Kindle Fire HD 7", Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers
World's most advanced 7" tablet with stunning HD display, exclusive Dolby audio, and the fastest Wi-Fi found on a tablet. When it comes to HD displays, great resolution is just the start. Kindle Fire HD delivers rich color and deep contrast from every angle, with an advanced polarizing filter and custom anti-glare technology. Our exclusive Dolby Digital Plus audio includes technology to adjust volume, create virtual surround sound, and deliver easier-to-understand dialogue in movies and TV shows.
Stunning 1280x800 HD display with rich color and deep contrast from any viewing angle
Exclusive Dolby audio and dual driver stereo speakers for crisp, booming sound without distortion
Ultra-fast Wi-Fi- dual-antenna, dual-band Wi-Fi for 35% faster downloads and streaming
Over 22 million movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, books, audiobooks, and popular apps and games
Average Customer Rating:
based on 12381 reviews
Average Customer Review:
( 12381 customer reviews )
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22998 of 23475 found the following review helpful:
You Get What You Pay ForSep 17, 2012
By TL I've been an iPad user since the original came out. I also have an iPad 3. I have worked in IT for the past few years so I would say I am pretty good with technology and fancy new devices. With that introduction out of the way, I will be reviewing key points that I have seen touched upon in other reviews. Here goes...
BUILD The device feels nice and solid. I'm a little surprised at how heavy it is, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The rubberized backing is always nice for added grip. It's not as nice as say unibody aluminum, but it's not $500 either.
SCREEN The screen is fantastic. But my problem is the same as when iPad got Retina Display, other than the OS, most apps look rather pixelated. A lot of the games I tried are not high definition, at least not high enough to look smooth on this screen. Hopefully apps get updated to higher resolutions.
LOCK SCREEN ADS Yeah there are ads on my lock screen. I'm not sure why this is such a big deal. How much time do people really spend looking at the lock screen? The first thing I thought when I saw the ads is WOW the pictures are really crisp! The ads are there to subsidize some of the $200 price tag. I might pay the $15 to get rid of them so I can customize it, but I might not. I feel like this has been blown out of proportion by other customers.
SOUND The sound from the speakers is great. Much better than you would get from more expensive devices, very crisp and clean. I have the official Amazon case on and it has not affected the sound at all. Nothing much else to say, I doubt anyone will complain about this.
CRASHING I've had two apps crash on opening. I don't know if it is the app or the OS. It's probably somewhere in the middle. Again, not a big deal for me. If it crashes, then I just tap it again and it works. I've also watched a few movies using the built in player as well as Netflix and Amazon Prime. No crashes for me at all. I'm sure OS stability will be improved as time goes on.
OVERALL SATISFACTION Compared to my iPad 3, obviously the Fire HD is not as "good" so to speak. I mainly got it because I wanted something smaller. I also mainly used the iPad to surf the web, watch videos, and play some simple games. The Fire HD accomplishes this and does so much more. If you are expecting an iPad killer, or a desktop replacement, or a productivity machine, then you should look elsewhere.
I bought this to be a media device, and I believe that is what Amazon meant this to be. In this regard, I think this is a great device. In fact, I decided to keep this and sell my iPad 3, which will give me another $200+ to spend on other things. Just remember, this device is not for everyone. If you want a media device, you will be happy with this. Do not expect an iPad for $200.
UPDATE 9/18/12 Just wanted to add a few more things I have noticed over the past 24 hours.
- Power/Volume Buttons: There are a bit hard to press, which is somewhat alleviated by having the official case. Maybe it's because I'm a longtime iPad user, but this will definitely take some getting used to.
- Screen Glare: It took me a little while to notice, but I was playing a Seek & Find game while on Caltrain, with the bright Palo Alto sun shining right on me, and didn't have any trouble seeing the screen. I remembered that Amazon mentioned how the screen was changed to reduce glare, and they did an amazing job.
UPDATE 9/20/12 Two days later and I am still very happy with the device. Here are some more thoughts from me:
BATTERY LIFE I have been playing Enigmatis (a hidden object game) for about an hour and a half each day on my commute. This drains about 15 - 20% of the battery with the screen brightness almost at the highest setting. Again, not iPad gold standard, but still very good.
