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My Review: Kindle Fire HD 7", Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi

Posted by Linda | 10:56 AM

I saw the Kindle HD ads and reviews and I must say I was beguiled by the crisp display and the nice portable size. My hopes for the Kindle HD were that I would be able to do my online tasks (emailing, tweeting, blogging, viewing films and TV, reading websites etc) on the move, and that it would be a neat way to carry around all my work-related documents on a handbag sized tablet. Some of those hopes have been satisfied.

The screen is beautiful (it is slightly smaller than iPad Mini's or the Nexus, but I don't find that bothers me). The touchscreen is also really responsive. I read my kindle books fine on the tablet (although it's INCREDIBLY annoying that Kindle haven't yet worked out how to make my categories carry over from one device to another, and they also don't upload my highlights and notes from personal documents I've sent to my Kindle - seriously Kindle, if you want to corner the academic market, you need to sort that out, and the page numbers issue).

The browser is ok. I don't know why people make a fuss about Silk - there is this cool thing where you can read a lot of text in 'Kindle' mode (ie on a nice clean screen), but it's very (very) slow to load and like all Android devices flash doesn't work so you couldn't watch, e.g., programs on 4OD or other flash clips. The major disappointments have been about the apps and document storage. The selection is pretty pitiful; you don't have access to the full range of Android apps.

I was hoping for a nice app interface to update my blogger blog - no such luck. For those of us used to Gmail's excellent search facility and threaded emails, the email app will come as a disappointment, it's got 1990's functionality... And the biggest pain for me has been document storage. The Carousel is fine if you just want to pick up what you were doing last time, but the device is an absolute pain in the bum if you want to find a pdf or other document which you were reading.

For some reason, they don't come up in the carousel, and if you access them via Foxit or similar you spend ages browsing through the Kindle's totally labyrinthine storage system. Would it be so hard to have a simple 'my documents' style location? And then there's the dropbox disappointment. Everything I use for work is synced on Dropbox, like a lot of people. There is a dropbox app for the Kindle Fire, but you have to sideload it as it's not in the appstore. But even then, it's the Android version of the dropbox app, so it only syncs a fraction of my total dropbox.

That means I have to be online in order to access other files, which for me defeats the purpose of a tablet - which I want to use to carry my documents around so they're always accessible (in meetings etc). In order to get the whole thing synced, it seems I have to download another app called Dropsync, and I feel really peeved that Kindle and Dropbox haven't made this work.

To be honest, I agree with other reviewers - this is just a snazzy kindle. I wish I'd gone for a different tablet.

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