Amazon has revealed its third generation of Kindle Fire tablets – the 7in and 8.9in Kindle Fire HDX – and they're specced to impress.
The latest generation of Amazon's tablets have undergone more than a few nips and tucks in addition to swallowing plenty of spec-sheet vitamins. Here's all you need to know.
Trimming the fat
Both new Amazon Kindle Fire HDX models have spent time under the knife, with the 8.9in HDX now weighing in at 34 per cent lighter than its predecessor, in addition to sporting a thinner figure.
While the HDX models are kitted out in a plain matte black finish, an angular plastic strip along the top injects a welcome dose of funk into an otherwise standard tablet. We'll have to wait for some hands-on time with the models before we can vouch for their build quality, mind.
"Twice the memory, three times the performance, four times the gaming power". Not a bad place to start, but how has Amazon earned the right to that impressive marketing sound bite?
Well both Kindle Fire HDX models sport Qualcomm's mighty quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor (the same silicon powering the beastly LG G2), which is clocked in at 2.2GHz.
RAM has also been doubled to 2GB, while the HDX's Adreno 330 GPU provides four times the graphical grunt of the old Kindle Fire HD.
Both the 7in and 8.9in models feature near-identical pixel densities, with the former featuring a 1920x1200 display and the latter raising the resolution to a tasty 2560x1600. All those numbers translate to pixel-packed displays which should caress your eyes with sharp text for reading and tasty graphics for the latest games.
Not only that, but Amazon has thrown in dynamic sensor-based contrast adjustment. In plain English, that means the Kindle Fire HDX models can adjust their contrast by pumping up dark areas when faced with bright light.
As with the Kindle Fire HD models before, both Kindle Fire HDX versions are running a heavily customised version of Android, dubbed Fire OS 3.0.
Thankfully the carousel view can be replaced by a traditional grid menu which should speed navigation up considerably and the built in email, document-editing and calendar apps have been tweaked considerably for the better.
And then of course, there's the huge range of Kindle content for you to explore – serving up books, movies and apps (and adding to Amazon's gargantuan coffers).
If you're an Amazon Prime member you can also download Prime Instant Videos and watch them offline, and you'll get a free one month Prime subscription if you're not already a member.
Another feature called X-Ray displays lyrics for songs you're currently listening to and you'll also have a whole host of IMDb facts at your fingertips for whatever you're currently watching.
More after the break...
Kindle Fire HDX owners will come across a Mayday button in their settings menu. Tapping it will (rather unnervingly) give an Amazon tech support representative total control of your HDX device, possessing your tablet to get to the bottom of whatever ailments it might be suffering. Handy for when little Timmy changes your language to Swahili, the little rascal that he is.
Amazon promises that the 8.9inHDX will provide 12 hours of battery life, with 18 hours of pure reading if you switch it to a low-powered Reading Mode. Knock an hour off each of those times for the 7in model, and you've still got an impressive figure. Let's hope both tablets live up to their promise in Stuff's pending review.
When can you get one?
The 7in HDX is priced from US$230 ($288) while the 8.9in model will set you back US$380 ($476). That's a bargain considering the specs on offer, but we'll have to wait and see what prices are bestowed upon the rest of the world before we start celebrating.
The 7in HDX will be out on 18 October, with its larger brother making a fashionably late appearance on 7 November. Again, these dates are US-only.
Check out Amazon's pre-order page for full US pricing info with the various Wi-Fi/4G and storage configurations, and stay tuned for a full Stuff review to see if Amazon's new tablet roster will make your way onto Santa's list this Christmas.