SYNCING MUSIC I have a Samsung Galaxy S3 and used an app called Easy Phone Transfer to get all my music from iTunes onto the phone. It transferred everything, including album covers, and I was hoping to find something like that for this device. I tried iSyncr, a $3 app, which did the job, but did not sync over album covers. I uploaded all my music into the Cloud, then downloaded it from Amazon, which increased the audio quality for a lot of my songs and added artwork, but this still did not show up on the device.
I got very frustrated getting all the album artwork over and eventually just gave up. It's not a big deal but I am kind of anal about those kinds of things. Just a heads up if anyone else out there is crazy about it like I am.
UPDATE 09/21/12 I got a call from Amazon Customer Service about this review, which surprised me very much. They advised me the best way to get the artwork to show up is have the songs in both the Cloud Player as well as the device, which I know does work fine. I was hoping to have the artwork show without needing things in the Cloud, but not a big deal any more.
I am more impressed with the fact that Amazon called me to give me advice on how to remedy the situation and ask if there were any other questions I had on the Kindle. The representative said he wanted to make sure I was happy with the Fire HD. This is one of the big reasons I went with the Kindle, and with Amazon in general. I have had great experiences with their customer service, who have always been able to handle my issues quickly and efficiently. No need to set up an appointment days later with a wannabe IT guy with a hugely overstated job title.
So this update is not really for the device itself, but sometimes it's not just the device, it's the company that offers it that makes a difference. This is why I no longer have any Apple devices, as cool as they may be. But it's not 100% gravy, as I have noticed lately that the keyboard keeps popping up randomly on screens where there is nowhere to enter text, ie. while playing a game. I just have to press the Back arrow to get rid of it, but maybe a bug the Amazon engineers want to take a look at.
UPDATE 10/05/12 So I don't know if it was always there, but over this past weekend I noticed a dead pixel on my Kindle's screen. I called Kindle Support and after a short 5 minute call, they sent me a new Kindle, no questions asked. So once again, very happy with Amazon customer service. I am still very happy with the device, and have some more thoughts on it:
HDMI CONNECTION I bought an HDMI cable to hook up the Fire to my 46" Samsung and was quite impressed with the results. The quality was very good, not Bluray quality of course, but better than SDTV on an HD screen. You actually see every single thing you do on the big screen, like you are using a giant Kindle.
GOOGLE PLAY APPS One of the main drawbacks in my opinion is, or should I say was, the lack of all the Google Play apps available on the Kindle. With a little research, I found out how to add apps that are not available in the Amazon store. It is pretty easy to do and works very well with the apps I tried. This greatly improves my opinion of the Fire HD.
PLASTIC AROUND THE SCREEN The outer most edges of the Kindle are plastic. I noticed some kind of discoloration on the corner of mine, and just thought it was some dirt to scratch off. So I rubbed my thumb nail on the area, and noticed there were visible marks on the plastic. It appears this plastic can scratch some what easily, but I think this is just cosmetic as not of the plastic actually flaked. If you are not very anal about how your stuff looks, you probably won't notice it.
OS CHANGES Here are two small gripes I have with the OS that I'm sure could be fixed with an OS update:
- Battery Meter: It would be nice if the battery meter could show percentage instead of just a graphic bar. Some people have mentioned Battery HD, but you still have to swipe down to see the percentage, so this makes it easier but does not solve the issue I had.
- Personal Videos: The mp4 videos I put on the device are located in the "Personal Videos" app, which shows screen shots of all the videos I put in. The problem is, all that is shown are the screen shots. You can get more info by holding your finger down on each video, but when you have multiple seasons of a show on the Kindle, it can get confusing. Ideally we should be able to look at videos in a list like our music.
UPDATE 11/15/12 Still very happy with the device. Here are some more thoughts:
LEFT HAND MODE I did't think this would be a problem until I played a Solitaire game that DID have a left-handed mode. As a lefty who usually uses the Fire in landscape, I often have to reach across the screen to access the Settings or Home button in the menu. It's a small grievance, but can be really annoying when watching a movie or reading something. If there was an option for a left-handed layout with the menus on the left side of the device, that would be great.
