Kindle Fire HD 10 – A nice widescreen tablet for the Amazon ecosystem

As an upgrade to my original Kindle Fire of 2011, I pick up the Kindle Fire HD 10. It’s a pretty nice  $150 tablet that thrives in the Amazon ecosystem. While not a laptop replacement, the Fire 10 is a large tablet in a widescreen format that works well for reading and watching movies.

To start, I watched an episode of the Thunderbirds and the quality and sound was quite good. Music playback can sound a little thin, but I thought it was pretty respectable out of the side speakers.

If you don’t already have an Alexa device, you do now, as it’s built into the Fire, so you can ask questions, get information, find out the weather and set timers. You can also pause movies, increase the volume and switch over to music. Alexa works the same as the self-contained devices, but includes more visual feedback. For example, if you ask about the weather, you see the weekly forecast. When playing a song, the display shows the album and song title, along with start and pause buttons.

The viewing area is many times larger than the original Kindle Fire with an improved “Carousel” feature, far more storage (32GB vs 8GB), a camera, and fingerprint resistant glass. The advancements have been quite extensive.

A lot has been made about the “ad supported” lock screen, but to be honest, it’s a trivial matter. The “ad” is a featured Amazon item such as upcoming series, a new book or album, or a digital item at deep discount. It’s not showing ads for pizza or oil changes. It’s by no means an inconvenience and isn’t worth $15 to turn it off.

Apps selection is slightly more limited as they need to come from the Amazon store. However, there are still plenty of titles to choose from.

Set up is a two step process – Connect to WiFi, log into Amazon. From there, you are able to speak with Alexa, read books, stream music and watch movies. Audible is also available for playback of audiobooks.

While hardcore users may find fault with the quality of the camera, or the ability to use the Fire to calculate spreadsheets, or perhaps that you are limited to the Amazon apps store, but when used with media, it’s hard to find any issue with a device that switches between books, games, movies and music on a 10 inch screen for $150.

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