This summer Amazon announced a new replacement for their $200 dollar tablet, the Kindle Fire. The new replacement device to be called the Kindle Fire HD. I received mine as an early birthday gift in September. The FIRE HD now comes in several flavors. The Second Generation non HD version with 8 gigs of storage memory 7″ tablet sells for $159.00. The 64 Gig 8.9 inch with 4G connectivity for $599. The model I have and reviewing is the $199 16G 7 inch HD model. The Kindle arrives packaged without a lot of extra goodies inside the box. It comes with a USB cable but there is no charger, there is no paper manual. The metal and glass construction of Fire HD gives it a solid heft and feel. The unit comes fully charged and preconfigured to your Amazon account. All that is required to do is to make the entries to enable the connections to your home WIFI. Amazon’s Highlighted features are:
The answer. of course is, It depends”
Amazons tablets strength is also its weakness. The Operating System is a modified Android Icecream Sandwich. It has been tweaked to work int the Amazon environment. This is a particular benefit if one subscribes to Amazon’s Prime free shipping program which normally has a $79 annual subscription fee. We have found that the free 2 day shipping is well worth the Prime membership fee in itself, and Amazon is our prefered on-line retailer. The free Kindle stuff is icing on the cake. The free loaner library is mostly unknown authors, but there are some blockbusters there. The Ian Flemming’s James Bond , Suzzane Collins’ Hunger Games and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. There is a decent selection of free videos I find the movie selection is better (not more, just better) than Netflix. The Kindle HD is a very nice personal video player. The screen and audio is surprisgly high quality for such a small device.
The Perhaps the most disappointing thing about Kindle is the supplied web browser, Silk. I wish they had supplied a more developed browser like Firefox or Chrome, It doesn’t support Flash, or as other have claimed Flash doesn’t support it. I have never been a fan of Flash, but there are still interactive web and you tube sites that demand it. while Silk can seem sometimes awkward it usually works pretty well and remains pretty transparent in its use.
Still the Kindle HD is primarily an ereader, and it does an outstanding job at this. Books are highly readable, there is a good selection of fonts and styles supplied, and the kindle is readable most any conitions ecept when a bright sun is behind you. The bright light will wash out the screen. While there are lots of free books and inexpencively priced books available, Sometimes the ebook prices seem out of line. We are told that the publishers set the price. I still purchase the dead tree versions when a bargain can be found. I enjoy reading ebooks, and they have many advantages and do most of my entertainment reading on the ereader. Occasionally it just pays to be the cheap deadtree paperback at Sam’s club or the used book store.
My biggest praise for tablets such as the Kindle HD is its use as an Adobe PDF reader. As a field service rep. I have lugged around hundreds of pounds of service and user manuals. A laptop and some labeled fashdrives helped a lot, but with an AC powersupply and limited battery life, even a laptop isn’t always user friendly. Using a tablet with the free PDF reader program has made my life a little easier. Another use I have remarkably handy is Skype. If one can find a Wifi connection it can be really handy face to face communications. There is also a useful magic Jack app which is usefull when the cell phone isn’t working.
All in all the Kindle HD has been a very handy an convienient device, and has is one of those things that is essential to my every day life at work and play.