The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 is the 7-inch tablet successor to the Amazon Kindle Fire HD and the little brother of the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9. The online retail giant has revamped it to make it slimmer, lighter, and upped the specs - adding a new Nexus 7-rivaling 1,920 x 1,200 resolution display and improving the highly customised Android operating system.
Priced at £199 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model or £269 for the 3G/4G model, it’s bidding to take on the current king of the 7-inch Android tablets, the Nexus 7, and newcomers like the £119 Tesco Hudl in the quest to be one of the best-selling tablets this Christmas.
After delivering the Kindle Paperwhite, which is the best eReader by some distance, the Kindle Fire HDX 7 shows signs that it’s more than just tablet to consume books, games, magazines and videos.
Watch our Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 video review
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The HDX looks very different to the Kindle Fire HD and the changes, on the whole, are welcome ones. It does still have the glossy black bezel surrounding the 7-inch display with front-facing camera up top, but when you flip it over the differences are quickly apparent. There’s the matted, soft touch plastic, but the long black strip on the back is gone and the curvy corners have now been replaced with much more angular ones.
Fingers now follow the sloped narrow design when holding the HDX in landscape mode, making it more comfortable to grip in two hands. If you are planning to use it in portrait mode it’s a less enjoyable experience. The HDX is noticeably wider than the Nexus 7 making it much more of a stretch to hold in one hand.
Key design changes are geared towards using it in landscape mode. The volume rocker and on/off button have moved to the back in easy reach, the two stereo speakers are higher up to avoid muffling the sound with your hands and the microUSB charging port and 3.5mm headphone jack are positioned on the edges of the device to avoid wires flailing across the screen. Locating the buttons can initially be fiddly but it doesn’t take long to readjust. If you are looking for the microHDMI port you're out of luck, it's gone so you are going to have to rely on the Miracast support for screen mirroring to a TV.
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In terms of actual dimensions, the Wi-Fi model weighs 303g shaving off almost100g from the Kindle Fire HD (395g) and that’s definitely a good thing. It’s still slightly heavier than the Nexus 7 2 (290g) and at 9mm thick is marginally more portly than the Asus tablet, but is a little shorter. It’s still not a pocket-friendly tablet, but it won’t weigh down your bag and that’s a major plus over the last edition.
The only other design aspect to note is that the glossy plastic panel feels like it could have been put on more carefully as it doesn't quite sit flush with the sides of the tablet. Overall build quality is solid, however.
Read also: Kindle Fire HDX 8.9
The HDX features a 1,920 x 1,200 resolution screen up from the 1,280 x 800 quality display on the Kindle Fire HD 7. It manages to squeeze in 323ppi pixel density equalling the new Nexus 7’s display and even uses the same IPS display technology to offer similarly good viewing angles.
Amazon has also introduced new dynamic interest contrast screen technology that can adjust the tone and colour of the pixels depending on the ambient lighting. The chief benefit is to make the screen better for reading Kindle eBooks sitting on the beach soaking up the rays. It works surprisingly well with text and images nicely visible without much of an irritating glare.
The first thing you’ll notice is the exceptional brightness. Amazon claims a maximum brightness of over 400 nits and it really shows. For watching video, reading books, and web browsing, it’s up there with the Nexus 7 2 in terms of luminosity. It doesn’t disappoint in the sharpness department either with text and visuals razor-sharp and well defined. Colours are well represented and adding plenty of punch for gaming as well. It might not have a more eye-friendly e-Ink display like a Kindle eReader, but it’s one of the best 7-inch screens for reading.
It’s not perfect though. There is a blueish tint around the edges of the screen, particularly noticeable when looking at completely white backgrounds. According to Amazon its presence is down to the way it creates that ‘100% sRGB colour accuracy' on the HDX. Using blue LEDs instead of white LEDs to light up the LCD display to produce the perfect colour accuracy means battery can be conserved by 20%. Some will find the issue more noticeable than others and while it didn’t entirely ruin our reading experience it’s odd to see this slip through the Quality Control net.