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New Amazon Kindle Fire HD tablets feature high-res screens, more storage, low prices

Consumer Reports News: September 06, 2012 03:08 PM

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As widely expected, Amazon today announced new tablets: The Kindle Fire HD (an 8.9-inch and a 7-inch version) and an updated Kindle Fire with boosted performance and a lower price.

The 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD will sell for $299 for a 16GB model, $499 for a 4G 32GB version with a $50-a-year data plan; the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD, with 16GB, will be $199, the same price as the current model of that size.

The Fire HD features a high-resolution 1920x1200 display, with a polarizing filter, to keep glare at a minimum. It is 8.8mm thick and weighs 20 ounces. The new tablet features a faster chip (Texas Instruments' OMAP 4470) and two stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus, the first tablet we've seen with this feature . [Correction: The next generation Dolby Digital Plus is the audio platform and not the speakers in the device, according to a rep from Dolby.]

The Kindle Fire HD will have two antennas for Wi-Fi, and be able to select the one that's receiving a stronger signal. And Amazon claims that the tablet's Wi-Fi is 41 percent faster than that of Apple's third-gen iPad.

One noteworthy feature on the new tablet is Whispersync for Voice, which will sync text e-books with corresponding audiobooks and let you listen to books as you read them. Whispersync will also sync your games across platforms.

The Kindle Fire HD also includes a parental control feature, Kindle FreeTime, which allows parents to set time limits for various types of content.

Amazon also announced a new 7-inch Kindle Fire tablet with a 7-inch display, longer battery life, a faster processor, and double the RAM of the original FIre. Amazon is pricing the new Kindle Fire at a low $159; it ships on September 14.

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