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Hands-on with the Kindle Fire HD: the best e-Reader just got better

  • Amazon Kindle Fire HD 1.jpg

    Amazon's Kindle Fire HD tablet.Amazon.com

  • Amazon Kindle Fire HD 2.jpg

    Amazon's newest tablet sports a screen resolution that rivals others on the market ... and beats them all on price.Amazon.com

  • Amazon Kindle Fire HD back.jpg

  • APTOPIX Amazon Kindle_Angu.jpg

    Sept. 6, 2012: Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon, holds the new Amazon Kindle Fire HD at the product's introduction in Santa Monica, Calif.AP

High-definition just came to the Kindle Fire. 

Amazon's newest enhanced e-Reader now sports a screen resolution that rivals other Android tablets on the market, and beats them all on price.

The 8.9-inch Fire HD will have a resolution of 1920 x 1200, which puts it in the company of tablets such as the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity and the Acer Iconia Tab A700. However, those tablets have larger 10-inch displays, so the Fire HD will have a higher pixel density than either of them. The 7-inch Fire has a lower resolution of 1280 x 800, which is a bump from the previous Fire (1024 x 600), and on a par with the Google Nexus 7.

In our hands-on time with the 7-inch version, the display was crisp and bright, and offered excellent viewing angles. While Amazon didn't release the size or weight of the 7-inch version, we do know that the 8.9-inch model is just 20 ounces; the 7-inch version felt very light as well, and will certainly be easy to hold in one hand for extended periods of time. 

We also liked the soft-touch finish on the back, and swiping through screens was fast and responsive.

The 7-inch Fire HD will start at $199 for a 16GB model; consumers will be able to purchase a 32GB version as well. The 8.9-inch Fire HD will start at $299 for the 16GB version, and will also be available with 32 and 64GB capacities.

Furthermore, a $499 version, which has 4G LTE and 32GB of storage, will cost $499. Consumers who purchase this model will get 250MB of data per month for $49.99 per year. However, Jeff Bezos, in his presentation, made no mention of what happens if you go over that limit, all the more odd since he spent a bit of time talking about how much data multimedia takes up. One example he cited was "The Avengers," the HD version of which is 2.97GB.

Finally, Amazon also announced that the original Fire now has a faster processor which should offer 40 percent more performance, and will cost $159.