The Kindle Fire line of tablets has been thus far one of the most successful Android devices on the market. With this year’s upcoming models—an upgraded Kindle Fire HD and the 7- and 8.9-inch models of Fire HDX—it looks like Amazon will continue to solidify its lead.
From a techie’s point of view, the new HDX tablets are the more interesting bunch of the trio. Not only do they set a new standard for pure processing power and screen resolution, they also come with new looks, software content, and accessories. Besides these two, no other tablets come with Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 800 processor. Clocked at 2.2GHz, the CPU is on par with those found in desktop PCs and can even process 4K (Ultra HD) videos. The HDX tablets have rich, high-resolution displays that the iPad, even with its Retina display, looks pale in comparison.
While only a refresh, the new Kindle Fire HD is still an impressive slate. Its processor is now an unnamed dual-core 1.5GHz processor (up from 1GHz), while many of its other innards remain the same. Though the Nexus 7 (2013) beats it in several aspects, the Kindle Fire HD’s cheaper price should keep it the leading device for the budget-conscious.
All three tablets have undergone a makeover. While still black, the tablet body has bid farewell to curves and, instead, welcomed a more angular back. Sharper edges are placed here and there, giving the whole design a more industrial feel. Yet another major change in appearance is the relocation of buttons to the backside. Finding them may be awkward at first, but getting used to it seems easy enough. There’s also the new May Day, otherwise known as that distress button you can press to reach live support at anytime, anywhere. Fire OS 3.0, Amazon’s custom version of Android, runs the software side of the tablets. Based on 4.3 Jelly Bean, this new OS introduces several improvements and fixes. These include the new task switcher, a carousel replacement, an overhauled Chrome-based Silk browser, and more.
Pre-orders are now available for all three tablets, with shipments scheduled from mid-November to December. The cheapest 7-inch HDX model costs $229, while its 8.9-inch counterpart’s price starts at $379. The refreshed Kindle Fire HD will cost users $139 for the most basic model. LTE versions are also available for the HDX models.