Amazon Fire HD 7 Tablet (2014) Review

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Introduction & Specifications

As it does every so often, Amazon recently updated and revamped its line of Fire tablets to include upgraded models and a somewhat simplified naming scheme. The new models abandon the "Kindle" branding and are now simply known as Fire HDX 8.9, Fire HD 7, and Fire HD 6. To flesh out the lineup, Amazon still sells a Fire HDX and a Fire HD Kids Edition, which is really a Fire HD 7 or 6 with a protective case, accidental damage protection, and a collection of pre-loaded apps targeted at a younger audience.

It's admittedly a bit confusing at first, but assuming Amazon sticks with its new branding, it will make sense in the long run. Simply put, the number in the model designates the screen size, while the HD and HDX tags hint at the display resolution -- HD means at least a high definition panel, and HDX indicates at least a Full HD 1080p screen. Amazon could make things a bit easier by consolidating its lineup to two or three tablets, but has instead chosen to offer a comprehensive line of products at different price points starting at $99.

Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 Stock

The model we're looking at here is the Fire HD 7 starting at $139. Technically it's a new addition to Amazon's tablet family, though that's by name only -- it replaces the 2013 Kindle Fire HD and is a fourth generation product. Previously this tablet would have went up against Google's Nexus 7, however, Google did a bit of revamping of its own and no longer offers a 7-inch tablet. Other companies still play in the 7-inch space, though none offer a product as popular as either the now defunct Nexus 7 or Amazon's thriving Fire HD line.

As with Amazon's previous tablets, the Fire HD 7 is a gateway into the company's content consumption ecosystem. It runs Fire OS 4 "Sangria," a heavily modified version of Android 4.4 KitKat that hardly resembles its roots. That's by design -- whether it's reading e-books or watching videos, everything you do is hooked into Amazon in some way. If you're already a user of Amazon's various web services, you'll feel right at home on the Fire HD 7, though there are some drawbacks. Are they enough to dissuade us from recommending Amazon's newest tablet? Keep reading to find out.

Amazon Fire HD 7 (2014) Specifications
Specifications & Features
  • Fire OS 4 "Sangria"
  • MediaTek MTK8135 quad-core processor (up to 1.5GHz)
  • PowerVR G6200 GPU
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 8GB or 16GB internal storage storage + free unlimited cloud storage for Amazon content
  • 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • 7-inch 1280x800 IPS display
  • Capacitive multi-touch
  • Up to 8 hours of reading, surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, and listening to music
  • Supported Formats: Kindle (AZW), KF8, TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively, Audible Enhanced format (AAX), DOC, DOCX, Dolby Digital (AC-3), Dolby Digital Plus (E-AC-3), AAC, MP3, MIDI, PCM/WAVE, OGG, WAV, M4V, MP4, AAC LC/LTP, MKV, AMR, HTML5, CSS3, 3GP, VP8 (WEBM)
  • 3.5mm Audio Jack
  • USB 2.0 (micro-B connector)
  • Cameras: VGA front-facing camera; 2MP rear-facing HD camera
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, gyroscope
  • Stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus
 Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 Stock
  • Access to Amazon App Store
  • 7.5" x 5.0" x 0.4" (191mm x 128mm x 10.6mm)
  • 11.9 ounces (337 grams)
  • 1 year warranty
  • Price: $139 for 8GB w/ Special Offers; $149 for 16GB w/ Special Offers; $154 for 8GB w/o Special Offers; $174 for 16GB w/o Special Offers - Find Them All At Amazon.com

Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 Stock

The Fire HD 7 isn't a drastic departure over the previous generation model it's replacing. Most of the specs are the same, though this year's refresh brings about an upgrade to a MediaTek MTK8135 quad-core processor consisting of two ARM Cortex-A15 and two Cortex-A7 processors, along with a bump to a PowerVR G6200 GPU. Otherwise, the changes are mostly aesthetic in nature. Amazon provides shoppers five different color options -- black, white, colbalt, magenta, and citron.

It's a bigger upgrade compared to the original Kindle Fire tablet we reviewed several years ago. Next to that model, this latest offering has twice as much RAM, a faster processor and graphics, a higher-resolution display, and an upgraded OS with lots of new features. Oh, and it's both lighter and cheaper to boot.
 

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