on 20 November 2013
First some context. I use computers all the time when I was working and now that I have retired and spend much of my time researching, writing and publishing books. I use a PC much of the time but when travelling find that a tablet is clearly easier to transport and provides the accessibility I need for emails, the Internet, access to film and books/magazines. I initially purchased an Asus Transformer for this purpose, then the more transportable Kindle HD 7" and now the HDX. What I want from a tablet is reliability, good battery life and ease of use to let me do the things I want to do.
The new HDX certainly fulfils those needs. Though I had a slight problem with setup that I could not sort out myself and needed telephone support from Amazon (excellent, quick solution), it proved remarkably simple and all the documents and apps that I had on the HD were there ready to use. Ditto the books that I had already purchased. One recurrent theme in American reviews and, it seems to be unjustifiably low scores as a result, is the question of office apps on the system. It was simply a case of adding a free word processing, presentation, spreadsheet app and the problem is solved.
The HDX is an excellent piece of kit. I went for the 64GB storage as there are no card slots (something for another incarnation I hope) and this is ample for my needs. The screen is excellent, apps load quickly (both to get on the system and then once loaded), Silk has been improved and is much quicker. The tablet is light and sleek and is easy to hold in one hand, though I find it better to rest it on something for ease of use. The cameras are good and video streams like a dream. I'm not entirely convinced by moving the buttons to the rear of the Kindle--necessary to keep the Kindle thin--but they are certainly bigger and therefore easier to use than on the HD. Overall, the HDX allows me to do what I want and I would certainly recommend it as a significantly cheaper alternative to Apple Air.
I thought I'd update my review (12 December) after over a month's regular use. Getting one of the origami covers--also an excellent if expensive item--was a good decision. Not only does it put the Kindle into shut-down mode when closed but it also protects and helps to clean the screen. I use my Kindle for a variety of things but especially reading and the ability to place my growing number of books easily into different collections has made finding the books when I need them considerably easier. I already had an app capable of doing this but the Kindle solution is eminently more elegant. In fact, the more I use the Kindle, the more elegant and responsive I find it, something aided by modifying the settings t suit my needs. I've used the machine for word-processing using both the built in keyboard (fine for short emails or blogs) and a Bluetooth keyboard for longer documents. Silk has proved a responsive and quick way of accessing the Internet and the emailing app has proved invaluable and also highly responsive. Battery life is good--I've averaged 9.5 hours before needing to re-charge--but have found that turning off Wi-Fi does extend this time. Overall, my initial feelings about the Kindle have been reinforced by using it. It really is an excellent tablet.
Decided to upgrade to the larger screen and faster processing from my 7"KFHD and so far am delighted with my purchase.
So, some points;
- the high output charger is included in the box - well done Amazon
- the screen is fantastic, both in terms of the larger size and picture quality.
- streaming video quality is superb.
- sound quality from the two speakers is excellent.
- the tablet itself is very slim and light to hold - any extra weight comes with a protective cover, which I would suggest is a must for a high value piece of kit.
- I have no issues at all with the power and volume buttons being on the back; in fact I think they are more intuitive to use there.
- I bought the biggest on-board storage as there is no on-board expansion capability.
- an extra tenner to remove the adverts on start-up is worth paying - the default images are very good.
- immediate access to all the music, books and apps I have ever bought from Amazon.
- Very fast download of stuff over my home Wi-Fi network.
- the Silk browser has been improved, and internet pages load very quickly.
- simplicity itself to set up my e-mail accounts, and I was up and running in a couple of minutes.
- both front and rear-facing cameras are very good, and there is a pre-loaded app to control them (unlike on the earlier KFHD).
- downloading the excellent OfficeSuite Pro7 app allows me to view and easily edit documents and presentations that I give for work.
- I opted for the 3/4G connectivity as I travel a lot with work and can't always get easy access to Wi-Fi network - you can set up a PAYG contract with Vodaphone (have to say I am not very impressed with the Vodaphone connectivity when out and about)
- downloading the free Citrix Receiver app allows me easy access to my work desktop.
