Kindle Fire HDX Review: PROS and CONSFeatured, Shopping Wednesday, December 25th, 2013
There is no doubt that the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX range of tablets are as good as any tablet out there. However, even the best of the best gadgets aren’t perfect. In this review, we look at the biggest strengths and weaknesses of the 7″ and 8.9″ Kindle Fire HDX tablets.
Kindle Fire HDX – TOP 5 Pros
1. Display - both 7 and 8.9 inch versions have over 320 pixels per inch (PPI) pixel densities. In Amazon’s own words, that’s “beyond standard high definition”. In fact the 339 ppi density of the 8.9″ tablet is the highest pixel density among any of today’s tablets (compared to 323 ppi of the iPad Mini with Retina Display, 264 ppi of the iPad Air, 323 ppi of the Nexus 7, 300 ppi of the Nexus 10, 149 ppi of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1″, 186 ppi of the Acer Iconia 8.1″, 224 ppi of the Sony Xperia Z etc. etc.)
What’s the device with a pixel density even higher than the Kindle Fire HDX? It has a 388 ppi density.
2. Processor and RAM – it seems like y’day when the first Intel quad-core processor was released. Who would have thought of tablet computers with quad-core processors? Seems like Jeff Bezos had. Well, actually, Google seems to have thought of it even earlier. The 2nd generation ASUS made Google Nexus 7 released in 2013 summer was already equipped with a 1.5 GHz quad-core processor. The Kindle Fire HDX released in Fall of 2013 followed, but with more powerful 2.2 GHz quad-core processors. The 5th generation iPads continue to have dual-core processors. Nevertheless, it’s important to understand that when it comes to performance, quad-core isn’t always better than dual-core. This report from Gigaom shows that the iPhone 5s sporting a dual-core A7 processor did better than the LG G2 sporting a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor as far as browsing performance was concerned. However, real performance tests comparing the overall hardware performance of the A7 chip and Snapdragon 800 have not been done to date. It would be surprising if the Apple iPad turns out the winner given the difference in the number of cores and speed.
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- $40 off this Kindle Fire HD
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3. Price of the device – it’s no secret that the Kindle Fire range of tablets have always been cheaper than most competitors, especially the Apple iPads. A recent report estimated that Kindle owners spend an extra $443/year shopping on Amazon compared to shoppers that didn’t own a Kindle (eReader or Kindle Fire). This is probably the reason why Amazon can afford to sell their tablets for so cheap. But then again, even though such figures are not available, one would think that Apple makes similar kind of money from iTunes shoppers, yet, their devices continue to be significantly more expensive than the Kindle Fires and the Nexus tablets. How much more expensive? Up to $320 more expensive. Even the 8.9″ Fire HDX is cheaper than the iPad Mini with Retina Display!
4. Price of content – according to several studies, that we have shown earlier, the price of apps, ebooks, music singles/albums as well as movie rentals and purchases are generally cheaper at the Amazon digital store compared to that on the iTunes store and/or Google Play Store. Even though the savings may less than a $1 per purchase, they can certainly add up depending on how many purchases you do over the years. Savings on content won’t be astronomical, but when combined with savings from the cheap price of the device, the savings can be significant.
Helpful resources to check out:
5. Weight of the 8.9″ Kindle Fire HDX – if you’re looking to buy the bigger version, and intend to do a significant amount of reading, the light weight and the extra-long battery life are definitely going to come in handy. It’s 95g and 229g lighter than the iPad Air and Google Nexus 10 respectively. That’s a lot of strain off your hand during an hour-long reading session. The battery can also last up to 18 hours when you’re using it for reading. Compared to ~11-12 hours on the other two devices, that’s a significant advantage.
Now that we’ve discussed the Top 5 strengths of the Kindle Fire HDX, let’s turn towards the potential limitations.
Kindle Fire HDX – TOP 5 Cons
Like we said earlier, even the best of the best ain’t perfect! So it’s only ‘natural’ for something to be wrong with the Kindle Fire HDX tablets.
1. It’s Amazon-centric – Kindle ‘fan boys’ say that’s a good thing and they ask “is the iPad not Apple-centric?”. For those who have been using Amazon digital store for their Ebooks, music, and videos, this is in fact a good thing. Together with Amazon Prime, which gives unlimited video downloads and free 2-day shipping etc. etc., it’s one heck of a good deal for some. Others like more freedom, to be able to download apps and ebooks from third party vendors. It’s not that it isn’t impossible, but it isn’t straightforward either.
2. No Google Play Store – this can be an issue for people who have already purchased a lot of apps etc. from the Google Play Store. Unfortunately, there isn’t a straightforward way to import these apps that you’ve already paid for. If you really need a certain app on your Kindle Fire, unfortunately, the only way is to re-purchase it from the Amazon App Store. A waste of money to buy the same app twice, don’t you think?
3. Lack of core-Android services – if Google maps, Google voice etc. are part of your daily life and you intend to use those on your Kindle tablet as well, I have bad news for you. Unfortunately, those services cannot be accessed on the Amazon tablet without tapping in to certain third party market places.
4. Small app store – compared to the ~1 million apps on iTunes and Google Play store, the approximately 100,000 apps on the Amazon App Store feels miniscule. The average tablet user will most likely find all the apps he/she needs in the Amazon app store. However, if you want a specialist app, Amazon may not have it. Let’s say you play for a band and you want an app for mixing music – you may have to resort to the third party marketplace like http://www.1mobile.com/app/market/
5. No SD card slot for memory expansion – the iPads and the Nexus tablets don’t have them either. But the Samsung Galaxy tabs as well as this very cheap, yet very popular tablet also have them.
How do you come to a decision?
- If the benefits outweigh the limitations, you go with the Kindle Fire HDX
- If the limitations outweigh the benefits, you go with something else!
In my opinion, the strengths of the Fire HDX outweigh its limitations by a mile. But it may be different for you, for example, because you’re a hard-core user of stock Android services. So nobody but you need to make the decision about whether the Amazon tablet suits you or not. Was this Kindle Fire HDX review helpful to you? If so, please don’t forget to share the the knowledge with your friends and family. Thank you!