Kindle Fire vs. Kindle Fire HD

The Kindle Fire is a tempting tablet at $159, but the Kindle Fire HD brings a better screen, better speakers and more storage for just $40 more.

How does the Kindle Fire compare to the Kindle Fire HD, and is it worth paying more for the Kindle Fire HD?

In this comparison we’ll take a look at areas where the Kindle Fire HD offers more than the Kindle Fire and which users will see the most benefit from spending the extra $40 to buy the Kindle Fire HD over the Kindle Fire.

Both tablets offer access to the Amazon Kindle book library, Amazon Instant video rentals and the Amazon App Store for Android apps.

Display

The Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD both feature a 7-inch display, but the Kindle Fire HD has the upper hand in several areas.

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The newer Kindle Fire HD (left) has a better display than the original (right).

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The Fire HD offers a 1280 x 800 resolution capable of showing movies in 720P, compared to the lackluster 1024 x 600 resolution found on the Kindle Fire. The higher resolution also means a better pixel density for the Kindle Fire HD, which means text looks sharper and clearer on the HD model, something users will notice while reading.

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Kindle Fire HD Display

Note how the text is much crisper on the Kindle Fire HD’s display (above) compared to the original Kindle Fire (below).

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Kindle Fire Display

Another important feature missing from the entry-level Kindle Fire is 10-finger multi-touch support. The Kindle Fire HD allows users to use all ten fingers to interact with games and apps. This is important for some multiplayer and single player games, and any app that involves musical instruments. The Kindle Fire only allows for two-finger multi-touch.

Design and Features

The Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD are of similar size and design, but there are differences.

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The Kindle Fire HD is wider than the original Kindle Fire

The Kindle Fire is heavier and thicker than the Fire HD, but not drastically so. Most users won’t notice the 0.2 oz weight difference or the slightly thicker frame of the cheaper Kindle Fire, but the Kindle Fire HD is noticeably wider. The Kindle Fire HD is 0.68-inches wider than the Kindle Fire.

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The newer Kindle Fire HD has tapered edges and rounded corners.

The Kindle Fire HD trades the angled edges of the original Kindle Fire for curved edges, but uses the same matte black finish as the Kindle Fire.

The Kindle Fire HD shows improvements in speaker and port placement over the Kindle Fire, upgrading the user experience to Dolby audio and placing dual-driver speakers on both sides of the device, instead of one side.

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Amazon moved the headphone and charging port to the bottom of the Kindle Fire HD and added a Micro HDMI connection for playing movies from the Fire HD to a HDTV. This makes it easier to watch a movie with headphones on while charging the Kindle Fire HD.

The Kindle Fire HD also uses a new dual WiFi antenna design that delivers faster connections so videos should start streaming faster and users should experience better WiFi reception with compatible routers.

The Kindle Fire HD features Bluetooth connectivity so users can pair with a headset or with a Bluetooth keyboard, neither of which are possible with the Kindle Fire.

Camera

kindle-fire-vs-fire-hd-cameraThe Kindle Fire HD includes a front facing HD video camera designed with video chatting in mind. The Kindle Fire HD includes Skype pre-installed so users can chat with friends and family. The Kindle Fire does not include a camera.

The Kindle Fire HD camera also takes photos using apps found in the Amazon App Store, so users can share photos. Neither tablet features a rear facing camera for taking photos of people or to use as a scanner.

Performance & Battery Life

As part of the $40 price hike, the Kindle Fire HD comes with more memory, 16GB compared to 8GB on the Kindle Fire. This means users have more room to store movies, apps and photos.

The Kindle Fire HD features a slightly faster processor, but that shouldn’t be the deciding factor in purchasing one tablet or the other. The Kindle Fire includes an accelerometer , but gamers will appreciate the Kindle Fire HD’s gyroscope that allows for controlling some apps.

The Kindle Fire gets nine hours on a single charge compared to 11 hours on the Kindle Fire HD, according to Amazon claims. These battery life claims are for reading, browsing the web on WiFi, watching video, or listening to music.

