Yesterday the new Fire HD tablets for this year were released, along with the $79 basic Kindle. I posted a first impressions review of the new Kindle yesterday—I’m not at all impressed with the chunky plastic and blocky design, but at least the software is solid because it is basically the exact same as the Kindle Paperwhite.
When it comes to the Fire HD 6, my initial impressions are pretty much the exact opposite. I’m super stoked about the overall size and the hardware features you get for the money. This is an impressive tablet for $99, there’s no doubt about it.
The only downside with Amazon’s tablets is the restrictive software. It’s nothing like a typical Android tablet where you can customize things to your liking. Instead you’re stuck with the same homescreen carousel and soulless black background just like every other Kindle Fire tablet to ever exist. The Amazon appstore is full of outdated apps and never has everything you need, and you can’t get apps from Google because Fire tablets are some of the only Android tablets you’ll find not to support the Play Store.
However, I think the combination of low price and overall features are enough to make people look past the software limitations, especially for people already intrenched in the Amazon ecosystem. The Fire HD 6 is good for Kindle-specific features that aren’t available on some other tablets, such as text-to-speech for Kindle books, Prime ebooks, Immersion Reading, etc. You can use it to stream Amazon videos, and even connect to a TV with a cheap SlimPort adapter and HDMI cable.
The number one thing that jumps out about the Fire HD 6 is the size. The screen on most smaller tablets is 7-inches diagonally. As the name implies, the Fire HD 6 is a 6-inch tablet. One inch may not sound like much, but in reality it’s a huge difference. It makes the Fire HD 6 super easy to hold one-handed. It’s the first true one-handed tablet that I’ve reviewed.
A few cheap 4.3-inch tablets have cropped up here and there over the past few years, but I don’t ever remember hearing about a 6-inch tablet before. That really makes the Fire HD 6 unique.
The smaller size makes the tablet very easy to hold, and it is quite pocketable and easy to take with you everywhere. It also feels very solid and sturdy.
Overall I’m impressed with the Fire HD 6 thus far. I’ll post a full review soon after more testing. I’ll post a video showing the Fire HD 6 in action later today with a comparison between the 7-inch Fire HDX. Subscribe to The eBook Reader Blog to keep updated! The fastest way to get updates on video reviews is to subscribe on YouTube or Google+ because the videos get posted there before I write the articles here.