After Apple’s recent upgrade to their Apple iPad Mini tablet, there are now three good small-form-factor tablets to choose from: the Apple iPad Mini 2, the Google Nexus 7, and the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7″.
Today let’s take a look at the tablet that many say gives you the most bang for the buck, the Kindle Fire HDX 7″.
Here’s what’s in the box:
- Kindle Fire HDX 7″ tablet computer
- Micro USB charging cable
- AC adapter
- Quick-start guide
My Kindle powered up right away out of the box, and after entering password information for my firewall and a few other simple admin steps, I was online and ready to go.
In fact, the Kindle Fire HDX immediately populated the Books:
tabs with items I had previously purchased on Amazon. All I had to do was tap the icon for the James Bond: The Authorised Biography, by John Pearson, or the album cover for the new Black Sabbath album 13 and, after a brief download, I was reading and rocking, respectively.
Aside from the ease of getting online and using the device without a lot of hassle, I enjoyed several welcome features:
- The Kindle felt good in the hand: the dimensions of the unit are 7.3″ x 5.0″ x .35″, and at 303 grams in weight (lighter than the Apple iPad Mini 2), it was easy for me to hold with one hand.
- The display was absolutely brilliant: at 1920×1200 pixels, the 7″ screen clocks in at 323 Pixels Per Inch (PPI), which is up there with the best of the tablets. The text was crisp, the images gorgeous, and the videos seamless. As a writer and Computer Scientist, I’m accutely aware of technology getting in the way of what John Gardner calls the “vivid and continuous dream” enjoyed when immersed in a compelling story. This display, along with the quad-core CPU and user inteface supplied by the Kindle Fire OS 3.0 “Mojito”, does not get in the way of what you are reading or seeing.
- After a couple days use, I’m still using the device as I got it right from the box. The rated battery life is 11 hours of mixed use, and 17 hours when reading.
- The dual Dolby audio stereo speakers crank out adequate volume, though the 3.5mm stereo headphone jack helps me really tune out the world when I’m listening to an audio book or movie or Black Sabbath.
- The front-facing camera and built-in microphone are useful especially for Skype calls.
- The unit’s Bluetooth support and video streaming capabilities are helping me get in shape, since I can watch movies and crank the volume with an external Bluetooth speaker when running on a treadmill.
- The unit came with lots of built-in apps that allowed me to be productive and entertained right out of the box, with more available on Amazon.
Note that I haven’t yet used the Mayday button, which is supposed to connect you, if you need help, to an Amazon expert 24×7, but it’s a nice feature to have in my back pocket.
Also, I was already a Prime member, which gives me free 2-day shipping when shopping on Amazon, the ability to stream or download Prime Instant videos, and a free ebook a month, so the 30 days of free Prime membership with the purchase of the Kindle Fire HDX was lost on me, but I did start downloading some movies so that I can watch them offline for on an upcoming trip—being able to tune out your surroundings by diving into a movie is wonderful when stuck in those cramped airline seats.
If you want to see the Kindle in action, here’s a short video I made of an unboxing and look at the Kindle Fire HDX 7″ tablet computer:
So with all the great apps, games, movies, books, brilliant display, responsive user interface, portability, and other features of the device, and the fact that it’s more than $150 cheaper than the Apple iPad Mini 2, this Kindle Fire HDX tablet currently seems to be one of the best tablets for your money.
Get the Kindle Fire HDX tablet here: Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7″ tablet computer