is LOTR or Winds of War, make sure you have enough room.
You can store everything you aren't actively listening to, watching, or reading on Amazon's (free) cloud servers, so deleting content isn't losing it, just moving it off the device. This is well and good as long as you have WiFi. It gets stickier if you are on the road and WiFi connections are not available. If you travel a great deal, road warriors may want to wait and get the version that comes with 3G (available in late November I believe). If you are mainly looking to use it on the road, get the 3G. I have 3G on my older Kindle; it's great when you want a book, but don't have a WiFi connection. It will automatically switch to 3G in the absence of a WiFi network. But older Kindles don't do all the other cool stuff. They are strictly e-book readers. Very good ones, but dedicated to a single purpose.
You can pretty much whatever you want to do on your new Kindle (not writing or editing beyond email length), but you can't store everything on the device. You can't download your whole Audible library to your Kindle or download lots of HD or other movies plus miscellaneous other content. One or two movies, max, a few audiobooks, plenty of regular books ... and other content as needed ... but not everything. It's not meant for that anymore than is an iPad, which has similar space limits. If you are in range of a WiFi connections, it's no problem. At home, it's a non-issue. When/if we are traveling, I will have to choose what I want to take with me.
The manual is poorly written and incomplete. As a professional tech writer, I will say straight out that they need to hire a professional and do it right. There's no excuse for not having at least the basic information available in the online manual. If the device was more intuitive, if the menus (such as they are) were logically arranged, they might not need it, but as it stands, they definitely do need a manual. Most things are very easy to do, but finding the menu that does it or the information on how to do it is NOT easy. Yes, Amazon has great customer and tech support. Real life peoople who really know the device and will stay on the phone with you until your battery runs out ... but who wants to have to call customer service to figure out how to delete a book or movie? Or for that matter, turn the unit on? It's stupidly simple to do all this stuff, assuming you can find the manual at all (I had to call for that, too), you will not find any listing under the words "delete," "remove", "turn on," etcetera. It's the first rule of tech writing to explain the basic stuff up front without having to search for it, and certainly should not need to call a hotline for this information. Just hire a competent tech writer. We work cheap, really. Give employment to someone who needs it!
I'm still figuring out where various functions are and how to make them work. They do work, but the figuring them out is anti-intuitive.
I bought the $199 version that has advertising. I'm not finding them intrusive. You can get rid of them, even after you've bought it, for $15 if they annoy you, but they only show up as an offers menu or on the splash screen before you open to the contents.
If you already are a member of the Amazon community, if you have Prime, already have a Kindle library, and/or an Audible account, it's the best deal in town.
I have yet to want something that Amazon doesn't have, usually cheaper than anyone else, so for me, it was ideal. Absolutely no reason for me to look elsewhere, though I did actually look at everything else before I bought this. If you want everything, spend some much bigger money and get a tablet. Go for broke and get an iPad. They're cool.
But remember: if your primary issue is READING, a tablet computer is not as good for reading as any reader is. Tablets are shinier and more reflective; they are useless in the sun. Any Kindle, is better for reading. Decide what you want to do. Many people have a tablet AND a Kindle (or other reader). One size may not "fit all" for you. The Fire is not a iPad, but it's pretty close and a heck of a lot less money.
If you want to read, watch a movie or TV show, listen to audio, do email, see what's happening on Twitter or Facebook -- or any website, really -- it will do that and more. You can transfer content directly to the Kindle USB cable from your computer or store it in Amazon's cloud, then move it to your Kindle. I've got three computers: laptop, desktop, and mini, so I am not going to worry about storing documents and photographs on my Kindle, though I may take them up on using some of their storage space. Photographs are another thing that can overload a small device fast. Be sensible and reasonable in your expectations.
It's a fine device, esecially for the price. It really does 95% of what Amazon promises, though not necessarily quite the way you expected. Plan on calling at least once or twice, if only because the menus and manual are inadequate. This problem is NOT unique to Kindle. I have some expensive cameras I still can't fully use because the manual is useless and they don't have friendly 24/7 service.