PERSONAL VIDEOS APP I had earlier complained about this app, as it did not list my movies and crashed playing a pair of them. I recently drove down to LA from SF, and put 5 movies on device, only to find that 4 of them would not play! I was pretty mad, until I remembered a simple solution, download another app. I downloaded Avia Media Player, which is not the greatest either, but it played all the movies I put on the Kindle. My faith was restored.
GOOGLE PLAY APPS A lot of people have asked how to do this. If you are not having luck with Google searches, try this:
5213 of 5432 found the following review helpful:
ExceptionalSep 17, 2012
"I Heart Books"
I have been an Amazon customer for years having owned the first gen Kindle and currently the 6" Kindle. I have purchased the 1st gen Fires for my children for Christmas last year and I have purchased both the touch and 1st Fire for my father.
I already own an Ipad and did not feel the need to own a Fire, since I believe they duplicated the same purpose. I did however place an order for the Paperwhite, but after thinking about it, why not own a full functional device that is more than just an ereader.
I love the eInk displays and how light the regular Kindles are. One of my main gripes about tables are that they are heavier and you cant read the screen in bright daylight. I'm not really sure why the daylight is such a big deal for me, since I probably only read outside when I'm on vacation (2x a year).
Anyway, I cancelled the Paperwhite and ordered the Fire HD. I love it. It is portable, I never take my Ipad anywhere, just too big. I uploaded my entire music library from Itunes to Amazon Cloud, (so much for being locked down Apple!) and of course all of my books are on it. I regularly borrow books from my local library and was often frustrated that when I was away from home I could not search for books on my regular Kindle, becuase the experimental browser was just not functional enough.
The sound is amazing as everyone has said, as well as the display. No need to go into detail about what everyone else said. My only gripe is that the touch screen is not really as responsive as I would like, but it still works fine. The display does cut the reflection and you can read out doors. That is not to say there is no glare, it's just not an unreadable LCD screen any longer.
As far as the ads go, I don't find them obtrusive. I like knowing what other people bought or may have looked at. What's the big deal? If your friends recommend something to you, do you get mad? Same thing here to me.
I like that I can sync my email and now, actually use the Prime streaming video service. Yes, I know I could use the app on my Ipad, but like I said, I like it all packaged neatly here.
My only question is how many HD movies/TV shows can you download to the device? I like to download them when I travel and delete when I get home.
If you are an Amazon user, you should know that this tablet is no different that any other device (Apple?) that tries to get you completely integrated into their system. Should not really be a surprise to anyway that all of the shopping experiences point to Amazon.
I am pleased to have a tablet that is portable and easy to use.
Great job Amazon.
My word to the rest of the "reviewers" don't actually own the product, but write reviews on products that you don't own, to grip about a feature you read about. It's silly and clutters the reviews for those of us that actually like reading what other people are saying about a product.
After having my fire for a few weeks I still have very few complaints. I pretty much carry it with me whenever I am out of the house. I love having the option to read or if there way available wi-fi watch a movie. I wish it came with 4G but I bet it would make the price out of line with other small tablets.
The only cons I have is the typing experiences. It seems there is not predicitive text for the Silk browser which makes typing a little tough. I hear though there will be an update.
I dislike fingerprints on the screen when reading, but easily remedied with s soft cloth.
I have read 3 books and I am on my 4th and the screen is no issue whatsoever. This was my biggest concern before purchasing. I have no issue whatsoever. Just so you know, I read a lot and love the Eink Kindles, so this was an experiment to see if I could read for long periods of time with no eyestrain. Not an issue at all.
All in all I still love it. I have not used my Ipad since getting my fire.
1495 of 1566 found the following review helpful:
Kindle Fire HDSep 18, 2012
By Peter I purchased the original Kindle Fire on release day last year. It served me pretty well but was extremely glitchy. It would freeze, restart and stutter while playing games. For what it was, an entry level device, it wasnt bad.
So when the Kindle Fire HD was released, I decided I might as well give it a go as well. So far the Kindle HD looks to be twice the machine the original was. I am gonna keep this short and sweet and just create a pros and cons list for you guys. I dont want to be too long winded, but if you have questions you post in the comments, I will try to respond to them for a little while today.
