The Iconia One 7 registered just Don't expect great sound quality from the Fire HD 6's single speaker, which is located on the bottom edge of the back. Similarly, Magic's "Rude" missed that extra bounce that should come through the Dolby-enabled speaker. I also found it all too easy to muffle the speaker when I held the slate in my hand.
On the Laptop Mag Audio Test measuring a tone from 13 inches away at maximum volume , the Fire HD 6 registered 79 decibels, exactly matching the tablet average. It looks similar to the previous generation, but with some new tweaks. It's an obvious and easily navigable system.
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Below that sits the carousel, which shows you the most recently opened programs or media in a swipeable list. Below that, if you swipe from bottom to top, you'll see all the apps that appear on the tablet. As on other Android tablets, when you pull down from the top, you'll see some quick settings for Auto-rotate, Wireless, Brightness and Settings.
Here, you'll also find Quiet Time, which prevents notifications from popping up while you're working or reading. FreeTime has more than , pieces of kid-friendly, curated content, including videos, apps, games and audiobooks. That's not where the family-friendly features stop. Fire OS 4 lets you create up to four separate profiles for kids and two for adults. That means each person can have his or her own apps and other content ready when entering their profiles. You can also set unique restrictions for each profile.
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By default, a child's profile doesn't have access to the Silk browser, email, contacts, social apps or the camera. You can password-protect purchases including in-app purchases , Wi-Fi access, location-based services and video playback. I like that you can set time limits for specific types of content and even set educational goals to, for example, read for 30 minutes before being allowed to play a game. The tablet is smart enough to designate existing content, such as books and apps, as kid-friendly. The Bedtime setting, which locks up the tablet at a set time of day, will also be extremely useful for parents of the "5-more-minutes" set.
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The Instant Video library offers 40, titles, and the lending library is , strong. Amazon doesn't list an exact number of songs available through Amazon Music but claims it's in the hundreds of thousands. Amazon enhances its media books, videos and music with X-Ray. For a book, this means easy access to a Cliff's Notes-like interface that details each character's appearances, themes throughout a book, notable clips and images. For music, that means showing you a song's lyrics as they are sung.
Even though it's the most popular method of receiving customer service on Amazon's HDX tablets, the company doesn't offer its popular Mayday service on the Fire HD 6.
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However, Amazon does include a Help button on the top settings that allows you to quickly email or call customer support. Bookworms will like Amazon's integration of Goodreads, a social network that enables members to see what their friends are reading, share highlights and rate books. Amazon plans an update later this fall that will add a Family Library feature.
That will allow family to link accounts of a family member, so you can easily share content. That includes apps, games, audiobooks, books and Prime Instant Video. Amazon's default keyboard offers a pretty standard layout, with a swipe-to-type feature that I found fairly accurate. I also appreciated the very accurate dictation service you can activate by tapping the microphone button on the keyboard.
I found that the tablet kept up well when I typed using more traditional methods, but my roomier iPad mini is more comfortable. Fire HD 6 owners will not be able to access the Google Play store, but Amazon does offer its own curated Android app store with more than , apps and games. However, the lack of access to Google services and apps, such as Chrome and Drive, was a disappointment. Of the top 20 free apps in the Google Play store, you'll find 15 in the Amazon Appstore, but of the top 20 paid apps, you'll find only 12 for the Fire HD 6.
I sincerely missed the Chrome browser app, which I use on every other device.
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Amazon only offers the preloaded Silk option. Like I said in our Fire 7 review , the 7-inch screen will feel somewhat cramped and its screen resolution is noticeably pixelated. Its battery also lags behind the other two tablets, and the 8GB of internal storage is pitifully small, mandating a MicroSD card from the get go. Only buy one of the "7th Generation" or "8th Generation" Fire tablets. For some reason, Amazon still sells many of its older Fire tablets, but you should stick to the five tablets we talk about in this article also listed here.
Amazon Fire 7 vs Fire HD 8 vs Fire HD 10: Which Fire tablet should you buy?
You can do most of the same things from an Android tablet or iPad, but the Fire OS interface is crafted specifically to deliver Amazon goods, with swipe-able pages for each type of media Amazon sells. They are also some of the best-quality tablets for kids, encased in a rugged bumper, and all have MicroSD slots so you can add extra storage. Cheap: Did I mention the price? They offer high value for the price. Non-Amazon Content is Lacking: The greatest strength of these tablets is also their greatest weakness.
Tech-savvy users have found ways to add the Google Play store or sideload apps, but these devices are built to serve up Amazon first and foremost. Old Tech: The tech inside these tablets is very old. The operating system is also several years old, which could hide some of the weakness.
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Amazon keeps updating its tablets to some degree, but not as often as it should. Oddly, the smaller devices come with day warranties. When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we may earn a small affiliate commission.
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