Thumbs up for quality, sound, video, speed (download and delete speeds are breathtakingly fast). It's also a nice looking device, compact and the accessories, finally, are affordable, even cheap. You will NOT have to pay $50 for a case this time. You can find nice ones for as little as $4 or $5 dollars. Buy the Quick Charger ($9.99). Worth it. Whether or not you'll need a stylus? I bought some inexpensive ones, but I never use them. The touch screen is sensitive (sometimes too sensitive) and easier with fingers than a stylus. If you have big hands, the stylus might be easier for you. It's a personal thing. Try it before you make a big investment. A cheap stylus will work just as well as an expensive one.
Fingerprints: not bad. I got lens wipes at Walmart. They are great for the Kindle, my camera, my computer AND my eyeglasses. Protective screen? There goes your HD and the sensitivity of the touchcreen. I can send you a bunch free; they came with other things and are pointless. Don't bother.
Absolutely do get a case for protection if nothing else. I recommend one that turns into an easel so you can watch movies or TV hands free and prefereably, also turns it on when you open it, turns it off when you close it. The on-off button is small and hard to find. My $8 case turns the whole unit on and off and is a standing easel. Problem fixed. It cost $7.99. The Kindle wakes instantly; a zero second startup.
The touchscreen is sensitive and I often find that I've started downloading when all I was trying to do was navigate. Amazon needs to address this. It's annoying. Getting information about a book or movie is tricky and to avoid the issue, I go to the Amazon store and look it up there. They need more and better menus.
And it's still the best deal in town!
386 of 421 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Value and Prefer This One Over the "Regular" Fire,
Screen Display / Video Playback:
The best improvement in this version of the Fire is the screen display. Amazon has made some major changes in the display / resolution, and I compared the viewing experience watching - don't laugh - the first episode of the Wonder Woman TV series from the 70's. The display on this HD Fire was one heck of a lot better in terms of sharpness than last year's model and even this year's model. For you technical folks out there, the display is 1280x800 vs. the 1024x600 on last year's model and you could really see a major difference.
A cool feature on this one that is not on the $159 Fire is the HDMI micro connection port. I have an HDMI micro plug and was able to hook this up to the big screen to (yes) watch the Wonder Woman TV episode. It played back great.
My standard test for trying out new gadgets is to see how fast they run side-by-side with a known piece of equipment doing the same test at the best place of Wi-Fi in my house and the worst place where it drags. In this comparison, I had this HD version of the Fire sitting next to the previous version of the Fire, my Motorola RAZR smartphone, my iPad 2 (yes, the Kindle guy uses an iPad for work), and the new 7" Fire (the "regular" Fire is in a separate yet similar review) all just using a Wi-Fi connection vs. cellular connectivity..
My website test is to hit the mobile websites of FoxNews, CNN, my personalized Yahoo page, Google, and the Houston Chronicle. The ones that were usually slow on the other devices and were still slow but faster than the other devices (Houston Chronicle and CNN), and for the other sites I couldn't tell a difference in speed at the location closest to my router. When I went to the slowest / worst reception location of my house, the speed did have a noticeable difference in the other devices as this one was faster which I would attribute to the dual antennas, except it did lose connection on CNN but all of the devices lost connection to CNN. On the signal strength bar, I always got one additional bar - meaning more strength - than all of the other devices.
Sound / Music Playback:
Different than last year's model and the $159 this year'smodel, the two speakers are located in the back of the Kindle Fire in two not-noticeable ports. My test of this feature was cranking up Van Halen's Panama to maximum volume (I wanted to see if it could really play the guitar licks), and I would alternate covering one speaker up over the other: you have true stereo sound with no degradation of the sound that makes you think you are about to blow the speaker. However, the sound is not as crisp as the $159 Fire as the sound is going away from you with the speakers being in the back.
