Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX is serious competition for Apple's iPad mini

Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX is serious competition for Apple's iPad mini

Summary: With a $100 price advantage over the ipad mini, and an app store is well stocked with quality apps, those looking for a tablet for home, BYOD or enterprise might well find that the Kindle Fire HDX ticks most, if not all, the boxes.

TOPICS: Mobility, Amazon, Tablets
Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX
(Source: Amazon)

The new Kindle Fire HDX is the flagship device in Amazon's tablet lineup, and not only does it have the power to turn the Android tablet market on its head, it is also the first real competitor to Apple's iPad mini.

Starting at $229, you get a lot of tablet for your money. You get a high-definition 1,920 x 1,200 display, a powerful 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor backed up by a dual-core Adreno 330 GPU, a 720p front-facing camera for video-conferencing and selfies, and storage that starts at 16GB. All of this is packed into a lightweight and stylish magnesium unibody chassis that's both thinner and lighter than last year's offerings.

The hardware is certainly both solid and very well put together.

CNET Review: Impressive debut, but room to grow

On the software front of things, you get Fire OS 3.0, a highly customized version of Google's Android Jelly Bean. Built into this operating system is not only a conduit to all things digital available from Amazon, but also a raft of features such as virtual private networking (VPN) support and encryption that will appeal to the BYOD crowd.

And if at any point a user has problems or needs assistance, there's a Mayday button close to hand that connects users to tech support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Fire OS 3.0 is a mature and well-rounded mobile platform.

The bottom line is that here we have a $229 tablet that appeals not only to those who want to play Angry Birds or stream movies easily, and also to those looking for a tablet to take to work with them.

Broad appeal plus a price tag so low that it makes you do a double-take suggests to me that Amazon isn't going to have any problems selling these tablets.

The 16GB Wi-Fi-only iPad mini retails for $329.

About the only drawback to the Kindle Fire HDX I can come up with is that it isn't a true Android tablet and instead it is tightly bound to the Amazon ecosystem. That said, the iPad mini isn't an Android tablet, and is instead bound tightly to the Apple App Store.

It's swings and roundabouts. But given Amazon's $100 price advantage over the iPad mini, and the fact that its app store is well stocked with quality apps, those looking for a tablet for home, BYOD or enterprise might well find that the Kindle Fire HDX ticks most, if not all, the boxes.

Topics: Mobility, Amazon, Tablets

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  • Nexus 7

    Still seems like the better bet to me. Also great hardware at a great price. Much more open in terms of ecosystem and apps. Pure Android to take advantage of updates.
    • That the way I went, Nexus 7

      Let's also not forget that because Google puts this unit out you are far less likely to get bit by the OS fragmentation bug and be stuck with an old version of Android.

      I have used a kindle about a year ago and thought it was a very poor experience for a Pad. Slow, clumsy interface just a bad experience, it is also based on an old version of Android. Compared to the iPad or the Nexus7 this is a no brainier to me, the Nexus 7 was vastly superior in all regards while the more expensive iPad still offer the best OS out there.
    • For me, Kindle Fire HD Totally Outperforms Nexus

      I completely disagree with the comments stating the Nexus 7 is a better tablet than Kindle Fire HD. And I've owned them both. I owned the 2012 Nexus for a year, and endured the creaky glass where it had become separated from the rest of the device, and its near-totally inaudible speakers. In July, I had to decide between upgrading to the 2013 Nexus or getting an 8.9 inch Kindle Fire, which had the same resolution as the new Nexus. Then I started hearing the horror stories about the new Nexus: random reboots, "ghost" touches registering on the touch screen, etc. No way was I going to let my tablet frustrate me for another year! I got the Kindle 8.9 and have been overwhelmingly pleased. It's much sturdier (no creaking), and the speakers almost BOOM compared to the Nexus. It has better battery life, the same screen resolution...and a larger screen which makes videos and magazines more enjoyable.

      So yeah, I plan to upgrade to the HDX 8.9.
      Rich Brown
      • Can't compare with Nexus 7 2012

        You just can't compare the first-try Nexus 7 with Amazon's second attempt. Reviews I've read state that the Nexus 7 2013 was a massive improvement on the 2012 model.
        Daniel Foerster
    • It is actually a tough choice

      HDX has a better screen, better speakers, and is faster. Nexus 7 has the rear camera and the "pure Google experience" I have a Nexus 4 and it seems both the Amazon store and Google store have a similar number of apps that I want, for my Nexus 4. I think it might be worth going to Amazon to start a Prime subscription. Get the free mail and streaming movies.
  • "it is also the first real competitor to Apple's iPad mini"

    So the second-gen high-res Nexus 7 isn't?
    Jack Schofield
    • They are both pretty good tablets

      It is a tough choice, I guess it comes down to whether you want to be a Google wh or e or an Amazon wh or e. And whether a rear camera is worth having a not as good screen (though Nexus 7 2013 is suppose to be much improved over 2012) and not as good sound.
  • Umm

    This is actually the second real competitor to the iPad as others have said but, Fire OS is not good and I seriously want that carousel ditched as well as the Web browser and the default keyboard.
    • how do you know?..

      How do you know how good Fire OS 3.0 is? I assume nobody has it yet. The Carousel, from what I've seen, now has an Android-esque grid layout right below the Carousel now.
      Rich Brown
  • None of these are competitors guys.

    They don't use the Apple eco-system.
    • Yes, its Kindle vs. Nexus, not vs. Apple

      I agree, with CowLauncher. The real competition is between the Kindle HDX and the new Nexus 7. Either of them can compete with the iPad on specs and apps, but in many ways they don't actually compete because they are on different eco-systems. Amazon & Android are close enough to compare and easily switch, but iOS is just different (some better, some worse) but different enough that it's hard to switch.
      • Really?

        Ipad mini was horrible when it came out. Is there a new one I don't know about? Agreed though for full size tablets Apple is still the king.
    • What you meant to say...

      You need to hold on to your money till the Dell Venue 8 Pro 8" for $299 comes out. Full Windows 8.1 x86, micro USB, HDMI, MicroSD, full Office 365, etc.

      Blows all other 8" tabs out of the water, period.
      Rann Xeroxx
      • Sorry, here is the link...
        Rann Xeroxx
      • Seems like a good deal

        Can I get one that comes with Android?
  • i dont think so...

    I used a Kindle Fire prior to switching to an iPad mini. In comparison, the Kindle is cludgy, where the iPad is snappy and fast. Even better now with iOS 7. The quality of the apps far exceeds their equivalents on the Kindle. Network printing is a breeze on the iPad and a frustrating experience at best on Kindle. The interface is much more intuitive on the iPad. Spend the extra few bucks on an iPad, you'll be glad you did in my opinion.
    • Bad Comparison

      Just so you know this article is about the Kindle Fire HDX, not the old Kindle Fire. You Apple lovers needs to learn how to compare Apples-2-Apples. Bottom line- Apple products never win on value, or even performance per dollar. Kindle Fire HDX is way better than Apple mini in all specs and price. Also- iOS7 is questionable as there the amount of people that like/dislike seems to be 50/50%.
      Sean Foley
      • Re: Apple products never win on value

        Yet, people sit in queues to buy Apple products and Apple sells record quantities "at those high prices".
        Apparently all that hundreds millions of people find some value in Apple products, no?

        There might be some measure of "value" you overlook...
        • True

          Nobody forces people to but Apple products.

          Then again nobody was forced into buying a windows PC either.
        • You're right

          I have completely failed to find value in Apple products for years. Mystifies me as to what the pull is. I do however, know a lot of teenagers, builders and chavs who think Apple are wonderful... they obviously know more than I do...