Review Kindle Fire HD

By: Infocellular
You wait a year for an Amazon Kindle Fire to make its way to the UK, then two come along at once, with the greatly enhanced Amazon Kindle Fire HD arriving at the same time as its predecessor.
We'll say this from the off: now that the Amazon Kindle Fire HD is here, the original Kindle Fire seems somewhat surplus to requirement.

Far more interesting, though, is the intense external rivalry presented by the Google Nexus 7 and the iPad mini.

Offering a 7-inch HD display and a 1.2GHz dual-core CPU, the Amazon Kindle Fire HD appears to offer great value for money.
But it also needs to offer a stand-alone tablet experience that's capable of matching - or even surpassing - its illustrious rivals.

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The Amazon Kindle Fire HD certainly matches the Nexus 7 in terms of price and raw hardware, and it comfortably trumps the iPad mini on price and screen resolution.
But, as we've come to realise, Apple's dominance in the tablet market has been built on strong design, coupled with a peerless content ecosystem and a super-slick UI.

The Amazon Kindle Fire HD may be cheap, but ultimately it will still need to embrace all three of these key elements if it's to succeed.

If you still think of Amazon Kindles as those little monochrome holiday companions, then you should know that the Amazon Kindle Fire HD is a completely different beast.

Rather than focusing on the very specific job of downloading and reading electronic books, this is an all-purpose tablet that acts as a window onto Amazon's wider multimedia world - films, music, apps and games are all included in the Kindle Fire HD's remit.

With that in mind, the Amazon Kindle Fire HD is a much simpler, purer design than the original Kindle.
The emphasis here is on the screen first and foremost, with the only hardware controls coming in the shape of some weedy and difficult-to-locate volume and power buttons on top of the device, right alongside its 3.5mm headphone jack.

The lack of a fixed home key adds to that minimalistic vibe (we'll discuss the effect that has on usability later). The only detail on the front of the device is a 1.3-megapixel camera for video calls - there's no rear-mounted camera here.

Despite that impossibly cheap price point, the Amazon Kindle Fire HD doesn't feel like a cheap device. It's solid in the hand, with none of the creak you find in many budget Android tablets.

There's a nice contrast between the Amazon Kindle Fire HD's smooth, glass front and its grippy matte back. It's quietly pleasing from a tactile perspective, even though it lacks the sheer machined precision and premium feel of Apple's tablets.

While Apple has opted for a super-slim bezel for its iPad mini - partly to facilitate that wider 7.9-inch display - Amazon has been more generous with its own offering.

Indeed, the thick border around the smaller 7-inch screen brings it closer to the full-sized iPad in design than its miniature brother.

We like this approach from a purely practical perspective (it actually makes it look a little chubby, if we're honest).

One area in which Amazon would hope to gain a big advantage with the Amazon Kindle Fire HD over its rivals is with its display. As we've mentioned, we're talking about a 7-incher here, but it's the quality of that screen that's causing Amazon to boast.

The company claims that the display features a polarising filter and anti-glare technology, which apparently boosts colour and contrast, as well as improving viewing angles.

Indeed, once your eyes have grown accustomed to its warmer hue, you'll no doubt begin to appreciate the Amazon Kindle Fire HD display's more naturalistic colour contrast - particularly when viewing video content. It's certainly richer than the somewhat washed-out and dim Nexus 7 screen.
That's only half the story with the Kindle Fire HD display, too. The clue is in the name - that 7-inch display is sharp. It's high-definition-sharp. In fact, with a resolution of 1280x800 and a pixel density of 216ppi, it's considerably sharper than the iPad mini equivalent.

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