- there are plenty of apps from the Amazon store for my needs
I have an Otterbox case for it as I find the added protection a plus, it allows secure standing at three working angles, and as a bonus find it easier to hold free hand than the origami case (though that does look pretty).
I'm very pleased with this - I keep seeing comparisons with the i-pads, which are irrelevant to me - I like this for what it is, not for how much better or worse it is than something else.
on 3 September 2014
What prospective buyers need to be aware of is that if a fault develops with your Kindle during the warranty period Amazon will not repair your Kindle and send it back to you but will replace it with a refurbished unit. My Kindle Fire HDX 64GB, retail cost £400, developed a fault after 6 months. I was told that I was being sent a new unit, but when it arrived in a plain brown box without any retail packaging I made enquiries. I discovered that the replacement was someone else's refurbished unit that was meant to have been repaired. The refurbished unit appears to have more faults than my original one. I've been told by Amazon that the refurbished units are as good as new ones. However, if I was the kind of person that would be happy with a refurbished Kindle I would have bought a refurbished one, not a NEW one. Not knowing the history of a unit, especially with something as personal as a tablet computer, is anathema to me.
So be aware - if anything goes wrong with your NEW Kindle Amazon are likely to send you a refurbished replacement (check their warranty policies). This cheap policy is not what I expect from Amazon. Come on Amazon, if you are not going to repair customers Kindles at least send them a NEW one in exchange.
We've been putting off upgrading our Kindle Touch to Fire HD/DHX as we were not confident if the newer generations of Kindle were really up to the job (yes, based on mountains of reviews on these gizmos). Having waited for a while (and with increasingly more positive reviews), we finally took a plunge to get the 8.9" HDX with 16GB storage capacity. The Bank Holiday promotion also played a role in the decision.
We've been very impressed by the multimedia experience the HDX delivers: excellent display and audio, as well as picture and video recording capabilities. In fact, the new features this tablet provides dwarfs the original function of the Kindle; by that we mean the excellent e-book reading function is now a small part of what the Kindle Fire is capable of. In a short while ownership of the Kindle Fire HDX, we are more than impressed with it, the following being some of the highlights and in no particular order:
1) Skype call - in fact the first thing we used it for on day one, and better than the quality we had on a laptop, noting its very obvious advantage of ultimate portability and mobility (with an incredibly slim and light weight at under 400 grams!).
2) Watching Video Streaming - yes, most of us may not like to watch movies on small screen, but should you put this tablet to the test of online streaming, the quality it delivers is quite impressive indeed. We tested both with Netflix and Amazon Instant Video and the quality is first class (of course, this depends on the Wi-Fi connection and the test is based on ADSL broadband with connection bit rate in excess of 4 Mbps).
3) Web browsing - Amazon's Silk browser has really come off age (the mono-colour experimental Silk on Kindle Touch tells a different story!), to the extent that you wouldn't notice much [functional] difference compared with the other major browsers [but see a minor disappointment in the Update below]. Well done Amazon!
4) Kindle Free Time - the same idea as 'Kids Corner' on Windows Phone 8 and a very impressive profile setup for customising Kindle's content for a child while keeping sensitive information away under lock. In fact, the KFT goes a step further by implementing quite useful educational objectives. For instance, you can set in such a way that a child can play a game only after reading a book for a specified time, and within a designated time interval in a day. Very impressive and we like it very much for our young children to use the Kindle on our terms! Yes, you can set this up for two or more children (update: with the latest upgrade up to 4 children).
5) Reading e-Books - of course the core function of the Kindle - and the slim and light weight display with high definition really makes it an enjoyable experience for e-book reading. Automatic brightness control is also a very useful feature as the screen brightness is adjusted based on the surrounding light.
6) e-mail - we tested the email client provided by Kindle Fire HDX and setting it up with POP3 account was quite straightforward. We really felt at home as the setup and day to day usage is [almost] identical to the POP3 account on Windows Phone which we have used for over two years (and from experience the best email account out there). Needless to say, it supports secure connection to accounts (with SSL encryption) as most modern email clients should do.
