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Hands on with Amazon's new Kindle HD

Amazon
Rosa Golijan / NBC News

Amazon revealed its latest Kindle devices on Thursday, including the new Kindle Fire HD. The tablet comes in two sizes, 7 inches and 8.9 inches, and it's pretty darn impressive -- physically at least.

While there weren't too many of the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD models floating around during the hands-on event following the Amazon's initial presentation, we caught up with Peter Larsen, Amazon's vice president of Kindle, and checked out the one he was carrying. "A lot of other tablets focus only on the display," he told us while flipping through various apps. "We hope we have the best features, the best content, the best customer service, and the best prices."

"This isn't a gadget, it's a service," Larsen continued, echoing the words Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said earlier in the day when he introduced the tablet.

Of course, seeing just how well the new Kindle Fire HD functions as a service will take more time than we had with the device. So instead, we obsessed on the obvious details. How does it feel? Is it speedy? Does it seem like something we might hold all day? Yes, yes, and yes — based on a couple of minutes with Larsen's device and a demo model of the 7-inch version.

Unlike the plain ol' Kindle Fire, the new HD models are comfortable to hold. They're well-balanced, thin, light and reminded us a bit of the Nexus 7 and the way it made us feel like Goldilocks after she found the right bed. 

Amazon seems to have gotten the body right. What about the guts, though? Those might be a mixed bag. Perhaps our expectations were too high or perhaps we'd been spoiled by the Nexus 7 and iPad, but the Kindle Fire HD  seemed downright sluggish at times, lagging at odd moments.

We'll definitely take a much closer look at the new Kindles though, and will refrain from judging it too harshly before we do. As a reminder, the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD will cost $199, while the 8.9-inch version will go for $299. They both ship on Sept. 14.

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