While it was Barnes & Noble (BKS) that really started the whole run on 7-inch tablets with its Nook Color, Amazon (AMZN) took the ball and ran with the Kindle Fire tablet. Soon the small and cheap tablets were booming with consumers, and even Apple (AAPL) was forced to retreat from its long-held position that the only real tablet was a big one. The Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch tablet is this year’s offering from Amazon … and it’s better than ever.
Plus, if you played your cards right, you could have saved big money on the Kindle Fire HDX (which is already competitively priced). The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch tablet was one of Amazon’s Cyber Monday deals, with AMZN knocking $50 off the price and offering free shipping.
Since then, it’s also been offered as an Amazon Gold Box deal at 20% savings. In other words, if you want a Kindle Fire HDX, keep an eye on the bargain tracking sites and Amazon might just discount it again during the holiday season.
Most tech publications have offered a Kindle Fire HDX review that’s largely positive. But if you’re not sure if the new, upgraded Kindle Fire 7 is for you, read on for details about Amazon’s most advanced compact tablet yet.
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7-Inch Tablet – Impressive Hardware, Many Choices
AMZN has gone all out on its Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch tablet. And with a new Amazon Kindle fire price of just $244, it’s easy to believe CEO Jeff Bezos when he says Amazon’s Kindle tablets are sold at cost.
The Kindle Fire HDX has a 2.2 GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM, meaning it packs a serious punch and should be more than capable of demanding tasks like gaming. This Kindle Fire features a display of 1920 x 1200 pixels as well. In a 7-inch device, that means 323 pixels per inch (PPI). Not only is the display razor sharp, but in color and performance it’s stellar too.
In fact, DisplayMate ran a Kindle Fire HDX review where it found the Amazon Kindle Fire 7 tablet’s display easily bested the iPad Mini with Retina Display. There’s also MIMO antenna technology for faster Wi-Fi performance — something that’s particularly important with streaming video.
Beyond the impressive hardware, Amazon offers a huge range of choices for folks hunting for the best tablets. The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch is available with various storage capacities, with Wi-Fi only or W-Fi plus LTE and also with or without Special Offers (screensaver ads that cut the cost of the tablet).
If 7 inches is too compact, there’s an 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HDX and last year’s model — the Amazon Kindle Fire HD — as a low cost alternative.
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7-Inch Tablet - Amazon Lock-in
Here’s the ‘gotcha’ on the Kindle Fire HDX. Technically, it’s an Android tablet, but in reality it’s not. For this Kindle Fire tablet, Amazon is using a customized version of the Google (GOOG) mobile operating system that it’s calling Fire OS.
That means the Kindle Fire HDX is locked in to Amazon’s digital ecosystem. Without jailbreaking the device, you can’t access Google Play and run all those Android apps. The Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch tablet is essentially locked into Amazon for apps, e-books, movies and any other digital content.
That being said, many developers port their products to the Amazon store, so you can still access popular apps like Facebook (FB), Pinterest and even Angry Birds: Star Wars. But it’s still limitation that just about any Kindle Fire HDX review will note.
Then again, for many people the ‘limitation’ simply means a smooth experience with one-tap access to all their digital content needs. This integration also includes Amazon’s Mayday feature — a free, one-button video call to a tech support agent that’s available 24/7 to Amazon Kindle Fire tablet users.
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7-Inch Tablet - Specs
- 7-inch display at 1920 x 1200 resolution (323 PPI)
- Quad-core Qualcomm (QCOM) Snapdragon 800 processor at 2.2 GHz with 2GB RAM
- 16/32/64GB storage
- Front-facing HD camera
- Dual band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n with MIMO technology
- LTE optional
- Battery rated for 11 hours of mixed use, 17 hours of reading
- Dolby Audio with stereo speakers and built-in microphone
- Runs Fire OS 3.0
- 7.3 x 5.0 x 0.35-inches and 10.7 oz
- The Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch compact tablet starts at $229 with Special Offers, $244 without special offers
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7-Inch Tablet - Conclusion
For anyone who is already a fan of the Amazon ecosystem — like an Amazon Prime member — the Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch is quite likely your best bet in a compact tablet. The primary choices you’ll have to make are how much storage, whether you want LTE and whether you’re willing to put up with some ad screen savers to cut the cost a bit.
For everyone else, the Kindle Fire HDX is a great tablet for the price, but you do need to weigh the pros and cons of that Amazon lock-in. If you’re looking forward to taking advantage of the best app selection, then you’d be better off with an Android tablet like the Google Nexus 7 or an Apple iPad Mini instead.
If you’re still not certain after reading a Kindle Fire HDX review or are still digesting our analysis of the new Amazon Kindle Fire 7 tablet, be sure to check out the tablet-buying guide where we’ve put together comparing five of the best choices for the 2013 holiday season.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.