The Kindle Fire HD: Good and Bad
We hear a lot about disruption in the technology industry. On a regular basis, devices and apps are being rolled out that promise to disrupt their corresponding industries like never before. So, I’d like to argue that the word “disrupt” not be used so liberally.
Having said that, my guess is that Amazon’s new Kindle Fire HD will completely disrupt the tablet industry like nothing we’ve seen before. Yes, I said it. Disrupt–big time.
The first Kindle Fire did what few predicted a tablet could—it stood its ground against the iPad. Now, I’m not saying that the Fire could replace the iPad, but it definitely makes a good stand-in when taking affordability into account.
As you can tell by now, I’m really loving my new Kindle Fire HD. And, why shouldn’t I? There’s a lot to like.
What I Like
The Kindle Fire HD improves upon its predecessor in almost every way–it is thinner, lighter, faster, and sleeker. At only $199, the Fire HD really packs a punch. The 7-inch, 1280 x 800 pixel display is backed up by a TI OMAP processor, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (with MIMO), and dual stereo speakers.
Though its dimensions are 7.6 x 5.4 x 0.4 inches (very close to the original Fire), the new tablet feels thinner and sleeker in the hands. The back surface tapers off to make the new Fire rest very comfortably as I am using it. The new Fire lost a few grams, too, weighing in at 395g instead of the original’s 413g. I also like that the tablet is designed to be held in a landscape orientation, thanks to new micro-USB and micro-HDMI ports along the bottom.
The thing I like most about the Kindle Fire HD is the HD. The high definition, 1,280 x 800 IPS LCD tablet provides plenty of brightness and contrast. The amped-up screen offers wide viewing angles, and the picture looks great.
Even though the Kindle Fire HD is a powerful tablet with numerous things to like, I have to admit that my new tablet leaves a few things to be desired, as well.
What I Do Not Like
The Fire HD’s Silk browser loads web pages fairly quickly, but it still doesn’t compare to a standard browser. The Nexus 7′s Chrome browser delivers pages faster, and the pinch-zooming abilities of the iPad are still untouched.
The only other real complaint I have about the Fire is the feeling that the device is as much a marketing tool as it is a tablet. After all, once Amazon got its low-priced Fire HD into my home, it pretty much had me as a customer for life. I’m presented with must-buy items at every turn, and paying the extra money to opt out of ads didn’t completely correct the situation. I guess the subsidized experience of owning a Fire HD is worth it since the tablet is actually a well-priced gateway to a world of endless content.
Stacking Up To the Competition
The Fire HD has only one direct competitor, the Nexus 7. In my opinion, the Fire is superior to the Nexus 7, due to its excellent interface and productivity.
But, how does it compare to the new iPad? Even though the Fire falls a bit short on display resolution (compared with iPad), it comes astonishingly close. Not bad for a device less than half the price.
No matter which tablet the Fire is compared to, the fact that it inhabits the Amazon ecosystem gives it a powerful edge in content choice and accessibility.
There is, however, a fierce competitor on the horizon. The highly anticipated iPad Mini may prove to be a worthy adversary, and it will be interesting to see the two little tablets duel it out.
What are your thoughts about the Kindle Fire HD? Will you be scooping one up, or are you holding out for the iPad Mini?