Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7" Tablet Review
Amazon falls short with the Kindle Fire HDX 7".
A Hemi in a Hyundai
Despite the impressive spec sheet, the Kindle Fire HDX 7" falls a little short when it comes to competing with tablets in its price bracket. Amazon's line of Kindle Fire HDX tablets may be highly-touted for raw performance numbers, but the 7" model doesn't do much to set itself apart from the pack in a substantial fashion.
Sharp, uneven display
Improving upon older generations of tablet, the Kindle Fire HDX 7" has a display of 1200 x 1920 pixels—giving it about 320 pixels per inch. So what? Well, this means that you won't be able to differentiate individual dots of light on the screen should you be more than a few inches away from the screen.
Contrast performance was mixed: though the contrast is quite good, gamma (the transition from black to white) was anything but accurate. Movie lovers will appreciate the black level of 0.33 cd/m2, and a peak brightness of 412.32 cd/m2 when they take this slate on the plane.—a contrast ratio of 1249:1 is nothing to sneeze at for a tablet.
Color performance is very good despite gamma issues making errors in gradients occasionally. Amazon managed to keep the Kindle Fire HDX's color gamut very close the sRGB gamut—If you're a professional photographer, this screen will be more than satisfactory—provided your pictures keep away from the edges of the screen.
Reflectivity is poor, however. Bouncing back 11.7% of all light shone on the screen, glare becomes a very visible issue even when the tablet is angled away from bright light. Should you have the misfortune of having a bright light directly shone on the screen, 6.4% of that light will go directly into your eyes. Though it doesn't sound like much, trust me—it's a lot.
Paging Dom DeLuise
Battery life is somewhat low despite the Kindle Fire HDX's small screen. Reading Tolstoy's War and Peace for 6 hours, 10 minutes at full backlight and no wireless connections enabled, hopes for a tablet with long battery life are dashed quite expertly. If you need to use this on a plane to catch up on a few novels, you might want to close the window shade so you can drop the backlight as much as you can—you might be able to squeeze some extra time out of the battery that way.
Video playback is a different story, though nothing too exciting. After 6 hours and 57 minutes playing back Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, our Kindle Fire HDX quit on us. This is a more or less average result for a tablet on full backlight, but if you're watching a dark movie, you'll want to control the light around you if at all possible.
I don't have a score for you. I don't feel that it's of any fault of my own though, so let me explain.
In efforts to prolong battery life, some tablets clock their processors down to make the most of what charge they have. In testing the processors, I noticed a steady and severe decline in performance starting when the battery hit 90% and below. The GeekBench scored started at around 2600 due to that oversized chip in there, but the performance rapidly declined.
Unfortunately, that means that I can't report a final score to you—if I said only one, it'd be a lie, and I'm not in the habit of doing that. The best I can offer is the statement that the tablet handles tasks well when the battery is properly juiced, but that performance is wildly inconsistent afterwards.
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