24
Sep
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It's been just about a years since Amazon refreshed the Kindle Fire line, and like clockwork, here are some new tablets from everyone's favorite megalithic online retailer. The updated 7" and 8.9" versions are named Kindle Fire HDX, and surprisingly, they feature some of the best hardware available for Android tablets. In addition to new high-resolution displays (1920x1200 for the 7" and an eye-popping 2560x1600" for the 8.9") they've both got 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processors and 2GB of RAM.

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Kindle Fire HDX 7", left, and 8.9", right

Both tablets get an updated industrial design which kind of reminds me of the original Kindle reader, all angles and corners. Amazon is especially proud of the weight reduction on the 8.9" model: they're claiming that it's the "lightest large-screen tablet" at 8.9 ounces, and it's also pretty slim at 7.9mm. They managed this feat by using a machined magnesium frame. Both tablets feature dual stereo speakers with Dolby audio technology. Both tablets have a 1MP front-facing camera, but the 8.9" version also has an 8MP rear shooter with an LED flash.

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The Kindle Fire HD (that's the model between the "regular" Kindle Fire and the new HDX) is also getting a refresh, though it doesn't have the same drool-worthy screen as the X variants. It uses the same 1280x800 resolution and a new dual-core 1.5Ghz processor from Texas Instruments (which Amazon claims is 60% faster than the old Fire HD). Amazon will release new Origami cover-stands that work in both landscape and portrait for all three tablets, and they all use the new Fire OS 3.0. The new software includes updated and tweaked versions of all the Kindle Fire standard apps, plus Amazon's new MayDay Button one-click video support system. Naturally all the media from Amazon's book, TV, movie, magazine, and audiobook libraries are available.

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Perhaps most interesting is the fact that both the 7" and 8.9" Kindle Fire HDX tablets will have LTE versions available. The LTE wireless access will be available on both AT&T and Verizon - here's hoping that they don't run into the same problems that the new Nexus 7 had. The HDX tablets start with 16GB of storage, but the new HD starts at 8GB.

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The refreshed Kindle Fire HD will sell for $139.99 for 8GB starting on October 2nd. $169 gets you 16GB, and add $15 to remove the Special Offers advertising.

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The Kindle Fire HDX 7" WiFi version will be $229 for the 16GB version, $269 for 16GB, and $309 for a huge 64GB model, and they ship on October 18th. Again, add $15 to remove advertising. The LTE version will be $329, $369, and $409, respectively (wow, that's an expensive little radio) starting on November 14th.

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The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9" version will be $379, $429, and $479 for the 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB WiFi models and will start shipping on November 7th. The LTE variant will cost $479/$529/$579, and it will ship on December 10th. You can pre-order all three tablets and the LTE versions at the links below.

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Check out the full store pages below for pre-orders and more images.

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • Michael Ta

    I like everything, but the logo.

    Call me w.e you want but when I hold my tablet up I want a good recognizable brand on the back, hence I'm using nexus 10.

    • Andres Felipe Torres

      So does it break the "good", "recognizable", or "brand"? because I'm pretty sure it fits that criteria.

      • Michael Ta

        well it's just not Google or Apple or Sony or Microsoft.

        • HopelesslyFaithful

          no offense who cares about brand? what is inside and outside (specs) that matter. aka usability.

          • Michael Ta

            don't worry I'm not feeling offense. But to me branding is something too. I don't care about clothing brands but technology branding is important to me. Just personal preferences.

          • HopelesslyFaithful

            fair enough...just surprised to hear that.

          • jonsconspiracy

            I think Amazon has created a very strong (dominate) brand for itself in the e-reader category. It's small jump over to tablets. I have the current Kindle Fire HD 8.9 and its great. I honestly bought it for the Free Time app that locks it down for my kids. However, I find myself really enjoying using it. It's very snappy and the OS is organized well. The Amazon Appstore has just about everything that's important, and you can also use your Amazon Prime account to stream free movies and TV shows (can't do that on Nexus). That said, I don't like that I can't use the SwiftKey Keyboard and there are no widgets. The point is, that I'd be happy owning either tablet.

          • jeff bellin

            Correction: you can stream Amazon Prime video on your Nexus 7 - and any Android tablet/phone. You just need a browser that supports Flash. I think there are several left, but Puffin happens to also be a blazing fast browser in its own right, certainly a fine choice for watching Prime video on your Nexus 7. Treat it just like you are using it on your PCs browser. Works perfectly. Voila!

    • Rolf

      If you care about brands just put an Apple sticker on the back.

  • Open1Your1Eyes0

    Looks like between the 7" HDX and Nexus 7 the only thing better is the processor (S4 Pro vs. 800). Which is a REALLY nice difference! BUT! Is it worth leaving Android and full unlocked Nexus with latest updates straight from Google just for that processor and having to deal with a locked down OS? Maybe not. Maybe if gaming is your only concern (not that it's even an issue for the Nexus 7 to begin with).

    I guess custom ROMs will tell as well.

