Saturday, January 17, 2015

Review: Amazon Kindle Fire 7 HD

I've got a Kindle Fire, and I want to share my thoughts! Do you have one? I'm wondering if you feel the same way as I do? Or differently? 

Keep reading to see what I think!

I got a Kindle Fire 7 HD for Christmas from my husband. It is the newest generation model. I have to say, my main reason for getting the Kindle was because I wanted to be able to get a book for free as part of the Kindle Owners Library. Little did I know that I needed to buy Prime in order to do so. I do plan on buying it, but that's beside the point.

I have heard great things about the Kindle. I read reviews, and many people think this version is better than the previous versions. I've had an Android tablet before, and since I have an Android phone I'm not really looking to have another, and to be honest an iPad is out of the budget at the moment (though I want one again and regret selling my old one a few years ago). 

Here is the Kindle once I opened it in the box.

Once the kindle is out of the box. 

Under the instruction sheet is the charger.

This Kindle comes in a variety of colors (black, yellow, navy, pink, white). I bought the black, only because I didn't want to wait till mid-January for the pink to ship. There are several cases available in a variety of colors. You just need to make sure you purchase the case for the right Kindle. There are several generations of the Kindle Fire, and most of the cases and accessories photos will help you figure out which version you have.

So let's get into it...

The Kindle is made for books. I mean, the original Kindle was made for those of us who want to read books but don't always want to have the physical book. I know that as much as I love a good paperback, my hand can get cramped up while holding it during a long reading session. Even though this is many generations past the original Kindle, its still really good for books! Even better when you use the Amazon app to purchase a book and send it straight to your Kindle. Within seconds, you see it on your carousel and can read it right away.

There aren't a lot of popular apps that you may want. Example, I would love to have the Instagram app just to go through and interact with my followers and those who I follow. But there isn't an Instagram app. There also isn't a Gmail app. You have to use the default email app offered by Amazon. It is basic. Like, super basic. If you want all the perks of Gmail, you need to go to the web. But that isn't any better, to be honest. So I try to refrain from checking my email on the Kindle. You can find quite a few fun apps, many of the games you play on your smartphone, Facebook or even Android/Apple tablets. I've downloaded a few to get them off my phone to free up space there. Since it's synced up with Facebook, it knows where I left off, and everything transfers over.

Images below are of the email app, and of Gmail, using the browser. You can see my frustration.

These two below are of Gmail in the browser.

Another issue I have with the apps is with my Twitter. The app isn't formatted correctly or something because the top tweet always is cut off and you can't see it. Even if you pull it down it will go back up. So, that's sort of annoying, but not sure if its Twitters issue or Kindles issue or a little of both? See the photo below (click to enlarge it if needed).

This is an HD tablet with a resolution of 1280X800. The screen is Gorilla Glass, so it's supposed to be stronger than typical glass. I haven't dropped it yet, so I'm unable to tell you how much it can withstand. I did purchase the warranty which covers accidental damage. So if I ever do have to use it I'll be sure to post about it. 

The display is bright, and it's easy to turn it down. Similar to an Android phone you pull down from the top of the screen, and this is where your notifications appear. This is also where basic settings are (brightness, quiet time, wireless, help, settings). I find that I'm constantly changing the setting, I don't think there is an auto-brightness setting that detects the lighting in the room you're in. 

I do wish I was able to change the background or the background color on the main screen. It's just a simple black. But I'd love to have a different color or even an image.

An image of a game I'm playing. The screen is pretty clear, even with my LG G2 camera.

Just random pics of the apps on my Kindle. This first one on the left is how you can get to the favorites section. All the apps and books you easily want to get to. Otherwise, you need to visit the top bar and tap "apps" or "books" etc. Simply scroll down and you'll see your favorite apps.

When the tablet is horizonal.

Weather App!

It's pretty decent for videos. We've watched some movies on it and haven't had a problem. The video resolution is pretty good. It's nice for videos, movies, and even games. I can't really say a whole lot. My kids are the ones who have watched, but I know its good. When my 10-year-old comments that its about as good as our TV, I have to take it as it is. LOL

As much as I want to rave about the touch responsiveness, I can't. It lags. Quite a bit, actually. During games, while trying to browse the internet. Even while using the Pinterest app. I made sure it is up to date in terms of all the updates, softwares, etc. So this leads me to think that the tablet is best suitable for reading. I'll give more on that later.

