Amazon.com and Roku announced new gadgets this week, and two of those devices stand out thanks to their value and low price.
$139 Kindle Fire HD
Amazon unveiled its 2013 line of tablets, but the standout was the Kindle Fire HD, which was introduced last year but had its price slashed to $139 this week. By comparison, it cost $199 when it launched last year.
The 2013 version of the Kindle Fire HD features the same specs as last year's model, meaning it has a 720p HD screen, dual stereo speakers and a decent 1.5GHz dual-core processor.
However, it has had its look redesigned, and it is now lighter and slimmer than last year's model.
A downside to the $139 Kindle Fire HD is that it comes only with 8 gigabytes of internal storage. But when users buy content from Amazon, the company will host it free in the cloud, meaning you can access it as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection. Users will feel a tight storage squeeze only during air travel or any time they don't have access to Wi-Fi.
Overall, the 8GB Kindle Fire HD is a great value for its price.
$79.99 Roku 2
Users who want to buy a top-of-the-line digital TV receiver but also want to save money should check out the Roku 2.
The new device offers similar capabilities as the Apple TV and the Roku 3 -- both of which go for $99 -- but at a lower price of $79.99.
Just like the Roku 3 and the Apple TV, the new Roku 2 can stream content at up to 1080p HD and it has content from numerous sources. The remote control for the Roku 2 also features a headphone jack that users can plug into to listen privately. This feature was previously exclusive to the Roku 3.
So what's the Roku 2 missing?
Well unlike the Apple TV, the Roku 2 doesn't have YouTube. It's also not possible for users to beam content from their device to the Roku 2, the way Apple users can from an iPhone or iPad to the Apple TV with a feature called AirPlay. But Roku said it is actively working to bring YouTube and a beam feature to the Roku 2.
In comparison to the Roku 3, the only notable feature the Roku 2 is missing is motion control on its remote. With that feature, Roku 3 can play games like Angry Birds using their remotes.
But if you don't care about playing Angry Birds using your digital TV receiver, the Roku 2 is a good deal.
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