1. Vibrant Screen 2. Much more responsive to the Touch than the original Kindle ever was. 3. Games that stuttered on the Original, play flawlessly on the HD. 4. The speakers are awesome, Loud, clear and crisp. No need for the Volume + app like on the original fire. 5. The device is slim, sleek and sexy. Really like the curves on the back and the styling. 6. Front facing camera works great for SKYPE. Quality was better than that on my SIII phone. 7. Wifi seems a bit faster, but not by much. Silk still isnt an optimal browser though. I have 65Mbps Download and 15Mbps Upload subscribed service. 8. Cloud sync worked like a charm, almost everything from my old fire is now on my new Fire HD. 9. The device feels sturdy and well built.
CONS: 1. The "Customers Also Bought" on the bottom of the home screen is terrible. I can care less about what others bought. The advertisements on the Lock Screen are fine and understandable, they really dont bother me at all or with the function of the device. The CAB on the home screen take away from having your favorites immediately accessible and are extremely intrusive with no option to remove it. I would gladly keep the ads on the lockscreen and pay 15 bucks to get rid of the CAB on the homescreen. Enough on that. 2. I work in a hospital and I know 11 people including my wife who now is a proud owner of a Fire HD. One thing we have all noticed is that sometimes when you unlock your device, the speakers will make a popping sound, sort of like a static or feedback. Hopefully this gets fixed. 3. Compared to the Original fire, there is a noticeable delay when clicking on apps or games. It seems more prevalent on certain apps but the same apps have no issue on the original Fire. More prevalent on the HD than on the original. 4. Magic books. For some odd reason, things I remove from the carousel magically reappear to irritate me constantly. I am a bit OCD and only want what I use to be on my carousel and nothing more. Hopefully this will be fixed as well. 5. Certain apps that were available on the Kindle Fire, are not available on the Kindle Fire HD. Accuweather for example is no longer a free app on the HD neither is ScreenDim. 6. I do not understand why we cannot use a different keyboard like Swiftkey. That would be a massive upgrade over the stock keyboard.
NON ISSUES: 1. Flash Player- It isnt so hard to get this to be a flash device. First you need a browser that allows flash to operate. Download a browser like Dolphin 8.8.1 to begin with. Not only does Dolphin perform better than Silk, it is more intuitive as well. Next download Flash Player 11.1 for ICS, make sure its for ICS. Once both are sideloaded, install, and flash should be working. It works on mine. CHECK MY COMMENTS FOR A STEP BY STEP 2. Charger not included- Again, in this day and age, most cellphones and other electronic devices use a mini usb charger. Just use the same plug for the Fire HD. I use my old Fire charger just fine. 3. Carousel- While most agree customization of the carousel skins would of been a nice touch, it still isnt a deal breaker and I didnt buy it to stare at the carousel.
I probably have over 20 hours on the Fire HD right now. From my memory that is all I can recall. If I remember anything or run across anything, new I will just edit in an update below. Any questions just ask in the comments. Overall, this device seems like a great deal. It should be much stronger once a patch is released to fix some bugs, but what doesnt need a patch these days once a product is released. Overall great showing by Amazon. Good Luck
Update #1 9-17-2012 So this is the second time that I have come home from work and the wifi on my Kindle Fire HD is acting wonky. It worked fine at work, then I got home and if I wasnt in the same room as the router, I couldnt get a page to load even though I had full bars of wifi. A reset of the Kindle HD completely fixed this and now I am outside on my front porch, far far away from my router. Hopefully an update will fix the wifi steadiness. Not sure if its because I switched to a different network or what, but I am gonna submit feedback to amazon regarding the issue.
Update #2 09-19-2012
So the issue occurred again. My Fire HD wifi worked this morning at home. I went to work, it hooked up to the public wifi at work no problems. I get home and unless I am right next to my router, pages will not load. Instead of restarting the entire FIRE HD, I went to options, turned off wifi and turned it back on. Problem was solved. Everything then worked as it should. I am not sure why I am having these issues with Wifi as I am a gaming geek and have brand new equipment and top of the line router and modem. I have the Asus RT-N66U router and Motorola SB6121 DOCSIS 3.0 modem. All other devices and the original FIRE work fine, no issues. If anyone else has these issues try turning wifi off then on again.
