tablets

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7" Tablet Review

Amazon falls short with the Kindle Fire HDX 7".

$229.00
http://reviewed-production.s3.amazonaws.com/attachment/7e2d12572f644aa2/KindleFireHDX7__hero.jpg
8.6 score Tested by Experts
  • The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 is better than 71% of the tablets we tested.
  • It is better than 75% of the tablets we have tested under $300.
  • This product is scored relative to other tablets we've tested. Learn more.
# of tablets Product Score This graph shows the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7’s score compared to other tablets we tested.
Advertisement

Digging in the Bargain Bin

Amazon grabs headlines with affordable tablets, but this time the news isn't stellar. The world of seven-inch tablets is rife with low-cost options—though some are definitely high-quality, others are simply cheap. Enter the Kindle Fire HDX 7" ($229 MSRP), an entry-level tablet from Amazon.

Though Amazon's newest tablets bear the Kindle OS' latest-and-greatest features, the devices themselves are hit-or-miss. Sure, a 24-hour customer service video-chat app is an innovative feature, but that only goes so far, given that the HDX's access to content is limited to proprietary sources.

Though the spec sheet reads with many impressive numbers, the HDX 7" still doesn't measure up to the competition. The only thing the HDX has over the Nexus 7 is access to Amazon Prime Instant video. Otherwise, you're paying the same amount of money for ads, a worse screen, poorer battery life, and a worse selection of apps and services. Build quality is also an issue, leading me to believe that the "loss leader" strategy has finally caught up to Amazon.

Tour

Lamborghini body, Fiero Chassis

If you do get your hands on a Kindle Fire HDX 7", you'll be treated to a very light and easy to hold tablet. It's almost unnerving how weightless it is, but don't worry: you won't break it easily. Though the headphone jack and microUSB port used for charging are very basic for a tablet, the Kindle Fire HDX 7" sports a camera on either side of the unit. Additionally, the best tablet-based speakers I've ever heard reside on the top of the Kindle Fire HDX.

The best tablet-based speakers I've ever heard reside on the top of the Kindle Fire HDX.

The soft-touch backing is the perfect texture to combine with the shallow angles of the bezel, and you'll have no trouble using it for hours. Underneath the hood is a market-leading Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, along with 2GB of RAM and a drive starting at 16GB of storage space.

However, the screen is a glaring problem. Not only is the backlight ill-fit for the Kindle Fire HDX's form, but you'll also notice fringing on all edges as a result. It's tough to get over very visible problems like this when you're showing off photos and video to friends, especially when there are better screens for the same price—or cheaper.

As an aside, the low price of the Kindle Fire HDX 7" was assisted in part by the display of advertisements on your lock screen unless you pay extra for them to go away. While it's not a big issue for those who simply flick them away, others may be very annoyed at the prospect of seeing ads in yet another place where there once was none.

Advertisement

Performance

Weird science

Despite the good score here, I'm going to roast this tablet. Oddly fitting given its name, but there are several performance issues that don't show up in the lab that any user can plainly see—the screen fringing for one is quite annoying.

If you're playing a lot of games, you can expect to see performance slowdowns rather quickly.

Additionally, the processor's performance is shockingly wonky despite sporting a cutting-edge model: from what I found in the lab, the performance takes a nose-dive the lower the power reserves get. If you're playing a lot of games, you can expect to see performance slowdowns rather quickly.

When it comes to instrument measurement, the Kindle Fire HDX is one of the best at reproducing color along the universally-accepted parameters. Additionally, a very wide contrast ratio and bright screen allow comfortable use outside. This is absolutely necessary for the HDX 7" given its high screen reflectivity.

You may be distracted by the constant color fringing on the edges of the screen.

By the numbers this tablet bests its competition quite handily in a few measures, but that's missing the forest for the trees: though that screen might hit some attention-grabbing headlines, it's grossly hindered by things that don't show up on a spreadsheet. Though image and video content will look great, you may be distracted by the constant color fringing on the edges of the screen.

Comparable Products

Before you buy the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7, take a look at these other Tablets.

Conclusion

Don't pay for ads

The idea behind the Kindle Fire HDX is something that was tried before with early Android tablets: If you can't beat the competition on equal footing, why not flank them by outmuscling the competition for cheaper? It worked for Android against Apple, but there's no reason to believe that it will work for Amazon without the user experience to match.

Though their Mayday feature is admittedly a huge feat, it's tough to overlook things like the absence of Google services. You may not think much of YouTube or an official GMail app now, but you'll notice it when it's gone. Now that the latest Kindle Fire can only reach the same price as the Nexus 7 via the support of advertisements on your lock screen, it's a tough sell—especially when there's something better out there for the same price.

The hardware of the Kindle Fire HDX 7" looks good on paper, but put together it's a mess. Though it looks fine before you turn it on, the HDX 7" has low build quality and noticeable problems. The Mayday feature may be enticing, but unless you use Amazon Prime for your streaming content, there's very little reason to buy this tablet.

510l0mrkgwl. sl160

Kindle Fire HDX 7", HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers

Buy now for $179.00 at Amazon

Reviewed.com In Your Inbox

Sign up to get the latest news and reviews via email

Thanks for signing up!

News and Features

Roku news hero

Now Roku Can Mirror Your Android or Windows Screen

The new functionality adds flexibility to one of streaming video's best values.

Touchpico stylus hero

Turn Just About Anything into a Touch Screen

After a successful Indiegogo campaign, startup Touchjet gears up to ship the first Android touch-projector.

Spritz hero

Video: Read Anything on the Web 3x Faster With Spritz

At the fastest settings, it's possible read a 1,000-page novel in roughly 10 hours.

Intel keynote hero

Intel's New M Processor Aims to Corner the Mobile Market

Today's keynote is brought to you by the letter M.

Samsung ifa 2014 galaxy tab active hero

Slim, Ruggedized Samsung Tab Active Debuts at IFA Berlin

Samsung's Galaxy Tab Active takes a spotlight at IFA Berlin.

Hero

Acer Debuts 11 New Laptops, Tablets, and Phones at IFA

No matter what you're looking for, Acer has you covered.

Smartwatch 3 hero

Sony Announces New Lineup of Phones, Tablets, Wearables

Whichever mobile tech you want, Sony has it. And it's waterproof.

Samsung ifa news hero

Samsung Unpacks New Note Phones, Co-Branded Oculus VR Headset

The world's biggest phone maker stays ahead of the curve.

Asus mobile hero

Asus Releases New Tablets, Zenbook, Netbook

A slew of new mobile devices highlight Asus's fall product lineup.