Review Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 Tablet

Allen Ngo, 10/28/2013

A brighter Fire. Now in its third generation, the Kindle Fire series shows no signs of burning out. It is still the go-to tablet for Amazon shoppers, but are the new hardware and software updates enough for Android fans to jump ship? We take a closer in-depth look at the new $229 model to see what's new.

Before the advent of the original Kindle Fire in 2011, it was almost impossible to find a $200 tablet that was not poorly-designed with a low resolution TN display made from a largely unknown manufacturer. These third-rate tablets were hardly recommendable and Apple’s expensive iPad was seen as the only alternative to the eyes of the general public.

Amazon took advantage of its massive economies of scale and changed the tablet landscape with the launch of its inexpensive 7-inch Kindle Fire series. Ever since then, quality tablets at reasonable prices from major manufacturers like Samsung, Lenovo and Google have been abundant with a healthy amount of options to choose from.

The Kindle Fire HDX 7 is Amazon’s latest tablet alongside the 8.9-inch HDX 8.9. Launched just this month, this third generation Fire from the online seller includes numerous hardware updates and software tweaks – much more so than the jump from the original Kindle Fire to the 2012 Kindle Fire HD. A higher resolution 1920 x 1200 IPS display, Snapdragon 800 SoC and Adreno 330 graphics make up some of the more significant hardware improvements while the more streamlined Appstore makes it even easier to shop and buy all things Amazon. It’s a definite improvement over last year’s Kindle Fire HD, but is it better than the new Nexus 7?

Model Kindle Fire HD 7 Kindle Fire HDX 7 Nexus 7 2013
Processor 1.2 GHz TI OMAP 4460 2.2 GHz Snapdragon 800 MSM8974 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064
RAM 1 GB 2 GB 2 GB
SSD 8 GB 16 GB 16 GB
Display Resolution 1280 x 800 1920 x 1200 1920 x 1200
Operating System Fire OS 2.0 (Android 4.0.3) Fire OS 3.0 (Android 4.2.2) Android 4.3
Dimensions (mm) 191 x 128 x 10.6 186 x 128 x 9.0 200 x 114 x 8.65
Weight (kg) 0.345 0.303 0.290
U.S. launch price $199 $229 $229
Availability September 2012 October 2013 July 2013

Case

The first Kindle Fire was built very tough, though it looked boxy with a boring design. The second Fire introduced more slanted and rounded corners for eye candy and a thinner profile at the cost of build quality. The newest iteration is the best of both worlds – a more stylish look and an even thinner profile than the second generation with a build quality closer (though not perfectly) to that of the first generation. The slants are now flatter with sharper edges for a more aggressive tone. Edges and corners don’t feel as thick, but they are still substantial with a slightly denser feel than the edges of the Nexus 7. Twisting of the tablet is again between that of the Fire and Fire HD – it’s possible and clearly visible, but not a cause for concern.

Perhaps the most agreeable change that is hands down better than the previous generations is the design. The plastic strip that bisects the backside of the Fire HD now makes up the top edge of the tablet and is overtly glossy that contrasts well with the matte rubber back and edges. Additionally, the rubberized surface adds a subjective quality that makes the tablet feel less like a cheap design and more of a mainstream device. Fingerprints and dirt will still accumulate more quickly than usual due to the surface type and can be difficult to wipe clean.

Pushing down the center of the backside will not result in a depression unlike the Fire HD, whereas the glass front will show small warping when pressed. From a visual and quality standpoint, the chassis is better made than the Kindle Fire HD and comparable to the new Nexus 7.

Rubberized backside with flatter and sharper edges
Rubberized backside with flatter and sharper edges
The glossy plastic bar of the previous Kindle tablet is now along the top edge
The glossy plastic bar of the previous Kindle tablet is now along the top edge

Connectivity

Kindle Fire tablets have always had limited ports to reduce costs. The HDX 7 is no different as it still lacks any SD readers or SIM slots. The HDMI-out port of the previous model is now gone as well and has been replaced with wireless mirroring via Miracast-compatible devices. Though convenient for users with the hardware, this also leaves the majority of users in the dust where a physical connection between the tablet and external monitor is a much more universal solution.

