Approx. 2 months ago I’ve received a new Kindle. Yes, again. And it was not because I am unhappy with my Kindle Paperwhite 2nd Gen (it’s awesome), but because I wanted 7 inch tablet (with nice storage capacity) to read non-mobi content and HDX 7’s value-to-price ratio seemed pretty amazing. Two months have passed, so I feel like I’m ready to share some thoughts about it.

Kindle Fire HDX 7 as an e-book reader

It does its job very well - of course keeping in mind that it’s not an e-ink. It’s HD resolution is perfect to read high-quality image-dense A4 formatted books like RPG rule books. The comic books you buy from Amazon have some nice features like single frame focus and enlarge - it’s a nice benefit that would be possible on traditional e-ink reader.

The light sensor works really nice, so there’s no issue with reader in either strong or mild light. All the basic Amazon readers’ features like X-ray & dictionary are present of course.

Any problems with e-book reading then? Yes, there are some:

  1. Some mobi e-books look FAR better on Paperwhite than on HDX because the font is huge and user is not allowed to decrease it. It applies on for some books (happened for me with PacktPub tech ones), normally fonts are totally fine.

  2. Book management is inconsistent and works different on content bought from Amazon and content imported into device manually. It may be a pain really.

  3. Collection management is just to simple - why can’t I search for books that are not in any collection or reassign a book to another collection when I’m in collection view? These are really basic things, but they’d help a lot with the usability.

Kindle Fire HDX 7 as a tablet

The OS itself (FireOS, based on Android) is totally focused on Amazon’s content, but it doesn’t limit HDX 7 too much. The store has plenty of Android applications (I found everything I need, but I’m not too picky), the browser bundled (Silk) works pretty well and awesome resolution makes using HDX a real pleasure. Having plenty of storage available is another pro (64GB in my case, well, reduced by the space taken by OS).

The biggest proof on HDX playing well its tablet role is that once I’ve put my hands on new Kindle, I’ve completely stopped using Microsoft Surface (not mentioning the iPad).

Access to Amazon’s content

This one deserves a separate paragraph. Unfortunately, because there are some issues to be raised. You can officially order HDX 7 to Poland, but your usage experience will significantly differ from your US colleagues’ ones: that’s because the access to items from Amazon digital stores is limited - you can buy books & apps, but forget about music, movies and TV.

I was not surprised, because I’ve already knew that before I’ve made an order, but this is very, very annoying. I understand that there are some limitations enforced by law and agreements between content publishers, but if Apple was able to solve at least some of them (by making iTunes available in PL) why can’t Amazon. Big disappointment, but I hope that it will be resolved sooner or later, because without full access to digital stores HDX feels more like an ordinary tablet (looses a lot of its unique character).

What I didn’t use it for …

Please don’t treat it as a full, comprehensive review of HDX 7. Keep in mind that I may not be a typical tablet user - I barely use any applications (just Spotify, Pluralsight, Twitter & Facebook), I don’t play on tablets, etc. What I do is reading e-books and browsing the internet with the browser. So, for instance - if you’re crazy about the latest version of Angry Birds, it may not be available for HDX and I didn’t even notice (because I don’t care).

The Summary

I got what I needed. I wanted a 7 inch tablet with HD resolution that is able to properly display ALL my e-books (including PDFs with a lot of graphics). And I wanted to keep all my content in one single place (on one device, well, I’m not counting backup here). The price was reasonable so I’m happy.

But there’s no point in pretending that HDX 7 is any kind of breakthrough - it’s a table with great value-to-price ratio and nothing else (at least for now in PL).

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