The following is a list of resources you should read before you let anyone you know buy a Kindle Fire HD. The Google Nexus 7 tablet or the Apple iPad Mini coming in October are both far better buys at the same price range.
The Amazon Kindle Fire HD is slower, laggier, buggier, has a fraction of the number of apps (30,000 vs. 500,000), assaults you with ads, and is less functional vs. full tablet computers like the Google Nexus 7 and the Apple iPad Mini.
1) The most important reviewer of tech gadgets, Walt Mossberg of Wall Street Journal reviews Amazon Kindle Fire HD: http://dthin.gs/TIduyJ
"after testing the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD, I can’t agree with the sweeping claim that it is “the best tablet at any price.”
"Fire HD isn’t as polished, fluid or versatile as..iPad..offers..fraction… of 3rd-party apps available on either iPad or Nexus 7"
"after prolonged use..Fire HD showed signs of latency..apps & content displayed delays in launching..disappeared after a reboot"
"Fire HD also assaults users with ads occupying the entire screen every time they start or resume using it"
"Amazon claims..new Fire has advanced Wi-Fi tech..that is faster than the Wi-Fi on the iPad. But in my tests I couldn’t replicate that"
"Amazon’s app store has about 30,000 apps, versus more than 500,000 for the iPad or Nexus"
2) Engadget’s Review of Kindle Fire HD: http://engt.co/TIeD9r
"Chrome browser on the Nexus 7 rendered every page we threw at it faster than the Fire HD, all without relying on any fancy off-site rendering techniques"
"given the prevalence of advertising beating you over the head everywhere you look in this thing"
"we’d still take the Nexus 7. All that content can’t make up for the distinctly limited offerings in Amazon’s Appstore, most notably the first-party Google apps. Gmail and Google Maps alone add significant value to the Nexus 7, and then there’s Amazon’s heavy-handed Android customization. While the Fire HD is far more responsive than the Fire was before it, it doesn’t compare to the feeling of raw, uncompromised (Google Nexus 7 tablet operating system) Jelly Bean"
"for those looking to do more, and do more rapidly, the Nexus 7 is still the king of this diminutive hill”
3) Verge Review of Amazon Kindle Fire HD: http://vrge.co/OF1JUm
"In my testing, I noticed no real difference between the speed of the Wi-Fi on the Fire HD versus that of the new iPad."
"Fire’s more sluggish browser and less intuitive software made the device feel that is was reacting more slowly than the iPad"
"But, it’s also bad in many ways, because it puts a jerky, sluggish barrier between the OS as it was intended, and the OS as Amazon would like to see it work. Furthermore, I’m not entirely convinced that Amazon has such good ideas about functionality and workflow, which makes for some confusing moments when trying to get around."
"general feeling when using the Fire HD was that of a kind of light confusion, a low hum of ‘where am I now?’ Things were never where I expected them to be"
"other big issue I have with Amazon’s OS is that it can sometimes feel sluggish, laggy. The keyboard on the device feels downright delayed when you’re typing on it, pressed buttons sometimes seemed to momentarily stall, and moving in and out of applications could sometimes cause a slight freeze, where the content (or worse, nothing) will just sit onscreen, stuck.
If the iPad and the Nexus 7 feel snappy and "present," the Fire HD seems like it’s out to lunch sometimes. It’s not a deal-breaker, but it does create a sense that there’s a thin layer over everything you’re doing on the device — it means presses are unsure, typing is laborious."
"One other big point worth noting: the Amazon Appstore is simply not up to par with either Google’s Play Store or Apple’s App Store in terms of application offerings. In fact, I found it to be deeply lacking in some key areas, with well known apps like Rdio not even available for download"
Final score 7.5/10 "software can be buggy and sluggish" "app selection is still weak"
Verge gives Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7.5/10 score.
Google Nexus 7 got 8.8/10
Apple iPad got 9.3/10
HP Touchpad 7.5/10, last year’s Kindle Fire 7.5/10
4) New York Times David Pogue’s Amazon Kindle Fire HD Review: http://nyti.ms/UIE60B
Review titled: "More Soot Than Sparks From This Fire"
"Everything lags a bit; some apps take 7 or 8 seconds to open" "gasping processor a couple of seconds to catch up"
"Incidentally, despite the name “HD,” the screen can’t actually show you movies in hi-def. It may have the requisite number of pixels, but most of them are dedicated to black letterbox bars; the screen is the wrong shape for movies. And you can’t enlarge the playback to fill the screen, as you can on an iPad."