Besides the standard 3.5 mm audio port, the micro USB 2.0 port allows for charging and transferring files. Unlike on some recent Android tablets, any attempts to connect generic mice, keyboards or USB drives to the Amazon tablet will be fruitless.

Wireless connectivity includes dual-band (2x2) WLAN (802.11 a/b/g/n) and Bluetooth 4.0 on the basic Wi-Fi-only model. 4G LTE and GPS are now supported for an extra $100 with a choice between AT&T and Verizon in the United States. We experienced no issues or random timeouts with the standard local wireless active.

Top: Dual microphones
Top: Dual microphones
Left: 3.5 mm audio, Volume rocker
Left: 3.5 mm audio, Volume rocker
Bottom: No connectivity
Bottom: No connectivity
Right: Power button, micro USB
Right: Power button, micro USB

Software

The HDX series uses Fire OS 3.0 (version 13.3.0.2 for this review), software that is derived directly from Android 4.2.2. This highly customized interface is essentially identical to previous models and focuses on the unique Carousel home screen with the familiar Android-like dropdown menu and settings. The UI is very simple and intuitive, but its multi-tasking abilities have been only marginally improved and its customization options are extremely limited compared to the competition. Switching between active apps is done by swiping from the edge of the right side of the screen if on landscape mode or the bottom edge if on portrait mode.

Otherwise, navigating and launching apps feel seamless and perfectly smooth at much higher frame rates than on the older models. Items on the Carousel and the bookmarked icons below it also appear larger to take up more screen real-estate and to reduce the dead space that was prevalent on the Kindle Fire HD.

One aspect of the home screen that has seen no improvement is the top row of categories where users are provided one-touch access to Amazon Books, Audiobooks, Videos, Music, Games, Newsstand (magazines) and Apps stores and other tablet features. The issue is that the sizes of the icons depend on the length of the words. For example, the “Newsstand” icon is much easier to tap with a finger than “Web” or “Apps” simply because it is a longer word and will result in less frequent accidental taps. It is a minor complaint and it is still a convenient feature, but there is no reason why the user cannot rearrange the order in which the categories are displayed or even enlarge them.

The lowest priced HDX model still carries noninvasive ads on the lock screen. A more distracting pop-up ad randomly appeared when we were in the Settings screen, though fortunately only once during our time with the tablet. When in portrait mode, scrolling through the Carousel will display some “suggested downloads” immediately below the focused icon. This is a tablet designed to sell you Amazon products, so users should expect to see special offers and digital items frequently and sometimes repetitively.

The ad-supported model will still present randomized ads on the lock screen
The ad-supported model will still present randomized ads on the lock screen
Pop-up ads like this one will infrequently appear during regular use
Pop-up ads like this one will infrequently appear during regular use
The home screen and Carousel has changed little, but now operates much more smoothly
The home screen and Carousel has changed little, but now operates much more smoothly

Amazon's Silk browser is as silky as ever with almost no lag or hitches. Inputs and scrolling feel smooth even when going through our huge page of reviews. Long pages like these, however, could have benefited from "Home" and "End" buttons to quickly move to the beginning or end of the page. Flash is not supported.

A new feature of the browser is Reading View, which essentially converts any webpage into an eBook and reopens the page in the Kindle's eBook app. The conversion is not perfect of course, especially for pages with numerous tables, icons, pictures and elements like our own review pages. However, text transfers very well and the eBook-style pages make it indubitably easier on the eyes for reading online text.

We encountered a small bug with the browser where it would refuse to load any pages at all despite having an active WLAN connection. This appears to happen at times when toggling Airplane mode on and off. The Amazon stores encounter the same issues as well. A cold boot of the tablet is the easiest solution.

We loaded a number of different video files to test for compatibility. .AVI, .MP4 and .MKV files up to 1080p play without problems, although .MKV files may experience audio issues. .MOV, .OGG and .M2TS files will not play with the very basic default video player. Any videos taken with the 1.2 MP front-facing camera will be saved as .MP4.