Update #3 09-20-2012
So it occurred again. I emailed Kindle Feedback with the issue to hopefully have them fix it in an update. By the way, if you guys want to report issues with your kindle fire, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
So it has been a full work week of use for the Kindle Fire HD. I have probably used the device now for about 50-60 hours of web browsing, shopping, posting on forums, playing games, skyping, watching movies and reading. What is nice is one of those Advertisements on the lock screen that so many people complain about gave me a free 5 dollar credit to rent a movie on Amazon Instant Video for nothing at all. How could they? LOL. Overall the Kindle Fire HD has been a superb device for me. Only a few apps have forced closed on me during this time, just as often as on any other device. I am used to the "Customers also bought" section on the homepage already, I dont even notice it anymore. Like I said before, the advertisements are really a non issue, and actually have paid me by giving me free MP3 credits and free movie credits. Wifi speed is good, picture clarity is great, sound is in a class of itself for tablets.
Update 7.2.1 finally enables us to get rid of the pesky "Customers Also Bought" that many of us were complaining about. Now we have just our normal carousel without anyone trying to get us to buy something that we do not want. The patch still did nothing for the popping noise that the speakers make randomly while using the tablet. I have now noticed it makes a popping noise sometimes even during games, not only when sliding the open bar on the lock screen. This doesnt happen often, but when it does, it is annoying. There are still instances where the wifi drops out or says it is connected and doesnt allow you to surf the web. You must then turn wifi off then back on again on the kindle fire and everything is fine. Amazon says they are working on a fix and I have sent my data log files to them on numerous occasions to help with this issue.
I really dont think you can beat this at its price range at all especially if you are an avid Amazon shopper. The Amazon Prime subscription ($79.00 a year) basically gives you a subscription to a "netflix-like" streaming service (netflix is $96.00 a year for streaming), access to tons of books and free 2 day shipping on most amazon purchases. That benefit right there is what seals the deal, no other tablet provider can lump together all those services at a low price like Amazon. I am really happy with my choice, but sure there are things I would love to have on this tablet, but I knew that before buying it. If anyone has questions just post them in the comments. I do my best to answer them. Also if you see a question on there you feel you can answer, by all means please do. Its nice to help others get the full potential out of their purchases. Have a good one.
I will continue to update this thread with all my findings and hope to help people make an informed decision. Thanks
2842 of 3010 found the following review helpful:
Reviews From an iPad UserSep 18, 2012
By W. Hall Hello- This is taken from the perspective of a very dire hard Apple/iPad fan. Here goes.
First, this product is absolutely incredible. I really went into it expecting to dislike it. I even tried to cancel my order, but I was too late and it was delivered. Thus, I opened the package expecting to have nothing but complaints compared to my iPad3 (or whatever its called).
Pros: - Image quality is stunning. Really really terrific - Build quality is, I think, actually better than the iPad (which shocked me)- The reason is that I HATE holding aluminum in my hands for a long time. It doesn't breath and when I'm on a hot airplane, I really hate it. - Form factor is FAR FAR better than the iPad. Keep in mind, I travel to China and back all the time, so I really want something that is very portable. The form factor is 100% perfect for traveling. - Flawless integration with Amazon's ecosystem- This is really the reason I bought it (and size). I actually sit there and smile when I use this to get to movies, tv, and all my books and magazines. SMOKES the iPad. - Usability it terrific. I just turn it on and it works.
Why only 4 stars? - 5 stars to me means 100% perfect. This is not 100% perfect, but its pretty darn close - No charger? Really? C'mon. It takes hours to charge via usb. I just sort of feel short changed a little. I just used my iPad's USB charging plug and it works great. - I've had to restart it 2 times in 4 days. It seems to just sort of get confused when I'm really hammering on it. Restarts take about 30seconds so its no biggie. - Amazon needs more apps, badly. Granted, all I want is books, video, web browsing, email, and calendar. It does all this perfectly. But more choices would be nice.
Overall, I'm guessing my iPad will make its way to the kids now over time. If you travel a lot, want your amazon content, and do basic email/web/calendar, etc... this device smokes the iPad. I can't believe I'm saying this.