Email setup was very easy, but I will tell you I am using an existing app called Enhanced Email that I received here on the Amazon app store for free vs. what came as standard with the Fire. I did setup the email app that came with the program with no problem - it took about a minute to setup my main Google account - and I was able to send and receive emails with no problem. For those of you asking yourself why am I using the Enhanced Email program, the simple answer is like many of you I have more than one email account: you can quickly switch back and forth on the accounts with the tool. The lazy person in me appreciates that as I don't like getting out of the lazy chair once I'm settled in!
New Tabs and Screen Layout:
In addition to the normal Newsstand, Books, Music, Video, Docs, Apps, and Web tabs Amazon has added a new look and feel to the overall display such as rather than 5 rows of 5 apps per row on the apps tab it is now 4 rows of apps with 4 apps per row which means bigger icons and fonts (yes), but more things to scroll through to find what you are looking for. To offset that pain, I think that's why the added the new tabs called Shop, Games, Audiobooks, and Offers. While many of these are self-explanatory, there are a LOT of ads in each of the tabs - after all, Amazon wants you to buy a lot of stuff to help offset whatever the true cost of this unit is.
While the apps tab has all of your apps in the cloud or on the device, the games tab basically slices and dices the apps you have to be game specific - that's pretty handy and helps out quite a bit, especially if you have a lot of apps and want to sit down and play a game (although you still have to scroll away to find, say, a business app in the app tab).
What I think is a really nice new feature is the Audiobooks tab. Amazon of course gives you many opportunities in this tab to make purchases from their Audible subsidiary, but you also have a "Library" area where you can see your audiobooks that are stored either on the Cloud or on your Kindle Fire in the Device tab.
When the Fire first came out, I preferred reading on my e-Ink Kindle and not at all on the Fire. That's because I think reading is easier on my eyes with the e-Ink version of Kindle, but I'm getting there! Turning pages is pretty darn easy - just tap the side of the screen to go to the next page or back a page, or you can swipe your finger across the screen to do the same.
Finally, there is a Bluetooth connection, which is the #1 thing I wanted on the $159 Fire and last year's Fire! I tested this by taking it out to my car, and having the Fire stream music through my car stereo. There were no delays or skips with the connection, and it paired up in about 30 seconds. Just make sure you give it a device name so you can recognize it and be recognized.
You get 16GB of memory vs. the standard 8GB. With storage on the cloud, it could be hard to fill it up - my kids filled up 8GB, however, so the extra 8GB of storage is nice to me.
I have used the camera for Skype conversations and it was good. I'm not much of a picture taker, nor do I Skype very often so the camera functionality is not something I was dying to have: besides, I think it would look funny as I've seen people with iPads flip the thing around to take a shot. Call me old fashioned, but if it's other than an impromptu picture I'd rather use a real camera. Besides, neither my daughter or I could figure out how to use the camera other than with Skype!
What I wish It Had:
The #1 thing would be a plug / charger that connects to an electrical outlet vs. a USB port on your computer or a USB-compatible charging plug you may already own. I realize they had to cut things out to keep the cost down to $199, and luckily I - like many of you - have lots of these things laying around. First time buyers may not, but they might be in the minority.
Overall, at $199 this is not a great deal it is an outstanding deal. Kids will love it as they can read books, play games, watch TV and movies, and a whole lot of other things. Adults should like it for the exact same reasons, but while I try to minimize the amount of work-related stuff I do at home with the business apps that are available here in the Amazon App store and other places around the Internet I can also work on Excel and Word-compatible files when I have to without having to fire up my work laptop or whatever the case may be. The addition of HDMI, hard drive storage, and Bluetooth are more than worth the additional $40 than the "regular" Kindle Fire. If I had to choose just one between the two, I would pick this one.
