When you think of gaming peripherals, you seldom consider the Amazon’s Kindle line of products, but with the release of the Kindle Fire HDX, that perception may be changing soon. We all know that mobile games are as popular as ever and now with Amazon releasing a 7″ tablet, the mobile space just got a new HD device that handles games like a pro. So is this new device going to change the way we game, or it just another gaming peripheral to come and go? We answer that below so be sure to read on.
While some might assume that FireOS was designed for just e-books, you would be missing most of what this OS is capable of. Long gone are the days that a Kindle is just for books. The Kindle Fire HDX comes with the latest version of the OS; FireOS 3.0, which runs beautifully on the Kindle Fire HDX. FireOS is a modified version of Android version 4.2 “Jelly Bean” and it is customized to provide a greater level of connectivity between the device and Amazon. From a performance perspective, the device worked flawless with no visual or performance slowdown at all.
Visually, the icons glide in a straight line as you swipe in either direction adding a nice, smooth aesthetic effect. Getting the apps you want, when you want them couldn’t be easier. Games that you just downloaded or recently played will pop up on your quick launch tray. If you want to keep them there, simply leave them be and the device will remember their place on the tray. If you want to rotate your games out or switch the order, simply tap and hold to remove recently added applications from the tray, or delete them from the device, all in the same motion. If you choose not to use the quick launch tray, you can get access to all your games on the device by swiping down to see the full list of icons.
From a functional standpoint, FireOS 3.0 is a great gaming OS. You can download all the latest games from the Amazon App Store and everything that we tested ran perfectly. When you look at how the OS looks and you see all the games you have access to from this device, it is hard to say that the Kindle isn’t a gaming device of the highest caliber. The only thing we didn’t like is that organizing your games can get difficult if you download a lot of games and you choose not to use the quick launch bar. We weren’t able to add folders or any other organizational tool, so we highly recommend you take advantage of the quick launch bar when you can.
The best part about the software is that it automatically syncs with your Amazon Cloud account and you instantly get access to all the music, movies and games you purchased digitally from Amazon.com. This functionality comes right out of the box with no setup required. Simply click the content you want to watch and it is immediately available to you. This is a great feature, especially since it is all done online, so you don’t have to manually sync your device like you have to with iOS. We were very impressed with the functionality and ease-of-use from the FireOS and we know if you are a gamer, you’ll be impressed as well.
This year’s Kindle Fire HDX is a powerhouse of a tablet. The device comes with a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor which runs at 2.2 GHz. This basically runs 3x faster than the previous generation of Kindle giving this device plenty of power to run whatever you want to. In addition to lots of processing power, the unit comes with 16, 32 or 64 gigs or internal storage which is plenty of room for today’s games. If that wasn’t enough space, you can always access your Amazon Cloud account and manage your device that way to get access to even more storage.
The screen itself has been upgraded over last year’s model and it looks great. The screen, this year, features an exceptional pixel density of 323 ppi providing an impressive HD picture. The screen features a reduced-glare coating, improved brightness for better viewing and zRGB color accuracy. To say this tablet looks great is an understatement. All the games we played were displayed in a super-clear HD picture making some of the games we used to play on a mobile device, appear bigger and better than ever. The touch sensitivity was great and we never experienced any input lag or touch errors while using the device. Overall, the hardware provided in this year’s model was more than adequate to provide gamers with the best possible gaming experience. Everything we tested ran perfectly, looked great and proved to us that the Kindle is a serious contender for your gaming dollars. This is a deceptively powerful machine and it is great to know that this is a real option for gamers looking for a great device at a great price.
Finally, one of the most important features to a gaming device is the battery, but luckily the Kindle features an impressive battery life. When you are using the device to its capacity, you will get somewhere in the 11 hour range of life, though we got a little better than that with our experience. When you’re just reading, Kindle Fire HDX automatically powers down unused system components, extending battery life to 17 hours. This will provide plenty of power for long plane rides or extended gaming sessions.
This year’s Kindle Fire HDX retails for $229 in it’s most basic configuration (we tested the base model). However, the device has already gone on sale several times and we’ve seen it as low as $179. This provides gamers with an incredible value over other options on the market. For example, the iPad mini retails for $329 for a base model for similar specifications (the iPad Mini screen is 0.9″ bigger). The Google Nexus 7 is the only tablet that offers the same price point with similar features, though at the writing of this review, the Kindle Fire HDX is $20 cheaper. Either way, under $200 for a full featured tablet is a great deal. Especially when you consider that this device automatically syncs up with your Amazon Cloud account and gives you all your content on Day 1, the Amazon HDX is surprisingly the better deal.
When you look at all the options on the market for a gaming device that can run some of today’s greatest mobile hits, the Kindle Fire HDX offers one of the best and cheapest options for getting into that space without having to sacrifice quality or hardware specifications. While this device may not be the most powerful or offer the flashiest options on the market today, it is a very respectable option at a great price.
Overall, the Kindle Fire HDX is a great gaming device. It offers the robust Android gaming library in a new, cheap way. Having all your Amazon purchases at your finger tips is a great feature and you’d have a hard time finding a better value than Amazon is offering in this package. If you never considered the Kindle, this is the perfect opportunity to get into an excellent gaming device for a very reasonable price. Therefore, we highly recommend the Kindle Fire HDX for your next gaming purchase.