Amazon Kindle Fire HD Packs a Punch [HANDS-ON]

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Amazon Kindle Fire HD Packs a Punch [HANDS-ON]
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Amazon packed a faster processor in the Kindle Fire HD, and it shows.

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[More from Mashable: Amazon’s One More Thing: A 4G-Powered Kindle Fire HD]

Amazon has announced the next-generation of its popular Kindle Fire tablet: the Kindle Fire HD. Available in both a 7-inch and a larger 8.9-inch model, the device improves upon the original model, while keeping some of the same features users have come to know and love.

[More from Mashable: Amazon Unveils Bold New Line of Kindle Fire HD Tablets]

We got to spend a little time with the all-new Kindle Fire HD after Amazon’s launch event in Santa Monica. Available for pre-order Thursday, the pint-sized tablet will keep the $199 price point of its predecessor (which saw a price drop today to $169), while buffing up its spec sheet.

It’s Thinner and Lighter

Even if you’re already a Kindle Fire owner, the new Fire is going to feel like a whole new device. The tablet is both thinner and lighter, has rounded edges, and feels closer to Google’s Nexus 7 (although it has a slightly larger bezel) or Samsung’s 7-inch Galaxy Tab than it does the original boxy model.

It’s Faster

Amazon packed a faster processor in the Kindle Fire HD, and it shows. The tablet loaded up games and movies with ease, and we didn’t see any lag when trying to switch between applications.

The tablet doesn't appear to be as zippy as Google's Jelly Bean-toting Nexus 7. But it's still quick, and easy enough to transition between applications that you're not likely to notice much of a difference.

X-ray for Movies is Impressive

X-Ray for Movies will be available on both sizes of the Kindle HD as well as the updated version of the Kindle. If you’re a movie buff, you’re going to get pretty excited about this.

As you’re watching a movie, tapping the top of the screen while a film is playing will bring up the names of all the actors in that particular scene. Tap on those actors, and you can read a brief biography of their work and see what other movies they’re in. The feature is powered by IMDB.

9-inch Not Ready For Prime Time

While it did have the device on hand, Amazon wouldn’t let us get our hands on its larger 8.9-inch Fire HD. The device isn’t set to launch until November, so the tablet may just not be ready for the hands of nit-picking journalists.

We did get a little eyes-on time with the 8.9-inch device, and were able to snap a few photos. Boasting a spec sheet similar to that of its smaller brother, the tablet appears to be a steal at just $299.

What do you think of Amazon's new Kindle Fire HD? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

SEE ALSO: Amazon Blows Up the Tablet Market

This story originally published on Mashable here.

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