Kindle Fire HDX vs Kindle Fire HD: What's the difference?

Amazon has announced that the new Kindle Fire tablets are now available in the UK, following US launch in September, bringing you all the goodness of Amazon in a glossy new device. It's going under the name Kindle Fire HDX, with that X, you guessed it, meaning it's packing in more pixels on that display.

At the same time, Amazon has updated the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD for 2013, while the 8.9-inch Fire HD launched earlier in the year remains untouched.

In this array of Kindle Fire HDs and HDXs, some new, some not, what's the real difference? With this latest update, what is Amazon changing and should you hold fire, or charge right in?

Displays

The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX comes in two sizes: 7-inch and 8.9-inch, offering a 1920 x 1200 pixel resolution display (323ppi) on the 7-inch and 2560 x 1600 (339ppi) on the 8.9-inch. At that resolution, the 8.9-inch HDX has the sharpest display around, while the new 7-inch HDX matches the Nexus 7 (2013) for pixels. 

The Kindle Fire HD (2013) - that's the new version - has a 7-inch 1280 x 800 (216ppi) display, whilst the Fire HD 8.9-inch has a 1920 x 1200 (254ppi) display. Naturally, the higher pixel density displays of the HDX will give you more detail, with the 8.9-inch HDX looking like the real star in the pack.

Power and battery

The Kindle Fire HDX models have a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, the same sort of thing as you'll find in the LG G2 or Samsung Galaxy Note 3. That means oodles of power on offer on both the 7-inch and 8.9-inch models, both with 2GB of RAM.

The Kindle Fire HD models both at 7 and 8.9-inches settle for a 1.5GHz dual-core processor. The HDX will be faster, but Amazon also reports that the Kindle Fire HDX will offer slightly longer battery life. Not bad considering the step-up in display and power. It's aided by a new software feature designed for reading, which shuts down non-essential hardware to extend the battery to 17 hours if reading alone.

Cameras

The camera isn't the most important part of a tablet in our opinion, but you still see a large number of people using them to take photos: the Kindle Fire range hasn't had a rear camera until now. The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 has a rear 8-megapixel camera, as well as a front-facing camera.

Both the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 and the new Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch offer front-facing cameras, while the new 7-inch Kindle Fire HD (2013) has no camera at all.

Connectivity

Kindle is known for being well connected and the wide range of clever features, like Whispersync, that come with it. The new 7-inch Kindle Fire HD (2013) is the only model without the option for 4G. It also misses out on the dual-antenna Wi-Fi that the others offer. If connectivity is key, so you might want to avoid the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD and pick one of the others.

Software

The Kindle Fire HDX and 7-inch Kindle Fire HD (2013) debut with the latest Fire OS3 software. The Kindle Fire HD 8.9 doesn't have that update and there's no word on if it will. 

Fire OS3 brings a range of features to the Kindle Fire HD and HDX family, including a new Mayday button for instant customer service support, second screen features, better touch response, X-Ray for music, a new reading mode that powers down hardware that’s not needed to extend the battery life and much more. 

READ: Amazon Kindle Fire OS 3.0 Mojito: What is it?

Size and weight

Weight is an important factor for tablets, especially if you're going to be lying in bed holding it while watching Breaking Bad on Netflix. The lightest of the lot is the 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX with Wi-Fi at 303g. The heaviest is the old 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD. Weighing in at 567g, that's going to be a real strain on your wrist after a while.

The 8.9 Kindle Fire HDX comes in at 374g, which is impressive. It's also only 7.8mm thick, making it the slimmest of the bunch. It's a whole 278g lighter than the iPad. 

Summary

There's a wide range of options available in the Kindle Fire HD family now. The HDX models obviously bring the advantages of more power and more pixels. If you're looking at gaming on your Kindle Fire, the power-hungry games like Real Racing 3 will load faster and you'll squeeze out more detail. The Kindle Fire HDX is what you want.

READ: Amazon Kindle Fire HDX review

If you're looking for something for casual browsing at home, then the Kindle Fire HD might save you a few bucks. But bear in mind, the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD, is much more weighty than the HDX - if you're going to be holding it up to view, then you might want to find a little more cash for the top model.

READ: Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 review

The Kindle Fire HD 7-inch (2013) starts at $139/£119, the Fire HD 8.9-inch starts at $269/£229. The Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch starts at  $229/£199, the HDX 8.9-inch is $379/£329.



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