The Kindle Fire HDX is a seven-inch tablet with a tiny footprint. With a narrow bezel it feels squarer than many other tablets while maintaining the 16:10 ratio of the screen. In short, it feels rather like an iPad mini, albeit without the metal build. The back is soft-touch plastic, adorned by a large Amazon logo in landscape orientation. The casing has an angular pattern that slopes away towards the edges, making the tablet feel even thinner than it is. The power and volume buttons are located on these slopping edges. They sit in the general vicinity of your thumbs when holding the tablet in landscape mode, and are almost impossible to fi nd in portrait mode. It’s strange, then, that some apps actually force you to use it in portrait mode.
The Kindle Fire HDX boots into Amazon’s own
version of Android. You would be hard pressed to fi nd
many traces of Android within the UI, such is Amazon’s
complete overhaul of how the system works. The
home screen features a large Recent Items widget,
built around your Amazon content purchases, along
with a selection of your favourite apps. Along the top
are tabs that enable you to quickly navigate to your
games, apps, books, music, videos and so on. The
content stores are built directly into the UI, as is cloud
support. So you open the Movies, for example, and
can see your local content, cloud-stored content and
tap the Store icon to buy some new stuff. Needless to
say, all your activity is tied to your Amazon account,
just as other devices are tied to Google.
The notifi cations pane from Android remains in
place, as well as a few more obscure features, but for
the most part this is an Amazon tablet. The
replacement apps are pretty good; the keyboard
works well, the Silk web browser is faster than
Chrome. We just can’t say it does things better than
Android. It’s a great content consumption device, if
you’re a heavy Amazon user.