Amazon Kindle Fire HDX Review

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX Review – Introduced in 2011, the Kindle Fire has grown to dominate the Android tablet market. With 33 percent of all sales going to the Kindle Fire, the Nexus 7, Nook, and Samsung Galaxy lag well behind.

Kindle Fire HDX review

kindle fire hdx tablet
This Kindle Fire HDX review will show how the Kindle Fire HD came out in 2012, and has now been improved and enhanced for the new line called HDX, consisting of the 7-inch model (replacing the 2012 Kindle Fire HD) currently selling for $229, and an 8.9-inch version (replacing the 2012 Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch) starting at $379. Each unit is available in 16GB, 32 GB or 64GB form factors.

This is a major upgrade with more power and better graphics that makes the Kindle Fire a much more serious tablet contender than ever before.

Kindle Fire HDX is available “With Special Offers” or “Without Special Offers.” The first version is lower priced, and presents the user with a variety of commercial advertisements introducing new products. These are limited-time offers exclusive to Kindle. Amazon customers familiar with “Lightning Deals” will be familiar with these short-term specials.

RAM & Connectivity

Each unit has 2GB of RAM, which seems to be the standard for tablets these days. There is no expansion slot inside, so users may want to get more storage than originally thought, although many consumers will opt to utilize the cloud access quite a bit, either their own data on Amazon’s cloud, or of the products they purchased in the Kindle Store. The Silk browser plays HTML 5 video and the video streaming is fast, clear and loud.

Connectivity choices include either Wi-Fi only, Wi-Fi plus 4G LTE AT&T or Wi-Fi plus 4G LTE Verizon selections. Each of the latter two adds around $100 to the price. All have dual band Wi-Fi 8.211 b/g/n with MIMO. There is also Bluetooth onboard which provides easy connection with Bluetooth keyboards.

Processor

The 7-inch format is the perfect blend of viewability and portability. This Kindle Fire HDX review shows that each Kindle Fire HDX tablet is powered by a cutting-edge 2.2 GHz Quad-Core Snapdragon 800 processor, the first in this class to break the 2GHz barrier, and possibly the first Kindle that was not somewhat sluggish from the get-go.

It compares favorably with Nexus 7′s 1.5 GHz Snapdragon as well as Samsung’s Exynos 5 Octa, and has 3 times the processing juice than previous generation Kindles. With 2GB of RAM, it launches apps lickedty-split, with faster performance and glitch-free multi-tasking.

This Kindle is super-high resolution, hence the name “HDX.” The Adreno 300 graphics processor is brand new. Expect high frame rate acceleration and desktop quality graphics. The 7-inch features 1920 x 1200 pixels with better than 1080p resolution, probably higher than the big-screen TV in the living room. It is the same resolution as the Nexus 7, and is great for Kindle because more reading takes place on Kindle Fire than other tablets.

Also, video is becoming a bigger part of the platform for Kindle, so users want to have a nice picture. The 8.9-inch model has 2560 x 1600 resolution which matches the Nexus 10 tablet.

Dolby Digital Plus

Our review will now discuss the great sound of the unit, enhanced with Dolby Digital Plus which changes volume, creates surround sound and enhances on-screen dialogue to make listening easier on TV shows and movies. It optimizes the listening experience without any input from the viewer, whether watching an action movie, seeing the the latest rock concert by a favorite band, or chatting on Skype with a friend.

The speakers on the Kindle Fire HDX are excellent, located on the back of the unit along the beveled edge. The entire back of the unit is beveled on each side. No more breaking out earbuds in loud environments, because the sound is very clear and strong. Volume buttons are very tactile and easy use. They are situated opposite the power button on the short side.

There is also a micro-USB port for charging and bringing stuff over from a desktop–it uses standard Android file transfer. There is a 3.5 mm combo audio and microphone jack as well.

Improved Battery Life

Like almost every tablet, the battery is sealed inside a Kindle Fire HDX. With improved power management, most users will get around 11 hours of battery user with general use, less for power users. Those using their Kindle mainly for simple reading can expect battery life closer to 17 hours.

To access the general settings, users simply swipe down. They can adjust brightness easily–it is very bright, and there should not be any problem being able read it, even in a bright room. However, the unit does glare due to its glossy screen. Heavy book readers may prefer a Kindle Paperwhite for its non-glare screen.

