Kindle Fire HDX – Amazon’s two new super-charged tablets [Video]
The Kindle Fire HDX is Amazon’s latest addition to its tablet range. Moving well beyond the realm of ebook readers, the HDX offers a sharp display, web browsing, apps and games, HD video playback and all of the usual features expected of a tablet.
It features a 2.2GHz processor and 2GB of memory – a setup that Amazon claims to make the HDX three times faster than its predecessor the Fire HD – and runs a bespoke version of the Android operating system. Amazon is also rolling out the device in two sizes: either an 8.9-inch model, or as a smaller (and cheaper) 7-inch device.
Best Buy tablet reviews – the latest tablets reviewed by Which?
Kindle Fire HDX – first look video
Kindle Fire HDX – five key features
Mayday tech support – the Mayday button is a unique feature of Kindle Fire HDX. Pressing the button at any time puts you in touch with an Amazon assistant who will be on hand to offer advice and help you overcome any technical difficulties. Amazon is hoping to deal with all calls within 15 seconds which is impressive customer service if it proves true.
When we tried it, it took under a minute for the helpful assitant Kevin to appear on screen. We asked him how to get BBC iPlayer onto the device. He walked us through the process by drawing arrows on the screen pointing to the buttons that we needed to press to download the app. For those who are unsure of new technology, this will certainly be a handy feature.
Super-sharp screen – Amazon is claiming that the HDX features the sharpest screen yet seen on a tablet. The pixel density – a count of the number of pixels per inch of screen – of the 7-inch tablet is 323 pixels per inch (ppi), while its larger 8.9-inch sibling has a 339 ppi display. These additional pixels are barely perceptible to the human eye; all that really matters is that the HDX’s screen is crisp and sharp.
Thinner and lighter design – at 375g in weight the Fire HDX (8.9-inch version) is around a third lighter than its predecessor. Anyone who has tried to watch a movie while standing on a busy train will certainly appreciate the extra comfort afforded by this more lightweight design.
Dolby Digital Plus audio – audiophiles will be pleased to know that the Fire HDX has inbuilt stereo speakers. It will be interesting to hear how these perform in our tech labs, and whether the speakers when combined with Dolby Digital Plus negate the need for a separate speaker dock.
Second Screen viewing – soon after launch the HDX will be capable of ‘flinging video’ at a Sony PlayStation 3 (and PS4 once released) or compatible Samsung Smart TV. This means that any video content you’re viewing on your Kindle will be transferred to the big screen – an obvious benefit for anyone looking to enjoy films in all their glory.
Kindle Fire HDX – release date and price
The Kindle Fire HDX is available now direct from Amazon. The smaller 7-inch version starts at £199 for the 16GB version, while the 8.9-inch version starts from a pricier £329.
Which? Expert View – ‘A dark horse in the tablet market’
The Fire HDX certainly looks to be a big step up for Amazon in terms of offering a tablet that rivals other leading devices of a similar size and weight. Its screen is as sharp as anything else on the market and its speed is such that apps should load seamlessly.
That it’s an Amazon product however means that you will rarely be able to navigate away from making a purchase on the online retailer’s store. Also, the Kindle’s ‘Fire OS’ operating system is different enough from the standard Android OS that non-tailored apps won’t run. This means that there’s a noticeable deficit of useful apps when comparing Amazon’s Appstore to the Apple App Store or Android’s Google Play store.
There’s certainly no downside to the debut of the Mayday button however. We found that having a knowledgeable Kindle HDX expert only a click away was an impressive and useful feature. It should make the tablet accessible to all and instantly installs the HDX as genuine rival to the Google Nexus 7 and iPad mini.
Mike Plant – online writer
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