Hope this helps.
1550 of 1693 found the following review helpful:
Competitive Hardware But Software Needs WorkSep 15, 2012
By Glenn R. Howes Many shoppers will weigh buying either this device, or the more expensive iPad Mini. I picked up a Mini on launch day, so here is a short comparison. If you are picking up a tablet to be your primary computing device, the Mini wins hands down because of the larger screen, wider selection of apps, smoother interface, more accurate keyboard, much better cameras, access to iTunes content, better physical button design, and a more complete software stack--useful things like notifications, AirPlay to your TV, Find my iPad, dictation, remote wiping, automatic encryption of data, and a better browser. The Fire HD has a more pixel dense screen, which shows up in beautiful text rendering, and a more appropriate thumb sized bezel making it more comfortable to hold over long sessions. Both fit in a cargo pants' pocket, have access to Amazon content--Amazon gives away both a Video and a Kindle app on the iTunes Store--have good battery life, and have bright screens with good color reproduction. If the tablet will be infrequently used, or will be used almost exclusively for a fixed set of tasks, such as watching Netflix, reading books, or watching Amazon videos, then the lower priced Fire HD becomes more tempting. Apple makes it difficult to purchase Amazon content on an iPad--you have to leave the Kindle or Amazon Video app and use the browser for purchases--whereas it's almost too easy to buy content on a Fire.
As for me, I bought the Mini with the intention of testing software at my job, but I like the design and software quality so much it'll be in my cargo pocket from now on. I was surprised by how good the screen looks even with its inferior pixel density, and the Fire HD seems positively claustrophobic in terms of both screen usage and navigating between and within apps.
But this is a review of the Kindle Fire HD.
Build Quality and Materials. This tablet is put together better than the original non-HD Kindle Fire, which had a tendency to peel apart at the seam between the front face and the back, but I can still feel every seam which scratch over my fingers as I handle it. The materials of the back portion are OK. Sort of grippy and look to take scratches and aging gracefully. Certainly better than the ridiculously toylike back of my Touchpad if not the cool perfection of the robot machined iPad. The buttons are noticeably cheap. As for the display itself, the most important part, the glass is of high quality and on a tablet that counts.
Design. This is one of the great leaps forward from the previous generation with two exceptions. The bevel, speaker grills, corners, and choice of screen convey a subtlety and maturity that the previous generation didn't have. This is a design future Kindles can build upon and refine unlike the generic design of last year. The width of the screen bevel is well chosen for comfortable long term grasping; the weight is light enough for the duration of a feature film or at least a TV show. However, the volume buttons and the power button are both hard to find and distinguish. The micro-USB port is near the micro-HDMI port and they are both about the same size and shape, costing me annoyance every time I plug in the charger to figure which port to use and which way to twist the cable.
Technology. The screen is much more than adequate, and in my opinion is the best feature of this device. Nestling somewhere in between the good screen in the iPad Mini and the awesome screen in the full-sized Retina iPad, the screen is crisp, appears to have excellent color reproduction, without the cartoony over saturation you see on competing technologies, and has fantastic viewing angles. The processor/graphics system is much more capable than the sludgy performance of the previous generation. Web browsing is semi-enjoyable and most operations are snappy. The speaker is loud for the size, I have it turned down to one pixel short of zero, and it's almost too loud for late night listening. I've had good luck with Bluetooth on this device, it pairs easily with an iHome Keyboard and streams music without hiccups to an Onkyo Stereo. The camera is mediocre. Battery life for real world mixed use is not great; Amazon tech support called to reaffirm their conviction of 11 hour video watching time, but I get perhaps 5 hours of mixed use. The standby time on a charge is fantastic, however, I could use it for twenty minutes a day at lunch for a couple weeks.
In general, when it comes to jamming appropriate technologies in a box, Amazon has done a great job.