Silk Browser does not support Flash videos, but rarely ever stutters
Silk Browser does not support Flash videos, but rarely ever stutters
The Amazon Store is well-organized into separate Games, Apps, Books, Music and many other sections
The Amazon Store is well-organized into separate Games, Apps, Books, Music and many other sections
1080p .AVI files play without issues. .MKV files may have no audio
1080p .AVI files play without issues. .MKV files may have no audio

Accessories

Official accessories are few and far between as the device lacks any dedicated docking ports. Nonetheless, Amazon does provide optional cases, screen protectors and stylus pens starting at $15.

Warranty

The standard one-year limited protection applies that covers any potential internal defects of the device. U.S. buyers can upgrade to a 2-year protection plan for $59 that allows up to 3 tablet exchanges should the user drop, spill, or otherwise damage the device.

Input Devices

Touchscreen

We experienced no issues with the 10-finger capacitive touchscreen as it was able to recognize and respond to basic and multi-touch inputs swiftly. The onscreen keyboard supports standard Swype commands with word prediction, but there is no haptic feedback. There are plenty of additional options that weren't in previous versions, however, including keyboard splitting, emoticons and easy copy and pasting. There is keyboard support for the Japanese language as well.

While previous models have Power and Volume buttons on the edges, the HDX 7 has them on the backside in a similar manner to the HP x2 models. The change favors the landscape orientation because the larger buttons are easier to press with the back fingers while holding onto the tablet. The buttons are also slightly concave to reduce accidental presses and we generally find it to be an improvement over having smaller, narrower buttons on the edges.

Touchscreen recognizes up to 10-finger inputs
Touchscreen recognizes up to 10-finger inputs
Standard keyboard with automatic Swype and word prediction
Standard keyboard with automatic Swype and word prediction
the Kindle's simple eReader and support for eBooks are still its key features
the Kindle's simple eReader and support for eBooks are still its key features

Display

The HDX 7 is one of the very few 7-inch tablets currently available with a 1920 x 1200 resolution display. This is an upgrade from the 1280 x 800 display of the previous model and provides extremely crisp images. The visible screen is closer to the surface of the tablet compared to older models for a greater "pop-up" effect.

Measured brightness levels are about the same as that of the Kindle Fire HD at an average of 426 nits across nine quadrants. This is much brighter than most budget devices, but it doesn't beat the Nexus 7 2013 where we recorded levels greater than 500 nits. We were afraid that brightness would reduce significantly due to the denser resolution of the HDX display, but thankfully the backlight had been upgraded to compensate. Measured contrast is similar as well at about 700:1.

425.1
cd/m²
441.5
cd/m²
429.1
cd/m²
418.7
cd/m²
446.9
cd/m²
421.4
cd/m²
405.5
cd/m²
437.6
cd/m²
412.6
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Basic Pro 2
Maximum: 446.9 cd/m²
Average: 426.5 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 91 %
Center on Battery: 446.9 cd/m²
Black: .669 cd/m²
Contrast: 668:1
Backlight bleeding with a blue hue
Backlight bleeding with a blue hue

Recent reports have noted faint blue backlight bleeding on the HDX 7, something that we can confirm in this review. Amazon's official statement is that this was intentional due to the tablet's use of blue LEDs instead of the more common white LEDs. The manufacturer claims "perfect color accuracy (100% sRGB)", but apparently at the cost of some blue bleeding.

Is this noticeable during regular use? We can comfortably say yes, though this depends on what is currently on display. Bright or otherwise solid colors will maximize the blue edge effect, while pictures and videos tend to reduce it. Thus, reading eBooks and webpages will make the blue edges more obvious. This is not alarming in any way to the usability of the tablet as picture quality is excellent all-around from eBooks to movies. To tech enthusiasts, however, this may feel like a splinter on an otherwise great screen.

Our own homepage is a good example for showing the faint blue bleeding that some users may notice. Amazon claims it as intentional due to the use of blue LED backlighting.
Our own homepage is a good example for showing the faint blue bleeding that some users may notice. Amazon claims it as intentional due to the use of blue LED backlighting.

We analyze color and grayscale reproduction of the HDX 7 with an X-Rite i1Basic Pro 2 spectrophotometer. With a grayscale delta of 8.52 units, the tablet is average with respect to other 7-inch models like the IdeaTab A1000, Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 and Memo Pad HD 7. Color temperature is on the warm side at almost 1000 units below the base 6500K with a slightly off balance blue. The new Google tablet is much closer to the gamma and CCT averages defined by the sRGB standard.

