This blog post covers my first impressions of the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7” tablet computer.
January 2021 update: I originally wrote this blog post in 2013. I still own this tablet and use it occasionally. I don’t play games on it too often and my primary use at the moment is for using the Pocket application for offline reading. I don’t use the tablet daily or even weekly sometimes, but I do like it and somehow I’ve not broken it! For eBooks I now mainly use a Kindle e-ink eReader and not this tablet. I did play far too much of the Bloons TD 5 game, which I found addictive!
I’m a fan of Android, Amazon and tablet computers, so it was only a matter of time that I dived in the Kindle Fire world. Was I disappointed? Read more to find out!
The tablet turned up already partly charged, and ready to go! I connected to my wifi network, entered my Amazon username and password, and dived right in. Rather than opting for the stock rom experience enjoyed by the Nexus, Amazon placed the third revision of their FireOS on the HDX. I will admit, I’m currently uncomfortable using their flavour of linux, but I’m sure I will soon be comfortable using their tailored OS.
The boot and shut down times of the tablet are quick, with the initial boot being around thirty seconds. As expected Amazon’s services are front line, to the extent that you will probably access them more than usual. I keep looking back at previously purchased books, listen to more music in the Amazon cloud and find myself in spare moments browsing the available applications from their store!
The hardware is impressive, but it feels quite delicate and doesn’t have the solid feeling the Nexus 7 does. I’ve already purchased one light case for the tablet, but I am considering a second more bulkier purchase. The light case I purchased was from eBay and can act as a stand, which I have found useful.
Like all other tablet devices I use, I can become frustrated by a limited experience when using mobile or responsive versions of applications or websites. On more than one occasion, I’ve halted a task, and have opted to continue on my laptop. That being said, I’m pushing myself to become more fluent in the use of tablet devices, and reducing my reliance on my laptop. Having such a capable tablet, is easing the transition, but I won’t be giving up my laptop any time soon!
Switching between applications on the HDX is a smooth process, allowing me to jot down notes using their swipe style keyboard. For notes, I installed the ‘ColorNote’ application from the store. I also installed a couple of the ‘Bloons’ Tower Defense games, amongst other apps, and not once have I noticed a performance issue.
Within an hour of handling the tablet, I grew slightly frustrated with the Amazon App Store, and resorted to loading a couple of Android apps manually via their APK files. It is a shame Google Play isn’t available out of the box, but I can understand why.
The biggest disappointment being the lack of a compatible version of Zinio, which I was luckily able to find via the Zinio site itself. Though when loading a magazine via the Zinio application, I have to move a page slightly to sharpen the image.
The wireless connection hasn’t been as good as other mobile devices I own, and on a few occasions I had to disable and re-enable the wireless connection to gain internet and network access again. Perhaps this issue is because of the crazy amount of wireless networks in my area.
Even though I find my old e-ink Kindle 3G a superior reading device for traditional style ebooks, I have started to read more of my Amazon purchases via the HDX. If planning a short trip, I would probably leave my Kindle reader at home now, as long as I was able to charge the tablet at some stage.
I don’t care for the supplied charger and cable, and instead have carried on using the one that accompanied the Nexus 7 I purchased last year. Nothing wrong with the Amazon charger, but I’ll stick to using my Nexus charger, which I use to charge all my other mobile devices.
Within days I’ve found myself managing files on my NAS (ES File Explorer), managing to-do lists (ColorNote), reading blogs (Feedly), books, comics (Comixology), magazines (Zinio), playing games, and listening to music. Now I am gaining familiarity with the device I plan on expanding my activities, to truly aid productivity and mobility. Whilst I would prefer a larger screen size, it isn’t too bad for my current requirements.
I purchased this device whilst Amazon had £30 GBP knocked off the price, and I’m definitely glad I opted for this rather than a similar screen sized device, such as the Tesco Hudl, or even the next generation Nexus 7. The lack of a HDMI, microSD and rear camera in the HDX 7” is limiting, but not as much as I imagined.
So to conclude, I’m happy with this product at the price of £169 GBP. I plan to push this device further, and I hope you subscribe to the blog (i.e. add my site url to Feedly), or follow 8Bit Mammoth on social networks to stay updated.