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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Kindle Fire HD 7-inch

Kindle Fire HD 7-ins HD Display Kindle Fire HD 7" HD Display, Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Dual-Antenna Wi-Fi, 16GB or 32GB

Kindle Fire HD 7-inch - To put a review of the Kindle Fire HD in perspective, you have to peer just a tiny bit into the past. It was barely a week ago that the world watched Amazon begin a magical transformation from that of a humble multinational that retails every product ever made in the world, to that of a consumer electronics powerhouse that wants to bring the fight to Apple on the tablet front. During its event last Wednesday, CEO Jeff Bezos was focused on not just the new products, but about what they mean to Amazon and its customers. These aren't just tablets — they are portals to all the company is, whether it's the cloud services on the backend, retail tie-ins up front, or that new part of Amazon: the one that makes high-end consumer hardware.

The original Kindle Fire felt like an experiment, a 'can we do this?' moment for Amazon. The new, $199 Fire HD feels like something very different. A product with an attitude, a directive, a plan. And that plan seems to be something like this: hit them on price, hit them on ecosystem, and hit them where it hurts the most — product design. Amazon also wants to hit them where only Amazon can: retail. But are the hits going to keep coming, or is the new Fire HD a swing and a miss? Find out in the full review below.

At first glance, the Fire HD isn't exactly something that you'd notice in a lineup of tablets. These days, it's not really art or science deciding how slabs look, but more like a kind of desire for familiarity. In that sense, the Fire serves its purpose fabulously. The device is little more than a matte black rectangle with the requisite rounded corners. The front of the Fire is eaten up by its display and a small camera peering out through the black bezel which runs around the screen. The sides of the device are downturned from front to back, broken only by a headphone jack, volume rocker, and power / sleep button integrated into the top (or right side in landscape) of the device. Along the bottom you'll find a Micro USB and Micro HDMI jack (you can mirror content to a big screen). The Fire has a soft-touch black backing, with a thin plastic strip spanning the length of it that houses a set of stereo speakers.

The 7-inch, 1280 x 800 display on the Fire HD is fantastic. The IPS, LCD screen looks better than probably any other tablet display I've seen, save for the new iPad. While the pixel density is the same for both the Nexus 7 and the Fire HD (216 compared to the iPad's 264), the Fire blows away the Nexus in terms of color richness, black levels, and general brightness. It definitely looks more like an Apple-quality display, and it's clear the company put a lot of effort into making an impression here. Though Amazon has touted the anti-glare coating of the screen, it can still be plenty shiny when viewing content in a decently lit room.

Touch response was good in most cases, and very good in some, though I believe there are some fundamental issues with Amazon's software that create subpar experiences in various areas of the Fire HD OS. I'll touch on that in detail in the software section of the review. No pun intended.

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