7) user profile: you can create user profiles for 2 adults and 4 children by keeping every one's settings (books, apps, videos, etc.) separate. This is a very useful feature to keep every Kindle-sharing household at peace.
The above are just the notable points based on under a week experience and we hope to update this as we get to know more of Kindle Fire HDX. For protection we chose the Marware Origin Case which complements the 8.9" HDX very well at a relatively low price.
Any downsides? So far we couldn't think of anything that we would consider as an obvious downside, and it's very rare to come to such conclusion even after a brief encounter with an electronic gadget. Could it be that the Kindle Fire HDX is well designed? Perhaps it is. Perhaps it's is too early for the downsides (such as short battery life) to reveal themselves. So, if anything transpires we shall update this review.
For now we are very impressed and pleased with Kindle Fire HDX.
We just came across one downside and it has to do with the Silk browser. It is not possible to set the text font size for a page which means a page cannot be scaled as desired (with user preferred text size); this has nothing to do with page zooming - which is handled well by Silk - but zooming to get the desired text size imposes page scrolling as the page expands outside the display. In Amazon's defence one may argue that this is essentially an e-reader not a PC tablet but the premium price tag counters this argument as this product is pitched heavily toward a 'tablet' than an e-reader. This may not be a deal-breaker, but also not something that should be lacking indefinitely either, as Amazon can easily remedy such shortcomings through its software updates.
With the new software update - released over the last few days - we expected the Silk font-scaling to be fixed but sadly this did not happen on this occasion. There are several improvements made to Silk such as Private Browsing (which existed for Firefox, IE, Google Chrome, etc.) for quite sometime, so Silk seems to be catching up. There are also general optimisations to the operating system such as improving battery life, user profiles, etc. which is a welcome enhancement.
on 18 May 2014
I have owned two kindles, the last being the Fire HD 8.9". I liked the look of the HDX but not the price. I shopped around and was going to buy the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10" when I noticed that Amazon had an offer on the kindle. As I really liked my kindle I decided to pay more money and go for the HDX. I am very impressed with it so far, having purchased it around 3 weeks ago, it is a lot lighter to hold and as other reviewers also state, I find having the on/off and volume switches on the back no problem at all. I did purchase the origami case for it, but was not impressed with either the case or the price, and subsequently returned it. The only gripe I have with this kindle is the wifi connection. Every time I go to use the kindle it has disconnected itself from our home wifi and I have to reconnect, sometimes it takes 2-3 attempts before it actually connects. There is no problem with our wifi as other devices in the home do not disconnect. I got in touch with Amazon who suggested certain solutions including resetting the device back to factory settings, all to avail and I am still having to reconnect each time I want to use the kindle. If anyone else has had this problem I would like to hear if they have found a solution. I am considering returning the kindle to purchase a Samsung although I cannot fault the kindle apart from the wifi
I've been using the Kindle Fire for some time now and have been largely happy, however, within a few moments of using the new Kindle Fire HDX, the improvements are palpable and pleasing.
The first thing to comment on, is the weight, despite the larger screen, it is now comfortable to wield one handed and significantly lighter than the older Fire and Fire HD. The shell is slimmer and has a nice soft grip finish on the rear and beveled edges which make it more comfortable to hold, and your fingers will glide effortlessly across the screen which is notably more responsive. The bookshelf interface has been significantly improved (although I'd like more flexibility on how to sort my files and apps - eg, I'd like my current book to remain at the front of the queue even if I decide to download a slew of new titles for later). If you are a keen reader, but find your wallet is a little on the lean side, you'll can also find a substantive catalogue of free or heavily discounted titles to browse through which should have something to suit all tastes.
If you've never used the Lovefilm service, there is a 30 day free trial for you to sample. Streaming is superb and I've not has a single issue with buffering films of TV programmes I've opted to watch. [My main gripe with Lovefilm is that the content is mostly quite old, but I still found stuff I wanted to see (eg Vikings) and the range of HD content has improved.] The display is just as superb and the clarity and depth of colour and detail are superb. Sound is impressive too for such a small device, and the two speakers offer stereo sound, although it is inevitably a little thin compared to the cinema experience - you can opt to use earphones (not supplied), so select a good pair and you'll be much more impressed with the experience. Personally, I still prefer watching my media on larger screens with full surround sound, so it's fortunate I can also have the same streaming experience on my smart TV or via my playstation or xbox for no extra cost.