In general, colors on the HDX 7 become more accurate as they become more saturated. Red, blue, and magenta are represented better than cyan and yellow, both of which consistently show deltaE averages of more than 5 units. To most users, however, these slight inaccuracies can be overlooked and are largely unimportant for general use.

Grayscale
Grayscale
ColorChecker
ColorChecker
Saturation Sweeps
Saturation Sweeps
Usable under sunlight if at maximum brightness
Usable under sunlight if at maximum brightness

Outdoor usability is similar to the 2012 Fire HD. The high screen brightness offsets the glossy display to a degree, so a high brightness setting is recommended, especially if under direct sunlight.

As with every tablet and smartphone, increasing the font size will also help in reducing eyestrain and to make reading easier. The Silk browser's Reading View feature is particularly useful in this situation as it quickly turns webpages into a more easy-to-read eBook format. For reading or surfing on the go, the HDX 7 works very well and better than most budget tablets in this size class. It's not as usable outdoors as the Nexus 7, but it is certainly very close.

Viewing angles Kindle Fire HDX 7
Viewing angles Kindle Fire HDX 7

Viewing angle stability is typical of an IPS display. Colors do not shift if viewing from slanted angles to allow for easy sharing and use in both landscape and portrait orientations. Apparent brightness will dip if viewing at angles 45 degrees or greater from the center, but this will have no ill effects on the sole user.

Performance

The 28 nm Snapdragon 800 (Krait 400) SoC is extremely powerful and is one of the most powerful ARM-based chips for smartphones and tablets. Though the CPU is rated for 2.3 GHz, it only runs up to 2.15 GHz according to CPU-Z, likely to save power or stay within the thermal limitations of the tablet design. Raw performance is very roughly between that of the Tegra 4 and Apple A7. More information on the S800 can be viewed on our dedicated page here.

The integrated 450 MHz Adreno 330 GPU is equally impressive, though unfortunately not put to good use in the HDX as explained in the sections below. Its graphics prowess is more than enough for current games designed for tablets and smartphones.

Note that all benchmark apps in this review have been side-loaded from the Android Play Market with the exception of Browser-based benchmarks. The Kindle Fire series does not officially support Android apps and compatibility is not guaranteed. As such, there is no official method to extract, transfer and install Android .APK files onto the HDX.

System information Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 inch

System Performance

General performance outclasses every budget 7-inch tablet currently in the market. Linpack scores eclipse the Nexus 7 and rivals the Apple A7 - an SoC that is so far found only in tablets three times more expensive than the HDX. Compared to the Fire HD, the HDX is a significant hardware upgrade in every aspect.

The S800 SoC is still relatively new, so the only other major release to sport the same SoC as the HDX is the flagship LG G2 in our database at the time of review. Our scores on the Amazon tablet are similar to those of the G2 smartphone, which is one of the fastest Android phones currently available.

