Amazon Kindle Fire HD review
A good value tablet with an excellent screen, HDMI output and LoveFilm support - but the Amazon interface is sluggish and inflexible
Review Date: 2 Nov 2012
Price when reviewed: £159
Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray and Seth Barton
It's been a while coming, but Amazon has finally made the decision to make its Kindle Fire devices available to UK customers. If you hadn't been paying attention, and missed Amazon's TV advertising blitz, then you might assume these were simply colour-screened eBook readers.
In fact the Kindle Fire HD, and it's rather redundant cheaper sibling, are fully-fledged Android tablets. They're built on Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), but it's hard to tell that at first glance as Amazon's own software and user interface make it look very different. While what's on the screen might be unfamiliar to Android users, the hardware itself is ubiquitous enough to be mistaken at first glance for its main competitor, the Google Nexus 7.
The front is a single piece of glass, with a 7in LCD screen set in its centre and broad black bezel surrounding it. The rear is constructed from smooth, soft touch plastic, with the Kindle logo etched on a black strip of glossy plastic across it. And at either end of this strip are dual-driver stereo speakers.
Those who are thinking of replacing their Kindle with this might be in for a shock. We think the Fire HD is too heavy to hold in one hand reading books, so those planning to discard their eBook reader may be disappointed. At 394g it's more than double the weight of the standard E Ink Kindle at and you'll probably find yourself resting it somewhere, or switching hands after a while.
You might also be worried about reading on a backlit screen, but it isn't a huge problem: the IPS display is of superb quality, offering a maximum brightness of 452cd/m2 and a rich, saturated colour palette. That brightness means you can still read it in bright conditions as long as you angle the glossy screen away from light sources. However, in really bright sunlight, you'll still struggle. Most people find a proper eBook reader easier on the eyes, though, and its huge battery life is a boon too.
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