Kindle Fire HD Review & Comparison w/ Nexus 7
I have used the new Kindle Fire HD for a day or so now so I will publish my first level review. You can also check out the video on YouTube or at the end of this review.
- The video quality is very good. Likewise, the sound quality is nice (for a small device with small speakers). Watching movies or other video content would be the most likely use for this device. It was clearly designed to get you to “consume” more of Amazon’s media (video, mp3, books, etc) so that function is well adapted.
- The Silk browser is fast and smooth – at least on mainline sites. There are a couple reasons for it to work well in this case: 1) It is a “caching” browser and Amazon caches the content on major sites to make that data available very quickly. Unfortunately, they may not cache the smaller sites (like this one) and therefore you will see no speed increase on those sites. 2) The internal network adapter on the HD uses a technology that gives you a faster connection to your WiFi. This will help all sites, and any other Internet-connected applications.
- Amazon AppStore is now a lot better than it was with the original Kindle Fire. There are a lot of applications and the prices seem to be competitive with the same app on the Android PlayStore. You can use apps purchased on the Amazon AppStore on all of your Android devices _IF_ you have side loaded the Amazon AppStore application on that device.
- The Interface may be simple to first-time users of any kind of “smart” device. That is about as generous as I can go in describing the interface.
- The Interface is dumb and non-intuitive if you have EVER used any other smart device. Today, the number of people who have an Android, iOS, or other “smart” phone or tablet is HUGE. Generally, they all work pretty much the same – EXCEPT for the Amazon Kindle devices & the Barnes & Noble Nook devices. Both of these publishers have designed a UNIQUE interface that does not build upon any learning from other devices. Instead, they are ANTI- intuitive if you have already learned Android or iOS or Palm, etc.
- There is no easy way to install the Google Play Store or an alternative launcher. There is an option under “settings/device/unknown sources” so, I assume that you could sideload some apps. However, that would not work for “SYSTEM” apps such as the Play Store.
- Rooting is a dangerous affair at this point. The developers at XDA have been able to root the device but others (apparently using the same procedure) have bricked their devices. Until the tools for rooting are much more “mature,” I would stay away.
- There is no GPS. You can use some of the location based service apps but they must depend upon the estimated location of your WiFi. That could be 5 or 10 miles off.
- The wide bezel makes the display look smaller. The ACTUAL display area is approximately the same as the Nexus 7 but (even side-by-side) the display on the HD appears smaller. Just an optical illusion but keep it in mind.
- Amazon charges an EXTRA $20 to ship you a power adapter. You can use any standard USB wall-wart but it will only charge the HD at a slow rate. In order to charge at the full rate, you must use the special power adapter from Amazon. The published price when I bought mine was $19.99 – discounted to $9.99. But they still charged me the full $19.99 on check out.
- You have to pay $15 extra to NOT get Amazon’s advertisements on your device. My understanding is that these ads are only on the lock screen and they will certainly be removed if/when you root the device. Still, it is a bad thing in my humble opinion. 😉
- Get this device if you have never used an Android or iOS device, AND, if you are wholly interested in consuming Amazon content (movies, books, mp3s.)
- If you buy it, don’t root it (until the tools are more mature)
- If you buy it, get the Power Adapter. Otherwise, it may discharge entirely and you will have difficulty getting it charged back.
- If you buy it, get the Marware “MicroShell Folio” to protect it (physically) from damage.
- Best advice: Get the Google Nexus 7 that has everything (and more) that this has – for less money. And, the N7 includes a power adapter – and NO ADS!
This rating is based upon my opinion that the hardware appears to be good (minus the GPS) and, assuming that you can later root the device, it has the potential of being a nice Android tablet when you replace the Amazon OS with the newest Android OS and launcher.
[important]Note: This article is based on my personal use and “feelings” about the device. For a more “technical” comparison, see this article on the Digital Trends website.[/important]