Geekbench 3
Geekbench 3
Browsermark
Browsermark
Peacekeeper
Peacekeeper
Octane
Octane
Peacekeeper
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 inch
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB SSD
975 Points ∼16%
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
611 Points ∼10%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
468 Points ∼8%
Asus Memo Pad HD 7
SGX544, MT8125
523 Points ∼8%
Browsermark
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 inch
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB SSD
2611 points ∼36%
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
2380 points ∼33%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
1667 (min: 1653) points ∼23%
Apple iPad mini
SGX543MP2, A5, 16 GB SSD
2098 (min: 2036) points ∼29%
Asus Memo Pad HD 7
SGX544, MT8125
1864 points ∼26%
Vellamo Mobile Benchmark 2.0 - HTML5
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 inch
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB SSD
2839 Points ∼91%
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
1663 Points ∼53%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 inch
SGX540, OMAP 4460, 16 GB SSD
460 Points ∼15%
Asus Memo Pad HD 7
SGX544, MT8125
435 Points ∼14%
Google V8 Ver. 7 - Google V8 Ver. 7 Score
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 inch
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB SSD
3546 Points ∼19%
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
2248 Points ∼12%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
1236 Points ∼7%
Apple iPad mini
SGX543MP2, A5, 16 GB SSD
852 Points ∼5%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 inch
SGX540, OMAP 4460, 16 GB SSD
1383 Points ∼8%
Asus Memo Pad HD 7
SGX544, MT8125
1339 Points ∼7%
Sunspider
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 inch
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB SSD
591.9 ms * ∼6%
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
1150.4 ms * ∼11%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
1722.8 ms * ∼16%
Apple iPad mini
SGX543MP2, A5, 16 GB SSD
1556.8 ms * ∼15%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 inch
SGX540, OMAP 4460, 16 GB SSD
1787 ms * ∼17%
Asus Memo Pad HD 7
SGX544, MT8125
1111.4 ms * ∼11%
Smartbench 2012 - Productivity Index
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 inch
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB SSD
9469 points ∼91%
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
5080 points ∼49%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
3840 points ∼37%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 inch
SGX540, OMAP 4460, 16 GB SSD
2418 points ∼23%
Asus Memo Pad HD 7
SGX544, MT8125
3516 points ∼34%
Linpack for Android - Multi Thread
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 inch
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB SSD
727.011 MFLOPS ∼66%
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
253.634 MFLOPS ∼23%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
69.296 MFLOPS ∼6%
Apple iPad mini
SGX543MP2, A5, 16 GB SSD
124.4 MFLOPS ∼11%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 inch
SGX540, OMAP 4460, 16 GB SSD
73.782 MFLOPS ∼7%
Asus Memo Pad HD 7
SGX544, MT8125
89.716 MFLOPS ∼8%

* ... smaller is better

Storage Devices

AndroBench 3.4
AndroBench 3.4

Our 16 GB model returned surprisingly high results in AndroBench with numbers easily beating out previous Kindle models, the 2013 Nexus 7 and other budget 7-inch Android models. This allows for quicker transfers and application loads.

Out of the theoretical 16 GB of storage, only 10.9 GB is available to the user. This should be more than enough for eBooks and apps, but loading the device with movies, music and 3D-intensive games will fill up the Kindle in no time. The problem is further compounded by the Kindle's lack of an SD reader, so the 32 GB and 64 GB models are the only other options.

AndroBench 3
Sequential Read 256KB
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 inch
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB SSD
133.56 MB/s ∼80%
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
59.73 MB/s ∼36%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
16.87 MB/s ∼10%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 inch
SGX540, OMAP 4460, 16 GB SSD
42.73 MB/s ∼26%
Asus Memo Pad HD 7
SGX544, MT8125
48.25 MB/s ∼29%
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 inch
Vivante GC1000+ Dual-Core, PXA986, 8 GB SSD
38.08 MB/s ∼23%
Sequential Write 256KB
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 inch
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB SSD
22.1 MB/s ∼38%
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
13.97 MB/s ∼24%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
5.22 MB/s ∼9%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 inch
SGX540, OMAP 4460, 16 GB SSD
12.3 MB/s ∼21%
Asus Memo Pad HD 7
SGX544, MT8125
11.76 MB/s ∼20%
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 inch
Vivante GC1000+ Dual-Core, PXA986, 8 GB SSD
14.9 MB/s ∼26%
Random Read 4KB
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 inch
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB SSD
16.52 MB/s ∼79%
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
11.99 MB/s ∼57%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
4.76 MB/s ∼23%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 inch
SGX540, OMAP 4460, 16 GB SSD
12.11 MB/s ∼58%
Asus Memo Pad HD 7
SGX544, MT8125
12.07 MB/s ∼58%
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 inch
Vivante GC1000+ Dual-Core, PXA986, 8 GB SSD
10.56 MB/s ∼50%
Random Write 4KB
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 inch
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB SSD
1.33 MB/s ∼46%
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
0.82 MB/s ∼28%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
0.28 MB/s ∼10%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 inch
SGX540, OMAP 4460, 16 GB SSD
0.59 MB/s ∼20%
Asus Memo Pad HD 7
SGX544, MT8125
0.71 MB/s ∼24%
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 inch
Vivante GC1000+ Dual-Core, PXA986, 8 GB SSD
0.99 MB/s ∼34%

Gaming Performance

Most games on the Amazon store are the 2D fare and do not utilize intensive 3D graphics
Most games on the Amazon store are the 2D fare and do not utilize intensive 3D graphics

The graphics performance of the HDX was difficult to test objectively due to the lack of solid benchmark apps on the Amazon store. Furthermore, side-loading our commonly used graphics benchmarks from the Android market proved futile; Epic Citadel, GLBenchmark and 3DMark 2013 installed unsuccessfully. Side-loading large 3D-intensive titles form the Android market is also hit or miss. AnTuTu 3 installed without problems and does show an SoC with a CPU far ahead of the Nexus 7 and a GPU just edging out the Adreno 320.

