Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7"

Amazon recently launched the Kindle Fire HD which is currently only available in the U.S. market. It is designed to compete with the more expensive and low res iPad Mini which is sold for 329$ while The Kindle Fire is available for a comparatively cheaper 199$. Amazon is no novice when it comes to tablets with its earlier Kindle Fire and The Kindle Fire HD is a revised version with an improved display, new front camera and a totally different build while being powered by Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7"

Feel, Appearance and Processing

After unpacking from the empty cardboard box the Kindle Fire makes a very good first impression. Unlike the first impression it conveys, the Kindle Fire HD is also larger than the Nexus 7 – In direct comparison, the Amazon device stands out clearly with the dimensions of 19.3 x 13.7 x 1 cm on the long side, which it is as Amazon has chosen a more conservative style. This is to say: the bezel, which is the border between the display and the housing edge, has a uniform size, while ASUS and Google’s Nexus 7 dilutes the long sides and the short sides are widened. This also stems from the fact that the Kindle Fire HD, as opposed to the Nexus 7, the device was designed to be used in landscape mode. The arrangement of the boxes, the position of the front camera (top center on the longer side) and the lettering on the back accentuate this impression.

Kindle Fire HD 7 inch tablet

Amazon has used very high-quality materials for the construction: The front is made of scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass, the back is made of plastic, which has been roughened slightly and feels very well. Unfortunately, the material on the back is still prone to fingerprints. The rounded plastic back is interrupted by a metal held in landscape mode with transverse stripes. This not only increases the stability of the device in comparison to the continuous plastic coverings of other devices, it is also a distinctive optical element. At the outer ends of the two metal strips extending openings of the stereo speakers are inserted, in addition to this is the “kindle” lettering stamped. The design therefore has a slight Art Deco element. The gaps are quite small and, unlike the Nexus 7, you cannot press the case.

The hardware buttons for volume and power must be looked at critically: This lift is not as good as on the edge of the case – the user must often visually search the keys because they are not felt by touch. Even if you have memorized the location of the keys after some time of use, this is still necessary, because you use the “high volume” for and “down” cannot tell them apart, quite apart from the fact that the keyboard shortcut for making of (hold “Power” and “Volume and Power Down” buttons simultaneously) Screenshots a torture equals.

Overall, the Kindle Fire has processed a tad quality than the Nexus 7 is, however, due to the higher dimensions and weight of the larger but also less mobile.

Display

Thanks to an IPS display with a diagonal of 7 inches and a True HD compatible resolution of 1280 x 800, the Kindle Fire HD has the same pixel density of 216 ppi as the Nexus 7 in comparison. In spite of the well-sounding marketing term “retina display” the iPad 3 comes at a pixel density of “only” 264 ppi, the HD-capable 10-inch tablet Transformer Pad TF 700 “Infinity” has little sharper 224 ppi.

Kindle Fire HD Display Small

In direct comparison with the Nexus 7, the display of the Kindle Fire HD slightly better: The maximum brightness is very good, the reflections low – even in the open air you can read the screen well, at least if one is not in the blazing midday sun. The contrast values are in the Kindle Fire HD better than the Nexus 7 and convince by a deep black, bright, but latently yellowish white and intense colors. Also, the color fidelity in her angles is great for an LCD-based display. Watch videos, play games and read books, makes really fun on the Kindle Fire. At least, if you disable the automatic brightness adjustment because like in every other Android device which causes a usually too dark.

Total makes the display of the Kindle Fire HD a very good impression, only a slight streaking in fast on-screen motion blurs the overall impression a little – but that is absolutely bearable.

Camera

On Kindle Fire there is no HD back camera, as with devices in this price range is normal. The front camera, preferably in video calling on Skype is used, produced good results, and resolve with 1.3 MP. Due to the low relevance of the camera’s performance for tablets in general and this class of devices in particular, it is a feature but not included in the summary.

Software

On the Kindle Fire HD Android is installed. But it is not similar to Android, as most know it: Amazon has for the Kindle Fire HD Android in version 4.0 branched off from the AOSP (Android Open Source Project). This is legal, but Amazon replaced Google as a competitor who wants to position its own services rather than Google, no official license. Without this again missing all Google Apps and the Play Store. But besides that, Amazon has properly handled manually and subjected to the standard UI a drastic remedy that has washed himself: similar Virtually no element of the standard UI of Android – most likely to be seen ICS actually still using the same function notification bar and the circular loading animation But here it is orange instead of blue.

