Kindle Fire HD Mixed Reviews: Great But Not the Best

Amazon is taking the market-leading Apple iPad with a better-priced 4G LTE-ready 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD, and top budget-tablet Nexus 7 with a cheaper model and an equally-priced $199 variant that has serious hardware upgrades. According to reviews rolling in, critics say that they're impressed with the second-generation Amazon tablets' huge improvements but they're not blown away. Pundits note that the Amazon tablet feels limited compared to the iPad and Nexus 7, is more of a shopping tool than a tablet, and lacks features, including a rear camera, GPS navigation, and still doesn't show high-definition movies despite its HD tag.

What Else You Need To Know

  • The 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD has a vivid 1920 x 1200 HD 254 ppi display (in the same range as the iPad 3 with Retina display) and priced at $499 for the 32GB model (priced cheaper than the $729 iPad 3).
  • The online retailer is also releasing 7-inch Kindle Fire HD priced at $199 and a $159 non-HD model that has a 40% faster processor, twice the RAM, bigger battery.

Other sources

If you're willing to buy into Amazon's ecosystem – and put up with a few ads – you'll do fine with the Kindle Fire HD. Even though it's the same price as Google's Nexus 7, you're still getting more storage and access to a lot more content than Google can offer you right now. - Steve Kovach, Business Insider  
If the original Fire was competitive (and trust me, it was), this one is about to entirely disrupt the tablet space. - Jordan Crook, TechCrunch  
Amazon Kindle, Nokia Lumia, and Samsung Unwrapped (MobileTechRoundup show #276)
Business Insider
Reviewed! Here's Amazon's New Kindle Fire HD (AMZN)  

Last year's Kindle Fire was a decent first attempt by Amazon, but the device still suffered from laggy software and an underperforming web browser.

Fly Or Die: Amazon Kindle Fire HD  

If the original Fire was competitive (and trust me, it was), this one is about to entirely disrupt the tablet space.

Tablet Smackdown: Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7  

Yes, Android runs through its veins, but the Fire HD is geared toward feeding Amazon’s super consumers (and creating more of those super consumers). Given that mission, the Fire HD works exactly as it should. Still, we’d rather spend our $200 on the Nexus 7.

Kindle Fire HD Is Better but It Isn't the Best Color Tablet  

The Fire HD lacks some features the costlier iPad offers. Among these are a rear camera, and built-in dictation, instant messaging and maps, and the ability to beam video or music to a TV using a device like the Apple TV. It lacks artificial-intelligence features like Apple’s Siri, or Google Now, a feature of the Nexus 7.

My thoughts on 7-inch Kindle Fire HD, 2012 edition  

If you are tied to the Amazon ecosystem — you know you buy books, movies and music from them — then this is a device that should find an easy room in your bag, especially if your other option was buying a standalone Kindle. And if you are one of those who has never owned a tablet and are on a tight budget, then Kindle Fire is worth a consideration — well, unless Apple announces a similar 7-inch device. I know what I would buy.

The Wall Street Journal
Kindle Fire HD: Better but Not the Best  

So, while Amazon is still stressing that these new Fires are best seen as front doors to its online stores, it is now claiming the Fire HD is also "the best tablet at any price."

Amazon Kindle Fire HD is a fine performer and attractive value  

While our tests continue, the Kindle Fire HD shows every sign of being a very worthy tablet. It's also attractively priced (despite our quibbles), costing less, for example, than a 16GB Google Nexus 7, even if you add the cost of a charger and the no-Special-Offers upgrade.

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Business Insider
MOSSBERG: The Kindle Fire HD Is Not As 'Polished, Fluid Or Versatile' As The iPad (AAPL, AMZN, GOOG)  

The screen is inferior to the iPad's. The wi-fi is supposed to be faster than the iPad's but it isn't. It lacks artificial intelligence, like Apple's Siri. No rear camera, instant messaging or maps. Few apps.