If you've purchased music CDs from Amazon in the past, you may be pleasantly suprised to find electronic versions are available to you to stream from the cloud or download directly to your kindle. Whilst this is great, I've noticed that the tracks are not always correctly identified and this may lead to some confusion when creating a playlist. That strange issue aside, I found music streamed smoothly and I had no buffering issues either.
The silk browser is another step forward. The interface is snappier and feels much more responsive than in the previous models, and connectivity has so far proven to be more reliable too. Sadly, the browser doesn't support flash, so you'll have difficulty with sites that rely on flash media player, but generally pages load quickly and you can switch rapidly between multiple tabs - I've not been able to count the upper limit, but you will be advised when you reach it. The lack of flash support is an annoyance because it is still prevalent across the web.
There is both a front and rear (with led flash) facing camera. The rear camera is OK, it can record 1080p video clips, but at only 8mp, there are definitely better ways to take photos for better results, even if the screen does make a great viewfinder. The front camera can manage 720p video, so it does a decent job with skype messaging. Overall the camera features are good, but they could do with some improvements in future models.
There are a number of Apps available from the Amazon App store (rather than Googleplay) - I'm not really a big app or social media user, so this isn't a major feature for me and whilst there are some that I use which are absent, but I still have my smartphone for those. However, browsing through the selection you'll find many of the standards like Angry Birds, Tetris Bejeweled, Facebook, Twitter, iPlayer and YouTube. There is also a "free app of the day" which might offer up a bargain once in a while as it cycles through the range games and productivity apps that are on offer. If there are any glaring omissions from the library, I honestly couldn't tell you what they are.
Battery life is working out to be around 8-9 hours depending on use. The fact that the unit is sealed and batteries can't be easily replaced is also a little disappointing. It's not entirely surprising in our current era of corporately enforced technological obsolescence, but it would have been nice if we could at least have the option of being able to carry around a spare to extend usage.
I've gone for the 32GB model, which is more than sufficient for my needs, and for dragging and dropping files I can use the USB connections to link it to my PC , but the inclusion of a memory expansion slot could have increased the flexibility of the model. I have tge 4G version, but I'm not especially keen on being locked into Vodafone as the de facto service provider. I was able to pair up a bluetooth keyboard and microphone really easily and found them to function perfectly.
Overall, there are a few things that I think could be improved:
Battery life could be better and it would be useful to have the option to change batteries if needed.
More flexibility to allow the customer to choose who provides their 4G service.
Browser should support Flash whilst it it still so prevalent on the web.
A memory expansion slot would be advantageous.
Improved camera resolution and greater parity between the functionality and features of the front and rear cameras.
However, I absolutely love my Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 and it does everything I need it to do well (reading, email, web browsing and media streaming) and I'm glad I've made the switch.
on 18 December 2014
Okay, I have only had this for one day, but there is a major flaw. Whilst the screen resolution is wonderful, the clarity is excellent, it is really light and it is pretty straightforward to use, there is one BIG issue. The lack of apps available for this is shocking. There is no app for my bank, for example. Or Argos. Or lots of others that I have installed on the tablet that this is replacing. I already have a Tesco Hudl; the reasons I wanted to upgrade are the want of a larger screen, and so that I can watch instant videos with my prime membership. Well I definitely have a larger screen on the Kindle Fire, and yes, I can watch movies on it. But I want my apps. I miss my apps.
Come on Amazon, you need to resolve this issue. Without access to decent apps, the Kindle Fire is simply an overpriced reading Kindle.
