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Kindle Fire HD Review

I just got a new Kindle Fire HD 7″ 16 gig to replace my old Kindle Reader and gosh awful slow cheap tablet. I bought my Kindle Fire at Best Buy so I could try it and a full Android tablet out first. The Fire is a very good compromise between the two devices it is replacing and very fast unlike my previous tablet.

Their app store had my most important productivity apps including Evernote so no problem there. The couple they didn’t have I was able to get by going direct to the website of one to download it and the other I searched a forum and found I could get it through an alternative store at 1mobile.com. Fire has it’s own app store (which should be used rather than 1Mobile whenever possible) and does not support Google Play since it uses a modified Android operating system. Other apps I only use on my full android smartphone so no need to find and install those.

I love how tied into my Amazon account it is which the other Android tablet I looked at wouldn’t have been. It easily brought in my hundreds of eBooks. Browsing on it is a very nice experience. Playing games on it is fast and addictive. Reading email and Facebook are easier with the bigger screen than on my phone which I usually use. It only has WI-FI, not 3G or 4G, but that works for me since I use a MI-FI device. I had free WI-FI at my motel and was able to use my Prime membership to play music and stream movies for free. With only 36 channels available at the motel, it was nice to be able to watch “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” which played smoothly without a glitch. The Fire also supports Netflix, Hulu, etc. The sound on this thing when playing movies, music, or games is excellent Dolby with two stereo speakers.

It’s a bit heavy like an Ipad, more so than my other devices it is replacing. I like the standard charging port which is much better than the odd port on Ipads. X-Ray for music shows the song lyrics while playing some of my favorite songs which is certainly nice to have. I should see if it knows the words to Louie Louie LOL. It will also show extra info on movies I play.

For those of you who are sometimes visually challenged or often busy, the Kindle Fire HD has text-to-speech and audiobook support. I had it read my newspaper to me this week while I was working. Yes, you can get newspapers and magazines delivered to you anywhere on your Kindle too. Is that cool or what! It can also switch back and forth easily between text and audio without losing your place. The speech is very smooth and distinct.

I do wish it had a camera flash. The cameras are fully useful in good light and for things like Skype and other video chat. Not a deal killer for me since I usually use a good separate camera or my smartphone camera or take most of my pictures outside in daylight anyway. Still, they should consider adding it.

The battery seems to be about average. I have to charge it once or twice a day depending on how much I use it and what I do with it. They claim up to 8 hours depending on usage. It fully charges in under 6 hours using the micro-USB power adapter included. They do sell a faster 9 Watt charger. Mine seems to charge fairly fast.

I highly recommend getting a book about the device. There is no manual with it. I learned from a book some shortcuts and that it could do so much more than what I thought. A few tips I can give you: 1) It does have a caps lock mode. You have to double tap the shift key to access it and disable it. 2) Long press on keys and items to access special menus. This works especially well in the keyboard when typing to access numbers and other characters. 3) Set the rotation to NOT rotate when reading a book. It is an icon on the main navigation menu. Now you can hold your Fire any way you want without it flipping all around on you.

All in all, I am very pleased with my choice though I am still testing it and learning what more it can do. I already checked and found I can maintain my websites and post to my blogs away from home with it which is important to me. I also tested the Square credit card reader on it and found it is supported though I had to get the Square register app elsewhere rather than in the Kindle app store.

The specs:

Quad Core up to 1.5 ghz with 1 GB of RAM
HD Display (1280 x 800)
Fire OS4 (proprietary scaled down Android)
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth (including support for Bluetooth keyboards)
Location-based services via Wi-Fi
Two speaker stereo Dolby sound
Front AND rear cameras
Create individual profiles for each user
Time limits app for kids
Web browsing, email, calendar, view and edit Office documents
Share movies, TV shows, etc. with your HDTV via an HDMI adapter (more $$$) or wireless
Free unlimited cloud storage for all Amazon content and Fire photos
Over 33 million movies, TV shows, songs, books, Android apps and games

Many will likely prefer the newer Kindle HDX model which starts at only $20 more with a faster 2.2 gig processor, slightly better screen resolution, lighter weight, and a bit more fine adjustments. Unfortunately, it does not come with a rear facing camera which I wanted. Don’t go for anything less than 16 Gig. Despite unlimited cloud storage, memory on the device does matter. More IS better if you can afford it.

I hope this review of the Kindle Fire HD helps you. If you have never owned an eBook reader or are using one that just does books, you should check out the Kindle Fire. You may find the added functionality can really improve your life. If you travel a lot, it’s a must!

Note: I am an Amazon affiliate and use affiliate links but everything stated here is true to the best of my knowledge and own opinion at the time of this writing. Your mileage may vary depending on what you are looking for in a tablet/reader.

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