The best part of this, for me, is the FreeTime section for kids. It allows me to choose what apps, books, movies, etc my kids can use. It keeps them out of my stuff and allows them to have age appropriate fun. You can also limit how much time they are on the tablet for the day, or how long they can play before they need to take a break. It's pretty nice to have. Though my kids don't play on tablets for that long. My son has a Nabi with similar controls.

Amazon also offers FreeTime Unlimited. For as low as $2.99 a month your child gets unlimited access to content from the favorite characters. I believe when I checked, it was more around $4.99 per month, but it is because I'm currently not a prime member. For Prime members, it is $2.99 a month for one child. Check out FreeTime Unlimted here.

To get to the FreeTime area for your child... Tap on the app icon for FreeTime. Then you will get a screen with all the children you've set a FreeTime account for. In my case, its just Bella. I chose a unicorn for her photo!

If you've chosen a password, you'd be asked to enter it now. Then the Kindle will turn into that childs tablet. Example, here it shows Bella's Fire instead of Jennifer's Fire. Then you'll see all the apps and books in the carousel for the child.

If you pay for FreeTime Unlimited, your child will be able to select a character, theme, etc.

To get back to your screen, simply swipe down, and tap Exit.

Family Sharing
I do like that you can create profiles for your other family members. This allows your spouse to have their own screen, and not to mess up your Facebook app when they get on and try to check theirs. You can also share apps, games, books, and even Prime Instant Video content without needing to change profiles.

As I mentioned in the touch section, the tablet lags. You can swipe the screen to unlock, and it may take a second or two to bring up the keypad to put in my pin. It isn't instant like most electronics (for example, my phone). I have sat and waited during a game a few times for the screen to update with my touch. Obviously this affects the games outcome and my score. Sure, it isn't that important, but there are many people who play games on their Kindle. 

The Kindle has Dolby speakers. It claims to be 1.5x louder than other tablets under $150. I have to say, the sound is nice, I wouldn't say it's louder. Maybe its just me, but I think its on par with tablets and the sound. I don't expect the best or loudest sound from my tablet, but it's enough that when I'm sitting on the couch watching a video, I can hear the sound pretty well.

The camera... well, it isn't that great. It has a 2MP rear camera to take photos and video. The MP for the front-facing camera isn't even listed. So it's pretty low. I can attest, the photos taken on the tablet aren't pretty, at all. It may be enough to Skype with someone, but not something to take photos with. You do get unlimited storage though, to store your photos in the cloud.

I want to add, shopping on the Amazon app is so much more fun on a Kindle.. Not sure why. But I certainly do love it more. I don't think my husband wants to hear (or read) that though.

An image of the Amazon app on the Kindle 

Many people purchase the Kindle Fire
, not realizing they have bought the offers one. Or if they do it on purpose to get the $15 discount, they complain about it later.  At first, I didn't want the offers. I thought it would be an annoyance. But I decided to get the offers, and if I wanted to I can go into my account and pay the $15 to have them removed. I actually like the offers though. It is only on the lock screen, it does not affect your playing, reading, etc. It isn't bad at all. I've even downloaded a few things because of the offers screen. They aren't the intrusive ads you're used to seeing in some free apps. If you want to see all the offers available, you can scroll to the right (swipe left) at the top of the screen till you see Offers. Then you can see all the offers that will rotate on your screen. They change all the time.

Overall I enjoy this tablet. I mostly enjoy reading books and playing some games. Using the tablet for social media (such as Facebook and Pinterest) is fun and I can spend hours going down the rabbit hole that is Pinterest. The battery life wasn't something I touched on, but it does last pretty well. Longer than I thought it would. Amazon states it is 8 hours with mixed use (apps and videos). However, since I don't use it for videos, I feel it lasts longer than the 8 hours. I can't say I'm super excited about the tablet like I thought I would be, but I am not. I feel like if I bought an Android tablet I'd be happier. BUT, don't get me wrong. The Kindle is a good tablet. 

Whether you get it for books, the kids or just to browse the internet every now and again. If you're going to be a frequent user, you may not find the tablet so perfect. Maybe it's just me. Maybe I expected more from it. It has its pros and cons. You should weigh those before deciding if the Kindle is right for you.

If you're an avid reader, you should get this Kindle rather than the ones that only read books. The book reader in your life will love it! But make sure he/she has Prime or at least Kindle Unlimited.

Go get your own here! Let me post a few different options for you!
The Kids tablet is a great option for your little ones! The 6 inch version is just a but bigger than most smart phones. For those who want larger, the 8.9 is perfect for you!

Links to Amazon Kindle is an affiliate link. I was not sent this tablet for free, nor was I asked to post about it. It was purchased, and I wanted to share my thoughts/opinions.

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