Kindle Fire 7 vs 8: Review & Comparison
Let’s take an in-depth look at the key areas of the Kindle Fire 7 vs 8 to determine which Fire represents good value for the money. Also let’s see if the claims as to what they can do and if they will provide genuine and lasting worth to its owner, are true.
Kindle Fire 7 vs 8
The much anticipated Amazon Kindle Fire 7 was launched in November 2011 and represents Amazon’s first venture into the tablet computer market. If you buy the device based on the low price tag alone will you be left frustrated by the performance of the Kindle Fire? Or will you be disappointed by the features available on the tablet?
Reasons to consider the Fire 8 vs Fire 7:
– Bigger screen 8 – Around 15% bigger screen
– Significantly thinner 7.7 mm – Around 30% thinner
– Higher resolution front camera
– More RAM
– Newer Sep 2015 vs Oct 2014
Kindle Fire 7 vs 8: Key Specs
- 7" IPS display; 8 or 16 GB of internal storage (up to 256 GB with microSD)
- 1.3 GHz quad-core processor
- Up to 8 hours of battery life
- Alexa enabled
- 1 GB of RAM
- 8" HD display; 16 or 32 GB of internal storage (up to 400 GB with microSD)
- 1.3 GHz quad-core processor
- Up to 10 hours of battery life
- Alexa hands-free enabled
- 1.5 GB of RAM
Kindle Fire 7 vs 8: In-Depth Comparison
Getting Started with the Fire tablets.
The Kindle Fire Tablet arrives as expected from Amazon.com in a no-frills box that contains just the Fire device, a power cord, and a simple cardboard sheet of instructions.
My first impressions of the tablet are favorable. It is obvious the device has been designed with an emphasis on functionality over style but at the same time, it does not look or feel cheap.
Its sizes are comfortable – it is 7.5 x 4.7 x 0.45 (inches) and weighs under 15 ounces which means it can be held comfortably, yet securely, in one hand.
It has smooth, rounded edges and corners and a rubber-like covering on the back that is surprisingly decorated with “Kindle” and not “Kindle Fire” as one might expect.
The Kindle Fire’s default orientation is vertical so it reads like a book by default. Keeping with its simple design, the device has just one button (the power button), 2 USB ports, and a plugin slot for headphones.
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Initial Setup Kindle Fire
Setup of the devices very straightforward and easy to follow. Once you power on the tablet you connect to your wireless network and then register your Kindle Fire to your Amazon account. If you purchased the machine on your existing Amazon Account then once you power on, you will be automatically recognized and any previously purchased Amazon content will be readily available on your new tablet.
The Fire’s screen runs 1024 x 600 pixels and the content looks great and is easy to read / view. One particular feature of the device I have been really impressed with its durability and it’s scratch-resistant screen.
Amazon claims the machine is “chemically strengthened to be 20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic, making it extra durable and resistant to accidental bumps and scrapes”.
I have found the Fire to be extremely durable with the Gorilla Glass being pretty close to indestructible. The screen is one of the best scratch-resistant piece of technology I have ever used.
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Memory & Storage Space
Initial criticisms of sluggish performance, following the Fire’s release in November 2012, were quickly resolved by the 6.2.1 Update Release.
This “enhances fluidity and performance, improves touch navigation responsiveness. It also gives you the option to choose which items display on the carousel, and adds the ability to add a password lock on WI-Fi access”.
Ensure you install all available updates immediately as soon as you power your machine for the first time. In memory tests Fire 7 vs 8, the Fire 8 gets a slight advantage.
Storage Space : While the Fire specs suggest there is an 8 GB internal hard drive, essentially only 6 GB of this is actually readily available to the user for storing media.
This will prove a problem for most users who will generally have more than 6GB of media files already through music, movies, eBooks, and videos.
This issue is further compounded by the lack of a memory card expansion slot which denies users the opportunity to expand the memory at their own cost. As a work-a-round user should store most content on the Amazon Cloud and only store media used frequently in offline mode on the machine’s hard-drive.
Amazon provides 5GB of Free Cloud Storage with each additional 1GB of Cloud Storage costing $x per year.
Amazon MP3s are automatically stored on the Cloud and do not contribute to the 5GB storage limit.
Digital content can be synced across many devices using Amazon’s WhisperSync device which enables you to pick up a movie or book where you previously finished reading or watching.
