Amazon Kindle Fire HDX Review, Entertainment at its Finest
These past few days I’ve been completely hooked on the new Kindle Fire HDX from Amazon. Although I’ve shied away from Android tablets in the past, it’s easy to see why Amazon is so excited to get their new tablet into the marketplace.
Boasting new hardware, a completely new design and software upgrades, the Kindle Fire HDX is miles apart from its Kindle Fire HD siblings. There are a few versions of the tablet that will be available in the coming months, but I sat down with the 7″ Wi-Fi only version these past few days.
On the outside, even the tablet itself has been reimagined. The new body has a cleaner, sharper form, while the tablet itself is thinner and lighter. I found that the buttons are much more intuitive and easier to find than previous models, even when I wasn’t looking for them directly. That’s because what I was looking at, was the new screen, and it’s beautiful. The tablets boast amazing displays, pixel density (323 ppi for 7”, 339 ppi for the 8.9”) and Amazon has furthered this technology even more by improving how the screen looks under a wide-array of lighting conditions. I use my tablets everywhere, so I need them to perform in direct sunlight, and when I’m sitting in bed with only one small light on. The Kindle Fire HDX outperformed all of the other tablets I’ve reviewed in the past when compared to screen-glare prevention and overall visibility and brilliance.
The quad-core Snapdragon 800 is a dream for anyone that is hooked on entertainment as much as I am. Having to keep up with the everyday happenings of the entertainment world, I watch a ton of streamed media content, often times while I’m working on other projects. The 2.2 GHz chip allowed me to work on anything I wanted to, while watching media, switching between apps, or just updating social media while waiting for a train. This is in thanks to the new Fire OS 3.0 with “Mojito”.
The reason why Amazon has taken such a commanding market share in the Android market is because it mixes two terrific elements, hardware and Amazon exclusive features. Amazon Prime is just one of the great features that many shoppers know about, but the Kindle Fire HDX has so much more to offer. Services like X-Ray for Music, Cloud Collections, Goodreads, and other features make your content richer, easier to manage and more enjoyable. X-Ray will give you information on each actor that is currently in the scene that you are watching, and thanks to Amazon’s (IMDb) info, you can learn the in’s and out’s of every movie you have ever loved. X-Ray also applies to music. If the song supports it, the lyrics will appear above the playback bar. A nice feature, and it is just a little added bonus to your music library.
If you love watching movies and shows, they will sound even better thanks to the Dual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus audio and virtual 5.1 multi-channel surround sound. Every part of this tablet seems custom made for the entertainment junkie, and that fits into Amazon’s commitment to entertainment. Amazon Prime and the Amazon storefront offers hundreds of thousands of hours in media, all available in a few clicks and stored whenever you need them, in your Amazon cloud.
Now that we live and breathe with our mobile devices, it’s important for them to keep up with us. I hate carrying around chargers in my bag, and they are still a little expensive for me to keep one at every major location where I use my tablets. Battery-life is important, and Amazon understood that when designing the new Kindle Fire HDX. The tablet offers “11 hours of mixed use and 17 hours of reading,” and I really put this to the test with my media consumption. I used the Wi-Fi only model, and it lasted well over 8 hours each time I sat down to churn-out a marathon series crunch. There will be a 4G LTE version of both tablets available in the future. These tablets will be available in the HDX 7” and 8.9” on the AT&T network, and Verizon Wireless network.
If you are a reader, then you probably already love Amazon, but the content has never looked as brilliant as it did on the Kindle Fire HDX. The stunning photography and graphic design of Vanity Fair really came alive on the tablet. The HDX is easily the best magazine reader on the market, when you compare the sheer quantity of content that is available on Amazon, the hardware on the reader, and how that content is stored in the cloud for your enjoyment.
While we may not be taking too many pictures with our tablets, I have been using the video function to stay in touch with loved-ones more and more over the past few months. With kids away at school, and more and more parents joining in on the tablet and smartphone craze, video-calling is easier than ever. With the Kindle Fire HDX, you will have a front-facing HD that is perfect for Skype, and the new 8 megapixel wide-aperture rear-facing camera on the 8.9” will also take 1080p HD video if you prefer to have two cameras.
I was using the Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch though, and that only includes s single front-facing camera, just like the Nexus 7. The camera was added so that you can easily Skype or video conference in HD and works just as you may have hoped it would, with clarity and a seamless integration with apps.
You are probably going to hear a lot about the new Mayday button from Amazon. It’s a general tablet user’s dream come true. You can say farewell to the days of calling your eldest child, or bothering the intern at work because you can’t get your email to function. Amazon is offering an Amazon expert that will guide you remotely, through any feature (24×7, 365 days a year). This service is 100% free and with a 15 seconds or less Mayday response time goal, it will revolutionize customer support for technology. You can see it in action below.
So with all this focus on power, entertainment and features, I don’t want to skip the most functional features that I loved. Downloading chosen Prime instant videos to your tablet is a game changer. Not only is the Kindle Fire HDX the only tablet that allows this feature, Amazon Prime is the only service that allows to do so as well. If you download 1080p movies from Amazon Prime, its going to take a lot of space, but its really designed for pe-planned moments that you know internet service may be shoddy at best. I downloaded my selected show, and was able to watch it on the subway to work (a moment that I never thought would be possible) and I got to try it on the train back to Delaware. Needless to say, it’s incredibly handy, and if you have kids I can think of a thousand instances you might want a movie on hand when you will be away from an internet connection. If you are in internet range, you can start the download and you begin watching them almost right away. I’m not sure why you would need to do this, but it just shows how powerful the tablet is, and what it is capable of doing.
If you game, then you know how important screen resolution and power is. The Kindle Fire HDX outperformed my iPad Mini in every category. From resolution, to power and processing, the Kindle Fire HDX packs a powerful punch, and playing any title on the tablet was enjoyable and noticeably more accurate in controls and graphics.
Outside of graphics and screen resolution, the internet browser on the Kindle HDX is amazingly fast. This is from the Silk browser technology that Amazon offers. The cached web content from Amazon’s global servers offers content in fractions of a second most of the time. Loading up the New York Times, Facebook, the WSJ, all were instantaneous and it really was a startling discovery for me, coming from other tablets that I thought would perform better by comparison. For the die-hard internet user, Silk doesn’t offer the same bells and whistles that Google Chrome or Safari offers, but if you find yourself just hitting up websites for information, news and other simpler functions, then I think you will truly enjoy the Silk performance.
The Kindle Fire HDX starts at $229 for 16 GB (with the easy to ignore Amazon offers), and all of these terrific functions that I mention are cheaper than the iPad mini and on par with the Nexus 7. I think that Amazon Kindle Fire HDX is easily the best tablet in its class, not only price, but in functions, power and performance. Add to that the Amazon Prime functions, cloud-storage and customer support, and Amazon outshines the iPad mini and the Google nexus 7.
It’s the perfect media-ready tablet for everyday use, and the parental controls, children’s content and media availability that Amazon offers can’t be beat. Amazon began accepting pre-orders for all versions of the tablet last week, and by testing it out over the weekend, I think they will sell-out faster than anyone thinks.
more info: amazon.com/kindlefirehdx