We get our hands on the latest bit of Amazon kit – but will a stronger CPU and supercrisp screen be enough to take on the Nexus 7?
The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 is a tablet that's entering choppy waters. The seven inch segment is getting crowded, but retail giant is playing smart: the HDX is a super-powerful device for not a lot of a cash.
The specs are very impressive: a 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor is coupled with a 1920x1200 resolution display. That means you're looking at slick performance and a screen that has an eye-popping 323PPI pixel density.
On top of that there's Dolby Digital Plus sound, capacity up to 64GB internal storage as well as LTE and a big improvement to the user interface, there's a lot to like about this tablet that only costs £199 / $229 at the base level.
There's also an LTE-enabled version on offer, and comes with contracts from networks pre-installed, which are enabled at purchase. These add £70 / $100 to the price of the tablet, but only comes with a chunk of data which you'd then need to add to.
In actual use the Kindle Fire HDX 7 is a solid piece of kit, coming with the more angular sides compared to the rubberised finish of its HD predecessor. The improvement in screen clarity is the most impressive, as the display is pin sharp and finger action glides across the surface.
There will be those that don't like the Fire OS, the skin Amazon uses to hide the Jelly Bean Android operating system it uses underneath. There's been a lot of work from the online retailer to bring its own spin to Android, which includes its own curated app store.
The interface is exceptionally easy to use though; the main spine scrolls across the middle of the screen and shows the content you've been using in chronological order. A swipe upwards now takes you to a grid of all your apps, making it much easier to see the things you've downloaded.
A new option will even allow you to delete the files or content you're not longer using to free up space, popping it back onto the cloud so you don't need to worry about using up storage.
That's less of an issue with the larger capacity models, but at the 16GB iteration it makes sense to help users stay fresh.
There's a lot to like on the Kindle Fire HDX 7, but there are still some things that Amazon needs to do to improve things – for instance, even in our early testing the browser is still laggy and jumps around when you're trying to scroll through the web.
Trying to zoom in and out of text can be a little hard at times as well, with the screen failing to recognise presses each time.
We're still to fully test the browser over a variety of connections to ensure this problem prevails, and there are some other impressive elements: for instance, there's a Flash player that pops up when you need it for the websites still clinging to the older version of the internet.
We also had some trouble connecting to the Kindle store on our device, although this seemed to be a temporary issue and could be easily solved by pushing purchases from the internet to the tablet.
The screen is really impressive on the Kindle Fire HDX thanks to being clear and sharp through the increased resolution, and for the most part it makes the tablet look really next-gen.
However as an ereader it's not as good, as the edges of the screen show some light-bleed that will brighten or darken the edges to prevent a unified glow. For most tablets this isn't an issue, but Amazon is pushing hard on this Kindle being great for books, so it's noticeable.
On the other hand, video looks superb. Flicking through the central spine of apps and content is brilliant. Everything works as you'd expect it to, and looks great too thanks to the improved screen.
Amazon even had to re-tool Android to allow these larger icons to flow through at such speed, and we have to say the effect is worth it.
We'd also like to throw out a special mention to the origami cover. This is a magnetic cover that folds cleverly around to make itself into a stand when you play with the shapes, but provides a pleasant leather barrier to the outside world for your new Kindle Fire HDX.
It's a little thick and weighty compared to the standard tablet, but we love the way it fits together to become a portrait or landscape stand. Well done there, Amazon.
The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX is cheap, powerful and has access to a huge amount of excellent content.
The new screen and uprated CPU all impress for the most part, and the new angular design, along with the origami cover, are definitely a step forward.
We've noted a couple of stutters with things like the internet browser and we've yet to stress the battery or gaming capabilities, but we'll be giving these a thorough test in our imminent full Kindle Fire HDX 7 review.