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Our Verdict

One of the most enticing tablets to come from Amazon, mixing efficient integration with the Prime services and a compact footprint that makes it easy to drop in your bag. It's no tablet king, but it does what it sets out to well.

For

  • Compact size
  • Prime integration
  • Sharp screen
  • Reasonable price

Against

  • A bit too chunky
  • Awful cameras
  • Fire OS can be restrictive
  • Tinny speaker

Tablets are in an odd place right now. Sales are slumping for both Android and iOS devices and with phones growing in size every few months the need for a separate, similarly sized device that lacks all the smartphone features is definitely waning.

But that isn't stopping Amazon, in fact the online shopping behemoth has recently refreshed almost the entire Fire tablet line, giving spec bumps to both the HD 7 and HDX 8.9 and unveiling possibly the most interesting of all, the Amazon Fire HD 6.

I've been using the Fire HD 6 as my sole tablet for about a week and it's surprised me, far outweighing any expectations I had when I first booted it up and tapped in my Amazon details.

But, let's start with a quick overview of things. The Fire HD 6 as you might have guessed, boasts a 6-inch display which is actually the feature that sets it apart from the rest of the crowded tablet space.

A 6-inch display is more common for a smartphone than a tablet, with most slates slipping into the 7-10-inch range. It gives the Amazon Fire HD 6 a real selling point.

There have been larger tablets this year, the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2 for example; so seeing one go the other way and offer something much smaller is hardly surprising.

Amazon Fire HD 6 review

The price is also a real plus point for the Amazon Fire HD 6. Starting at £79, $99 for the 8GB version (with ads) and going up to £99, $119 (also, with ads) for the 16GB model, it's the cheapest tablet Amazon has ever released and only £20, $20 more than the Kindle.

When it comes to the tablet specs, the Amazon Fire HD 6 is pretty well equipped. There's a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM and both front and rear facing cameras.

When you consider the iPad mini 2 starts at £239, $299 and boasts a dual-core 1.3GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage space, Amazon's pocketable tablet sounds like a great deal.

Amazon Fire HD 6 review

Obviously, Amazon has had to take some shortcuts to keep the price low, but nothing on this tablets screams 'bargain bin'.

The 1,280 x 800 display is not quite as sharp as a 1080p version, or the Retina display on the iPad mini 2, but it still has accurate colour representation and films streamed at 720p look good, especially as the screen squashes more pixels in.

Design

I'd describe the looks of the Fire HD 6 as chunky and durable, almost the perfect tablet to give to kids. The plastic chassis is far from premium, but it feels reliably sturdy and there's almost no give. I even dropped it and though I picked it up fearing the worst, it didn't even pick up a scratch.

A thick black bezel surrounds the screen, while the chassis is available in a variety of hues. My review unit is what Amazon describes as cobalt (blue) and I found it clashed a bit with the black front. It's a minor quibble though as other colours are available, including the neon-like citron, magenta (pink) along with black and white for the less daring.

The Fire HD 6 measures 169 x 103 x 10.7mm and weighs 290g (10.2 oz). For a tablet this small, it does actually feel a bit heavy, though it weighs exactly the same as the 2013 Nexus 7 and less than the 8-inch Nvidia Shield Tablet (390g).

Amazon Fire HD 6 review

The volume rocker is clicky and has a nice response

Reading a book in portrait mode was OK, though after about thirty minutes my arm started to get tired, but maybe that's just my weak arm. Watching a film in landscape is even more problematic, I had to prop the tablet up on a table to make it through an episode of Black Sails on Amazon Prime.

On the back is a single speaker, a step-down from the dual stereo speaker that sits on the HD 7 and a 2MP snapper (there's also a VGA version on the front, for those who want to engage in very blurry Skype chats or take grainy selfies).

On the top is the headphone jack, on/off switch and the microUSB port for charging, while the volume rocker is situated on the left.

Amazon Fire HD 6 review

It's not the thinnest tablet around

Even though the materials used here are far from the metal and glass Apple uses to craft its iPad mini line, it's a big step up from older Amazon tablets and bargain Android slates of old.

It's durable, easy to grip and sturdy, if a little thick for my liking. But really this device is all about accessing Amazon's vast library of content and services, from Kindle books to Prime videos to shopping for your next batch of Sriracha hot sauce, and this it does well.