Kindle Fire HDX first impressions
First, the packaging was like no Kindle before it. I knew that it had arrived (I get text alerts from Amazon), and that my Significant Other would be home before me. I had texted my SO to bring in the boxes, but there was no box…just an envelope. Inside, the Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers and the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX Standing Polyurethane Origami Case (will only fit Kindle Fire HDX 7″), Purple were in clear plastic envelopes.
Update: added picture
Inside that, the KFHDX itself was in something like an old videocasette slip cover box: slide off a sleeve, then open the cardboard box (after easily removing a label).
There was a one page instruction card to get it started, which was easy (the power button operation was smooth, light to the touch, unlike previous Kindle Fires). It booted up in a couple of seconds.
Wow! Even locked, the image is much clearer and brighter than on my Kindle Fire HD 8.9″, Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers. Really nice! It displays the date and time (which isn’t correct yet) and the battery status (both with an icon and a percentage) while still locked! That’s very handy.
Unlocking it (with a swipe, just like previous Kindle Fires, my first choice was to pick a language. I had the choices of
- English (United Kingdom)
- English (United States)
- Japanese (I think)
- Simplified Chinese (I think)
I tapped one to check it, then clicked a Continue button (hm…that could have more easily been automatic, but no big deal).
It then showed detected wi-fi networks. I entered my password, and I was ready to go.
It asked me to confirm my account, showing me my name. I did (by hitting Continue). It then said “Loading. Please wait…” I’d say that took something like a minute to load.
Oh-oh! First problem!
It said something that it was registered, but I got an error message:
“Unknown Error. Unfortunately w encountered an error while trying to update your Kindle software. If you encounter problems in using your Kindle please contact Kinde Customer Service at http://www.kindle.com/support.”;
Well, it had asked me to plug the Kindle in to power, and I hadn’t done that yet. I plugged it in (it was a bit hard to figure out how to get the charger into the Kindle itself…it goes in at an angle, not straight in…oh, and it comes with a nice small USB and wall charger, the kind where the USB plugs into a separate unit to go into the wall. That wall part has collapsible prongs, which makes it easier for traveling).
I clicked OK to the unknown error, and it started loading again. After thirty seconds or so, the screen went black. It’s possible I touched the power button to something, but I think it had just cone to sleep. It woke up pretty quickly on a touch.
The next thing it wanted me to do was to connect it to Social Networks (if I chose to do that)…Facebook or Twitter.
Wow, this screen is sharp! It’s like a glossy magazine.
Hm…it doesn’t seem to be responding to my tapping. I’m trying to tap Twitter, I’m trying to tap Next…nothing.
Oh, I see…I think I was supposed to tap Next at the top…that wasn’t intuitive.
It took me to a Facebook login: I canceled that. Then, I could tap Twitter, and that worked.
Now, it is taking me through the tutorial.
Okay, three screens, and it is up and running.
The Favorites appear on the screen: I don’t have to swipe up to see them.
The Carousel looks similar.
It seems to have my appropriate content.
The top line is the name of the Kindle, the time (now correct…it pulled it from the wi-fi network), my wi-fi signal (which seems very strong) and a battery indicator.
Then, I have in one row:
Search lets me search Libraries, Stores, Web. One slightly weird thing: I couldn’t see the “back arrow” while the keyboard was displayed. I had to hit a “hide keyboard” icon to get the back arrow. The libraries search included my Cloud, not just what was on the device.
The Shop looks different from the Kindle Fire HD…it changes images a lot, and the menu is translucent (you can see the images behind the menu. This is fancy looking, if a bit frenetic.
The Games also looks nicer.
Let’s just get this out of the way: the appearance is much smoother, much cooler than the Kindle Fire HD first generation.
The menu under Games has
- Then a section for shopping, including GameCircle Games, Top Paid, Top Free, Top rated
- Then Settings and Help
I changed a sort order: bang! This thing is fast!
I downloaded Angry Birds Star Wars Pemium HD…took under twenty seconds. It loaded very quickly as well.
The sound was at about a mid-level initially. It can get loud (I’ve seen other people concerned about the sound…doesn’t seem like a problem for me on this game). The sound seems rich to me.
The display seems fast as well during the game. I can’t see someone comparing this to anything else and immediately thinking it was insufficient.
Interesting…I can’t seem to find the home button to get out of the game.
Yep…I seem to be trapped in the game, which is merrily playing.
Oh, I found something! I had to swipe from a right edge…although there was nothing at all to indicate that which I saw.
