Kindle Fire HD
The Kindle Fire HD

With a sudden abundance of 7 inch tablets on the market such as the Nexus 7 and the iPad Mini to name a few, it’s easy to see why you’d be overwhelmed by the choice. Both Android and Apple are strong contenders in the tablet market offering a range of affordable (or not so in Apples case) tablets that each offer something a little different. One thing I hadn’t really considered was the Kindle Fire.

The Kindle Fire and the HD variant of the device have only recently become available in the UK, at first I was intrigued, but not a lot was said about the device’s versatility, was it just a Kindle with access to the Amazon App store, or was it a tablet in it’s own right with the ability to do everything you would with say a Samsung tablet?

I had been debating for a while now about getting the Kindle Fire HD, I always wanted a Kindle for reading books, but to have something that was a little more than just a Kindle, well why not? Thanks to my indecisive nature I didn’t purchase a Kindle Fire HD, instead my wife bought one for me for our anniversary, I’ve used it for around a month now, so I think it’s time to write a review!

The Kindle Fire HD
The Kindle Fire HD

The first thing I noticed about the Kindle Fire HD was the way it felt, it’s not too heavy and it’s got a nice back cover with that rubber effect on the back to help with grip. The screen is a really nice size with about an inch border around it with the camera located at the top. Setting up the device was very straight forward, you turned it on, filled in a few details and bam, you’re there ready to download apps, books, videos, magazines, and games right out of the box. One thing I will point out is that the Kindle Fire or the Kindle Fire HD doesn’t come with a charger of any sort. It does however come with a USB cable that you can plug into your computer to charge and transfer files – this I’ll touch upon later.

For those of you who want an outlet charger though, Amazon do sell an ‘official’ charger, but for what it is, it’s a little overpriced. An easier solution is that if you already own a smartphone or tablet that uses a micro USB charger, this will work in your Kindle Fire HD. I’ve used an LG Optimus charger, and a Samsung Galaxy S & Note charger, all of which work perfectly.

The Back of the Kindle Fire HD. The smooth black strip along the back highlights the speakers and has a nice little “kindle” indent.

Now, for those of you that don’t know, the Kindle Fire and the Fire HD are basically Android  tablets with a really heavy Amazon mask on top, along with that all of the Google apps and capabilities have been removed. It may sound like a negative point, but it’s not. Amazon’s Android based operating system is one of the most simple and easy to use touch screen operating systems I have ever had the pleasure of using. Everything is labelled clear enough so that if you wanted to see all of the apps and games you’ve downloaded, just tap on the “Apps” label at the top and a list of all of your apps and games you’ve downloaded will be there.

It’s over all ease of use isn’t the only thing that I can praise about this eReader/Tablet and one thing I can’t actually sing about enough is it’s performance as a tablet. The reason I wasn’t so sure about getting the Kindle Fire HD was down to the lack of information about it’s performance as a tablet. This was partially because I didn’t do much research that was partially because of the Kinde label. This is something I really shouldn’t have done because since using my Kindle Fire HD me and my wife have rarely picked up the laptop we once used to watch movies on and browse the web in bed.

The Kindle Fire and the Kindle Fire HD are tablets in their own right, you can put music, movies, and pictures onto it, browse the web like you would a Samsung or Acer tablet. Something that I personally believe isn’t put across to us in the Kindle Fire adverts. Every night since I received the KFHD me and my wife have watched all of our favourite TV shows on both Netflix and LoveFilm. I’ve listened to hours of music using the music player, and as I’m even writing this right now on my Kindle Fire.

There’s one downside though and that’s the Amazon App Store. Though you can get apps like Twitter and Facebook and a fair few big name games like Angry Birds and Jetpack Joyride it does lack that diversity that the Play Store and the Apple App store have to offer and along with that, I have found, is that your apps are some times out of date compared to their Android counterparts. I have noticed in the past month or so some improvements so that’s progress at least.

The Kindle Fire HD MicroUSB and MicroHDMI ports

The Kindle Fire HD also comes with a front facing “HD” camera that’s perfect for Skype and until fairly recently that was the only use for it. The latest 7.2.2 update gave users the ability to access the camera via the “Photo’s” menu whereas before, people who wanted to access the “hidden” camera app had to do so through EXFileExplorer. The quality of the camera, though it’s labelled as being HD isn’t too great for taking good quality “selfies” though there aren’t any specs on the camera, I’d say that is around 2/3 MegaPixels.

Along with the HD camera, the Kindle Fire HD also has Dolby Digital Plus, and honestly, you can tell. The sound quality is incredible music sounds great and so do movies at TV shows! If you plan on using VLC for the Kindle Fire, you’ll notice that it doesn’t quite utilise the Dolby sound, so if you can I recommend using the Kindle’s own Movie Player. Last of all the KFHD has both a MicroUSB (micro-B connector) input and along side that Micro-HDMI (micro-D connector) for connecting your Kindle Fire HD to your TV.
The overall appearance of the Kindle Fire HD is sleek and great looking, even the power button and volume rocker can go unnoticed in the dark black border.

Overall the Kindle Fire HD is an amazing, affordable tablet. It’s perfect for reading books, watching TV programmes and films, and perfect as a stand alone music player. You can get the Kindle Fire and the Kindle Fire HD in 4 different variants, a 16GB and 32GB version that both come with or without “offers”. This is something you need to watch out for. Amazon are offering the Kindle Fire HD for £159 with offers, what this means is that you’ll have adverts on your lock screen. This is the model that I have, and to be honest it’s not at all intrusive or annoying. The KFHD without offers will cost you an extra tenner, but that’s up to you. If you decide to go for the one with offers though and hate it, you can contact Amazon and get them removed for £10 at a later date.

So if you’re after a tablet that’s a reasonable price and ridiculously simple to use I’d with out a second thought recommend the Kindle Fire HD.

You can buy the Kindle Fire of the Kindle Fire HD from Amazon Here.

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