Amazon kindle fire hdx 7 review: a high watermark

     

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Welcome khổng lồ First Click, an essay written by The Verge staff in which we opine on lives lived in the near future.


It’s often posited that a major factor in the tablet market’s recent decline is a lack of reason lớn upgrade; most people use these devices for little more than nội dung consumption, & the one they bought years ago will often vày that job for years to come. I don’t quite emtoàn thân this myself, as I work on my ipad Pro almost every day, but it’s not surprising to me either — I also still use my Amazon Fire HDX from 2013 all the time.

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The weird thing with Amazon tablets in particular, though, is that if I did decide to buy a new one today it’d actually be a downgrade.

Amazon’s Fire tablets aren’t for everyone. If you care about app selection or productivity, there are far better options out there. But if all you want from your tablet is a simple device that’s bigger than your phone, easier khổng lồ hold than your máy tính xách tay, & better for watching videos & reading books than both — & I think that applies lớn a lot of people — it’s hard lớn beat the 2013 Fire HDX. My 7-inch Model has a great 19trăng tròn x 1200 screen that holds up well even next to lớn newer devices, & its SnapLong 800 processor remains entirely fit for purpose. We recommended it over the higher-over 8.9-inch model upon release.

But Amazon discontinued it in 2015, replacing the HDX with the Fire HD line. The Fire HD comes in 8-inch and 10.1-inch 16GB variants, both with 1280 x 800 screens. The smaller mã sản phẩm sells for $89.99 & the larger Mã Sản Phẩm costs $229.99, though it’s listed as out of stoông chồng until July. Given the identical resolution, more practical size for ebooks, and dramatically lower price, I think the năm nhâm thìn Fire HD 8 is clearly the more mainstream Mã Sản Phẩm between the two, though you can save even more with the 7-inch 1024 x 600 8GB Fire at $49.99.


The upshot is this: not a single Fire tablet on sale today, a range of products ostensibly intended for the express purpose of watching Amazon Prime Video, has a 1080p-capable display. What?

Resolution isn’t everything, of course, so I wanted lớn check out the Fire HD 8’s screen in person before calling it bad. I ordered a Fire HD 8 last week. The screen is bad. Quite aside from the noticeably lower pixel mật độ trùng lặp từ khóa when compared to lớn the HDX, the colors are washed out with a xanh tint, the air gap is bigger, và it’s far more reflective. It’s a bad screen.

The HD 8 does have some advantages over the HDX. Despite its lower chất lượng, I vì prefer the 8-inch screen form size, especially with the smaller side bezels. The speakers are a little better. The battery life seems better, too, though you’d expect as much from a bigger, thicker, và multiple years newer device. There’s a microSD thẻ slot and a rear-facing camera — it’s staggeringly bad, but it exists. And the operating system, the Android Lollipop-based version of Amazon’s Fire OS known as Bellini, is a vast improvement; the UI is actually great, ditching the old carousel thiết kế for a simple system of inhỏ grids, swipeable tabs, & a useful “recent” view; and it supports Alexa. (Granted, this “advantage” is because Amazon didn’t update the HDX’s software beyond Sangria, the KitKat version of Fire OS.)

But screen chất lượng is everything for a tablet, particularly one primarily sold as a vector for Amazon’s own video service. Amazon’s original shows lượt thích Transparent & The Man in the High Castle are filmed in 4K, and Prime Video is one of the better sources of 4K and HDR content out there. It’s odd lớn me that Amazon would drop ludicrous amounts of money on The Gr& Tour, one of the most expensive shows ever made, và encourage you to watch it on such an inadequate device.

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Pricing is, of course, a concern, and I’m sure the Fire HD 8 would be worth $89.99 to lớn pretty much anyone that doesn’t own a tablet. And Amazon says its low-cost strategy is leading lớn more sales. But I don’t think that explains why it couldn’t offer a credible higher-kết thúc device as well. The HDX 7 was $229.99 in 2013, the same price as the lower-specced Fire HD 10 today, và got steadily cheaper over time. 1080p panels are not exotic or expensive components these days. And this is the same company that sells the $289.99 Kindle Oasis, essentially a luxury ebook reader, alongside the $79.99 entry-màn chơi Kindle.

It was reported throughout 2015 that Amazon was refocusing its Lab126 hardware division, with projects including a 14-inch tablet said khổng lồ have been put on ice. As someone that takes his 12.9-inch iPad Pro on every vacation and weekend trip pretty much exclusively for use as a misshapen portable TV, I would have sầu bought the hechồng out of that 14-inch Fire tablet if it were the best way lớn watch Prime Video (và Netflix, and Hulu, & so on).

Now, I accept that a gigantic Amazon tablet would probably have been a very nibịt product & it’s not too surprising that it never saw release. A smaller tablet that can play Mozart in the Jungle in 1080p, though? That doesn’t feel like a stretch. I don’t think I need one myself — I still have sầu my HDX, after all. But what about first-time buyers?

A year ago, I defended the Kindle Oasis by calling it a cork as opposed to a screwcap bottle — it’s not materially better, but it is a lot nicer, & often that niceness can be worth paying for. The Fire HD 8, then, is box wine. It’s cheap, accessible, & does the job in a pinch, but you wouldn’t want all wine in the world to lớn be that way. With that said, here’s hoping Amazon sees the value in releasing another screwcap tablet sometime soon.


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