Amazon's next-generation of Kindle Fire devices aim to take an even bigger share of the Android tablet market with a revised version of the Kindle Fire HD and two new higher-resolution devices, the 7-inch and 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HDX.
The "X" in "HDX" indicates that this pushes beyond the boundary of plain old HD, and the high-quality display in these puts most other Android tablets firmly in the shade and the HDX range represent a potent threat to the newly-refreshed Google Nexus 7.
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX (7-inch and 8.9-inch)
In terms of raw hardware specification, the Kindle Fire HDX (with both 7-inch and 8.9-inch models) definitely steal the thunder from most of their rivals with a blazingly fast quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor clocked a 2.2GHz (Qualcomm's fasted to date), which Amazon says makes the these new devices three times faster than previous models. Both tablets also have very sharp displays, with the 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX coming in as 323 ppi (pixels per inch) and the 8.9-inch with 339ppi, a significant leap up from the 254ppi of last year's model. Inside, a hefty 2GB of RAM should give the HDX enough memory to cope with demanding applications.
Physically the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9-inch version is the lightest "large-screen tablet" on the market.
Compared to last year's devices it is 34% lighter at 345 grams. It's a much more angular and "edgy" design than last year's more curved HD model, and in our opinion it is a pretty imposing black slab of a device.
One unusual addition to the Kindle Fire HDX is a "Mayday" feature that brings up live technical support from Amazon if you are having a problem. It seems like a great idea, but it also has the possibility of being the worst tech support job in the entire world.
Tablets such as the Kindle Fire don't have the epic battery life of the basic Kindle eBook readers, but even so the Fire HDX can give up to 11 hours of mixed use and 17 hours of reading time. And if you are one of the large crowd of people who inexplicably like to take photos with your tablet, you will be please to know the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 has an 8 megapixel camera on the back. LTE is also supported if your carrier has it in your area.
Kindle Fire HD (2013)
The new Kindle Fire HD is an upgraded version of last year’s model. This capable slate is powered by a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor – that’s a slight bump from 1GHz speed from last year. Most of the specs are slightly similar to what we have twelve months ago. However, the Fire HD is certainly looking like a bargain tablet at the moment, and if offers very good value for money.
The Fire OS 3.0
Although the Kindle Fire range uses Android underneath, Amazon have heavily customized it and named if the Fire OS 3.0 or "Mojito". Amazon says that there are "hundreds of new and upgraded features", including an improved app-switcher, web browser, carousel replacement and a number of other Amazon-only features and services.
Price and Availability
Basic models for Fire HDX are priced at $229 for the 7-inch and $379 for the bigger 8.9-inch variant. On the other hand, the Kindle Fire HD is priced at just $139. Amazon will ship these new slates from mid-November to December this year, and prices will vary somewhat depending on which international market you are in.
Spotlight on New Features: Kindle Fire HDX
HDX Display – Amazon pushes Fire HDX display higher than HD at 323 ppi (7-inch) and 339 ppi (8.9-inch) pixel densities.
2GB RAM and 2.2 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 (3X processing power)
Andreno 330 Graphics Engine (4X graphic performance)
13.2 onces (34 percent lighter)
Mayday Button (The on-board tech-support button)
8-megapixel Camera (Fire HDX 8.9-inch) 1080p HD video
4G LTE capability for Fire HDX variants
Fire OS 3.0 Mojitos with Amazon-only content (over hundred of new features)
11 hours of continued use, 17 reading hours
New Origami covers
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