Performance: CPU & Web Browsing
The Fire HD 7 is powered by a MediaTek MTK8135 quad-core processor, PowerVR G6200 graphics, and 1GB of RAM. None of that screams high-end, though the parts are only driving a 1280x800 screen resolution. For browsing chores, the Fire HD 7 uses Amazon's own Silk browser. It's based on the open source Chromium project and uses a split architecture that divides processing between local hardware and the cloud (Amazon Web Services, or AWS). There are a number of advantages that tapping into AWS provides, such as being able to pre-process webpages, apply predictive algorithms to determine the most efficient way of delivering content, routing traffic through proxy servers powered by Amazon EC2 to reduce page load times, and more.
The advantages of Silk's underlying architecture don't necessarily translate over to benchmarks, though in SunSpider, the Fire HD 7 scores higher than most of the mobile devices we compared it against and virtually tied Apple's iPad 4. This doesn't reflect the full processing power that's available to the Silk browser, though once you dip into triple-digit territory, it's really about splitting hairs and bragging rights.
Browsermark provides a more thorough examination of web performance than SunSpider, and in this test, the Fire HD 7 climbed its way past 3,000. Only one other tablet made it out of the 3,000 range, that being Apple's recently released iPad Air 2. This is further evidence that the Fire HD 7 is sitting on a solid foundation for its size.
In Geekbench, the Fire HD 7 manages to trade blows with Dell's Venue 8 3840 for the right not to be in last place -- it wins in multi-core performance but loses in the single-core portion of the test. You can see there's a pretty big performance disparity between better equipped slates like NVIDIA's SHIELD tablet, though at the same time, the relative newness of this benchmark prevents us from having a larger collection of gear to compare against. Had we been able to run this test on the same tablets as our previous benchmarks, the Fire HD 7 would have landed higher up the graph.
Benchmarks aside, the Silk browser is fine for surfing the web, albeit a bit overhyped in regards to architecture. It performed as expected, with decent page load times and smooth pinch-to-zoom performance, the latter of which wasn't the case a couple of generations ago.