Amazon’s Kindle Fire UI

The Kindle Fire HD has no separation between home screen and app drawer like most Android surfaces. Instead, all, or most recently used media is shown in a horizontal scroll bar on the home screen – so apps, games, movies, websites, books, audio books and so on. There are not the common ways of removing the list, you can remove only by prolonged pressure on individual media and start a text block about the individual apps for the respective categories. This is blotchy and often requires more navigation steps, as one would expect from standard Android.

Amazon's Kindle Fire UI

The basic operation of the tablet but works of Android tablets known as: First, there are the software buttons for “Back”, “Home”, which are supplemented by Amazon buttons for the “Search” and “Bookmark”. There are also, depending on the application, other elements, such as the full-screen button in the browser. Also, the button arrangement is unusual: links below is the home button, the back button in the middle – unintuitive. Also a bad design decision is that the bar when switching between landscape and portrait mode retains its position: Holding the tablet upright, the bar at the bottom is holding the cross on the right side. Even the buttons retain their position, yielding particularly in the initial period of use should always seek felt some tenths of a second longer. This chaos is completed by the fact that ICS optimized apps occasionally additional menu options already on the button right above show in their own UI.

Dropbox App Screenshots

These two screenshots (above) from the Dropbox app, are many of the UI problems of the Kindle Fire: unintuitive positioned standard buttons, a control bar, which changes its position (and thus the “Home” from the user’s perspective times lower left, sometimes right below indicates), a doubled magnifying glass icon – and an additional Android 4.x context menu. Especially beginners are unlikely to be overwhelmed.

Software Buttons

On the plus side is that Amazon has fixed an old problem of Android devices. The software buttons are hidden in full-screen apps, such as games, and can by tapping on a barely visible Software tab which if necessary is displayed – here in the image marked in orange.

Notifications work as expected from Android via pull-down menu. The bar is pulled down and individual notifications can be removed by wiping horizontal gesture. Also buttons for Quick Settings are available – via the “More” button, and you can reach the device settings.

The Pre-installed Apps

The Silk browser is Amazon’s version of the Android browser. It is also based on Web Kit, but differs in some respects from the stock browser. The test scrolling and pinch-to-zoom was not quite as smooth as Chrome or other browsers. The optional acceleration function, in which all data on Amazon’s server infrastructure are managed and optimized, brought in our test no noticeable speed boost when loading pages. Flash is not installed or installed.

Built in music player

The built-in music player is functional and does the job. Practically, the connection to Amazon’s storage service, the Cloud Player: you can sync from your computer automatically (such as iTunes import) or manually upload music to his account, which is then available on the device available and also for local use can be downloaded without an Internet connection. Without MP3 purchases or an optional additional costs associated with the expansion of the memory options are severely limited: So you can currently only store 250 songs.

The video player is first and foremost presents the latest hit movies from Amazon which reveals the video player to be a mixed picture. Practically, the 10-second rewind function less well, however, the switch to HD is badly implemented: If you press on it, the switch will disappear immediately. Only after several attempts is HD activated.

As expected from a Kindle is the e-reader function beyond doubt: From the cross-device “Whispersync” Synchronization of the current reading position on bookmarks, comments, recommendation functions is no desire left open.PDFs can also open the Kindle app via file manager to EPUBs it bites but from the teeth.

Of course, there are other apps pre-installed. On the edge of the still were good Skype client for convenient video telephony, a calendar, a usable software keyboard and an email client mentioned. The latter, however, correspond to the three apps Android 4.0 standard and require no separate mention.

Amazon App store

The Amazon App store is now ranked quite well and according to information from Amazon it contains tens of thousands of apps and games. What does not change the fact that you are by far does not have so much choice in how Google’s Play Store. For some this may be an advantage: The apps are Amazon checked by hand for compatibility and possible malware, you are not forced to rummage through interminable listings on the search for a desired app and a lot of “rejects” remains one spared. Several of usual Google Android apps, including YouTube and Google Maps are in the Amazon app ecosystem but sorely missed – just convenience functions such as installing apps via a web browser.