Users can choose from different languages, and even different languages for keyboards and Bluetooth. There are parental controls with a “Kid Mode” so parents can control which websites, books or applications their children can access.

Mayday Service

No review would be complete without mentioning the Mayday service. Amazon expects that many Kindle Fire HDX units will be presented as gifts. Since not everyone is a technical wizard, Amazon offers the Mayday button, which connects any user facing a technical challenge with an Amazon expert. It is a live connection–the Amazon support person can be seen by the user, but the user can only be heard by the support person.

That way users don’t have to worry about having a case of “bed head” or how they look when calling in. The free service is ready to be tapped every day of the year at any time of day. Amazon’s goal is to connect with users in less than 15 seconds, so they can handle the issue and get back to enjoying the Kindle fire.

Read also: Kindle Fire HD 7 vs Kindle Fire HD 8

Photo Sharing

Photo sharing is a major attraction of mobile devices and social media. The Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch and 8.9-inch models have a front-facing 720p HD camera, perfect for talking with family members on Skype, or clicking a “selfie” photo to upload to Twitter or Facebook. Photos and videos (up to 20 minutes in length) can be uploaded to Amazon Cloud Drive. Fast editing is available with many popular editing apps from the Amazon Appstore.

Fire OS 3.0

The Kindle operating system for this version is called Fire OS 3.0 Mojito–they have improved it quite a bit–traditionally it was not as good as some of the other operating systems on the market. It is a heavily-modified version of Google’s Android platform. It adds services in the cloud, a snappy user interface, extensive media, built-in productivity apps, and many other improvements.

Other Kindle Fire HDX review entries discuss how previous generation Kindle Fire units have been a bit sluggish–but before they were not using the most modern CPUs. This time they were smart and upgraded technology for both the CPU and the software, and everything is much faster.

The new 1-Tap Archive allows users to create more space on board their Kindle tablet by moving little-used items to the cloud for later use. Enhanced download capability ensures current activity is not degraded by downloads happening while using other apps.

Content First

Fire OS 3.0 also provides a “content-first” home screen, with Carousel and Grid Views that allow easy selection of apps and content. A new “Quick Switch” feature lets users apply a simple side swipe to jump between different apps and content selections without having to stop at Home. Now the icons are sharp and colorful compared to previous Kindle Fire HD versions.

Users can see all of the content they’ve purchased and get suggestions as to what to look at next. On the bottom part of the screen they will find a multitude of icons of all apps, a layout similar to Android or iOS. Switching is quick and painless.

Books, movies, and music are all there–Amazon is making use of their cloud service advantage. Users can see what is on their device, compared to what is on the cloud, making it easy to load content that has been purchased and downloaded to the device. Users can still play music and videos that are still up in the cloud–it will stream as they play it.

Google Play Movies and Books

This is a Kindle product, so users cannot access the Google Play store for apps—keep that in mind if there has already been a big expenditure for Google apps. Knowledgeable tech types can “sideload” some Google Play apps with a little bit of research, but there is no standard access. Google Play movies and books all play as well–it’s just Google Play store apps that users cannot access at this time.

Also save up to 10% on Kindle Fire apps and games with Amazon coins.

Magazines are bright, big and clear. Page turns are fast and efficient and the text on books is clear and sharp. The super-high resolution IPS display is perfect for books. Even if the unit is turned at an angle, the text is clear, a great experience for reading for those that like to read off LCD devices instead of E-ink units.

The built-in accelerometer means it will rotate with each turning of the unit. A simple double-tap fills the screen with the current text. Whisper Sync makes syncing between Kindle devices simple and fast.

Who is the ideal buyer?

In the final Kindle Fire HDX review, who can benefit most from the Kindle Fire HDX line? If someone is mostly reading ebooks and browsing the web, the 7-inch Fire HDX version should work fine. If they are reading a lot of magazines and videos, the 8.9 inch HDX Kindle Fire version is a lot better. Magazines are easier to read with a bigger screen, and games and videos are more immersive with the increased screen real estate.

Kindle Fire HDX – Conclusion

This is one of the most competitively priced tablets on the market, and is best suited for Amazon fans that buy a lot of content from the company. If they have Amazon Prime, they can stream tons of free stuff easily. For example, it is much faster to flip to the next episode of a TV series on the Kindle Fire HDX than the same show on a browser.

If a user wants more all-around computing freedom, competitors like the Nexus 7 may beckon. But heavy Amazon consumers searching for a powerful tablet have found their home.