Amazon has unveiled its second generation line-up of Kindle Fire tablets, including two new Kindle Fire HDX models and an upgraded yet cheaper Kindle Fire HD.
Often leaked and rumoured over the past few months, the new models each carry a number of improvements which Amazon hopes will make them a compelling buy over rivals such as the Google Nexus 7 and iPad Mini.
Starting with the Kindle Fire HDX, we have a 7-inch and an 8.9-inch model, with both featuring high resolution displays, faster processors and more memory. The 7-inch option has a Full HD display and a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 (323 pixels per inch), whilst the 8.9-inch has an iPad 4-beating resolution of 2,560 x 1,600 (339 pixels per inch).
It’s not just the screen quality that’s been upgraded either; Amazon has revamped the way the screen and touch layers are put together, allowing for a much thinner device overall. The 8.9-inch model, for example, is 34% lighter than the original 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD. This is thanks to the capacitive touch layer being built directly into the glass which covers the screen itself.
Inside, both sizes of Kindle Fire HDX boast powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chips which are clocked at 2.2GHz and 2GB of RAM. There’s also Adreno 330 graphics which will provide four times the graphical ‘oomph’ of the original Kindle Fire HD, making the HDX models much better for mobile gaming. All this extra power doesn’t seem to come at a cost though, with 11 hours of mixed battery life suggested by Amazon.
Both models feature the addition of a HD quality front facing camera, whilst the 8.9-inch benefits from an 8-megapixel rear camera with electronic image stabilisation, LED flash and Full HD video capture. Both also feature Dolby Digital sound coupled with dual stereo speakers, so movie watching should be pretty enjoyable.
Kindle Fire HD upgrade
The original Kindle Fire HD has been upgraded and made cheaper, as an alternative to the new HDX models. This is the 7-incher than we saw leaked recently, which offers a rather different design which is both slimmer and lighter than the original.
The display will be the same – a 7-inch panel with a 1,280 x 700 resolution (216ppi) – whilst a dual-core 1.5GHz processor and dual stereo speakers round off the spec sheet.
Amazon hopes to break into a new market with this model by making it cheaper than any Kindle Fire tablet before. Currently we only have the US price – $139 – to go on, but it should make for a price tag of around £110 in the UK.
Finally, all of the new Kindle Fire models will come with an intriguing feature which Amazon calls the Mayday Button. Hit this, at any time of the day and any day during the year, and you’ll be instantly connected to an Amazon rep to help you out with your new gadget – quite cool, we think.
The Kindle Fire HDX models will be priced from $229 for the 7-inch and $379 for the 8.9-inch, again with no UK price. Direct conversions work out at £143 and £236 respectively, though. There’s also 32GB and 64GB models, plus ones with 3G and 4G connectivity via AT&T and Verizon Wireless, though we’re unsure yet if the 4G models will come to the UK.
If you’re already sold, all three can be pre-ordered from Amazon.com right now. Amazon UK doesn’t have the new devices just yet, but it has interestingly just dropped the price of the original Kindle Fire to £99.