Inside the 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX

Inside the 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX

Summary: The biggest takeaway from the teardown is how much Qualcomm silicon there is inside Amazon's new Kindle Fire HDX, with almost all the major components being a win for the company.

TOPICS: Mobility, Amazon, Tablets

Amazon's 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX is out and the team from iFixit have managed to get their hands on one in order to carry out a detailed teardown of the new tablet.

The biggest highlight from the teardown is how noticing how much Qualcomm silicon there is inside the Kindle Fire HDX. Almost all the major components are a win for the company:

  • Snapdragon 800 System-on-a-Chip (SoC) with 2.2 GHz quad-core CPU

  • Qualcomm PM8841 Power Management IC

  • Qualcomm PM8941 Power Management IC

  • Qualcomm WCD9320 Audio Codec

  • Qualcomm Atheros QCA6234XH Integrated Dual-Band 2x2 802.11n + Bluetooth 4.0

That high-end Snapdragon 800 processor at the heart of the Kindle Fire HDX is a clear indication that Amazon is serious about capturing the high-performance end of the tablet market with a very competitively priced offering that will not only put pressure on the Android players, but it could also put pressure on Apple's iPad and iPad mini.

Kindle Fire HDX
(Source: iFixit)

The battery charging circuit is supplied by Summit Microelectronics, but this is another win for Qualcomm since the company is itself owned by Qualcomm.

Qualcomm only leaves slim pickings for the rest of the component manufacturers. The 2GB of LPDDR3 RAM was manufactured by Samsung, with the 16GB of NAND flash comes from Toshiba, and the touchscreen controller supplied by Synaptics.

Kindle Fire HDX
(Source: iFixit)

But when it comes to reparability, the Kindle Fire HDX doesn't score very highly. The iFixit team gave it a 3 out of 10 (where 10 is the easiest to repair), the worst yet for any Kindle device. Not only is the battery firmly glued into the device, but the motherboard is tricky to replace, and the LCD is fused to the front glass, so you'll need to replace both components in the event of a cracked screen.

To put that another way, the Kindle Fire HDX is a great tablet, until it breaks.

Topics: Mobility, Amazon, Tablets

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  • Soundsl like tablets are headed for disposability

    Looks like tablets are going where most portable gadgets (except high end phones) are already at. Buy 'em, use 'em up, and then toss 'em. Easy to imagine more and more of those peripheral chips being integrated, until the point is reached where the 'motherboard' is nothing more than a flat plate to attach the connectors to, join up the chips, and fuse to the back to the display. Fuse on the battery, seal up the case, and that's it. If the screens can be driven down in cost (since the chips and all will take care of themselves) the price will drop for a decent tablet to reach throwaway portable device status. Perhaps as it should be, especially for Amazon where content is the entire point with the thing.
  • 'Breakability' is irrelevant

    Here is why: Having owned many Kindle devices over the years, if it has a problem they cannot resolve via email, chat, or over the phone, Amazon just sends you a replacement. They also provide support for the devices. It is one of the more attractive factors for owning Kindle devices. For the rare occasions where I have needed support, it has worked out very well. They have resolved my rare issues and sent me a replacement when they couldn't get the one issue resolved. Those who actually own the devices are usually familiar with the Amazon support model. You do have to send back the tablet that is being replaced though. I am assuming that Amazon takes care of the repairs and it becomes a refurb unit used to replace units that require replacement. I have owned several tablet brands but theirs has been the only one to have this type of support mechanism that doesn't require me to buy an extended warranty or pay per support call.
    • Exactly

      Now, if the screen cracks, they may or may not replace it and in some cases once the warranty has expired, they may ask you to buy a new unit at a reduced price. But the reduced price usually works out to less than what the extended warranty would have cost.
  • still worth it

    the Kindle Fire hdx has all the newest features and technology so it is not quite surprising that it not easy to repair. These are usually the tradeoffs of getting a new gadget or any electronic device. I already got mine with a great price and I'm really loving the screen.
    Peach Adamson
    • sorry

      this is where I got my Kindle
      Peach Adamson