Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6 review
Amazon’s smallest and cheapest tablet yet
Most people are more aware of Amazon's Kindle e-readers than they are of the similarly named Kindle Fire tablets, but the company's tablets are just as good - we've been fond of previous models such as the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9. The Kindle Fire HD 6 is the cheapest and smallest Amazon tablet yet.
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6: price
The 8GB model costs just 79, although it's worth paying just 20 more to double your storage to 16GB as there's no micro SD slot for future storage expansion. These prices include ads on the lock screen - you can pay 10 more to get rid of them, but even with these extra charges the HD 6 is still very cheap.
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6: software and apps
Although the HD 6's Fire OS is based on Android, it's been heavily modified by Amazon. The home screen is easy to grasp - it's dominated by a carousel of your most recently opened items, such as apps, movies and music, while tabs across the top of the screen take you to a more detailed screen for each type of content.
You don't download apps from Google Play, but from Amazon's app store instead. While many of the most popular titles from Google Play, especially games and educational titles, are also present in Amazon's store, there are some disadvantages. For example, the very newest apps and newer versions of existing titles will often show up in Google Play first. Business apps tend to be lacking too - you'll have to rely on third-party office suites and while Trello is present, Slack is not.
There are advantages to Fire OS though if you're a heavy user of Amazon's services. When you order the HD 6 from Amazon, it comes with your Amazon account pre-loaded so you can instantly access any purchased ebooks, music and movies without needing to install any apps.
Disappointingly, the free Mayday video help service is absent - it's only available on the HDX models. There are other useful software features though. There's a Do Not Disturb mode for silencing notifications for when you don't want to be hassled.
You can also set up restricted profiles for your kids, choosing which apps and features they can use and for how long. Oddly though, you're limited to two adult accounts and four child accounts - enough for most households, but these are strangely specific limitations. The HD 6 can work with enterprise MDM services such as MaaS360, but managed profile support is threadbare compared to iOS or even Android.
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6: display
The tablet's six inch screen places it closer in size to phablets than it does to other mini tablets. Plus, the HD 6 is heavy for its size. Its 290g weight is more than 100g heavier than similarly sized phablets and is only around 40g lighter than 8in tablets. Combined with its thick and chunky casing, this makes the HD 6 awkward to hold for long periods of time but it is at least very sturdy.
Although the 1280x800 screen itself isn't as bright or as high resolution as other more expensive tablet screens, and it has a slight yellowish tint, it's still more than good enough for watching movies and reading. It is more reflective than other tablet screens we've seen though, so you may need to adjust your seating position or turn down the lights to avoid distracting reflections and glare.
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6: battery and camera
The battery lasted almost 12 hours when playing video - an impressively lengthy score. While its processor performance wasn't exceptional, it's quick enough for basic tasks and all but the most demanding apps. The touchscreen did sometimes lag behind our finger movements, but it wasn't too bad and is still far better than many cheap Android tablets. Although Amazon encourages you to use the two megapixel camera with unlimited online storage for photos taken using the HD 6, the blurry, washed out photos are almost useless.
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6: conclusions
The Kindle Fire HD 6 isn't perfect and it's worth spending a little more on the iPad Mini 2 or Nexus 9 if only because iOS and Android are better suited for use in the workplace. Still for simple tasks such as watching videos and light internet use though, the HD 6 is good value.
One of the best budget tablets we’ve seen, but Amazon’s design choices won’t suit everyone
OS: FireOS 4
Display: 6in 1280 x 800
CPU: 1.5GHz quad-core
Dimensions: (WxHxD) 103 x 11 x 169 mm
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