Since the HDX uses the same SoC as the LG G2, we refer to our review of the Android smartphone for more analyses and benchmarks on the graphics performance of the Adreno 330 as performance should be similar on the HDX. In short, the integrated GPU is one of the most powerful currently available, and it is a bit of a disappointment to see it go to waste on the HDX as the games on the Amazon store do not take full advantage the high-end graphics hardware.

NenaMark2
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 inch
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB SSD
59.5 fps ∼88%
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
59.3 fps ∼88%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
55.6 fps ∼83%
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 inch
SGX540, OMAP 4460, 16 GB SSD
27.8 fps ∼41%
Asus Memo Pad HD 7
SGX544, MT8125
46.1 fps ∼68%
AnTuTu Benchmark v3
Total Score
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 inch
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB SSD
32108 Points ∼90%
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
19788 Points ∼55%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
12703 Points ∼36%
Asus Memo Pad HD 7
SGX544, MT8125
12764 Points ∼36%
CPU
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 inch
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB SSD
15386 Points ∼100%
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
7290 Points ∼47%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
6371 Points ∼41%
Asus Memo Pad HD 7
SGX544, MT8125
5925 Points ∼39%
GPU
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 inch
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB SSD
9637 Points ∼100%
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
9072 Points ∼94%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
3645 Points ∼38%
Asus Memo Pad HD 7
SGX544, MT8125
3643 Points ∼38%
RAM
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 inch
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB SSD
6173 Points ∼90%
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
2549 Points ∼37%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
1915 Points ∼28%
Asus Memo Pad HD 7
SGX544, MT8125
2308 Points ∼34%
I/O
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 inch
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB SSD
912 Points ∼99%
Google Nexus 7 2013
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
877 Points ∼95%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
772 Points ∼84%
Asus Memo Pad HD 7
SGX544, MT8125
888 Points ∼97%

Emissions

Temperature

Idling surface temperatures average about 31 degrees C on the front and back of the tablet. Maximum load measurements were done after running Stability Test 2.5 for over an hour, which resulted in a very even rise in temperature with a flatter temperature gradient than expected. Even at this very warm state, we had no issues holding and using the tablet normally as most skin contact will be around the edges of the device.

Compared to the Fire HD and Nexus 7, the two devices tend to have steeper temperature changes than the HDX. For example, surfaces on the Fire HD can reach 44 degrees C, though one corner can be as low as 30.8 degrees under maximum loads. The more even distribution of temperature of the HDX is preferable to avoid having one hand feel significantly warmer or cooler than the other.

Max. Load
 39.6 °C41.6 °C40.2 °C 
 38.4 °C39 °C39 °C 
 38 °C38.4 °C38 °C 
Maximum: 41.6 °C
Average: 39.1 °C
37.2 °C41.6 °C40.2 °C
34.6 °C38.8 °C38.6 °C
34.6 °C37.8 °C37.4 °C
Maximum: 41.6 °C
Average: 37.9 °C
Power Supply (max.)  37 °C | Room Temperature 24 °C | Fluke 62 Mini IR Thermometer

Speakers

Dual stereo speakers provide good sound for the price
Dual stereo speakers provide good sound for the price

The dual stereo speakers have been moved yet again, this time to the top back edge nearest the two corners. They face away from the user and using the tablet "upside down" in the landscape orientation will cause the user's palms to cover the grilles.

Audio quality from Kindle Fire products have always been above average for the price and it's good to hear that this continues with the HDX models. Bass is represented surprisingly well and feels balanced with the treble. Maximum volume is loud and incurs no distortions and only little vibration. A 3.5 mm audio jack is available for longer music or movie sessions. We would have liked to see an equailizer or visualizer with the basic music player, but the speakers are already very good as is.