Battery life on a single charge
The battery lasts for up to 8 hours of continuous reading time or 7.5 hours of video playback with no wireless connection. With WI-Fi in use, the battery life will depend on the content being browsed and downloaded.
In my tests I found the battery life to be very satisfactory and in general is what Amazon has claimed it to be.
In my experience, I must charge the Kindle Fire every second night. This covers me adequately for general browsing and entertainment day-to-day usage.
Overall, in our extensive testing to-date, the Amazon Kindle performance is in line with what Amazon claims it to be and what one would expect based on the Fire Specs. We have not found any performance issues that would act as a deterrent against buying the device.
Operating System & Performance
The Kindle Fire runs on a heavily customized version of the Android 2.3 Operating System. Although you would not know this when using it as Amazon has obviously taken great care in fully customizing the Android OS look & feel. Kindle Fire User Interface is designed like a bookshelf.
The top shelf of the bookcase contains icons for the most recent activities (movies, books, apps, websites, etc.). You swipe through your content which can take a little getting used to but overall the user interface is smartly designed and easy to use. Even for novices or tablet newbies.
Content: Music – Movies – Books
As the Fire runs on a customized version of Android, the number of applications that can be downloaded for the Fire is limited. While there are over 200,000 apps available in the Android App Marketplace there are only 10,000+ applications available on the Amazon App Marketplace.
Android apps not designed for the Kindle Fire, may work but must be side-loaded onto the device by activating the “Allow Installation of Applications From Unknown Sources” option in Settings. Strangely there is no standard Facebook app although Facebook mobile does suffice.
Also, the machines do come with a simple POP/IMAP email program. The Kindle Docs Reader and popular apps such as Netflix and YouTube are available through the Amazon App store. Popular Android apps that require a camera or a microphone must obviously be avoided also given the lack of such devices on the Kindle Fire.
Despite the Android limitation, there is a wide range of high-quality apps available for the Fire. Furthermore, Amazon is increasing the number every day with well-known app providers coming on board all the time. Check out our ultimate list of the Fire Apps for further information.
The Fire devices also come equipped with a built-in email application that supports all the standard email services including Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo mail. However, the email app is of poor quality, is limited in functionality, sluggish to perform, and is pretty unremarkable overall.
Standard Word / PDF documents can be viewed on the Kindle Fire and while there are apps in the app store that can facilitate the creation and editing of documents I would not recommend any as it is best to leave these activities to your laptop.
Music-wise the Amazon store has a large selection of both free and paid song titles available. Music files are stored in your Cloud Drive or can also be downloaded to the machine’s local drive for offline listening. The downloaded files are Digital Rights Management (DRM)-free which means there are no restrictions on the files. So you are free to use the songs as you wish in the future. You can also upload your existing music collection on your Fire’s hard-drive.
However, you should note that this will fill up the hard drive very quickly given the limited internal memory capacity.
In Kindle Fire 7 vs 8, both excel reading books, as one would expect of such a product from Amazon. There are well over 1 million eBooks available in the Amazon Library including the latest releases and current bestsellers. A book can be downloaded in under 30 seconds and you can flip through the pages conveniently by tapping or swiping the screen.
The font size, style, and line spacing can be adjusted for more convenient viewing. The Fire is also equipped with a background light so it can be read easily in the dark or in limited light such as on an airplane.
For a list of free kindle books visit the following link free kindle books at Amazon.com
Software & Services
Amazon has highlighted the new Kindle Fire Silk Web Browser as “a revolutionary, cloud-accelerated browser that uses a split browser architecture to leverage the computing speed and power of the Amazon Web Services cloud”. Sound very impressive!
However, in extensive testing of the Silk Browser, and indeed in general day-to-day Internet surfing and downloading, I have found no evidence to support Amazon’s big claims regarding the Silk Browser. The browser is perfectly fine to use but in my opinion, performs at the same speed as any other standard browser across a standard wireless network.
When comparing Kindle Fire 7 vs 8 we may think there are not so many or big differences between them. But in reality, the Kindle 8 has a bigger screen than the Kindle 7, it is Significantly thinner, it has a higher resolution front camera, more ram, and it’s newer and easier to update. So don’t wait and upgrade your device to Kindle 8.
Last update on 2020-11-29 / Affiliate links