What’s the Same

Both of the Kindle Fire models include the same Kindle Fire software, with access to the Amazon App Store, Kindle Book Store and other services like Amazon Prime Instant Streaming and the Lending Library.

Users can also connect to email, edit documents with apps and access to WhisperSync, a new way to keep book progress, game progress, video progress and audiobook progress in sync across devices.

Parents can limit children’s usage of the Kindle Fire and Fire HD with Kindle FreeTime, a tool that allows for limits on certain activities and leave others, like reading, unlimited.

Kindle Fire or Kindle Fire HD

Given all the added features of the Kindle Fire HD, and the relatively small price of upgrading to the Kindle Fire HD, it’s an easy recommendation.

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Some users may be happy with the Kindle Fire at $159, but for $40 more they can video chat, connect Bluetooth accessories, gain an HD display with 10-finger multi-touch and HDMI connectivity.

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Buyers should try to save up for the Kindle Fire HD, and gift givers may want to give a gift card and let the buyer decide if the Kindle Fire HD’s price is too high to give as a gift.

Comments

  1. John says

    Got the Kindle Fire (2nd Gen) on Cyber Monday. Great deal at $129. However, first thing I noticed is one of the movies I had purchased would not show properly on the tablet. It’d just stutter and freeze. This was through Amazon Prime VoD. Tried searching for my copy of The Hunger Games book, and to my dismay, it’s nowhere to be found. It’s there, in my Kindle e-reader. Why not in the Kindle Fire? They’re bound to the same account… Realized that this will be my wife’s present for XMas, so had to make sure it was perfect.

    Returning the Kindle Fire (2nd Gen), and getting the Kindle Fire HD 7″ instead. Now to return the accessories…

    Sure, the Nexus 7 is the same price, and I have one. This one is more geared toward people with a Prime subscription or those who are used to the Amazon ecosystem. I’ve “purchased” every Free App of the Day from Amazon Android App Store since it started operating, and some extras as well.

    I hope that the problems I was hoping will disappear with the Kindle Fire HD

  2. JohnC says

    Just got the Kindle fire HD, and found out that it is not supported for Flash Player. Original Fire is… Just a thought.

  3. [email protected] says

    Amazon has the best prices on all of the Kindle Models – check it out here! http://amzn.to/TSw0AF

  4. plato says

    Several things make the HD frustrating for previous owners of a 1st gen kindle fire.:
    There is no included capability to charge the device – one must purchase a wall connection to USB separately at $20; the keyboard is such a dark gray that one cannot make out the smaller upper chars; music importing is a whole new headache, designed to completely exclude all but Amazon cloud material – side loading is very very iffy; many fine apps simply do not work (yet, or never…) with HD – such as alternative browsers – forcing one to use the quite mediocre ‘silk'; the camera is useless for photo taking without BUYING an app ($$$); NOT ALL content on your previous kindle fire account is available for transfer – as listed above; I’m sure I will find more hiccups the rest of this first day of use.

    • Medianee says

      Actually, the wall charger should not be something that keeps people from upgrading. In many case the same charger you use for your phone can be used for to charge this. My phone is a Samsung and it’s charger charges the HD just fine. If you already have a smartphone, don’t waste the extra $20 dollars.

  5. Erika says

    I am 13 and got the kindle fire hd for x-mas, and as well as my 3 younger siblings (we’re 13,12,11, & 10) and its fine becuz you can put parental controls and all. But the thing is, it used to play youtube and then it would just stop loading, also ALL the apps will crash, especially Instafire which is a horribly waste of money. And you do NOT have to buy an app to take pictures! You just go to your photos and in the right hand corner there is a camera and just click on it. I love the big screen and the keyboard is really good. I would like more battery life but its fine. Also if it gets hot it will not work properly. But I guess its ok…

  6. chris says

    Why do I have to use to fingers when I type on the kindle fire hd? Also why do I have to use two fingers two scrolls up and down or side to side?

  7. Mimi says

    Let me know if u sold your kindle Fire and how much u ask for it. I have one myself that I want to sell. I want to get the HDX

  8. kim says

    so the kindle fire 1st generation is or isnt worth buying ??? my 7 yr old has been begging and i want to know the diffrence without spending too much

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