Battery Life

The internal Li-Ion battery provides 4500 mAh of power and is only a slight (100 mAh) improvement in capacity over the previous generation.

When completely idle at minimum screen brightness and in Airplane mode, the HDX was able to last for over 20 hours. Setting the screen brightness to 150 cd/m2 (about 60 percent brightness setting) while looping our browser script resulted in a runtime of almost 7 hours. Maximum load was simulated with Stability Test 2.5 at maximum screen brightness until automatic shutdown. Under these conditions, the tablet ran for almost 3.5 hours.

Compared to the Kindle Fire HD, the WLAN battery life of the HDX is over 2 hours shorter, possibly due to the higher power demands of the higher resolution display. Its idling runtime, however, is about 4 hours longer than the Fire HD and may be attributed to better low-power saving features of the newer Snapdragon hardware and software. This means that users can squeeze out more battery life from the HDX if running at lower system settings, but the power demands of the 1200p display will drain the essentially unchanged battery pack at a quicker rate than the previous generation.

Amazon claims "up to 11 hours of mixed use" and 17 hours of reading. Our own tests above underestimate their values as manufacturer runtimes may use lower brightness settings or other special programs. While 17 hours of non-stop reading is certainly possible at low enough brightness settings, don't expect double-digit runtimes if surfing the net and playing games.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
20h 22min
WiFi Surfing
6h 57min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
10h 53min
Load (maximum brightness)
3h 22min

Verdict

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7

The Kindle Fire HDX 7 is a stronger product at the time of release compared to the Kindle Fire HD 7. Its Snapdragon 800 SoC and Adreno 330 graphics truly do belong on tablets and smartphones worth at least twice the price and its bright full HD IPS display is bested only by the Nexus 7 2013. The sleeker design, improved chassis, rearranged buttons and slight modifications to the software for easier multi-tasking and reading make the new Amazon tablet harder to pass up compared to the last outing.

Is the HDX 7 recommended over a standard 7-inch Android tablet? Its true competitor in this segment is the Google tablet, which includes weaker hardware for less theoretical performance. Our conclusion here remains the same as it was for last year's HD 7: The Kindle Fire tablet is highly recommended only if the user will take full advantage of Amazon stores and offerings. Otherwise, the similarly priced Google tablet is the way to go for standard web surfing, gaming, extensive customizations and general Play Market downloads.

The HDX 7 is designed to sell Amazon products and it does so extremely well. Ignoring this would mean ignoring most of the features of the HDX 7 and reducing the device to a basic web surfing tablet. This is a tablet best served for Amazon aficionados.

Comment this article:

In Review: Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7
In Review: Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7

Specifications

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 inch

:: Processor
:: Memory
2048 MB
:: Graphics adapter
Qualcomm Adreno 330, Core: 450 MHz
:: Display
7.0 inch 16:10, 1920x1200 pixel, IPS, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
16 GB SSD, 16 GB
:: Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 , Sensors: Ambient light sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope ,
:: Networking
802.11a/b/g/n (a b g n ), 4.0 Bluetooth
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 9 x 186 x 128
:: Weight
0.303 kg
:: Battery
45 Wh Lithium-Polymer
:: Price
$229 USD, ~170 Euro
:: Operating System
Android 4.2
:: Additional features
Webcam: 1.2 MP , Speakers: Stereo, 12 Months Warranty

 

