Kindle Fire 7" HD First Look - Imported US Version
The first thing you notice is just how much like an iPad it looks (minus the chrome trim). On starting up you are presented with the usual options to register the device to your account, in my case an Amazon.co.uk one.
The interface has been jazzed up considerably from the original Kindle Fire one and thanks to the more powerful hardware, the whole thing feels much more responsive and smooth. The touch screen is worlds apart from the clumsy implementation of the original Fire which was terrible for misclicks on links when using the browser. The fire has really grown up in this respect and whilst browsing the web isn't quite as smooth as the iPad 3, it is not far off at all and overall incredibly usable.
The downsides of preempting the official UK release become apparent immediately, with access to the app store, movies and music rendered impotent due to a lack of current support. The understanding is that all of these will begin to work as expected once the UK launch begins on October 25th 2012.
Books however work just fine and the reader is a very polished affair. The higher resolution screen makes text and graphics pin sharp and the reader also includes text-to-speech, something now omitted from e-ink Kindles.
Much was made of the new audio capabilities and it does indeed sound good through the stereo speakers. Not exactly earth-shattering, but pretty respectable for a small device and plenty good enough to watch a movie or listen to some music without headphones.
Overall, I'm very impressed with the Kindle Fire 7" HD. Although crippled at the moment because of the lack of UK support, you can see that it's a great piece of hardware with plenty of potential. Roll on 25th Oct.