Amazon has started shipping its much-anticipated Kindle Fire HDX -- and rumblings are rising about the tablet being a true iPad Air contender. Amazon bills the HDX as the lightest large-screen tablet, at 13.2 ounces, lighter than Apple's newest tablet, which weighs 16 ounces.
Kindle Fire HDX offers a 7-inch or 8.9-inch HDX display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core 2.2 GHz processor, 11 hours of life, and dual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus audio. It weighs 34 percent less than the previous generation and includes a Mayday Button for free on-device tech support.
The tablet sports the latest version of Fire OS -- Fire OS 3.0 "Mojito." The new OS comes with hundreds of new and upgraded features, platform updates, and Amazon-exclusive services. The 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX is $229. The 8.9-inch is $379.
Outperforming iPad Air?
"The 8.9" Fire HDX is startlingly light -- at just 13.2 ounces, it's the lightest large-screen tablet. This is combined with a 339 ppi, perfect-color HDX display, 3x the processing , 2x the memory, 4x the graphics performance, and backed by Fire OS 3.0, with exclusive features like the revolutionary new Mayday button -- and all of this is just $379, much less than you'd pay for a comparable tablet," said Peter Larsen, vice president of Amazon Kindle. "This is the best tablet we've ever built, and we can't wait to see what our customers think."
Industry reviews are in and they point to a stellar experience. Fire HDX 8.9" has the most advanced display on any tablet, according to Dr. Raymond Soneira at DisplayMate Technologies: "Most impressive of all is the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9, which has leapfrogged into the best performing tablet display that we have ever tested, significantly out-performing the iPad Air in brightness, screen reflectance, and high ambient light contrast, plus a first place finish in the very challenging category of absolute color accuracy."
The Associated Press said the tablet is "emerging as the strongest challenger yet to Apple's device." And CNN Money reported that, "At the end of the day, the Kindle Fire HDX offers the best raw hardware performance."
Weight for Money
We asked Roger Entner, principal analyst at Recon Analytics, for his take on the competition between the iPad Air and the Kindle Fire HDX. He told us the HDX has a gorgeous screen, but both machines offer strong experiences.
"One tablet runs Android and the other runs iOS. You can use applications from your iPhone on your iPad. So if you have an iPhone it's almost a foregone conclusion that you will go iPad," Entner said. "But the ones who don't use iPhones, in all likelihood, they might save their money."