Kindle Fire HDX 7
Kindle Fire HDX 7
Build quality is better than the last generation model, but not as rigid as the first generation model
Build quality is better than the last generation model, but not as rigid as the first generation model
The matte back surface extends around the edges and corners
The matte back surface extends around the edges and corners
Lightweight and speedy for the price
Lightweight and speedy for the price
Dual microphones on top edge of unit
Dual microphones on top edge of unit
The micro USB port is slightly angled for an easier connection
The micro USB port is slightly angled for an easier connection
1.2 MP front-facing camera and ambient light sensor
1.2 MP front-facing camera and ambient light sensor
Rubberized backside is similar to previous Kindle Fire models
Rubberized backside is similar to previous Kindle Fire models
HDX 7 is thicker than the Nexus 7 2013, but thinner than the Kindle Fire HD
HDX 7 is thicker than the Nexus 7 2013, but thinner than the Kindle Fire HD
Sharper slants, edges and corners than the previous models
Sharper slants, edges and corners than the previous models
The matte surface attracts grease and dust very quickly and makes cleaning difficult
The matte surface attracts grease and dust very quickly and makes cleaning difficult
The plastic bar is now runs along the top back edge of the tablet
The plastic bar is now runs along the top back edge of the tablet
Speakers on both sides of the top edge
Speakers on both sides of the top edge
3.5 mm audio port on opposite edge of micro USB
3.5 mm audio port on opposite edge of micro USB
Micro USB is the only data port available
Micro USB is the only data port available
Power button relocated to the back of the unit
Power button relocated to the back of the unit
The front screen and back plastic bar are both glossy
The front screen and back plastic bar are both glossy
No screws or hatches for easy tinkering
No screws or hatches for easy tinkering
Original Kindle Fire (left) vs. Kindle Fire HDX 7 (right)
Original Kindle Fire (left) vs. Kindle Fire HDX 7 (right)
The apparent darker display of the newer model allows for less glare and reflections
The apparent darker display of the newer model allows for less glare and reflections
Similar fingerprint-magnet rubberized backsides
Similar fingerprint-magnet rubberized backsides
From top to bottom: HTC One X, Kindle Fire HDX 7, Kindle Fire
From top to bottom: HTC One X, Kindle Fire HDX 7, Kindle Fire

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Links

  • Manufacturer's information

Compare Prices

Amazon.com

$8.99 MoKo Amazon All New Kindle Fire HD 7 Case - Slim Folding Case for All New Fire HD 7.0 Inch 2013 Gen Tablet, BLACK (With Smart Cover Auto Wake / Sleep. WILL NOT Fit 2012 Fire HD 7 and 2013 Fire HDX 7)

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 32GB
» 229.00 GBP (lowest price)
229.00 GBP Amazon.co.uk
229.99 GBP Argos

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 16GB
» 199.00 GBP (lowest price)
199.00 GBP Amazon.co.uk
199.00 GBP Ryman
199.99 GBP Argos

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 64GB
» 259.00 GBP (lowest price)
259.00 GBP Amazon.co.uk
259.00 GBP Argos

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 4G 64GB
» 329.00 GBP (lowest price)
329.00 GBP Amazon.co.uk

The displayed prices can be up to one day old.

Pro

+Bright 1920 x 1200 IPS display
+Powerful SoC for the price
+Smooth performance all-around
+Good outdoor usability and contrast
+Better build quality than the previous generation
+Improved aesthetics
+Now includes WWAN options and a front-facing camera
+Silk browser "Reading View" is very handy
+Great battery life
 

Cons

-Moderate backlight bleeding
-Build quality not as rigid as the first generation
-No direct access to Android apps or Youtube videos
-Rubberized surfaces attract dust and grease and can be hard to clean
-No SD reader and the dedicated HDMI-out port has been removed
-Launch price is $30 higher than the launch prices of previous models
-Little customization options
-Very few Amazon games take advantage of the high-end SoC
-No rear-facing camera

Shortcut

What we like

An easy-to-use tablet sporting both a bright 1920 x 1200 resolution display and one of the fastest SoCs currently available in the market for only $230.

What we'd like to see

A better Amazon app store. Compared to Google Play and Apple, Amazon offers far less in terms of available apps and variety. If you don't like shopping Amazon, the usefulness of the tablet reduces by orders of magnitude.

What surprises us

The display rivals that of the 2013 Nexus 7 as one of the best in its size class. The hardware is even better and its performance belongs in the upper echelon of available high-end tablets of larger display sizes.

The competition

Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7

Asus Memo Pad HD 7

Google Nexus 7/ Nexus 7 2013

Lenovo IdeaTab A1000A3000

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0

Rating

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 inch
10/27/2013 v3
Allen Ngo

Chassis
86%
Keyboard
60%
Pointing Device
85%
Connectivity
31%
Weight
100%
Battery
95%
Display
82%
Games Performance
54%
Application Performance
73%
Temperature
86%
Noise
100%
Add Points
80%
Average
78%
85%
Tablet *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Review Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 Tablet
Author: Allen Ngo, 2013-10-28 (Update: 2013-10-28)