Amazon Kindle Fire HDX review: Amazon Kindle Fire HDX

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX back
Although this isn't a bad product, it's not as good as the competition.

Amazon has its own Web browser, email client and contacts apps, all of which seemed to work fine in my time with the device, although not being able to use the standard Chrome browser that comes on the Nexus 7 was a pain for me as I have everything synced on that.

Music comes courtesy of Amazon's Cloud Player, which will contain digital copies of most CDs you've bought directly from the company over the years. You can also upload 250 songs for free to Amazon's servers, then listen to them on the Kindle and other devices. Paying £22 a year increases that to 250,000 songs. Or you can simply transfer them across from a computer using a USB cable.

Newsstand lets you buy digital magazines, complete with patronising labels like 'Magazines for her' (Glamour, All About Soap, Look) and 'Magazines for him' (Nuts, Top Gear, Hornby, F1). It's just like being in WHSmith.

No downloadable video

Where things really go wrong, however, is when you try to buy video to watch on the device. You can't -- simple as that. The Kindle Fire uses Lovefilm for all the movie and TV things, and unless you have an Internet connection, that doesn't work. It's streaming only, so if you're hoping to buy a tablet to watch video on the train, or somewhere else without a decent Internet connection, don't buy this. If you already have the video file, you can transfer it over to the Kindle via USB. You can also install the Netflix app, but that's streaming-only too, so doesn't help much.

In the US, subscribers to Amazon Prime get to download some video for free, but that service isn't available here. Contrast this with the iPad or most tablets that use Android, such as the Nexus 7, where you can simply buy the video you want, download and watch wherever.

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX hands on
You can't download video -- it's streaming only.

That points to the essential flaw with the Kindle Fire HDX in the UK. Almost all the really cool things it does, with the exception of the Mayday feature, can be done on a rival tablet using Amazon's own apps. Want a colour e-reader? Buy another tablet and install the Kindle app on it. Like the idea of Amazon Music? Just install the app on your phone. And so on.

Conclusion

This isn't a bad product by any means, it's just not as good as the competition, which shows just how competitive the sector has become, and how much you get for your money now.

It costs £10 more than Google's equivalent, the Nexus 7, and that's for the version that shoehorns irritating ads onto the lock screen. With a better video service, it would be worth a look, but unless you really need the Mayday feature, you're basically buying a fancy colour e-reader.

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  • Type Fire OS 3.0 "Mojito"