294 of 321 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Excellent piece of kit., 29 Oct 2012
As I write this review I am sitting in my room watching season 1 of LOST, streamed through the months free trial of LOVEFILM without any stops for buffering and the picture is second to none.
My television programme preference aside, I've had my Kindle Fire HD now for 2 days and all my initial fears have been extinguished through exploration of the gadget and with help from Google and people who are technically more advanced than myself. I'll give you a little background on myself so you can relate to my worries about the Kindle Fire HD. I'm currently a Product Design Engineering student at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow and I really wanted this gadget to aide me with my Uni work as well as a device for media. So when I heard that there aren't as many apps available as iTunes App Store and Google Play I got worried, and also that it was Amazon's version of Android as apposed to the basic version which you'd find on a Nexus 7 meaning I wouldn't be able to customise it in a way which I wanted and it may limit the potential functionality for me. Now onto the actual product...
As a Product Design student I tend to quickly notice potential flaws in design which may limit functionality and with the Kindle it was no different. The aesthetics of the product over all are amazing, it's sharp and clean. As a functioning product it can be somewhat difficult to locate the lock button and volume controls, but I think like any product the different locations of the buttons will take a while getting used to (I recently changed from an HTC Desire to a Galaxy S3 and to begin with the different position of the lock button was irritating, now I can't imagine it any other way). The ports for the charger are in an awkward position in the sense that if you wish to stand it upright (with the aide of one of the covers, like the Amazon one I purchased) to watch videos, you cannot, because the port is in the way, so upright viewing is only possible whilst not on charge. That mishap aside, the physical design of the Kindle leaves me with a sense that I've paid for something of quality. There's a good solid weight to it and the size makes it good to hold compared to the awkwardness of holding an iPad.
On to the software side of things. I read a lot of comments saying you can't get certain apps on the Amazon App Store. This is true, but it isn't the end of the world. For example, I am a big user of Dropbox for University files because of it's ease of use and there's no worry of losing your data. I tried to download it about half an hour after opening my Kindle to find that it wasn't available to my utter dissapointment, but upon doing a simple Google search for 'dropbox on kindle fire hd' I found a guide that told me I can download apps from a non-trusted source (i.e. not the amazon app store with a simple change of settings) and download the Android version of Dropbox directly from the site and install it and now I have Dropbox. It will be the same for any app you want. Also, as I mentioned I wanted the Kindle for Uni work and the programs I require are things like Dropbox, Microsoft Office/PDF Editor (I bought OfficeSuite Professional 6) and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. I found ALL of these things on the app store! I can even control my desktop computer and all the programs and media I have on that remotely using Splashtop Remote Desktop! There may not be as many apps on the Amazon App Store as there are on iTunes and Google Play, but that doesn't necessarily mean you can't get what you want with a little extra work.
On to using the Kindle. At first I really didn't like the carousel feature on the home screen, I was a big fan of the basic Android layout and not having my main apps all in one place was sort of off putting. Now I really like it! It's ordered by the content that was used most recently so I never really have to go far to get back to what I was doing previously. All other forms of content, be it apps, books, videos, music or entering the store are all available from the home screen as well, making navigation pretty slick. When you have apps highlighted on the carousel Amazon also have a 'users also bought' section below the app which is really helpful for discovering apps that you'll love. When Amazon designed this tablet as a shop window for their content they really knew what they were doing. It's so easy just to spend your money on the things you want and they make the things you'll want very noticeable with the features I mentioned previously.
I had thought, should I have waited on the iPad Mini? Paid a little extra for that tablet instead of this one? My answer now is no. The Amazon App Store may be lacking and so may LOVEFILM currently, but the American market place has been running for a year or two longer, which is a massive length of time in the technology world. I can only see the Kindle Fire HD experience getting better as time progresses. Overall I'm really happy with this product and will continue to be in the future I'm sure.
I've not attempted to put any of my own movie files on to the tablet yet but will in the future, like with the Dropbox anecdote, I'm sure where there is a will there is a way. Contrary to some other product reviews where people have seem to have hit a wall.
With regards to the Ads on the lock screen. Save yourself the £10. They're absolutely not an issue and can alert you to deals such as free content and new content which is coming soon. The first ad I had was a notice of the up coming release of The Dark Knight Rises. Being a massive Batman fan, this helped m approve of the ads!