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Amazon Kindle Fire HD review

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
159
inc VAT

A good value tablet with an excellent screen, HDMI output and LoveFilm support - but the Amazon interface is sluggish and inflexible

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Specifications

7 in 1,280x800 display, 394g, 1.2GHz TI OMAP4460, 1.00GB RAM, 16GB disk, Android 4.0 (customised)

FILM EXCLUSIVE

As this is a tablet, though, there's more than just literature available on the Kindle Fire HD. You can also stream movies and TV episodes using the Lovefilm Instant service - which many postal subscribers have access to already. (a free month's subscription is also included). Much of the content comes complete with X-Ray, a feature powered by the movie database IMDB, which displays data on actors in the current scene.

Amazon Kindle Fire HD

LoveFilm support is a major selling point of the Kindle Fire HD

We were disappointed to find that there's no way to cache video content on the device to watch on the go, which would be a huge selling point for many. That said, this is the only Android device to have access to LoveFilm Instant, as Amazon doesn't provide an app for other Android devices.

There's a range of newspapers and magazines to download, Amazon's custom Silk web browser for accessing websites, an email client and Amazon's very own App store. This doesn't offer quite the range of Google Play, but all the major apps and games are in evidence, and there's a “Free app of the day” too.

Amazon Kindle Fire HD

The Fire HD picked up greasy fingerprints at an alarming rate, but the speakers are among the best tablet examples we've heard

It all sounds good, but the trouble with all this proprietary stuff is that it isn't as customisable as stock Android and it doesn't work as smoothly either. Although the tablet's browser-based SunSpider benchmark result of 1,832ms is on a par with the Nexus 7, navigating around the UI frequently stutters, and browsing the web using the Silk browser is a similarly sluggish affair. And this, despite ostensibly capable hardware – a 1.2GHz dual-core OMAP processor backed up by 1GB of RAM.

Still, full HD movies do at least play smoothly and the built-in dual-driver speakers are astoundingly forceful. We had trouble testing the battery life, as the Kindle Fire HD didn't like our usual test app and video file. Instead we undertook some more real world testing, by streaming a HD movie over Wi-Fi to the device while listening with headphones. The 1h 35min film took on average 19% of the battery power over four runs, so you should get around eight hours of playback from it - and a similar figure for web browsing.

BURNT OUT

There's absolutely no doubt that this little device offers plenty of tablet for your money, and its superior screen and HDMI output, edge it near the Google Nexus 7. The sluggish Amazon UI and browser means we'd lean towards the Nexus 7 for general web browsing, app usage and gaming, but if don't mind the Amazon lock-in – it's a fine buy.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
ProcessorTI OMAP4460
Processor clock speed1.2GHz
Memory1.00GB
Maximum memoryN/A
Size137x10.2x193mm
Weight394g
SoundN/A
Pointing devicetouchscreen

Display

Viewable size7 in
Native resolution1,280x800
Graphics ProcessorPowerVR SGX540
Graphics/video portsmicro-HDMI

Storage

Total storage capacity16GB
Optical drive typeN/A

Ports and Expansion

USB ports1
Bluetoothyes
Wired network portsnone
Wireless networking support802.11n
PC Card slots0
Supported memory cardsnone
Other portsnone

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemAndroid 4.0 (customised)
Operating system restore optionrestore partition
Software includedN/A
Optional extrasN/A

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£159
Detailswww.amazon.co.uk
Supplierhttp://www.amazon.co.uk

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