Today, the Amazon Kindle Fire HD launches in the UK, which is in keeping with the original Fire HD launch date promise. The 7-inch Amazon tablet, running a custom version of Android, is available direct from Amazon starting at £159 for the 16GB, ad-sponsored version.
When it launched, the Kindle Fire was a pretty decent tablet, but then Asus’ Google Nexus 7 came along and changed the rules with a higher-resolution screen, better ergonomics and a more powerful processor. The Kindle Fire HD is Amazon’s answer, set to compete not only with the Nexus 7 but also the recently launched iPad mini.
The Kindle Fire HD specs are certainly good enough to match its biggest rivals. Its 7-inch IPS screen sports a 1,280 x 800 resolution, the same as the Nexus 7 and higher than the iPad mini’s 1,024 x 768. It’s got a 1.2GHz processor that is not quite as powerful but still more than gets the job done. Connectivity is ahead of the pack as it not only offers the microUSB port of the Nexus 7 but also gives you microHDMI, leaving the iPad mini far behind.
You pay £159 for the 16GB, ad-supported version, which Amazon misleadingly calls “With Special Offers”. Getting the 16GB model “Without Special Offers” (i.e. ad-free) takes this to £169, while the 32GB model with and without is £199 or £209 respectively. This compares favourably with the Nexus 7, which asks £159 for its 8GB model, though that has the stock Android 4.1 Jelly Bean advantage and will be seeing a new 32GB model soon, which will push the price of lower capacities down.
At £269 for the 16GB version, Apple’s iPad mini costs a lot more than either, but is the only one of these three to offer 3G/4G mobile broadband.
To check just how the Fire HD fares against the Nexus 7, have a read of our Google Nexus 7 vs Amazon Kindle Fire HD shootout. Of course, if reading is going to be your main use, you’re still better off with a dedicated eInk e-Reader like the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite.