Over the years, Amazon has improved their Kindle lineup significantly. Most recently, they’ve added a new Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Paperwhite device– two new gadgets that are sure to make owners of previous Kindles drool.
The Kindle Fire HD comes in two sizes– the original 7 inch tablet, and a larger 8.9 inch format. Both of these new tablets come in Wifi versions, and the 8.9 inch tablet has a Wifi+4G flavor. This is great students, because you can bring your Kindle Fire HD throughout your University or High School campus without worrying about Wifi coverage.
Impressively, the new 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HD comes with a full HD 1920×1200 pixel touch screen. Like the new iPad, this allows for text to be sharp and photos vivid. This sharpness really makes a difference for a tablet that is supposed to also be an E-Reader, because it causes less strain on the eyes. Both of the Kindle Fire HD devices also come with 10-point multitouch screens, whereas the original Fire only has two point touch.
All of the Kindle Fire devices, including the non-HD version, include dual core TI OMAP processors. In plain English, this means that your Kindle Fire will be snappy and play graphics-heavy games. Videos play smoothly, which is great because the larger Kindle Fire’s full HD screen can actually show every pixel of a 1080p Blu-Ray movie.
The smaller 7 inch Kindle Fire HD has a stated battery life of 11 hours– extremely impressive, and matching that of the iPad.
On the smaller 7 inch Kindle Fire HD, you have the option of buying it with 16 GB or 32 GB of storage space. The larger 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HD also comes in these two storage sizes. However, the 4G 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HD only comes in the larger 32 GB and 64 GB sizes. Fortunately, because Amazon does a fantastic job with digital content distribution, you also get access to streaming videos on Amazon Instant– some of it free if you have an Amazon Prime subscription.
The new 7 inch Kindle Fire HD starts at $199– the same as the previous generation of Kindle Fire. If you’d like to step up a size to the 8.9 inch tablet, pricing starts at a respectable $299 for the Wifi only version. The Wifi+4G 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HD starts at $499. These tablets make great gifts for movie buffs, music addicts, and bookworms because of the close integration with Amazon’s online marketplace. Even better, the Kindle Fire has a vast online app store that contains games for young and old, some of which are education and great for toddlers and young children.
Though Amazon’s new Kindle Fire HD replaces the original Kindle Fire at the $199 price point, Amazon did not disappoint. In addition to revealing the cheap 7 inch Kindle Fire HD, they also dropped the price of the original Fire to $159. Though you don’t get some of the premium features, such as the higher resolution 10 point multitouch screens, the original Kindle Fire remains a great choice for those on a budget, such as college students.
The original Kindle Fire has 8.5 hours of battery life, a 1024×600 multitouch (2 point) screen, and 8 GB of storage. But for those worried about not having a lot of storage space, Amazon’s cloud storage system makes streaming movies from Amazon’s catalog a breeze.
Amazon’s focus on high-tech multitouch tablets doesn’t mean that they forgot about their roots. The new Kindle Paperwhite is a fantastic E-Ink E-Reader with one killer feature– it has a front-light. Yes, that’s right– a front-light.Traditional screens, such as those in your phone or laptop, have a screen placed on top of a backlight (hence the name, backlight). This light shines through the screen and directly into your eyes. This allows for the screen to be bright and vibrant, but shining light directly into your eyes is not the best solution in terms of long term reading. Amazon solved this problem by adding a light that shines on to the brilliant E-Paper display, and reflects into your eyes. This allows you to not only reap the benefits of a E-Paper display, which is easy to read in the sunlight, but when you’re on a plane or in your bed at night, you can turn on the built in light on the Kindle and read in the dark without significant eye strain.
You may be thinking, “I already have a light for my older Kindle– I bought one that attaches to a case and sticks out in front of the screen and shines a light onto the E-Paper display.” Personally, I’ve done this before– both with the older Kindles and even back in the day when the Gameboy Advanced didn’t have a backlight. But Amazon ingeniously solved this problem by building the light into the screen. In fact, if you never turned the light on, you’d never know it’s there. It’s just built in with the screen itself.
Like with the older Kindles, you can still store over a thousand books, which are instantly downloaded via Wifi or the built in (and free) 3G model if you opt for the more expensive Wifi+3G model. The touch screen has also been improved beyond the front-light, and is sharper and has more contrast– which is great for reading. The battery life is still months long, which is great for vacations where you may not have access to a power outlet or you don’t want to bring your charger.
Though the Kindle Fire is impressive, the Paperwhite remains the clear leader for those strongly invested in reading on the go, on the beach, and now, in bed. Because it’s not expensive and starts at $119, the Kindle Paperwhite makes a great holiday gift for students.
Amazon’s new Kindle lineup is extremely impressive and shows an amazing advancement in technology. From the innovative Kindle Paperwhite display, which solved one of the only problems with E-Paper displays (the inability to read in the dark), to the revolutionary low-cost Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD tablets, Amazon has solidified their stance in the E-Reader (and now, tablet) markets.