- Low Cost
- Great Screen
- Simpler to use
- Wide and heavy for its size
- No microSD card slot
Quick TakeThe Kindle Fire HD 7 is highly recommended for those looking for a useful mid-size tablet at a low price. It's simpler than usual Android tablets, but is strongly tied to Amazon.
The Fire HD 7 is a mid-size tablet that that runs Amazon’s modified version of Android. It’s focused mostly on shopping and ebooks, but can be used for social networking, web access, games, and much more. It’s suggested price starts at just $139.
Amazon clearly thinks the secret to success in the tablet market is offering shoppers plenty of options because it recently added three different sizes of the Fire HD. We’ve already reviewed the smaller Fire HD 6, and a review of the largest, the Fire HDX 8.9 (2014), will be published soon.
Build & Design
The Fire HD 7 is a low-cost device, and that influenced the design in many ways. Most obviously, metal casings cost much more, so Amazon used a plastic one. And it’s not a particularly sleek device either. This makes “functional” the best description.
Still, it’s available in a range of colors – black, white, red, yellow, and blue – for anyone who wants their tablet to reflect their personality.
The bezels around the display are wide for a device with a 7-inch screen, making the tablet wider than many would hope: 4.1 inches. Those with medium or large hands will be able to hold it one-handed, but the petite will find it too wide. For reference, the Amazon Fire HD 7 is wider than the Toshiba Encore Mini, a similarly-priced tablet that has a 8-inch display.
At 0.75 lbs, the tablet’s pretty heavy for the mid-size class, but not heavy enough to make it uncomfortable to hold for long periods.
While many of the design elements are common among budget devices, the screen is an exception; the display in the Fire HD 7 wouldn’t be out of place on a more expensive model.
The 1280×800 resolution works out to a pixel density of 216 ppi on the 7-inch screen. That is a bit lower than ideal, but is still good enough to make fonts look smooth and video look great. The display uses IPS (in-plane switching) technology so it is viewable from a wide range of angles.
While bigger is better when it comes to video, screens this size are acceptable for watching TV shows and movies. This is the sort of device that’s handy for catching up on a missed TV episode during lunch the next day.
The Fire HD 7 can be used in direct sunlight, but its display was really created for indoor use. Those looking for a ereader for frequent outdoor use should consider one of the Kindles instead.
Buttons and Ports
The power button is located on the top, while a set of volume up/down buttons are on the right side.
The Fire HD 7 has a minimum of ports: a micro-USB port for charging and transferring data with a PC, as well as a headphone jack.
Notably absent is a microSD slot, which means users will either have to depend on internal storage or on Amazon’s online storage. All the models in the Fire series have free access to Amazon Cloud Drive where they can store an unlimited number of pictures taken with the tablet as well as Amazon books and movies, and 5 GB of other files for free. More storage is available for a fee.