TECH: The New Kindle Fire HDX

We enjoy using tablets to browse the Internet when RV camping. While Apple practically invented the tablet category with the iPad (http://goo.gl/9dyKVN), Amazon has upped the ante with its Kindle Fire series. The new Kindle Fire HDX (http://goo.gl/KkEQ0U) takes on the iPad Mini (http://goo.gl/8huRKu). With the HDX, Amazon has delivered a powerful tablet with premium features that goes head-to-head with the iPad. Yet it costs almost half the price.

Over the past couple of years, it’s become clear that consumers love the small 7-inch tablet size. Steve Jobs swore that Apple would never make a smaller iPad; well, even ol’ Steve was wrong about a few things.

The new Kindle Fire HDX is powerful and lightweight. (Click the pic for more info.)

The new Kindle Fire HDX is powerful and lightweight. (Click the pic for more info.)

Shortly after Steve moved on to that great product launch in the sky, Apple unleashed the iPad Mini. For many people, the 7” size simply feels right; it’s about the same as a traditional book. It’s easy to slip into a bag or purse (or “murse” if you’re so inclined) and take it wherever you want to go. Let’s take a look at some highlights of the Kindle Fire HDX.

LIGHT WEIGHT
The Kindle Fire HDX is light as a 10.7-ounce feather. That light weight means you can hold the Kindle Fire HDX for lengthy periods of time without getting fatigued. It makes a difference when you’re relaxing in bed with your evening reading.

BEEFY PROCESSOR
This year Amazon has beefed up the Kindle Fire HDX processor to a quad-core 2.2 GHz monster. There’s now a lot of power under the hood. That means that apps open faster, and HD videos play more smoothly. Processor power is kind of like horsepower – more is better!

FULL HD DISPLAY
With regard to HD videos, the Kindle Fire HDX boasts a full HD 1920×1200 pixel display. Those pixels are packed at 323 pixels-per-inch. This means that it’s the equivalent effect as Apple’s “Retina” display.

ROBUST AUDIO
How about sound? The Kindle Fire HDX includes dual stereo speakers, and many people are raving about the audio quality. Amazon clearly has created a media consumption device with this tablet.

LONG BATTERY LIFE
Amazon claims a Kindle Fire HDX battery life of anywhere between 11 and 17 hours, depending on whether you are reading or watching movies.

MAYDAY BUTTON
One interesting feature of the Kindle Fire HDX is the inclusion of a “Mayday” button. Pressing this button brings up a live customer support person right on your tablet!

Mayday customer support is free and available 24 hours a day. It’s an interesting feature, though I’m wondering why anyone would need much tech support with a simple tablet.

THE AMAZON PRIME ADVANTAGE

The get the most out of a Kindle Fire tablet, you need to join Amazon Prime. (Click the pic to enroll in a FREE 30-Day Trial.)

The get the most out of a Kindle Fire tablet, join Amazon Prime. (Click the pic to enroll in a FREE 30-Day Trial.)

The key to getting the most out of a Kindle Fire HDX, in my opinion, is to enroll in Amazon Prime. The Amazon Prime program offers several benefits for members, like free two-day shipping on all qualifying Amazon orders.

Of special interest to tablet owners is the Amazon Prime content library. Basically Amazon Prime works like Netflix – there’s a huge library of movies and TV shows that is freely available to Prime members. Click here for a FREE 30-DAY TRIAL of AMAZON PRIME.

The Kindle Fire HDX allows Amazon Prime members to download content directly to the tablet for playback at a later date. This is potentially a wonderful feature for RV campers. You could download your favorite movies and TV shows to your Kindle Fire, and then watch at your leisure wherever you may camp.

Surfing on a tablet - in Yellowstone National Park! It's crazy, but easily doable. (Click the pic for more info on the new iPad competitor, Kindle Fire HDX.)

Surfing on a tablet - in Yellowstone National Park! It's crazy, but easily doable. (Click the pic for more info on the new iPad competitor, Kindle Fire HDX.)

CONCLUSION
A couple of years ago, Apple had a well defined lead in the tablet category. At that time, the first Kindle Fire offerings were just a little underpowered. Users were receiving a lower performance (with video stutter and lag) in exchange for a lower cost product. This year, Amazon has significantly stepped up its game. The new Kindle Fire HDX is completely loaded.

With a quad core processor, full HD display, and robust audio, the Kindle Fire HDX is now being billed as an “iPad Mini Killer.” Apple isn’t doing itself any favors with the pricing of the new iPad Mini Retina. With the cheapest iPad Retina model now clocking in at $399, the Kindle Fire HDX at $229 looks like a bargain. If you are an Amazon Prime member, it’s an even better deal.

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