New Toy – Kindle Fire HD 7″

I’m just pulling my head up from about 8 mind bending months, and have decided my mind is a little too bent.

In an effort to unbend at least a little, I went out and indulged myself a bit today, and purchased a Kindle Fire HD.

I’ve written about the original Fire, and the positives still hold true:

1) Cheap
2) Small and light
3) Built in could storage

It still doesn’t come with Google Play, cellular connectivity, or a reasonable UI, but the following items are fixed:

1) OS is now a more recent version of Android – 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (Yes, I know – not Jelly Bean)
2) Bluetooth
3) Camera
4) 16 GB of storage (I still use Dropbox, so this was more of a nice to have than a need).

Now we have new positives! The screen compares favorably to the iPad retina display. I’ve been watching Dr. Who episodes on Amazon Prime all evening, and the device plays them as well as my MacBook Pro – and far better than my original Fire. The new physical design is thinner, lighter, easier to hold, and you no longer blind yourself with glare. Although some reviewers have said the apps are laggy, I have found it to be significantly snappier than my original Fire. (The 1.2 GHz dual core CPU and 1 GB of RAM are large increases over the version 1 model).

I still don’t like the Amazon UI overlay, but the good news is that it’s no longer so slow that it makes you cry. The bad news is that it’s still so ugly it makes you cry.

This is more of “hey, I got a new Kindle” than an actual review – but so far, I have to say I endorse it. As with the original Kindle Fire, the biggest benefit to the Fire HD is the Amazon ecosystem behind it – especially if you have Amazon Prime. It’s comfortable, it’s a value proposition, it looks and sounds great.

Is it an awesome computing device – absolutely not. For that, and to stay in the price point, you could go to the Nexus 7, but then you have to trade the Fire HD’s screen, speakers, and extra storage to get that UI and the full Android environment.

The fire works for me. Other than media consumption, I use a tablet for e-mail, note taking, and Facebook. Everything else, I go to the MacBook Pro. The Fire does all of these things just fine…

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