1,073 of 1,187 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kindle Fire HD Unboxing...,
0:00-0:34 - Unboxing/intro
0:35-1:22 - What's in the box
1:23-2:10 - Ports and hardware features
2:11-3:12 - Startup, Registration, initial setup
3:13-3:40 - Software features, pre-installed apps
3:41-4:36 - Special offers, home screen headings
3:38-4:56 - Storage space
This is what Kindle Fire, Full Color 7" Multi-touch Display, Wi-Fi should have been. What is the Kindle Fire HD for? An Amazon customer who desires to consume Amazon products and it works great for this. Read Kindle books? Subscribe to Prime and watch Instant Videos or get your monthly lending library book? Amazon Appstore free app of the day, every day? This device will help you consume more Amazon content and media than you have before and is this a bad thing? Not if you are an Amazon customer.
The improvements over the original Kindle Fire: Camera, Bluetooth, sleeker user interface, storage has doubled to 16GB (approx. 12.45 user accessible) up from 8GB. The speaker placement has moved to the back and arched so that both speakers are not on the same side and/or easily covered when lying flat. The sound is reasonable, and clear. Screen display is much improved with 1280x800 resolution and movies in 720p.
It's nice to see the addition of Bluetooth however would have been equally great to have OTG from the micro USB connection. Overall, for what this tablet is as an Amazon media consumption device, it serves that purpose well.
Additional Tip, after shutting down for the first time, on reboot the Kindle may install an update.
168 of 182 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Survived hurricane Sandy with my Kindle HD,
We lost power for a week, and this is when my kindle really shined. I was able to recharge it quickly at a charging station and watch movies (downloaded to my device using the librarys wifi) during the cold nights in my home. I was also able to listen to Pandora radio, read a novel in the dark, play games and watch a movie while waiting on a 2 hour line to get gas.
My kindle was with me at all times during the week. Its portable and has awesome battery life.
What I really appreciated about my kindle this week was that I could recharge it in the car so that I didn't need to constantly go back to the recharging station, and the charge lasted through movies, music, novels and games.
I was able to take my kindle to the local library which still has wifi and surf the web and keep on top of the local news. It was much easier to carry around than my laptop, and kept its charge much longer. It also did a great job of detecting and connecting to wifi.
My Kindle kept me sane during the hurricane! and I would definitely recommend this to anyone who loves to read, listen to music, play games, watch movies and surf the web.
509 of 565 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fire HD - A terrific multimedia experience,
First impressions - when it arrived today, it looked very sleek. Well-packaged, easy-to-open (unlike reports of the Nexus 7). No power plug, but I have it charging as I write this using a standard USB charging kit. Please note that if you plan on charging this device, you will (preferably) need a USB power adapter that supplies a full 2 Amps of current (or better). Otherwise, the unit will take forever to charge. And by forever, you can just check the FireHD's site out - 13 hours. Yeah. More than all night. No thanks. :) I personally believe that not including such an adapter was a wise cost-cutting move on Amazon's part... many of us already have a 2A charging adapter from other tablets/etc, and it cut $10 off the cost of the unit (or $20, if you didn't buy Amazon's special charger when you ordered the FireHD). By the way, my particular FireHD came charged to 68%.
The size is perfect - it's got a good, solid feel, as well. Not too heavy, but heavy enough to let you know it's not a toy. The back is a nicely-textured matte finish. I don't like larger tablets that much, since it obviates one of the major advantages of a tablet in the first place (mobility). At iPad/Transformer sizes, I start to wonder why the person didn't just have a Netbook or regular laptop.
Setup: The FireHD comes, as all first-bought Kindles should, pre-registered to your Amazon.com account. After power-on, the device asks for a wireless network, a timezone, and (optionally) Facebook/Twitter integration. That's it. Then it gets to the carousel/shelf interface and is instantly linked to your account's purchases. All my latest books, music, and videos were there, even those purchased earlier today, along with a Kindle Fire Welcome Guide. The device automatically updated itself after the first sleep I put it in.