Performance

With the double-core and clocked at 1.2 GHz TI OMAP 4460 has the Kindle Fire HD a CPU that is already about a year on the market and also in the example of Samsung Galaxy/ Google  nexus will be installed. For almost all applications that may be enough still, from the perspective of a hardware enthusiast is such a low clocked and still built-in 45 nm manufacturing CPU density which of course is no longer contemporary. The quad-core Tegra 3 SoC in Nexus 7 offers significantly more performance – as proven by the benchmarks.

Unfortunately, the Amazon App store does not have too many graphics intensive games that we could hunt during our test course. After rummaging through all the games, we were able to test (EDGE, Final Freeway, Radiant HD, and Collapse! Dummy and Defense) were fluid throughout. Trial Extreme 2 only had minor graphical glitches and choking spells at the device orientation, and the picture was displayed upside down.

Also, the UI is not always one hundred percent liquid. In particular, longer Listings tend to slight judder during fast scrolling – not annoying, but noticeable. In view of the fact that Android 4.0 is the software it would have with a bit of optimization work on the UI Amazon certainly be better.

Storage and Connectivity

It must be stressed that the device, similar to the Nexus 7, invite via micro USB can – perhaps it is the era of proprietary charging solutions so slowly come to an end. Even the mini-HDMI output (cable not included) is to be mentioned positively. That there is no 3G module, it is understandable in this price range. The WLAN module has two antennas according to the specifications; in reality we have not noticed the effects. Bluetooth is on board and enables the wireless connection of compatible peripherals – NFC, GPS, proximity sensor and compass missing however.

The Kindle Fire HD comes in two storage variants: the 16 GB costs 199 euros, the 32 GB one 249 euros and as expected, an expansion by memory card is not possible.

Multimedia

Functions of the mediocre audio and video player and a below-average format support. First, there are the boxes that reflect not only sound in stereo – an effect that can be achieved though only when holding in landscape mode – but, thanks to Dolby audio enhancements and a surprisingly provide rich sound.

Conclusion: For games or movies enjoyed on the sofa the Kindle Fire HD is perfectly adequate. With HDMI out, you can enjoy their media on the big screen for streaming via DLNA is needed but an app like Skifta – which are found in the Amazon App store.

Practicality

Due to the lack of connection to mobile data networks, the Kindle Fire HD will probably be mostly used indoors. In the “sofa use” makes the Kindle Fire a good figure, although he thanks to larger dimensions and heavier not as good in the (men’s) is your pocket for small hands and is also noticeably bulkier.The battery is 4400 mAh large and thus its capacity is almost identical to the Nexus 7 – in the test, we had the battery life before rather shorter. In regular use, the device had a day at the outlet.

Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire HD?

The first Kindle Fire in late 2011 has opened a whole new market: Useful and compact tablet which are reduced to the essentials and little cost. The sequel to the first Fire has a problem: The competition is not sleeping, and he is not there a lonely furrow. Only months ago, the Kindle Fire HD would get a much better score with us, but now is the Nexus appeared 7 and swirls the untapped android tablet business to even more than the first Kindle Fire.Nexus 7 on the Kindle Fire HD must be measured – and so sorry we do, here he draws the short straw.

Yes, the Kindle Fire is handled slightly better than the Nexus 7, has a nicer display, more convincing sound and a HDMI output. So that the benefits of the Amazon Seven incher are also enumerated earlier – in any other major discipline is the unit of Google and the Kindle Fire ASUS HD a bit ahead: performance, operating system, app ecosystem, standard apps, and openness. One argument I’ve read in many a test that the Kindle is a better choice for users who attach more importance to the Amazon and Google services as Google Play interpretation of Android, we cannot apply in this context – because let almost all Amazon services with additional apps, such as the Kindle and Amazon MP3, use it on the Nexus. Only the recently announced Amazon Kindle lending library will probably continue even on Amazon hardware its doors.

So then our conclusion remains to Kindle Fire HD and that it indeed is not a bad device, main achievement, ironically but rightly is to show us once again, how great the Nexus 7 is.

Kindle Fire 7 inch HD – Our Rating

  • Processing and hepatics: 4/5
  • Display: 4/5
  • Performance: 3/5
  • Battery life: 3/5
  • Connectivity: 3/5
  • Software: 3/5
  • Multimedia: 3/5
  • Everyday suitability: 3/5

Overall: 3.3/5

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