Software Execution. If anything is preventing me from saying this device is more than OK, it is the software. Navigation is a mess and seems to have a primary goal of exposing the user to things to buy. The web browser while now useable, is jerky and things like tap to zoom is non-existent or in the case of pinch to zoom done badly. Inertial scrolling is poorly executed, making it hard to navigate long lists. The app store is filled with mediocrity, a lot of ad supported junk and a few cool titles. There are few apps with layouts optimized for the somewhat bigger than a phone screen. Netflix looks exactly like it does on the iPad except for being a bit cramped and showing less tiled content at once. Amazon has not proven they can put out a competitive software stack for general computing. For finding and consuming content, it works; for even the simplest content creation like, for instance, typing a short Amazon review, the horrible non-adaptive onscreen keyboard makes life miserable.
The FreeTime app for children might be the most compelling aspect of the whole package. For $3 a month on top of my Prime membership, the kids get age appropriate apps, a moderate selection of mixed bag books, and a small selection of fairly old kids TV programming. The most interesting part for me are the apps. I buy a lot of apps, and my kids use them for a few days at best and then move on, so my tablets get cluttered with apps my kids won't be using, and the costs add up. I just watched my daughter joyfully run through 20 puzzles in the Where's Perry app from Disney. There aren't a huge number of apps, and many are indifferently written, but it's well worth the trouble to sign up for a month's trial. Amazon will have to show that new content will be made available to keep me as a subscriber, but what's there--except the video library which is old and limited--will keep my kids engaged for months. I wish they'd concentrate on quality over quantity though; there's a lot of chaff in there. Still, the app actually leverages the simplistic Fire interface to make a product you can just hand to a kid.
I'm concerned that this device might not receive software updates when a year from now, the inevitable new and improved model is released. Amazon did not, and apparently will not, push out an update for last year's non-HD Kindle Fire to match the new software in this year's non-HD Kindle Fire.
Screen Size. This device has a 16x9 aspect ratio measuring 7 inches along the diagonal. What this means in practical terms is it's a little too narrow for comfortable use for browsing the web in portrait orientation, while it doesn't show much vertical content while browsing in landscape orientation. Modern HD TV content, and many movies fit this ratio perfectly in landscape so it is optimal for watching videos. I browse the web more than I watch videos, and even then I prefer to watch videos in portrait while in bed so that I can rest the device on my belly and raise the image up a bit to avoid neck strain. So I prefer a lower aspect ratio.
Ecosystem. I like the Amazon ecosystem. I watch many Prime videos--like whole seasons of Mythbusters--for free which are costly on iTunes or might not be on Netflix, and then there is the huge collection of e-Books on all topics, including free books and books on loan. Right now, I'm reading the first Harry Potter book to my son, which I borrowed for the month from Amazon, no charge. Any purchased content is available on my computer, iPads and iPhone. And I can watch Amazon video on my HDTV using a variety of devices, including this Fire HD, such as a Roku, my smart TV, or any number of Blu-Ray players.
At this point, I'm leaning against paying the $15 to kill the lock screen deals. So far, deals like promotional credits for using a Discover card have been things I might want to use. I'll see, and if you do buy one, I'd recommend withholding judgement as well. On the other hand, the "Customers Also Bought" ribbon on the bottom of the launch screen is starting to get on my nerves. When I go to launch the calculator app I bought, I would rather not be distracted by a group of other calculator or clock apps I could buy too.
As for not coming with an included wall charger, any iPhone or iPad chargers you have laying around or the charger from the original Kindle Fire will work in my experience so you can save yourself the added expense of a charger. The optional Kindle Fire charger is a bit bulky and the charging port is perpendicular to the charging plug, making it harder to find space for than it had to be. The device charges from 0 to 100% in about 3 hours.
In the comments, someone reports that his daughter broke the screen on his Kindle HD and cut her hand. As it happens, I've shattered an iPad screen myself, and I've learned two things. 1) You should put a screen protector on tablets as it won't protect against shattering but it will keep the glass together like a car windshield and prevent cutting children. 2) You should get an accident replacement warranty if children will ever use the device.
In summary, if you want to consume Amazon video, browse the web every now and again, or read the occasional book, or be inundated by deals all while having excellent portability then this is a decent device. If you want something to hand to the kids, to let them play unsupervised with age appropriate content, then this may work. If you want a more general purpose device, with an App Store filled with quality, highly optimized tablet titles, then I think you know what you'll need to do.
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