Amazon has finally brought its Kindle Fire tablets to the UK - and at some very good prices too. The Kindle Fire HD comes in at just £149 for the 16GB version, while a refreshed edition of the original Kindle Fire will be one of the cheapest slates on the market, at £129 (8GB).
The Kindle Fire HD goes head-to-head with the current 7in tablet king, the Google Nexus 7, but if you’re really admiring Amazon’s value-for-money approach, you may wish to go one better with the even cheaper Kindle Fire. Unlike most specs comparisons, we know who the winner will be here. But do the Fire HD’s capabilities warrant shelling out the extra £30, or are these two similar enough to make the original Kindle a better purchase. Let’s find out. (HD model left of image below).
Kindle Fire HD on the left, Kindle Fire on the right
Size and weight
The Kindle Fire HD measures up at 193 x 137 x 10.3mm, compared to the smaller, but chunkier Kindle Fire at 189 x 120 x 11.5mm. The Fire may only weigh 5g more at 400g, but the 1.5cm extra thickness may be the noticeable difference with the device in hand.
According to the tablets’ respective names, this is apparently the key differentiator. Both have 7in IPS LCD screens, but the Fire HD’s 1,280 x 800 pixels resolution and 216 PPI, puts the 1024x600, 169 PPI of the Fire comfortably in the shade. On a range being marketed heavily as reading devices, the crisper text and all-round better visual experience offered by the HD makes you think it is worth paying that bit extra.
Storage and memory
The Kindle Fire HD will ship in both 16 and 32GB versions, whereas the Fire only has an 8GB edition. With no card slot available for extra storage on either, this is an important specification for this comparison. The fact that a £30 price-hike is standard fare when you double the storage on a device, the HD again looks a worthwhile investment given the enhanced specs that come elsewhere. The models should perform similarly in action with 1GB of RAM apiece.
The Kindle Fire HD is powered by an OMAP 4460, a dual-core processor clocked at 1.2GHz, just like the Fire’s OMAP 4430. But the former is stronger in the graphics department so it can cater for that superior screen. (HD model bottom of image below).
The Kindle Fire HD runs a modified version of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and though Amazon has not yet confirmed details of the Fire’s OS to us, it would make sense for it to be running the same software from the manufacturer’s point of view.
The front-facing camera on the Fire HD may have the vague description of being simply ‘HD’, but the Fire has no camera at all. Thus, the HD model again appears to be worth that additional £30 as its predecessor struggles to keep up with the new tablet’s hardware.
With wireless switched off, the Kindle Fire HD lasts for “over 11 hours continuous use” according to Amazon, while the Fire manages “almost 9 hours” under the same conditions. Both devices play on the Kindle family’s long-life heritage with good performance here, but some may value that extra couple of hours offered by the HD.
The Kindle Fire HD’s dual-antenna is a world first on a tablet, with Amazon touting faster downloads and streaming as a result. Despite its Wi-Fi connectivity, the Fire does not offer this new technology.
For £129, the refreshed Kindle Fire will be a very good value-for-money tablet when it hits the UK from its 25 October release date. But for just £30 extra, the superior display, better battery life, and addition of a front-facing camera - useful for video calling – makes the HD worth the higher sum.
|Amazon Kindle Fire HD||Amazon Kindle Fire|
|Resolution||1280 x 800 pixels||1024x600|
|Pixel density||216 PPI||169 PPI|
|Type||IPS LCD||IPS LCD|
|Processor and battery|
|Family||OMAP 4460||OMAP 4430|
|Battery (wireless off)||‘Over 11 hours continuous use’||‘Almost 9 hours continuous use’|
|Storage and memory|
|Internal memory||16 / 32GB||8GB|
|USB||USB 2.0 (micro-B connector)||USB 2.0 (micro-B connector)|
|HDMI||Micro-HDMI (micro-D connector)||None|
|Size (lwh)||193 x 137 x 10.3mm||189 x 120 x 11.5mm|
|Operating System||Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich||TBC|
|Price||£149 (16GB)£169 (32GB)||£129 (8GB)|