Incidentally, before the device arrived, I had pre-registered to remove the ads, for $15. From what I have heard on other Kindles, the ads are actually not very invasive or annoying, and actually can help pay for the Kindle over time through reduced prices or coupon offers. Me, I prefer an uncluttered and un-advertised-to interface, so I opted out. I think it was absolutely excellent of Amazon to offer this option in response to those who wanted out of that, but I would have been fine with them being there if there was no option to turn them off.
Screen: The screen is gorgeous. Here, Amazon has learned from its competitors, who on their tablets used an application where the LCD panel is laminated/applied directly to the back of the cover glass. This allows the FireHD to have a clear, crisp screen no matter what the viewing angle. When I first powered the unit on, I cringed for a few seconds because it felt like the screen was too small - like I would feel cramped. This, however, was absolutely not the case, once the Kindle was active and into all the content, it was very open and inviting. I can only imagine how big the 8.9" would be!
In terms of usability for the touch-like nature of the display, this is the best tablet thus far I have ever used. Even light presses register properly. Many other tablets I've used are very particular about how hard you need to press or linger before registering. And yet, even with the "hyper-sensitivity" this device has, I have yet to have it register anything false (wrong button pushes), which are another hallmark of other tablets. Bravo, Amazon.
Apps: The fire comes pre-loaded with OfficeSuite (a free version of a larger suite for editing documents), the Silk web browser, a Calendar, and various other supporting apps for things like Email, Contacts, IMDB, and Help. I like that they kept the initial load relatively free of bloatware (MOTOROLA: TAKE A HINT PLEASE!!!). I personally do not like the lack of some applications on the Amazon App Store... for instance, I would have liked to load Firefox or Chrome, but they are not there. Also, a link for Skype is on there but the app is not pre-loaded.
Books read well on this, and this being my first Fire, I like the interface for reading books, though I definitely prefer e-readers for eyestrain reasons. It's nice that the FireHD has text-to-speech, especially since the PaperWhite lost this functionality (which I think was a great move; that device is an e-READER, not e-audibleprovider). The three backgrounds should help users with some of the eyestrain for limited periods of reading.
I have not yet connected this to my corporate Exchange servers, and quite honestly I may not bother. But it's nice to know that's an option. Email for Gmail works well, with an occasional "stutter" to the interface while it's loading something from the web (see my comment in the next paragraph for Performance). I doubt I will do much email from this device, but again, it's nice to know that it's there, in a pinch.
Performance: The processor is fast. It's not perfectly smooth, but reasonable. The vast majority of the lag, from what I have seen, revolves around network operations. Basically, if a screen has to load an image, or some other content, from the Internet or Amazon, the device can, and will, "stutter" occasionally. I guess there could be adjustments done to the interface to avoid this, but the fact is that to me, it isn't distracting from the experience. Temple Run and various other games run very smoothly on the device. I know it's about to sound harsh, but I would expect nothing less from an Android 4.0-based device. :)
The storage (I got the 16GB version) is adequate for what I will use it for - mostly media streaming from the Web, plus some locally installed apps, games, and side-loaded books. Anything else will be on the Cloud. If you're a heavy movie watcher and want them loaded on the device itself (perhaps you would use this on a bus or commuter train), you may want to wait until October for the 32GB version; the $50 difference would be worth it, then.
Wireless: Out of the box, Bluetooth is disabled (which is a good thing, don't want anyone hacking our precious new toy, now do we?). Since I have not been able to get Flash, I cannot benchmark the wireless (TWCable and Speedtest.net use Flash). Huh, now I know what it's like to use an Apple product. :) However, all file transfers happen as fast as most other wireless hardware I have around the house, and video streaming of HD looks crisp and clear. Video playback looks clean and the controls are easy to use.
