Kindle Fire HDX: Smooth operation, great screen (hands on)

Kindle Fire HDX: Smooth operation, great screen (hands on)

Summary: Amazon has produced a fabulous tablet for a reasonable price. The gorgeous screen and high performance make this a tablet to be reckoned with.

TOPICS: Mobility, Amazon, Tablets

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  • Kindle Fire HDX 8.9

    The volume rocker and power button are handily located on the back of the tablet. The back of the Fire HDX is not slippery and feels secure while held in the hand.


  • Amazon Origami Case

    The optional Origami Case, $55 polyurethane and $70 leather, protects the Kindle Fire HDX. The tablet is held in the case magnetically, and the cover folds origami style to form a stand. Magnets in the cover prop the tablet up in either landscape or portrait orientation very securely.

    The rear camera is covered by the case but slightly sliding the tablet up exposes the camera for taking photos or shooting video.

  • Amazon Origami Case for Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 side view

    The case is shown above with the tablet in landscape mode.

Topics: Mobility, Amazon, Tablets

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  • Good with the hardware

    I am totally agreeing that the hardware is good for the price. I am just not a fan of being kind of locked into Amazon. Its most likely too small for me as I found the iPad Mini too small.
    The price is right if your willing to accept the Amazon ecosystem.
    • The only problem

      The only problem with the ecosystem are the apps but, they do allow side loading of applications (Some work, some don't).

      The video, music, and book libraries are second to none and Prime is a great deal for the money.
      • Unlock? How Long

        It is such a great piece of hardware. I have been wondering how long it will take before someone figures out how to unlock it and install a more generic version of Android.
  • Thanks for the review

    I've been bouncing back and forth between getting this new model to replace my original Kindle Fire or getting an iPad. Other than price it sounds like I could go with either for consuming Amazon and video content. The gmail and twitter apps that run on the original Fire are awful though as is the original browser -- sounds like the HDX would be much better for these non Amazon apps.
  • Hard to beat

    the new kindles if you are immersed in amazon's eco system. They have great screens for movie viewing and reading
  • Time to nitpick the Kindle Fire HDX 7" model

    Please understand the word "nitpick". These are minor observations or "complaints" that I (and a few other online sources) have encountered over time with this tablet. BTW, all the positives remain the same.

    Nitpick 1: Although the display color is gorgeous, the whites are not as white as other tablets. There is a slight yellow tint to the white color (which CNET's review also noted) and I can confirm. It is not objectionable but it is present.

    Nitpick 2: Battery charge duration. Amazon rates these HDX tablet batteries for 11 hours of mixed use activity. CNET rates it as 10 hours and Laptop rates this model as 8.6 hours.

    I have found that, if pushed hard (say by streaming video to an HDTV via Netgear's Push2TV miracast adapter, that the battery will drain in about 6.5 hours. In use, I have found that my battery performance basically matches Laptop's observations.

    So, that little Kindle HDX gives 8.5 rather than 11 hours of battery life in real world activity. (Playing back-to-back Netflix TV episodes, for example). So what. That's still a good performance. However, as some others have noted, my slightly larger iPad Mini retina model lasts longer on a battery charge. (Usually about 10 plus hours per charge.)

    This is a fine tablet and I would recommend it to anyone
    • This is the 8.9

      Your points about the Kindle Fire 7 are well made but this review is of the larger 8.9" model. A totally different tablet.
      • Same screen tech, James, same OS and apps

        And I was citing Amazon's battery charge specs for the 7" model as well as review references for the 7" model rather than your 8.9" Kindle Fire HDX.

        Basically, both tablets are the same except for screen size. But there are differences between the two tablets.
        • Except there are differences

          Although CNET specifically said one of your nitpicks does NOT apply to the HDX 8.9:

          "Also, the HDX 8.9 displayed none of the yellow tint problems I saw on the HDX 7."

          So, no, you can't just assume the two tablets are the same....
          • Didn't know that. Thanks for the info update

            Good to know.
      • Re the apps not at (but easily gettable at other stores)

        James, re the apps not available at the Amazon store: Many don't know that Amazon (from the start) enabled the regular Android setting that lets users check a box to "allow installation of apps from unknown sources" (meaning non-Amazon sources).

        There are other stores that carry the Google apps, after the fact, and -- unlike Google -- they don't forbid Kindle Fire tablets access to those apps. So we download the store app (there are several stores for this) and then use that store app the same way we do the Amazon store app -- Search for an app and then download it directly to the Kindle Fire HD or HDX and it's installed and, in my case, just about always works.

        I have Google Maps, Street View, Google Earth, Google Voice on all my Amazon tablets (no modding or rooting is necessary). Pure download and install. The easiest store is, which has well over 500,000 GooglePlay apps.

        I have steps for this, if needed in an article you'll find if you google the following phrase

        how to install non-amazon apps on a kindle fire

        It's usually the first search result.

        I actually would not enjoy my tablet so much without being able to do this and likely would not have bought it, but Amazon made a good decision on that Android setting.
        • Thanks for this tip.

          Much appreciated.
        • malware

          This sounds great but do you not need to worry about malware?
          • worries about malware

            We need to worry about this at GooglePlay as well, as shown in past stories.

            I use an anti-virus app (there are several highly rated ones at the Amazon app store), but in two years of doing this I've not had a problem. I do recommend, though, always, that people wait for a few days to see if others have had problems with an app file/update, either with software glitches or something less benign, and not jump on a new file by a new appmaker until others have had good experiences with them.

            I've also found that one version of Google Earth was just suddenly much more sluggish and found the previous ones available on another site and that solved the problem. Haven't gone for updates though on it, as it works well.
    • Time to nitpick

      If you are streaming hd videos to ur tv, why is battery power a problem?
      Can't one just plug the unit into power?
      • Of course that could be done but I wanted a battery "torture test"

        In order to have a max and min charge duration range. I just wanted to see what the "little gal" could do on her own.
    • personal experience with my hdx 7.9

      I recently purchased my hdx 8.9 and I am definitely finding much better battery life than the 7" version using push to tv I ran nonstop videos for just over 11.5 hours yesterday. And that was with nonstop videos basically watched an entire season of one of my favorite shows . Hope this helps anyone who was curious about battery life.
  • I returned mine

    Nice hardware but not having full Android was a deal breaker. I emptied my pockets and got an ipad air.

    I'm an amazon prime member, but I just didn't like the experience on the hdx. it just seemed like too much of a compromise.
    • I returned mine

      So, you just traded one closed ecosystem for another?
    • Really?

      So instead of a full android tablet you get NO android tablet.