The battery life projection from Amazon puts the tablet at over 11 hours of mixed use, with 17 hours of just reading. In the course of testing, the battery came in a under that — about nine hours of battery life with mixed use, while putting the tablet through its paces.
Other: The Fire HDX also hooks into the Amazon ecosystem. Users can link the books they read on the Kindle with other Amazon properties such as Goodreads or Audible. And, Amazon promises, Kindle Fire HDX owners will soon be able to shoot the video they’re watching on their tablets to their televisions, via partnerships with set-top box and console makers.
In terms of gripes, the smaller version of the tablet doesn’t have a rear-facing camera — though the larger version does — which means that video conferencing isn’t super-easy. The front-facing camera works fine for basic video and photos, but this is hardly going to become your primary shooter.
But the newest Fire has at least one real plus that’s not even part of the tablet — the Origami cover. Sold separately for $50 and up, the magnetic cover folds so that a user can pop a Kindle on it and rotate the Kindle in any direction without having to rearrange the fold. The cover also wakes up the tablet when it’s opened and pulled back and puts it to sleep when it’s placed back down over the screen. It would have been good to have the cover included with the tablet, of course, but it’s a nice addition if you have the $50 to spare.
Bottom line: The newest Kindle Fire HDX is Amazon’s strongest tablet to date, but is still best suited to Amazon’s most loyal customers — or those who want to become loyal Amazon customers. The tablet still doesn’t have the breadth of apps to compete with Apple, Google or Samsung offerings. If that doesn’t bother you, the price is a plus for the quality of hardware you get.
The base, 16 GB, WiFi tablet starts at $229. It also comes in 32 GB and 64 GB versions, and users have the option of adding LTE service with either AT&T or Verizon. Users can also choose to add $15 to the price of any of the tablets to opt out of Amazon’s “special offers” program, which displays certain discounts and ads on the device’s screen savers.
Amazon has given the tablet an Oct. 18 release date. According to Amazon’s Web site, however, orders placed now are expected to ship the week of Oct. 28.
(Amazon.com founder and chief executive Jeffrey Bezos is the owner of The Washington Post.)