tablets

Amazon Kindle Fire HD Review

A reboot of Amazon's Kindle Fire has a better screen, but the same clunky interface.

November 20, 2012
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Science Introduction

The Kindle Fire HD's problems lie in software, definitely not in performance.

Screen Performance

Decent color and high pixel density

A screen with a 5.9375 x 3.75-inch footprint and a resolution of 1280 x 800 nets the Amazon Kindle Fire HD a pixel density of 215 pixels per inch (PPI), which is becoming the new normal for 7-inch tablets. For the curious, tablets of this size are starting to see displays—oft-referred to as "retina"—which are becoming closer to the norm.

In our labs, we measured the Kindle Fire HD's screen output to have a black level of 0.65 cd/m2, and a peak brightness of 450.1 cd/m2, giving it a lackluster contrast ratio of 692:1. Unfortunately, it lost a lot of points because its gamma, or how well it transitioned from dark to light, is bad, meaning it does not handle transitions in lightness easily. You may notice some detail errors in shadows.

In terms of color performance, the Kindle Fire HD actually does a fairly acceptable job, though there are some quirks. Namely, reds are shifted and undersaturated, greens are undersaturated, and blues are shifted wildly towards more of a cyan-ish color.

Reflectivity is a bit of a problem on Amazon's tablet, but it could be worse. By reflecting about 19.2% of all light back at the user, you'll definitely notice glare if you're outside and looking to use your tablet. If you must go into the bright light, we suggest maxing out your backlight.

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Battery Life

The Amazon Kindle Fire HD was able to read an eBook using the proprietary software for 6 hours and 22 minutes straight until the battery died. For video files, the tablet was only able to hang on for 6 hours and 3 minutes before the battery was bled dry. Keep in mind that we had the backlight maxed and all additional processes terminated. Because it takes a lot of juice to produce a mostly white screen, you may be able to coax a bit more battery life from the unit by either changing the background color or turning down the brightness—your mileage may vary.

Other Tests

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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