Which brings us to the Amazon Fire HD 7. The latest tablet from the online retailer has a new design, new features, and a new sister device, the Amazon Fire HD 6 (so named for its 6-inch screen). So how does it hold up against not only the top of the line tablets, but it’s rapidly increasing number of competitors?
Amazon Fire HD 7
To start with the basics, the aesthetics are slick. A simple front face features no buttons at all, with the power & volume buttons, as well as the headphone port, all sitting along the sides. This gives the tablet a very sleek look, with the only downside being the lack of front facing speakers (they too are on the sides). This minimal build is likely to mean that accessories are going to be plentiful, with no complex buttons to accommodate. The new Fire HD does include both front and rear cameras for the first time, though we’ve found them to be a little lacking in quality. They are more for function (Skype chats, quick pictures, etc.) than anything artistic.
The screen itself is sharp, but the scale up from 6 inches to 7 has come at the price of a slight drop in picture quality. This is minimal, but may stick out to anybody used to higher resolution tablets. The screen is also surrounded on all sides by the thick black lines of the front face. We presume this has been done so commuters can place one or two hands on the device without obscuring the screen, but it can be likened to the experience of watching a widescreen movie on a standard TV, with the top and bottom of the screen adorned with big black lines.
The sheer power of the tablet is impressive. We never came across streaming issues or any significant slow-down during our time with it. Memory options, on the other hand, leave a little to be desired. The tablet is available in 8GB and 16GB forms. That number doesn’t include the operating system, so you’ll likely be looking at something more in-line with 5GB and 13GB. That is OK, but there is no slot for a micro SD card, which would offer you a lot more memory.
The Fire HD’s big selling point, of course, is its exclusive access to a lot of Amazon services. The Kindle app is available on other devices, but it is one of the few ways to get Amazon Prime Instant Video on a tablet. While you do have to pay extra for the service, it offers a lot of movies and TV shows that you can stream, or downloaded in some cases (though this option isn’t available for everything). You can access your other streaming services like Netflix too.
The tablet also offers options to push whatever you are watching to either a PS3/PS4, Amazon Fire TV, or selected Samsung TV models, so you can watch it on there, freeing the app up to either act as a remote, or to use other apps while continuing to watch your shows. And if you want to tailor what your children can get up to, Amazon FreeTime lets you select what they can and can’t do while on the device, giving you extra peace of mind. The service will soon be updated to cover teens too.
So in closing, could we recommend the Amazon Fire HD 7? Well, considering they start at £119, and offer good functionality across the board, it is hardly a bad deal by any stretch. The cameras aren’t great, but they will suffice, and while memory is limited, the tablet has been built with streaming in mind, and thankfully it manages that fantastically well.
However, there are now other models available that can do almost everything the Fire HD can do, but with better functionality. The Tesco Hudl, for example, may not match the Fire HD for building quality or reputation (and of course lacks access to Amazon Prime), it has access to the Google Play store, which is hands down better than the app store found on the Fire HD. Plus, it has a micro SD card slot for boosting storage. If you are likely to be a Prime subscriber for the foreseeable future, then plug for the Fire HD 7. If not, it may be worth shopping around for something less Amazon-centric.
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