PROS / The high pixel density makes images look extra crisp.
CONS / The tablet lacks a Mayday button for instant help and support.
VERDICT / The new Fire HD 6 may have a tiny display for a tablet, but its image quality rivals any HD screen.
Amazon continues to grow its line of affordable tablets with the Fire HD 6. Although it's barely larger than a smartphone, this new Fire is a still a strong tablet. At first, it seems comically small, but the screen outperforms its compact dimensions. Best of all, with its low price tag, it is among the most affordable tablets available, while still offering a variety of features. The Fire HD 6 is among the best Kindles on the market and the winner of our Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award.
Like all Fire tablets, the Fire HD 6 can access a variety of media and apps. You can read eBooks, magazines, newspapers and comics on the tablet, although the backlit screen may cause eyestrain during prolonged use. The device also has a built-in web browser, and you can search for and purchase items from Amazon. You can also download apps, including those for streaming media, gaming and social networking. Almost everything you download is compatible with Amazon's X-Ray feature, which gives you behind-the-scenes information about your favorite movies, songs and books.
Internally, the Kindle is powered by the same Quad-Core ARM Cortex processor used in the rest of the Fire HD line, and the unit performed modestly in benchmarking from our colleagues at Laptop Mag. With its score of 1,474 points in processor benchmark test Geekbench 3, the HD 6's performance is comparable to a typical entry-level tablet. While it doesn't excel at running graphically demanding games, it's still more than capable of tasks like basic web browsing.
The Fire HD 6 is about the same size as the Kindle eReaders, and with its 6-inch screen, it is notably small compared to most popular tablets. However, because it fits a 1280 x 800 resolution display into its small frame, the HD 6 has a stellar pixel density.
In our hands-on testing, we found numerous benefits to the compact screen. Images displayed with great fidelity on the tablet's display. In addition, text and other fine detail content had virtually no pixelation. While the small dimensions don't make the HD 6 an exceptionally strong multimedia device, its display is still remarkably consistent and lacks any glaring design compromises.
This device has a fairly average battery life, as it produced a mark of eight hours and 27 minutes in testing from our colleagues at Laptop Mag. The base version of the tablet comes with 8GB of storage space, but you can get 16GB for a higher cost. Unlike other tablets in the Fire tablet series, you cannot use SD cards, but the Fire HD 6 has free access to Amazon's cloud storage as well as Whispersync, which syncs all purchases and bookmarks across all your Kindle devices.
Help & Support
Although this Fire tablet is among the newest models available, Amazon does not offer cellular data options or the helpful Mayday button. You have to connect to the internet with the built-in Wi-Fi, and if you need one-on-one help, you have to go to the Amazon website.
The Fire HD 6 is among the best Kindles, and it doesn't force you to choose between size and quality. Its small size makes it extremely affordable, but it is only a little larger than some smartphones. While the screen is only 6 inches, its pixel density makes images and video look much clearer and better than on other tablets. The Fire HD 6 takes some getting used to, but with its low price and highly portable size, it's a great entry-level tablet.