Amazon Kindle Fire HD Tablet Review
A refreshing reboot of Amazon's Kindle Fire has a better screen, but the same clunky interface.
The new addition to the Kindle Fire lineup is built around a 5.9375 x 3.75 inch LCD screen with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, and a fairly well-performing one at that. Not only does it have a decent contrast performance, but it also has a good color gamut. It's not the best, but hey: it does well for the price you'd pay for it.
Indoor & Outdoor Use
Given that the high reflectivity is mitigated somewhat by the high peak brightness, the Amazon Kindle Fire HD does fairly well outdoors, though sharp reflection patterns and bright lights will absolutely ruin your fun. It's not an uncommon problem with LCD screened tablets, as they require their backlight to overpower the ambient lighting in order for their picture to be seen, and tablets with extremely high brightnesses will hurt your eyes in lower lighting conditions.
NOTE: The images above are shot with a variety of lighting sources, which may cause some color shift.
Due to the good ratio of screen size to resolution, the Amazon Kindle Fire HD’s screen is very legible, and a cut above the last generation of Kindle Fire. You may notice some “stair-stepping” as a result of the screen not being absolutely perfect, but unless your vision is better than 20/20, this shouldn’t be a big issue for you.
Reflectivity is a bit of a problem on the Amazon Kindle Fire HD, 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.
Screen Size & DPI
A screen with a 5.9375 × 3.75 inch real estate and a resolution of 1280 × 800 nets the Amazon Kindle Fire HD a pixel density of 215 pixels per inch (PPI), which is becoming the new normal for 7" tablets. For the curious, tablets of this size are starting to see displays that are oft-referred to as “retina” are becoming closer to the norm.
Blacks and Whites
In our labs, we measured the Amazon Kindle Fire HD’s screen output to have a black level of 0.65cd/m2, and a peak brightness of 450.1cd/m2, giving it a lackluster contrast ratio of 692:1. Unfortunately for the Amazon Kindle Fire HD, 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 Amazon 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.
All things considered, the battery life of the Amazon Kindle Fire HD is fairly good, but doesn’t come close to touching the Kindle Fire HD’s main competitor. After we maxed out the backlight and turned all additional processes and antennas off, the Amazon Kindle Fire HD was able to read Tolstoy’s tome War and Peace (in digital form) for 6 hours and 22 minutes, while it was able to play video files back to back to back for 6 hours, 3 minutes.
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