5) Reuters: Amazon’s new $199 tablet gets tepid reviews: http://reut.rs/OrcRbV
“Amazon.com Inc’s latest $199 tablet computer got tepid reviews from some closely watched gadget reviewers, a potential hiccup for the world’s largest Internet retailer as it tries to grab a bigger share of one of the hottest technology sectors this holiday season.
David Pogue of The New York Times said the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD has no camera on the back, no GPS navigation, no speech recognition, and trails Apple Inc’s more expensive iPad in thickness, screen size, screen sharpness, Web speed, software polish and application availability.
Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal said the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD is not as "polished, fluid or versatile" as the iPad. After prolonged use, some apps and content took longer to launch and web pages loaded more slowly through the new Wi-Fi technology, compared to the iPad, he added.
Ads "assault" users every time they start the device or resume using it, Mossberg also noted. Amazon said this weekend that customers can turn ads off for $15.
Consumer Reports highlighted the limited apps available for the device, while noting storage is bigger at 16GB but still limited. The tablet ships without a charger, which the magazine called "annoying."
"It may not be for everyone," said Paul Reynolds, electronics editor at Consumer Reports”
6) BusinessInsider’s Kindle Fire HD Review: http://read.bi/SKyWnz
"But not everything in the new OS is smooth. Whenever I navigated to a different section, tried to launch an app, started a video where I left off, or basically did anything to move to a new screen, the system would choke for a beat. At times, the lag would last up to a few seconds, making the overall experience insanely clunky and frustrating.
And the clunkiness gets worse with Silk, Amazon’s mobile web browser for the Fire HD. Amazon boasts that Silk can load pages faster because it stores popular sites on the company’s servers. While that’s true, scrolling around and zooming is extremely slow and jerky, making it nearly impossible to comfortably surf desktop web pages. Even worse: Silk is your only browser option on the Kindle Fire HD. Amazon’s Android Appstore doesn’t offer alternative ones like Chrome, Firefox, or Dolphin."
"The Fire HD shows you full-screen color ads for Amazon products and services (and some third-party ads for stuff like movie trailers) every time you switch the device on."
"But when it comes to getting stuff done: emailing, calendars, maps, and using the best apps as soon as they’re out, the Nexus 7 wins. Amazon designed the Kindle Fire HD to get more content in your hand, not help you do stuff. The Nexus 7 is a much better productivity tool.
And let’s not forget the elephant in the room. Apple has all but confirmed it will launch a 7.85-inch version of the iPad next month, and many think it’ll be within the Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7’s price range. Apple still makes the best tablet on the market, and you can bet the so-called iPad Mini is going to be good."
7) Ars-Technica “When your best just isn’t good enough: the Kindle Fire HD”: Link
“some operations were even slower to respond than before. It’s not uncommon for the device to take a full second—or two, or three—to act on a button tap when doing something like opening a new application or tab. Silly though that first-world problem sounds, a full second feels like decades when you’re used to other iOS and Android devices reacting within a beat of your instruction.”
“browser on the Kindle Fire HD does work, but it’s one of the apps that takes the longest to open (usually a couple of seconds) and can be a little jumpy as we try to read websites. Page scrolling and zooming are quick, but can be a little choppy.”
”Unfortunately, good isn’t good enough when the Nexus 7 is out there winning hearts and minds without unusual design elements like the carousel or an ever-present row of Things To Buy on the home screen. The Nexus 7 is also faster, has better battery life and a more robust app store, and has access to most of the same content”
“Battery life, while decent, is not as promised. Browser is still slow, despite the ostensibly more mature Silk predictive loading system and MIMO hardware”
“The ads and content everywhere make us cosmically sad; it’s hard to be left alone with your own stuff”
One common thread across all the Amazon Kindle Fire HD reviews is tons of bugs, lag, stutters, and crashes. You really want to be a paying beta-tester?