I have been using one of these tablets for the last few months. The size of it means I can just throw it in my bag, without it taking up too much space. Amazon tablets are defiantly low priced, but other than a handy size and an attractive price, is it any good? Find out in my Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 Review, as we put it through it's paces.
Kindle Fire HD 7 Features
- Ample Storage with 16GB or 32GB options
- Great quality, 7 inch HD Screen
- Amazon Prime - streaming video service
- HD Camera
- Kindle Unlimited - Unlimited eBook rental for £7.99 a month.
- 11 Hours Usage
- Fast processor and loads of RAM
- Ambient light sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope
Kindle Fire HDX Summary
7 inch screen
1280 x 800 screen resolution
8GB, 16GB or 32GB
11 Hours Usage
USB 2.0 micro-B connector
1.5GHz Snapdragon Quad Core Processor
Like most tablets, the touch screen interface makes it so simple, that even a child can use it.
Lots of Apps available.
Super Fast Delivery
Live Support with Mayday
Summary: The Kindle Fire HD 7 is a great tablet that is excellent value for money, and that works well both as an ebook reader and a general tablet PC.
Not the most powerful tablet, but good enough for day to day general use.
When the Amazon Fire tablets were first released, they weren’t all that popular – because they lack the long battery life of the paperwhite Kindles, and are not quite as versatile as an average Android tablet. However, their high quality display and robust manufacturing, as well as the eminently affordable price, means that they have started to take off.
Amazon isn't going after Apple or Samsung's tablet market with these devices, they are looking to offer affordable tablets, that can be used to consume their digital content. Amazon is now a producer of TV shows, so anything that pushes Amazon Prime subscriptions will help.
The build quality of the device is reflected in the price, there is no aluminium or high end materials being used here, just functional black plastic that does the job.
It is a solid, well-made device that does not feel the way you would expect something at that price point to feel. It doesn’t creak or crunch, there’s no loose fittings, just smooth glass and a pleasingly grippy, soft-touch device. It is nice to hold, and feels weighty and robust, although not quite to the precision manufacturing standards that Apple holds.
Amazon have done a great job of putting the emphasis on the screen, more on the screen later. The device has a only a very limited number of hardware controls, including volume and power buttons on the top, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. There is no fixed home key, and there isn’t a camera on the front of the device either. It’s a minimalistic, but well-made device, and it is easy to learn how to use it – or get used to it if you are generally accustomed to devices with a little more in terms of features.
The build quality is reflected in the price, no high end materials are being used here, just functional, black plastic.
Analysis - These tablets are about selling Amazon's content. No going after high end tablet users.
Amazon has opted for a rather thick bezel around the Kindle HD 7, sacrificing screen size in the process, but arguably improving usability, since the tablet is now easier to hold. It is quite comfortable to grip in portrait view, holding it between your thumb and finger, rather than resting it in the palm of your hand. Since the device is very light (weighing less than 350g), you can hold it however you wish without problems. The lack of a hardware home button may confound some people at first, but it is easy to get used to, and it does the job in the end.
The HD 7 has a seven inch display (as the name would suggest), the only option is to choose more storage, whichever model you opt for, you will get the same screen. The display is sharp, and unlike e-ink, which has a lag on updating, it is fine for both reading books and browsing web pages.
The display can’t quite compete with an iPad’s Retina display, but it is a good rival to the original iPad, and it is up there with a lot of android rivals, which is why overall this Kindle HD 7 review is positive.
The display on the Kindle Fire HD 7 is slightly higher resolution than the standard Kindle Fire HD, but it has the same pixel density – in fact it’s essentially the same hardware, which means that it’s crystal clear, and has a nice warm hue to it. This makes it great for viewing video content – although, strangely enough for a Kindle, it is not ideal for reading books because white backgrounds have a yellow tint to them.
I am a little less nervous about letting my kids use my HDX, simply because its plastic and I am less worried about scratches.
Analysis - The display can’t quite compete with an iPad’s Retina display, but it is a good rival to the original iPad, and it is up there with a lot of android rivals.
It has a generous screen resolution – 1920 x 1200, and a quad-core processor, which means that it can run most modern applications quite well. It has a dedicated graphics controller, which means that when running video intense applications, the CPU still runs smoothly.
There is a camera on the device, but it’s an afterthought – you are unlikely to fill the device with movies recorded via the camera – unless this genuinely is the only form of smart mobile device that you own. For most it is an accessory alone, and it should be treated as such.
More of an afterthought than an integral part of the design.
Analysis - It's an HD camera and functional but it feels more like something that was added on at the end.
