The Amazon Kindle Fire HD. (Photo : Amazon)
At Amazon's September 6 press conference, journalists went hands-on with the 7" Kindle Fire HD (2). While the device was positively received, several common criticisms emerged. Respected review sources such as CNET, TechRadar, the Associated Press, and Gizmodo noted performance issues, buggy UI navigation, and lag in input response time. Latinos Post has compiled a collection of wrinkles that Amazon has the opportunity to iron out before the device's launch. Please note that these are impressions of a non-final device, and that optimization will likely smooth out many of the issues described.
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"In handling the device, though, I found that video played well and images looked sharp. But it was not as responsive as I would have liked. It seemed to lag when swiping through pictures or through the news feed on the custom-built Facebook app."
"There was no app that independently controlled the front-facing camera, which is new to the Kindle Fire HD. The Facebook picture I took with the device turned out upside down, even though the camera was clearly meant to be at the top of the device when held in landscape mode. Amazon's representatives said the camera was mainly for use with a Skype app made for the device."
"[The specs] sounds great on paper, though in practice the Kindle Fire HD may be overreaching a bit - it stuttered for up to 10 seconds as we switched between games, videos, music, web, periodicals, and other categories on the home screen, though the new carousel/quick access interface is snappy enough."
"Games took a rather long time to load as well, though that may come down to developers more than the hardware itself."
"Buggy navigation can be fixed, so we'll reserve judgment until the device ships."
"The 7-inch version feels a little big and to be honest, we weren't 100 percent sure it wasn't the 8.9-inch version we were looking at when it was first placed in our hands."
"Movies launched within a few seconds (and sometimes took longer than we would have liked) and as long as the Wi-Fi signal was strong enough, displayed in HD. When the signal diminished, the picture degenerated to a very blurry-looking SD version of itself."
"Navigating wasn't as smooth as we expected and even after the Amazon rep exchanged a very sluggish unit for a much smoother-performing one, launching games and navigating to different nodes took a couple seconds longer than we would have liked. This may have had something to do with the chaos of wireless signals making short work of many connections at the press event, coupled with the Kindle Fire's software checking whether we had the cloud version or local version of the file at the time."
"Amazon has an opportunity here. If it can smooth out any performance issues, make timely and significant updates to its custom Android 4.0-based OS, and continue to broker significant deals with its movies, books, and TV show partners, we may finally have a real tablet race here."
"The Kindle Fire HD won't offer a pure Android experience like the Nexus 7, but for Kindle users, Amazon Prime members, and those simply looking for a low-price device for media consumption, the HD makes an extremely convincing argument in its favor."
"The Kindle Fire HD is staggering on paper. In person, it's... pleasant. Which would be an equation for disappointment if you forgot for a second just how cheap this thing is.
But it's just not nearly as smooth as the Nexus 7 on Jelly Bean. The original Kindle Fire's OS was built on Gingerbread 2.3, and on the Fire HD we get a heavily modified version of 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. And after using Jelly Bean on the Nexus 7, it's just impossible to go back to ICS without it feeling horribly slow and laggy."
"How bad is it? It's bad enough that when you tap an icon, you wonder if you did it wrong, if maybe you didn't tap firmly enough. The bimodal reading, for instance, hung for nearly 10 seconds as it loaded. X-Ray took about five. None had a visual indicator that something was wrong. We're told that we were using production models, so it's pretty disappointing. It's going to ship like this."
"There are so many features now that it feels a little cluttered. The claustrophobia shows up in the books interface, but even more so in movies, where the X-Ray and IMDB logo and everything else just coalesce into a visual mess. It's a shock, coming from the visual fidelity of Jelly Bean or Windows 8."
"That's not much to balance out the sluggishness, though. And honestly, it would be fine if Amazon could just bludgeon everyone else with price like it did with the original Fire. It can't anymore. Google's Nexus 7 is close enough-even at $250 for 16GB to the Fire's $200-that the value proposition of a tablet with considerable lag isn't worth the couple extra bucks. Compared to a $500 iPad? Sure. But the game's done changed for the little guys."