In the fleeting moments I had with Amazon's new Kindle Fire tablet , I noticed one major thing: It lost a lot of weight. The engineers at Amazon managed to slim down their flagship tablet in every dimension.
The new Kindle Fire HDX is lighter by 23 percent for the smaller model and 34 percent for the full-sized one. The slimmer profile is made possible by a new, lighter magnesium alloy body, a touch screen with fewer layers than before and a frame that is about one-quarter narrower all around the edge of the screen.
Add to that the company's claim that the processor is three times as fast as last year's Kindle Fire HD, and Amazon.com Inc. seems to have an attractive holiday gift option on its hands.
In my hands, at an event for [reporters], the weight reduction is noticeable. I own a year-old 7-inch Kindle Fire HD and find it chunky. Trying to read a book on it with one hand is like doing so with a big hardcover book. Eventually, your wrist will need a break.
The new HDX with a 7-inch screen, measured diagonally, is now lighter than the iPad Mini, at 10.7 ounces compared with 10.9 ounces. Google's new Nexus 7 is lighter than both, though, at 10.2 ounces. The HDX has a starting price of $229, a $100 less than the Mini.
For dedicated reading, you might prefer a lighter e-reader, such as the Kindle Paperwhite, at 7.3 ounces. But my tendons appreciate the effort Amazon has made to slim down the Fire. And you need a tablet if you want to do more than read.
The 8.9-inch HDX is also significantly lighter, at 13.2 ounces, than a full-size iPad, at 23 ounces. Of course, the smaller screen -- 0.8 inches shorter on the diagonal -- contributes to Amazon's under-sized achievement here. The larger HDX starts at $379, or $120 less than the iPad.
The new Kindle devices sport a "unibody," compared with the previous model's casing made of many parts put together. The back still has a rubbery feel like the old Kindle Fire HD. There is still shiny plastic covering the camera area, so fans of Apple's aluminum casing might not be impressed. But this is in fitting with the kind of holdable feel of the overall Kindle line.
Amazon also gave last year's HD an update and a price cut, though the new model drops a front-facing camera and microphone and reduces the amount of storage . The base model with 8 gigabytes costs $139, compared with $199 for the 16 gigabyte version before. (continued...)
© 2013 Associated Press/AP Online under contract with YellowBrix. All rights reserved.
Posted: 2013-10-02 @ 8:15am PT
The biggest drawback of the Kindle is no access to Google's App store. Kindle's app store doesn't have much. Another drawback is the browser doesn't work well. Things that are done easily with Youtube (app or browser) on Android tablets and iPads will just not work well with a Kindle. This is strange when you consider that the Kindle is based on an Android fork.