Buttons/Interface: I don't like where they placed the camera on the device. I personally think it should be on the other side, so that the camera is "up" when put in a case that allows for stand-up (though, this might be my case - but I don't see how they could have easily engineered around it). The camera provides a good, clear picture for video conferencing after a brief Skype test, and appeared to operate fairly well in low light, which is encouraging for me, since many areas in my house aren't adequately lit (hence my additional order for a Kindle PaperWhite :)). The interfaces on the unit are the speakers (which are decent, but don't expect huge bass or amazing sound from tiny speakers), USB and HDMI out (THANK YOU AMAZON! The HDMI interface, ALONE, should sway folks to this platform over other tablets!), the headphone jack (which is well-placed, not too near a corner and not recessed as early iPhones were), and the power and volume rocker buttons.
Quite honestly, the only poor thing about the device is the power and volume rocker buttons. They are flush with the chassis, have little gap between them and the chassis, and are the same color as the chassis (black). This means that, every time I sleep the unit or adjust volume, I'm squinting at the top of the Fire to figure out where the heck the buttons are. While it is, technically, possible to "feel" your way to the buttons, it's impractical - since the volume rocker buttons have a tiny raised edge which "announces" their presence, but they are not differently-sized (smaller nubbin for "lower volume", larger nubbin for "increase volume"). I think that, in time, the power button will be easier to find, since it's smack-dab-in-the-middle of the top, but for now, it's kind of a hunt, especially with a case on. I would have preferred a raised button. But believe me, this is a very minor complaint on an otherwise excellent interface implementation.
Here's where the "religious war" starts. First off, I refuse to compare tablets purely on a hardware basis as, inherently, a contest of "this one is best." That's a technological no-win situation. Also, I firmly believe that, as a technology, tablets (of all kinds, not just the FireHD), since their inception, have been a solution looking for a problem. They are jack-of-all-trades, master of none. They are neat gadgets, but in and of themselves, they cannot do a tenth of what an average Netbook or laptop computer is capable of, and with current price points for decent laptops in the $400-500 range, it's hard to justify a tablet based on hardware alone. And I'm glad that Bezos and others at Amazon "get" this - I can't tell you how many friends and family members I know that own tablets, and never use them - because they want a keyboard and mouse.
Here's where the FireHD shines. I think that the perfect niche for a tablet, where it can have a chance to be a "master" as opposed to a "master of none" - is in the singular application of being a multimedia consumption device. When a user wants to read a book, listen to music, watch a movie - they want a simple, point-and-shoot interface. And a tablet provides not only the interface, but the mobility.
I feel that the FireHD is really what tablet users should be looking for. We should be looking at a device that provides easy, mobile access to an ecosystem of rich media, with features and accessibility that make it easy to use and enjoy. The Amazon ecosystem is amazing - having been a Kindle e-reader user for years, and now a Prime member with all the media perks that entails, I love how the media I purchase is available anywhere, on any platform. I think this device is a perfect complement to that experience; especially with the HDMI-out and Bluetooth capabilities, which allow this device to be a multimedia powerhouse at home or on the road.
The only "downsides" I see in this device are the slightly-difficult-to-address buttons, the lack of an option to remove/disable the carousel, a Collections for Books feature (after 100 books, it's tough sometimes to organize things and find what you want to read), and the ability to set a custom screen background while on sleep. Since three of these four are software-based, I'm hoping they can be addressed in future software. In the meantime, these do not significantly impact my enjoyment of my device.
Anyone seriously considering a tablet, especially one that takes full advantage of the Amazon ecosystem, should be considering this device. It is solid, performs well, and has a rich set of features that a $199 price tag makes all the more amazing. I think that, for $200, you would be hard-pressed to find a better way of enjoying Amazon's content offerings.
(By the way, after finishing the typing of this review, the device is at 92%, which is awesome charging speed. It's great, again, that Amazon doesn't force you to use their chargers, unlike SOME OTHER manufacturers. :))
Most Helpful First | Newest First
Kindle Fire HD 7", Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers by Amazon Digital Services Inc.