Back to home.
Ah! I see. When I am in landscape mode (wider than tall), it shows me to swipe from the edge to open the navigation panel). I don’t think it showed me that after the game launched, though.
I downloaded a book (Hollowland (The Hollows, #1)) to check that out…maybe eight seconds for a novel.
That’s a bit odd…it gives me the option to play the “professional narration” (audiobook). I tried it, and it told me that “Professional narration is not available on this page”. That makes sense: I was on the cover. However, why offer it to me, then?
I have to say, I didn’t buy the audiobook for this book, so I’m not sure why I get it…oh, there’s a banner that is giving me an option to “Add professional narration”.
I think that has to mean that the sample (it identifies it as such now) must download with the book…that has to take up some memory!
For the book itself, on the top line, I get a
- A menu button
The menu includes navigation and a way to get back to the “Books Library”. It shows me the cover and the name of the book and author. It has a tale of contents, and I can jump by chapter.
Ooh, scrolling down, that’s cool! I got an “About the author”, and “Connect with Me Online” among other things.
The View lets me change the font size, but also choose color schemes (including white on black, which is important to some people). I have border choices, and line spacing, and font choices.
Under More Settings, I can turn on Text-to-Speech (TTS), and turn on Popular Highlights (they defaulted to Off…yay!). For magazines, I can turn off “Page Curl”, which is available in “most titles”.
I turned on TTS, and it had the familiar voice of September Day.
This is enough for now…more later.
Just to sum up: it looks and sounds great! It wasn’t entirely intuitive, but pretty easy to use.
If you have any specific questions, let me know by commenting on this post. I’ll come back and expand this one, so that people without Fires don’t get a series of posts on it.
Speaking of which…bonus deal! M-Edge is having their first ever Warehouse Sale. There are some good deals there on Kindle covers.
Update: we have TTS in multiple languages! That’s important to many people, and we’ve never had it before.
Update; it did update itself…
Update: Using Mayday…I had a legitimate reason to use Mayday, the onscreen tech service. I tried to download National Geographic, and it got stuck in queue. So, I did Mayday…and it was just as promised! I had my tech rep onscreen shortly, and we could chat easily (I can the rep, the rep can’t see me). We fixed it (although I helped a bit) by clearing the cache and stopping the Appstore app. I also asked how to do a screenshot. The rep clearly consulted something, and confirmed that it was the same as on the Kindle Fire HD: power button and low volume button at the same time. We got to joke around a bit, and the rep said it was fun. The rep also demonstrated drawing on the screen. This is a “killer app” for the Kindle Fire (HDX and new HD…the ones with the Mojito operating system) for sure!
Update: Set up my e-mail…no problem.
Update: for other people with Kindle Fire HDXs: does your charger enter at a significant angle? Mine is a little bit hard to put in (not too hard), so I just want to make sure that this angle seems normal…I’d say it is on the order of thirty degrees or so, but I’m guessing on that.
Update: Please continue to ask me questions! I’ll update this post some more, but I’ve decided to write a quick guide to it, since there is so much that is new. I’m hoping to publish it within the next week…it’s just too much material to do here. What I will do is at least make some copies available for free here. There are a couple of ways to do that, and I’ll have to think about my choice.
Update: I can say now, you don’t have to compromise to get a great price! There is nothing here that feels like a compromise to me, in terms of a tablet. The speed has been great, the image is great, I like the sound. I suppose you could argue app availability, but given Amazon’s vast arrays of content, I don’t think that’s really a problem.
Update: the Kindle Fire HDX works perfectly…when not in its Origami cover. I have Maydayed this, and tested in and out. They are going to send me another Origami cover, so we can get an indication of whether it a case of individual variance in the covers, or something more systemic to the design. I like the device very much, so I’m happy that the random sleeping appears not to be the device, but the cover. It would happen while I had the KFHDX7 in a stand, by the way…it wasn’t a case of moving it around and accidentally affecting the power button. Let me say again how much I love Mayday! There has never been a better way to get Customer Service!
Update: I downloaded a Prime video. I have to say, it took a long time: at least half an hour for one episode (at the middle quality) of Sherlock. A Study in Pink is 88 minutes, and took up 1.65 GB of memory: that’s a lot! Not more than I might expect, but much more than anything of my other content on the device…for example, 68 songs are taking up 4.94 MB. That makes the episode (admittedly a long one)…close to 350 times as big as all those 68 songs.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.