Amazon Kindle Fire HD is a worthy competitorby Ravi Sinha, on 15 Sept. 2012
Amazon can’t have been happy with recent events. Imagine this: You’ve garnered a very large market aimed at book-lovers, barely rising your tablet above being a simple e-Reader. It worked beautifully, but even as the market expanded, the Kindle began to look more and more dated. Then Google’s Nexus 7 came about and captivated the world. Suddenly, you could have cost-effectiveness and stellar performance in a tablet. It was and still is a shining example - one that Amazon hasn’t taken lying down. It’s hitting back with the Kindle Fire HD, and they really are not kidding around this time.
The device is designed quite simply, not leaving anything to the imagination. A black plastic band rungs across the rubber backing, making the device easier to grip. At 394 grams and 0.35 inches, it’s quite compact and easy to carry around. It boasts a good measure of strength, though it’s not like we were chucking the Nexus 7 around when reviewing it.
The Kindle Fire HD packs in a very competent T1 OMAP 4470 dual core CPU, 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB internal storage. It won’t be competing with the Nexus 7’s Tegra 3 quad-core any time soon but considering the purpose, it doesn’t have to (more on that in a bit). For those who are curious, you may experience some stuttering at times, but overall the interface is fluid and fast. The display blows Google’s - and many other manufacturers - away completely. A gorgeous 1920x1200 resolution with 254 ppi across 7 inches and 8.9 inches. The viewing angles, sharpness and glare reduction are simply phenomenal. If there were complaints beyond just being able to read books, the Kindle Fire HD addresses them well. But it also improves something vitally important to it’s cause: Connectivity. You have 4G options, yes, but the Wi-Fi itself is reportedly up to 54% speedier than the Nexus 7.
We haven’t had a chance to test battery life but the new HD front camera works well. It comes with Skype integration and while we won’t be using it to snap pics anytime soon, it still makes for decent video chats.
Amazon has reworked the UI significantly, shipping Android 4.0 but adding a great mix of new features. WhisperSync allows for saving via Cloud, while X-Ray helps you identify actors in the movie you’re watching. Immersion Reading is like a combo of audio and text, with words lighting up as they’re narrated. The new quick access interface that also makes finding apps and functions easier. The Kindle Fire HD wants to be the absolute best at accessing Amazon’s books and content, supporting Cloud functions more extensively, besides providing the best possible viewing experience.
If the Amazon Kindle Fire HD proves anything, it’s that it won’t go quietly. The Nexus 7 may be the better all-round device, but with a better display, connectivity and unique features, the Amazon Kindle Fire HD is a worthy competitor and worth a look.