Amazon Fire HD 7 review

Is Amazon's budget tablet still the brightest spark in the fire?

Amazon Fire HD 7 review
Lighting a fire under the tablet market?

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Coming to a verdict on the Amazon Fire HD 7 is a remarkably simple task. There's no denying it's a piece of hardware that offers great value for money in terms of specs, if not overall design. However, unless you're prepared to attach yourself to Amazon's ecosystem, there's a limited amount of appeal.

If you want a more open experience, then (in the UK) you can buy the Tesco Hudl 2 for £10 more with better specs, features and design.

We liked

In terms of a content delivery system, the HD 7 is absolutely perfect. Getting to your favourite TV shows, films or books couldn't be easier and, if you're prepared to pay for a subscription, you can get even more from it. Likewise, the ability to have different profiles - some for the kids - through Amazon FreeTime is really helpful.

What's more, Amazon is fairly generous when it comes to giving you a taste of the content. It regularly gives away bundles of apps, free songs and there's even a free month of Amazon Prime subscription waiting for you if you want.

Other nice touches come in the form of Amazon-exclusive features like reading mode, quiet time and the X-Ray video feature. All of these accentuate the content rather than act as standalone features, but they're nice touches nonetheless.

We disliked

The Amazon Fire HD 7's internal specifications are good for its price. The outer design, less so. It's chunky, plasticy and there are some truly massive black bezels running along the outside of the display. Dual speakers are punchy and impressive, but the cameras aren't as good as the competition.

Also, there's no microSD card slot for upgrading the storage and Amazon has removed the Micro-HDMI port that used to exist on Fire HD devices.

The budget nature of this tablet is also slightly undone by the existence of the 6-inch model which is cheaper and has much of the same specs.

Final verdict

Perhaps the least useful of all Amazon's tablets, this is neither the budget Amazon Fire HD 6 nor the impressive new Fire HDX 8.9. Instead it's a conduit for Amazon's video and book stores on an admittedly impressive 7-inch screen.

The retail giant has done wonderful things for making good budget tablets, but it looks to me that they've been surpassed by the competition on this occasion.

If you're a heavy Amazon user then there's definitely something here for you, but otherwise the Amazon Fire HD 7 doesn't offer much you can't get elsewhere.

First reviewed: October 2014