Amazon Kindle Fire HDX review
A lovely piece of hardware, but the Nexus 7 is almost as good, boasts more features and is more flexible
Amazon's Kindle Fire tablets spearheaded the current boom in low-cost Android tablets, but there's one thing you could never accuse them of – they've never felt cheap. The latest model – the Kindle Fire HDX – delivers a swathe of upgrades and carries on the good work.
It's a beautifully constructed bit of kit: twist it and it barely creaks – the matte-black soft-touch plastics at the rear feel robust and feel grippy.
In a departure from the Kindle Fire HD's design (and the design of most other compact tablets), the edges are all angles, lending the rear of the tablet a rather Cubist look, but the HDX never feels anything but comfortable in the hand.
This Wi-Fi version weighs a mere 303g, too – around the same weight as its chief rival the Nexus 7, and much lighter than the older Fire HD, which tips the scales at 394g.
Around the edges of the tablet is a minimal selection of ports: there's a 3.5mm headset jack and a micro-USB port for charging and data transfer – and that's your lot.
This is no different from before, but what is different is the positioning of the power and volume buttons, and we don't like it – not one bit.
They're set into the angled borders on the rear panel, rather than the edges of the tablet, and we found locating them a frustrating fumble.
Still, once the tablet is fired up, you'll probably forget all about that, and wonder at the sheer speed of the HDX. Under the hood is a 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, coupled with 2GB of RAM and Adreno 330 graphics, and it's a huge improvement on the 1.2GHz dual-core CPU of its predecessor.
Where Amazon's proprietary, Amazon-based OS would occasionally catch and stutter on that tablet, it really flies on the HDX.
The scrolling carousel of recent items on the home page slides across the screen, responding instantaneously. Scrolling and panning in the Silk web browser is sublimely smooth. Typing on the improved Swype-style keyboard exhibits no lag, and it plays games like a dream, not to mention Full HD video.
In benchmarks, the Kindle HDX even manages to outstrip the Nexus 7, with significantly faster scores in every test we run. Notably, its frame rate of 22fps in the GFXBench 2.7 T-Rex HD test is 47% faster.
|Price ex VAT||Wi-Fi: 16GB, £166|
|Price inc VAT||£199 inc VAT); 32GB, £191 (£229 inc VAT); 64GB, £216 (£259 inc VAT). Wi-Fi and 4G: 16GB, £224 (£269 inc VAT); 32GB, £249 (£299 inc VAT); 64GB, £274 (£329|
|Warranty||1yr collect and return|
|Features & Design||4|
|Value for Money||5|
|Dimensions||185 x 9.4 x 128mm (WDH)|
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,200|
|Resolution screen vertical||1,920|
|CPU frequency, MHz||2.2GHz|
|Camera megapixel rating||1.3mp|
|Built-in flash type||N/A|
|Accessories supplied||USB charger|
|Upstream USB ports||0|
|Mobile operating system||Kindle Fire OS|