I am already regretting this purchase. If you like using apps, then do not buy this.
on 24 June 2014
this is the best ever kindle . I love it . I love my tech . this is my third kindle (classic, fire and now the hdx). I also have an ipad . the new kindle outshines all of them because:
works right out the box . I switched it on (already charged too which is great ) typed in my code for my broadband ,entered my email address for amazon and zip all my stuff was there in the cloud waiting . my books music apps everything .that is all you have to do to set it up . even first timers will find it all painless to do .
very fast . everything loads instantly . streaming videos played without a stutter . which is amazing cos my broadband isn't very fast .
the carousel is very smooth to scroll through and the apps bar works great too . very intuitive and easy to use
the swype keyboard is very good too though it takes a bit of practise to get used to it . it must have at least a 90% hit rate only missing out on more obscure words. I really like this feature and find it a bit frustrating when it doesn't work on my other devices !
the lightness . oh the lightness . the ads said it was light but until you hold one you have no concept of what it feels like . I can read for hours one handed . it makes taking pix easier . I love it
the screen is so clear and the colours vibrant . again you have to see one to comprehend the difference .
the sound is great too . I loved that on the kindle fire as well . often sound is overlooked but all the kindles have excellent sound both when using the loudspeakers and when using headphones .
the camera is good . especially for quick snaps . I haven't used Skype yet on it so cant comment on video calling . the pictures I took were clear and good colour and there looks to be a good selection of basic fiddling about options to improve your pictures!
I've probably missed out a lot of things that make this tablet fabulous , the battery for instance , lasts for ages especially when just reading or surfing . I cant rate it highly enough . I just love it !
on 24 June 2014
Being one of the minority who are are "technologically-challenged", it took me a while to decide to buy my Kindle. However, have never regretted it for a minute. I watched a number of "how to" videos - which were excellent and have never looked back. I have used my "Mayday" button on several occasions for a variety of reasons and each time I have had my problem solved with understanding and skill - Jared, Liam and Sharon et all never made me feel like an total idiot - bless them !
If you are wondering whether to buy one - don't - just do it - you won't regret it.
on 5 January 2014
I bought the HDX 8.9 64GB being under the impression it would be a step up from the previous generation Kindle Fire HD, and in some respects it is, in other ways however it fails to impress.
Firstly the pros:
-The screen is superb. Probably the best available at the moment on a device this size.
-The speakers are also top of their class. The sound they produce is beyond anything you would expect.
-I really like the new design, and it is so light to hold. It looks like a quality product.
-It comes with a charger! The last generation didn't.
Now for the cons:
-Whilst the hardware has significantly improved, Amazon's software has not. Now dubbed Fire OS, it seems to be far more bug prone and unreliable than before. 50 per cent of the time the various Amazon stores refuse to load, often requiring a shutdown. Considering the power of the tablet there is also a significant amount of lag and stuttering even when just scrolling through the ever present carousel.
-I knew how Amazon handled films on the device, via their LoveFilm service, but having now experienced BlinkBox and GooglePlay's offering, and seen how they allow you to download films or TV episodes individually. LoveFilm seems antiquated in insisting on a subscription service. Why can't I purchase or rent films and pay as I go?
-Each section of content has it own store, books, music etc. On the HDX these stores don't seem to be formatted correctly, the book and magazine store look frankly awful, with content arranged bizarrely and mis-aligned, this is just sloppy coding on Amazon's part. Not a big issue but still not what you would expect.
-Amazon's magazine and newspaper offering is lazy. Each publication is offered as it's own app. There is no conformity across each app. They are designed to offer one free issue and then you need to take a subscription to continue with the next issue. Why can't I buy issues as and when I feel like it? Again GooglePlay offers this service. Looking at the store not one of the publications I have looked at has been given more than a 3 star review, mainly due to people being charged and then not getting what they have paid for!
Having owned the device since its UK release date I find it hard to recommend. The 8.9 HDX is no longer selling at a budget price, yet for a far cheaper outlay I could get more functionality from a stock Android tablet. Why sell the device with such large storage capacity when there is no facility to download films or even access some of the larger (and better) Android games, which Amazon seem to have no plan to port across anytime soon (PVZ2?).
In short good hardware but why bother if nothing you offer makes use of the extra power? £420 to read books and access the internet? All these issues could be sorted via software updates, something tells me they won't be though.