    Sidenote: Thank you so much to Amazon for pushing the 64GB standard in tablets!

    UPDATE: Also this is NOT the same 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 as used in the LG G2 and Note 3. (This one is 2.2GHz and has many other crippled clocks).

    The differences are quite significant other than just the clock bump, see here: http://www.androidbeat.com/2013/09/difference-snapdragon-800-2-2ghz-2-3ghz/

    • HopelesslyFaithful

      he ISP speed seems the most damaging...though i admit i am a little lost on what that is. That is RAM interface speed? It at least has the highest clock damage.

      I still stand by my other statement....it is still a better SOC than the crap they were putting in it before. Still an option

    • ari_free

      "Sidenote: Thank you so much to Amazon for pushing the 64GB standard in tablets!"

      Yes! Please!

    • Nomaan

      You said snapdragon 800 is not the same in kindle but you forgot to state that the s4 pro in nexus 7 is not the s4 pro but an underclocked snapdragon 600

      • Open1Your1Eyes0

        You are absolutely right actually! It is being advertised as S4 Pro everywhere but in truth it is APQ8064–1AA which is far higher version of same chip using the Snapdragon 600 Krait 300 cores and better clocked GPU instead of the standard Krait 200 cores in the Nexus 4. Good catch sir! Apparently that makes the device on par with a Galaxy S4. :)

        Details here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snapdragon_(system_on_chip)#Snapdragon_600

    • Jason Bailey

      I'm sceptical, oem's clock slower things lower to control heat, power consumption etc. Are there any tools so you can see what gpu speed clock you have etc? CPU-Z just reports 8974 on my xperia z ultra and gives no info on gpu clocks etc...

    • Jason Bailey

      Also if you compare tho the ultra which allocates 50MB more to graphics ram the gpu performance on the slower clocked ultra is actually better.

      http://blog.gsmarena.com/lg-g2-benchmarks-are-done-check-it-how-it-stacks-against-the-sony-xperia-z-ultra/

      Again I can't confirm which sku of snapdragon 800 is in the Z Ultra.

  • Sir_Brizz

    Looks like it's basically a Nexus 7 with crappy FireOS.

    • mrjayviper

      With better soc inside too

      • Sir_Brizz

        Marginally better. And powering FireOS to boot. :p

  • anmolm97

    Nexus 10 (2013) vs Kindle Fire HDX 8.9" any thoughts?

    • Bakaouji

      its not even announced yet.

      • anmolm97

        i know..leaked specs i guess, :/ i'll wait

    • MindFever

      Nexus 7 2013 ftw...price,functionality,Google services,form factor,fullHD (1080p) screen,battery life,notification led...did I say PRICE? Also the N7 2013 basically has an underclocked Snapdragon S600 CPU . It's very snappy overall. If with that question you were in reality asking which should you chose,I would say go with the N7 2013 . I rest my case your honour

  • HopelesslyFaithful

    nice finally amazon has listened and put in a good SOC!!! I am now even considering this as an option. I never would have bought one in the past due to the weak soc

  • http://ashutoshmishra.org/ Ashutosh Mishra

    Impressive guts for the price, especially for 7 inch HDX. I'd still pick up the Nexus 7 over this any day. Fire OS is a big ball of bloat, and unless Amazon has patched the TRIM issue of Android 4.2 (and earlier), this tablet will keep getting slower over time. Stock Android forevah!

    I do like that Amazon uses Helvetica instead of Roboto in Fire OS.

    • jonsconspiracy

      My Fire HD 8.9 is a few months old, and hasn't slowed down at all. Its faster than the Asus Tranformer tf700t I used to have that had a Tegra 3 processor.

      It might be BS, but I read that Amazon has re-engineered the Android OS to make touch sensitivity and responsiveness a lot better. It seems true when I use my Fire HD, which is very snappy switching between apps and swiping back and forth.

  • that’s what she said

    8.9" seems to be the perfect size.

  • David Peterson

    Seems like the 8.9 running a custom ROM would be pretty hard to beat in specs and performance.

    I'm rocking a Nook HD+ with CM10.2 and it chugs along, but the thought of getting lighter and faster at that price seems really tempting

  • PhoenixPath

    Stop with placing the speakers on the back of tablets. Please.

    Phones? Fine. I get it, it adds too much space for some people. But tablets? There's no excuse.

    Front-facing speakers, or it ain't getting purchased.

  • Cael

    OMG those Bezels!!!!!!!!! People wanna bitch about the N7 but praise the Gods because this thing has a S800? Gimme a break...which the N7 will be able to do in a month!

    • Shitiz Garg

      N7 will be able to do a S800 in a month?

      • jesuguru

        "Gimme a break" - I think it was his sly reference to the N7 getting Kitkat in a month.

        • Cael

          You win!

  • Alejandro Quintero

    As long there is Custom ROMs for the new kindle...Im buying it.

    • jonsconspiracy

      Indeed. I'm just going to wait to make sure it can be rooted and the Play Store can be added. I don't need a custom ROM, I kind of like the Fire OS.