As tablets are developed and technology advances they get hugely easier to use and none more so than the latest 7" and 8.9" tablet offerings in the form of Kindle Fire HDX newly released by Amazon and just in time for Christmas. If you are thinking of buying a tablet computer for a loved one this Christmas then you should be ordering this early though as this Christmas will be more popular than ever for giving tablet computers as festive gifts.
This Christmas the Amazon tablet is going up against the Apple iPad Air and the 2nd edition of the Google Nexus 7".
Amazon's Kindle Fire range has always been designed to be at the budget end of the tablet computer market but this time around the specs that you find are far more advanced than I think the price suggests. Here we compare the specifications between the New Kindle Fire HD and the New Kindle Fire HDX
|Kindle Fire HD||Kindle Fire HDX|
|Processor||Dual Core 1.5 GHz||Quad Core 2.2Ghz|
|Storage||7" 8GB or 16GB
8.9" 16GB or 32GB
|7" & 8.9"
16GB, 32GB or 64GB
Dolby Audio and Dual Stereo Speakers
|Connectivity||Dual band, dual antenna (MIMO) Wifi
4G Optional (except 7" Fire HD)
|Extras||Rear camera (8.9" only)||
Mayday button for instant live help
Front (7" and 8.9") and rear (8.9" only) camera
Credit: AmazonFor a tablet computer running a quad-core processor at 2.2GHz it is an impressive feat considering that desktop computers have not long been offering these in a mainstream market. The processor itself is a SnapDragon 800 from Qualcomm which is a hard-working piece of kit and will give the much more advanced Apple iPad Air (which uses an Apple A7 CPU at 1.4GHz) a run for it's money.
Backing up the processor there is now 2GB of system memory (aka RAM) which is double what was offered by Amazon's previous tablet computers and this means that it should run the Fire OS much more effectively.
The Blue Screen .... of Normality?
One thing that has been picked up in the demonstration models of Kindle Fire HDX is that the screen has a strange yellow or blue colouring around the edges of the screen; as though it was bleeding colour out of the side of the tablet. This is actually something that Amazon have done to cut the cost of the components though and is .... almost deliberate.
It turns out the techs at Amazon have used a range of blue LED's to manage the back-light instead of what is traditionally the white LED lights built into most devices. It made so many reviewers jump to question the build quality of the Kindle Fire HDX though that in many markets Amazon have placed a very large pop-up in front of you when you order it; just to make sure.
The display itself has some impressive specifications on a tight budget, packing in 2560x1600 resolution on the 8.9" model which works out at 339 pixels per inch. This is better than an iPad Air 9.7" and most if not all grey import budget models like the A1CS Fusion5 Xtra
Credit: AmazonThe HDX has one big flaw here and that is the lack of memory card slots. Now you could argue that you will not want to store much in terms of documents on a 7" tablet PC, but at the same time you might want to store a few movies for a long road trip, and the smallest SSD installed will not give you much room after your essentials like Skype are installed.
The range of storage capacities available on the Fire HDX are 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. The price range across the three storage sizes is about £80 (or $100) which for the price of NAND flash drive technology is a fair price. One of the big benefits of the Kindle range is that you have the option of storing things to the Amazon cloud as well, which extends your music library massively.
Something new from Amazon is the Mayday Button. The idea behind this is quite simple, when you have a question or problem with your Kindle tablet, you press a help button and within 15 seconds you should be connected to an Amazon expert. The company says that this is going to be a 24/7, 365 days a year service and you will be able to see your expert on your Kindle Fire HDX screen, but they won't be able to see you.
There are already reviews on how well this works:
Now obviously as the Kindle Fire HDX is released and literally millions of these tablet computers the MayDay might get overly subscribed with not only Android virgins but the technical genius types who just want to prove that MayDay works. I fear that limits might eventually get placed on it!
The Downside : Google PlayStore
We all know that Amazon are desperate to get as much profit as they can but on this occasion it appears to be partly at the expense of the ability for the users to be able to use the Google PlayStore and the thousands of really good apps that support the Android operating system.
What Amazon have done though, while modifying and customising Android's core OS into the Kindle Fire 3.0 OS called Mojito is made sure that unless you have experience of rooting and hacking the Kindle Fire range; you will use the Amazon App Store. Kinda sucks if you ask me!
Amazon Kindle Fire Pricing
As with previous incarnations of the Kindle Fire, the HDX has two tiers of pricing where you can opt to remove adverts and pay an extra £10.
Buy the Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch tablet starting at £199 for the 16GB device (wi-fi only and including Amazon's special offer advertising) and up to £339 for 64GB (4G Connectivity and without Amazon's special offer advertising).
Buy the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9-inch tablet staringt at £329 for the 16GB device (wi-fi only and including Amazon's special offer advertising) and up to £489 for 64GB (4G Connectivity and without Amazon's special offer advertising).
Amazon Price: $229.00 Buy Now
(price as of Nov 18, 2013)