Introduction & Specifications
It's admittedly a bit confusing at first, but assuming Amazon sticks with its new branding, it will make sense in the long run. Simply put, the number in the model designates the screen size, while the HD and HDX tags hint at the display resolution -- HD means at least a high definition panel, and HDX indicates at least a Full HD 1080p screen. Amazon could make things a bit easier by consolidating its lineup to two or three tablets, but has instead chosen to offer a comprehensive line of products at different price points starting at $99.
As with Amazon's previous tablets, the Fire HD 7 is a gateway into the company's content consumption ecosystem. It runs Fire OS 4 "Sangria," a heavily modified version of Android 4.4 KitKat that hardly resembles its roots. That's by design -- whether it's reading e-books or watching videos, everything you do is hooked into Amazon in some way. If you're already a user of Amazon's various web services, you'll feel right at home on the Fire HD 7, though there are some drawbacks. Are they enough to dissuade us from recommending Amazon's newest tablet? Keep reading to find out.
The Fire HD 7 isn't a drastic departure over the previous generation model it's replacing. Most of the specs are the same, though this year's refresh brings about an upgrade to a MediaTek MTK8135 quad-core processor consisting of two ARM Cortex-A15 and two Cortex-A7 processors, along with a bump to a PowerVR G6200 GPU. Otherwise, the changes are mostly aesthetic in nature. Amazon provides shoppers five different color options -- black, white, colbalt, magenta, and citron.
It's a bigger upgrade compared to the original Kindle Fire tablet we reviewed several years ago. Next to that model, this latest offering has twice as much RAM, a faster processor and graphics, a higher-resolution display, and an upgraded OS with lots of new features. Oh, and it's both lighter and cheaper to boot.