The most basic version of the Fire HD 7 comes with 8GB of onboard storage, there is a jump in price for the 16GB and 32GB versions, which is modest jump to be honest. Given the capabilities of the device – it is not really a tablet aimed at gamers – you are unlikely to want more storage.
As the performance of tablets improve, gaming will become core to what they are about, you can see them replacing games consoles, this will require more storage, we aren't there yet!
The biggest thing you will need to use the storage for is movies and TV shows, for offline viewing like on airplanes. Remember you can watch streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, but this requires a WiFi connection.
You can always watch an episode of a TV show then delete it, and you can store several movies on the 8GB if you don’t want to watch them in full HD. However, 8GB just isn't enough in my opinion, it's too much hassle to keep adding and deleting things.
8GB, 16GB & 32GB - Plenty storage options.
Analysis - 8GB probably isn't enough, unless you plan on never watching movies on it, I would recommend that you go with the 16GB.
The 16GB is generous enough to stock up on your favourite TV series and store podcasts and albums too, and the 32GB will cover everything that even a relatively demanding user would want.
Perhaps the only downside of the Kindle Fire HD 7 is that the reason the price is so low is because Amazon runs ‘special offers’ on the lock screen. To get rid of those offers, you need to pay an additional £8. The advertising is not exactly invasive, but it is a symbol of how companies are looking to try to keep control of devices even after they have been bought – they subsidise hardware so that they can keep marketing at you. It’s hard to make this a negative Kindle HD 7 review based just on that, though - a few dollars to remove ads is not much, or those who care, and or those who are price conscious, it’s not as if ads on the lock screen really get in the way. There are no feature limitations for having the ad-supported device. If there were, then Amazon probably would see significant backlash, but for the most part this device is the same regardless of what you buy.
The Kindle Fire HD is a simple tablet, but it has a lot to offer for someone who wants a reliable and robust entertainment device. It is ideal for people who are not willing to pay the prices of the high-end tablets – or who just don’t need massive, complex Android or iOS devices. In terms of connectivity, the device has support for fast wifi, and it is quite reliable. You can download games and apps from Amazon over the wifi, and since it is a dual band, dual antenna wifi device the connection is usually good, with strong signal range.
Strangely enough, the device comes with two rather impressive, punchy speakers which offer sound that is far better than you would expect for their size. They are loud, powerful, and clear, and give convincing stereo that is up to the standard of what you may remember from HTC’s old devices. Of course, earphones are most likely going to be better, but for those moments when you’re just watching a video that’s been posted on Facebook, you’ll be glad of the audio quality of these built-in speakers.
TOP FEATURE - Sound
Comes with two rather impressive punchy speakers!
Something I was rather surprised with was the quality of the speakers. Not something I was expecting.
The machine has a 1.5ghz processor, with four cores, which is perfectly good for web browsing, email and social media, but that might struggle with games and HD video.
8GB, 16GB & 32GB - Plenty storage options.
Who is this tablet for?
The processor’s relatively limited performance means that this is not the ideal device for someone who is looking to enjoy 3D gaming or consume a lot of HD content. However, for someone who is happy to simply check their email, post to social media and otherwise browse online. It can play back SD content quite happily, as well as certain HD encodes. It can also play lower end games quite well. The challenge comes with higher-end games, and with 1080p content.
If you want a high-end experience, then the Kindle Fire HDX is better. If you want the freedom to install other OSes, then a standard Android tablet is better. However, if you value the convenience that Android offers, then you could get a lot out of a Kindle Fire HD 7. A lot of parents like to buy them for their children, because the OS is simple and the Amazon store is relatively ‘safe’ compared to the wild west of Android.
So, to conclude this Kindle HD 7 review, this is a great budget device. It would make a good first tablet, or even a tablet for someone who is looking for a more basic experience. Many even use them as longer battery life tablets for travel, saving their main tablet as a ‘work’ device. Certainly, at this price point, there is a lot to be said for the tablet – it is great value for money, well made and reliable – and far more versatile than a plain kindle, which is why this Kindle HD 7 review is so positive.
Kindle Fire HDX Wrap Up
Pros: The Kindle Fire HD 7 is a good machine – it is better than the iPad Mini price-wise, and has a great display. However, if you try to compare it to something like the Nexus 7 you will be disappointed. This tablet serves a rather different market – bridging the gap between ebooks and games and apps. They act as a chance for people to try the wider features of Amazon, and enjoy downloadable music, games, apps and movies, as well as books. As a one-stop entertainment device, this is a great offering.
Cons: Annoying advertising and the battery life can be a little frustrating.