Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX arrives just in time for the holidays, and just in time to take on the new Google Nexus 7 and an expected iPad mini update, not to mention a growing family of Windows mini-tablets. If you're looking for the perfect balance between Android and a more polished, Apple-like ecosystem, the Kindle Fire HDX looks like a fine choice.
I'll see how the HDX fares over the coming weeks. For now, I can tell you this: It's a solid device, a little heavy in fact, and a very nice wider form factor, more like the iPad mini than the Nexus 7, that I like quite a bit. The new design features tapered back edges, which makes it quite nice to hold, though it also means that the power and volume buttons—hard to find on the original Kindle Fire HD (and Kindle Fire HD 8.9) as well—are now accessed, Braille-like, by touch. I'm OK with that, I think.
It ships with a high-quality USB cable and power adapter, which I appreciate: A lot of cheaper devices these days don't include the power adapter (include Amazon's most recent Kindle Paperwhite).
I also picked up an optional Origami Leather Cover, which is so convoluted in use I'm starting to feel bad for all the negative things I've said about Apple's Smart Cover. I'll give that some time.
Since I used the original Kindle Fire HD for a quite a while, and alternated between that and the 8.9-inch version through much of the past year until the 2013 Google Nexus 7 arrived, I'm curious to see how this one stacks up. But man, is the competition landscape getting complicated. There are far more devices shipping this fall that ostensibly compete with the HDX, and while the basic battle of ecosystems remains unchanged—iOS vs. Google Play vs. Amazon/Kindle vs. Windows—the stakes just keep getting higher. And aside from Apple, which still lives in a bizarre alternate universe, the prices keep getting lower as the capabilities rocket upward.
So there's a lot to look at here.
I'll get right to that—though it's going to get a bit lost as the Surface 2, Surface Pro 2, Dell Venue Pro 8, and other devices hit in the coming days. In the meantime, here are some photos of the new Kindle Fire HDX.
Google Nexus 7 (2013) (left), Kindle Fire HDX (right)