Feature set summary for Amazon Kindle Fire HDX review
The Kindle Fire HDX comes with a superbly crisp, vivid HD display. The resolution is better than Apple’s iPad Air. Both cameras take great shots, and the Mayday live technical support is a welcome addition.
Style and handling summary for Amazon Kindle Fire HDX review
Slim, and lightweight, the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX is comfortable to hold and very easy to carry about. The intuitive design puts the buttons exactly where you need them to use, and its soft rear feels good in the hand.
Battery power summary for Amazon Kindle Fire HDX review
Although it doesn’t have quite the staying power of an Apple iPad Air or Mini, the seven hours of video play you’ll get is plenty for most trips.
Performance summary for Amazon Kindle Fire HDX review
The HDX is powered by an up-to-date Snapdragon processor, which is beefy enough to run everything without a glitch. Games and high definition media are handled effortlessly.
User friendliness summary for Amazon Kindle Fire HDX review
As part of the unique Fire OS version of the Android OS, you get all the content you access the most in one place on the carousel. It is also stacked with links to the Amazon store. Beyond this navigation isn’t so easy.
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 Review Scoring Summary
|Style & Handling|
Pros: crisp HD screen with excellent resolution, quick access to Amazon and Lovefilm, superb Mayday technical support feature, very portable
Cons: display not as bright as other tablets, low level of customisation
Verdict: For users of Amazon, this is an excellent and easy way to get your content into a very portable HD tablet with sharp HD resolution.
Full Review and Specification for the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9
The Kindle Fire range of tablet computers from Amazon provide access to the online store’s apps, books, movies, and music. You just need this one device, and the latest version of the Kindle Fire is the HDX. This tablet features an improved screen, that has a very high-definition display, powered by the beefy Snapdragon processor. There’s also a few excellent additions, and top of this list is the 24-hour Mayday button.
Two screen sizes
As we saw with the first Kindle Fire, the HDX also comes in two sizes. We looked at the 8.9inch-version, but if you’re looking for something with a bit more mobility the smaller 7-inch version is available. The compromise is a smaller screen. The 8.9inch HDX is still highly portable though, particularly as it measures just 7.8mm in thickness. That’s easy to pop into any bag. A lightweight 374g means it is lighter than Apple’s iPad Air. Comfortable to hold in one hand for lengthy periods of time.
Look around the sides on the HDX and you’ll notice that Amazon has opted not to include buttons or ports. There is just a microUSB slot, located on the left side. And a headphone jack on the other side. On the back, where your fingers are naturally positioned when holding the Kindle, you’ll find the power and volume buttons. This feels very natural, and easy to use. At no point did we accidently press a button either.
The Kindle HDX uses Google’s Android OS, but with an interface built specially by Amazon for the Kindle Fire. This is called Fire OS. Keeping in line with the way Google uses sweets and sweet snack names for different versions of Android, the last Fire OS is known as Mojito. Which instantly makes it sound more fun, and a little more sophisticated. Mojito is certainly very different to Android. There’s none of the customising malarkey with backgrounds, themes and widgets. Instead Fire OS is centred around the content.
When the HDX is powered up, you get a carousel, which is a bit like a shelf that scrolls, containing all your Amazon content such as books, apps, movies etc. Whatever you accessed the most recently pops up first, which is handy if you were half way through a game or movie. It is possible to remove items from the carousel if you prefer a more minimalist approach. A more standard menu is located above the carousel, for access to things like Web, Games, and Videos. While underneath you’ll find all your apps. So far, so easy to navigate. Delving into folders and sub folders though can be a little confusing, and it is easy to get lost, until you’re more familiar with the OS.
Amazon didn’t become the international retail giant it is by missing any tricks. It has included every which way possible on the Kindle Fire HDX to get to its online store and spend your cash. For example, the first menu option is Shop, and the unlock screen is an advert for Amazon. Finish a book, and recommendations pop up. It is obviously a great marketing opportunity for Amazon, and we don’t begrudge them taking advantage of it. Especially since you’re pretty much tied to the store for content anyway. The recommendations actually proved quite useful.
It’s a resolution
As mentioned, our Kindle Fire HDX has a 8.9inch display. This has a super sharp 2560 x 1600 resolution, even crisper than the screen on an Apple iPad Air Retina. The 339ppi resulted in superb HD images that were intensely sharp with vibrant, vivid colours. Pleasant to find that the viewing angles are wide enough to share your movies and photos with several friends. Screen did dim slightly when tilted though. At top brightness it was still a little darker than we’d have liked, resulting in reflections on occasion.
There’s quick access to the Lovefilm watchlist via the HDX’s video section, which is handy if you are a user of this service. You can then stream movies, and TV programmes, through the Kindle Fire. Of course you can also copy straight from your computer too. Oddly, playing video wasn’t a more visible option. Presumably Amazon feel this won’t be one of the top reasons why you buy a Kindle Fire HDX.
Powerful to the core
There’s a lot of power in the HDX. At its heart is the most recent Qualcomm quad-core Snapdragon 800 chip, which is supported by a healthy 2GB of memory. As a result even the latest, hardcore games are handled smoothly and beautifully on this device. Games such as Real Racing 3 looked superb and ran like a dream. The tablet was fast to load apps, and other media, as it was to browse the internet. A lengthy battery life also adds to its portability. With constant video playback we got a good seven hours between charges. For testing we turned the screen’s brightness right up, so you could get more out of it. Only Apple’s iPad Air has done better in our experience.
Built in memory ranges from 16GB to 64GB, which is a fairly good amount to store books, apps, movies and so forth. There’s also a feature where your Kindle will transfer apps that take up a lot of space, but which you haven’t used for a while, to the Cloud service that comes with the Kindle.
Need some help?
The HDX has a new and rather unique feature – the Mayday button. This connects you straight through to live technical support. Your technician will pop up in a video window, although they won’t be able to see you. That’s possibly for the best, especially if you’re having a day lounging about in the PJs. This person can ‘draw’ on your screen and guide you through any difficulties. It is fast, the helpers appear to know what they’re doing, and the service is meant to be available 24/7. Handy if this is a Christmas present.
Providing excellent photos, the 8-megapixel rear camera works just as well indoors and outside, capturing a staggering amount of detail. It has a flash, and although there aren’t that many camera features you do still get the ones you need like HDR, Panorama, and HD video capture. The front camera is impressively sharp too, excellent for grabbing ‘selfies’, and for chatting online.
The Kindle Fire HD was a solidly built, reliable tablet, and the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 doesn’t take any of that away from the device. Instead it adds to its great build with a good screen resolution, and more power. Overall, this is a good device for consuming media whether it is a book, a movie, or an app. This is a highly portable full sized tablet, being light with a good battery life and a slender form. The only drawback is that you’re pretty much tied into getting all your content from Amazon. A few of the other new additions also add to its family friendly appeal, such as the Mayday button.
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 Specification
2560 x 1600 (339 ppi)
Quad-Core 2.2 GHz
12 hours mixed use18 hours when reading
Dolby Audio,Dual Stereo Speakers,Built-in Microphone
Dual band, dual antenna (MIMO) Wi-Fi
Front-facing HD camera +8 MP rear-facing camera
16, 32 or 64GB
231 X 158 X 7.8mm
Wi-Fi: 374 grams 4G: 384 grams
On-device "Mayday" button +email, web, and phone
By Kevin Thomas on 18th December, 2013