Amazon Kindle Fire HD6 Review

kindle-fire

I am no stranger to tech. Even though it isn’t featured much on my blog, tech tools have been invaluable to me in almost every facet of what you see on here. So when I was offered a chance to review an Amazon Fire HD6 tablet from Third Voice Marketing, I said “You betcha!”. I’m always on the lookout for things to make my life a little easier, and a multi-tasker like a tablet is a sure fire way to get many things done, even on the go.

I may have been spoiled by hubby’s Nexus devices. While only sporting 7″ screens, they make the most of the real estate and have fabulous visuals and specs to boot. Sadly, the Fire HD6 fails to meet my lofty expectations. From the start, it feels thicker, clunkier and heavier (though it is lighter!) than the larger Nexus 7. The screen almost looks to be set further into the device. It’s resolution is 1280 x 800 (252ppi), which is a far cry from the 1920 x 1200 (323ppi) I’m used to. For a stand alone reader that would be fine. When a major selling point is full access to Amazon Prime features like the HD VOD service, that isn’t so fine. More on that later. Both sport Corning Gorilla Glass, both have front and rear cameras, both have quad-core processors,wi-fi, bluetooth and access to a wide array of apps. So, since one is more expensive than the other, you’d be inclined to forgive the screen issues and focus on what Amazon got right. Right?
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What amazon got right was the price. Sold for as low as $84 recently, you’d be hard-pressed to find a quad-core device of equal build quality for less. and with 1GB of RAM, it should handle light mobile games, email and some light web browsing with aplomb. But when you get to the software, that’s where things go off the rails for me. Amazon skinned over the lovely Android Kit Kat OS with their own proprietary features, much to the detriment of the user experience. Perhaps it’s because I’m used to a pure Android experience, but the devices seems seriously hamstrung by the Fire OS. You lose access to the Google Play store, you lose access to a synced Chrome (and all it’s bookmarks with no way to import them), you lose access to the device synchronicity you’re accustomed to, and you’re forced into an ecosystem that is geared towards Amazon consumption at the cost of being truly user friendly.
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I found myself constantly frustrated by trying to do what I’ve been doing with my Android devices for years now, only have to try to learn Amazon’s way of doing it instead. Yuck. What’s worse is when you get into heavy web browsing, downloading, or typing, you get so much lag you want to fling the thing into the nearest wall. All the ports are at the top of the device, the single rear speaker is absolutely awful, and the camera, at 2MP, is positively anemic. Though it does sport an HDR mode and a wide array of editing tools, the pictures will never be anything to write home about, especially in low ligIMAG2381ht conditions. The screen size is frustrating for me tapping and touching with normal sized fingers, and Hubby couldn’t do squat with his much bigger Hubby paws. Amazon does sport it’s own app store, but more than a few of the versions of the apps available, while seemingly identical to their Google App and Apple App Store cousins, are usually a few versions behind. Because, let’s face it, there are two big dogsIMAG2382 on the app block, and it doesn’t make sense to spend a bundle on development for the two little dogs with very little market penetration, Amazon and Windows. Amazon has also locked the bootloader, which means no third party development is available, which is another huge upside for normal Android devices, and a liability for Kindles.
I like having access to my Amazon Prime benefits. I like being able to stream my free video and audio benefits seamIMAG2380lessly. I like the Kindle features that go above and beyond the Kindle apps available for all my other devices. I like that it is small enough to drop in my purse and not know it’s there. It seems to be very sturdily built with unobtrusive buttons that don’t get hit accidentally. And I like the price. Aside from that, there is also plenty to make me say that I doubt I’d buy a Kindle on my own any time soon. The proprietary, frustrating nature of the OS. The ads on the lock screen. The focus on the “Amazon experience” and not the customer experience. The lack of synchronicity. The screen. And some personal experience. The memory on my first device was corrupted, and the charging port was borked. Amazon sent a replacement next-day air. But after several rounds with their “customer service” chat to figure out how to connect the device to my TV for a true HD video experience (6 different chats got me 6 different failed methods), I eventually gave up and resigned myself to a 6″ sub-HD screen for the foreseeable future. I also don’t know how I only have 3.5 GB of space on a 8GB device when it arrives. Too small to download a movie, and very little space for apps, media, or really, anything.
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I’ve used Samsung Galaxy Devices, LG devices, Asus devices, and Nexus devices. Kindle is dead last in my user experience.I wanted to like my Kindle. I wanted one for some time. Amazon shot for the moon with their Kindle devices and instead, for me, shot themselves in the foot. Perhaps I expected too much. As I stated, for a reader, it’s awesome. If you don’t mind the screen or speaker, the access to Amazon’s Instant Video and Music is phenomenal. And Amazon gives a you a 30-day, 100% satisfaction guarantee, but return shipping is at your cost. If it’s for youngsters, you have a relatively well built, relatively inexpensive device that they can stream the occasional video, play a few games, and read a few books. For a grown up, you’re better off buying a grown up device.
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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Third Voice Marketing.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

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