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Amazon Kindle Fire HDX tablet range launched

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Kindle fire HDX
Kindle Fire HDX range

Amazon has launched the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX, a range of tablets that comes in two sizes and features significant hardware and software improvements.

Both the 7-inch and 8.9-inch HDX models represent considerable upgrades over last year's Kindle Fire HD range.

For a start, both devices have been made slimmer and lighter than the previous iterations - up to 34 percent, in the case of the 8.9-inch model. Amazon has shifted the power and volume buttons around to the backs of the devices in order to help cut down on heft.

More strikingly, but HDX tablets have been given all-new high resolution displays. The 7-inch model now has a 1920 x 1200 display, which is the same resolution as the Google Nexus 7 2.

Meanwhile the 8.9-inch HDX features a 2560 x 1600 resolution display. The end result: 323 ppi for the 7-inch model and 339 ppi for the 8.9-inch model, which is about as sharp as it gets for tablets right now.

These displays aren't just sharp though - they're also smart. Amazon has incorporated technology that adjusts the tone and colour of the pixels according to ambient lighting, so having an enjoyable tablet experience in the garden on a sunny day should no longer be out of the question.

Matters have been improved internally, too, with both devices running on quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 CPUs clocked at 2.2GHz. These are backed by an ample 2GB of RAM.

The 8.9-inch model comes with an 8-megapixel camera, but more importantly for a tablet you have option of 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of internal storage. They're also set to come in Wi-Fi and 4G configurations.

The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX range also gets the new Fire OS 3.0 a.k.a. Mojito. Early examples of Amazon's forked-Android UI had their issues, but there have been a number of meaningful changes this time around (including a core bump-up to Android 4.2 Jelly Bean).

Amazon has introduced the ability to view your apps in a more traditional grid view rather than the default carousel. Admittedly this is just reintroducing a feature many would argue should never have been removed from the core OS, but it's a welcome addition nonetheless.

More interesting is the addition of Mayday. Press this virtual button at any time and within 15 seconds you'll find yourself talking to an Amazon assistant, via video chat, who can then guide you with any hardware or software difficulties you might be having.

But it goes further - the assistant will be able to take remote control of your tablet, and will also be able to highlight which buttons you need to press on your own screen.

The final but perhaps most significant feature of these HDX tablets is the pricing. The 7-inch Amazon Kindle Fire HDX will start shipping the US on October 18 from just $229, which equates to around £143. The 8.9-inch model will launch on November 7 from $379 (£237).

There are no UK details as yet, but we'll keep you updated.

Next, read our Google Nexus 7 vs Amazon Kindle Fire HD comparison.

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