Amazon Fire HD 7 Tablet (2014) Review

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Performance: Battery LIfe & Camera

Though it's a budget tablet, the Fire HD 7 comes with two cameras, one up front and one on the back. The front shooter is a VGA camera and the rear-facing lens sports 2-megapixels. Let's see how they fare.

 Amazon Fire HD 7 VGA Camera Amazon Fire HD 7 VGA Camera

The front-facing camera tries its hardest to detect your face and adjust the picture according to the background lighting, but no amount of tricks can cover up the fact that it's a mere VGA camera with limited performance potential. We can't blame the crazy eyes in the left-hand pic on the camera, though we can ding the camera for its grainy shots.
 

2MP Rear Camera

So the front-facing lens isn't anything to brag about; what about the rear shooter? It's another basic lens, though it does offer HDR and panoramic photo taking capabilities. Here are some sample shots:

Amazon Fire HD 7 Motorcycle Amazon Fire HD 7 Sacagawea Amazon Fire HD 7 Outside
Amazon Fire HD 7 Motorcycle HDR Amazon Fire HD 7 Sacagawea HDR Amazon Fire HD 7 Outside HDR
Regular photos on top row, HDR photos on bottom row

There are a few things to note here, the first being that the rear camera just isn't all that great by today's standards. You can snap photos that are suitable for sharing on Facebook and perhaps to sell on auction sites and classifieds like eBay and Craigslist, but for keepsake shots, you'll want to bring along your dedicated point-n-shoot (or use your phone's built-in camera, provided it's a good one). The color reproduction is a bit off and muddied, which makes taking photos for mission critical applications a no-go. For casual snapshots, however, it's fine.

As for the HDR capability, be careful where you use it. In well lit areas, enabling HDR washes out your photos, as you can see in the snapshots of the motorcycle and fall leaves. It does a bit better in dimly lit areas, though it mainly brightens up the image rather than enhance the overall quality.

Battery Life

Amazon claims up to 8 hours of mixed use battery life, and that might be underselling things a bit. We tested battery life by streaming a Netflix movie to the Fire HD 7 with the brightness set at roughly 50 percent. In doing so, the Fire HD 7 fought the good fight for just over 8.5 hours before collapsing from exhaustion. Naturally you can expect shorter battery life when playing games, though 8.5 hours of streaming video is really good in our opinion.
 

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