Within the fleeting moments I had with Amazon’s new Kindle Hearth pill, I observed one main factor: It misplaced a whole lot of weight. The engineers at Amazon managed to slim down their flagship pill in each dimension.
(Additionally see: Refreshed Amazon Kindle Hearth HD pill unveiled at cheaper price)
The brand new Kindle Hearth HDX is lighter by 23 % for the smaller mannequin and 34 % for the full-sized one. The slimmer profile is made potential by a brand new, lighter magnesium alloy physique, a contact display screen with fewer layers than earlier than and a body that’s about one-quarter narrower throughout the sting of the display screen.
Add to that the corporate’s declare that the processor is thrice as quick as final 12 months’s Kindle Hearth HD, and Amazon.com Inc. appears to have a pretty vacation present possibility on its palms.
In my palms, at an occasion for reporters Tuesday, the load discount is noticeable. I personal a year-old 7-inch Kindle Hearth HD and discover it chunky. Attempting to learn a guide on it with one hand is like doing so with a giant hardcover guide. Ultimately, your wrist will want a break.
The brand new HDX with a 7-inch display screen, measured diagonally, is now lighter than the iPad Mini, at 10.7 ounces in contrast with 10.9 ounces. Google’s new Nexus 7 is lighter than each, although, at 10.2 ounces. The HDX has a beginning worth of $229, a $100 lower than the Mini.
For devoted studying, you would possibly desire a lighter e-reader, such because the Kindle Paperwhite, at 7.three ounces. However my tendons admire the hassle Amazon has made to slim down the Hearth. And also you want a pill if you wish to do greater than learn.
The eight.9-inch HDX used cars can be considerably lighter, at 13.2 ounces, than a full-size iPad, at 23 ounces. In fact, the smaller display screen – zero.eight inches shorter on the diagonal – contributes to Amazon’s under-sized achievement right here. The bigger HDX begins at $379, or $120 lower than the iPad.
The brand new Kindle gadgets sport a “unibody,” in contrast with the earlier mannequin’s casing made from many components put collectively. The again nonetheless has a rubbery really feel just like the outdated Kindle Hearth HD. There’s nonetheless shiny plastic protecting the digital camera space, so followers of Apple’s aluminum casing won’t be impressed. However that is in becoming with the form of holdable really feel of the general Kindle line.
Amazon additionally gave final 12 months’s HD an replace and a worth reduce, although the brand new mannequin drops a front-facing digital camera and microphone and reduces the quantity of storage. The bottom mannequin with eight gigabytes prices $139, in contrast with $199 for the 16 gigabyte model earlier than.
I did not get an opportunity to check by myself a brand new “Mayday” button on the HDX fashions. With that function, a number of faucets summons a dwell video chat with a customer support consultant. I noticed a demo sufficient occasions to consider that, sure, there’s certainly an precise particular person capable of help you when you need assistance navigating.
One neat half about this: The consultant has the flexibility to scribble in your display screen to level you to the place you need to faucet. In the event you’ve watched televised soccer video games, you may need seen these digital chalkboards, by which the announcers draw arrows over the display screen as they touch upon performs and methods. Right here, as an alternative of the consultant telling you to faucet the second button on the left, she or he can circle it for you. The consultant may even take over your machine quickly to place you on the best path.
Don’t be concerned about wanting presentable, although. The consultant can hear you however cannot see you thru the one-way video window. However that particular person can see no matter is in your display screen, so conceal that love word earlier than summoning assist.
CEO Jeff Bezos surmised that the “Mayday” button will make a enjoyable Christmas Day dialog starter. I am certain Amazon will guarantee they reply promptly to the flood of inquiries round gift-opening time from individuals who simply wish to attempt it out.
I observed the audio system at the moment are positioned on prime of the machine when held horizontally, as an alternative of being on either side. This appears designed so you may nonetheless hear in stereo with out headphones when the brand new “origami” cowl is hooked up. Within the earlier model, I discovered headphone-less listening high quality was patchy as a result of the audio system confronted away from you. Even with the brand new speaker location, they level away. I really feel like individuals who need the stereo impact ought to simply use.
As for the display screen high quality, I believe the advance is sweet, however maybe not as beautiful as the advance from normal definition to HD.
Viewing a scene from the pilot of Amazon’s unique collection, “Alpha Home,” on a 7-inch HDX alongside the up to date Kindle Hearth HD, I discovered the colours on the brand new mannequin a bit extra vibrant. Each HDX fashions now have the next pixel density than Apple’s vaunted Retina display screen: The smaller one is at 323 pixels per inch and the full-sized one is at 339 pixels per inch. In contrast, the iPad Mini is at 162 pixels per inch and the full-sized iPad at 264 pixels per inch.
Though app builders nonetheless need to make use of the improved screens, they’re wanted to profit from Amazon’s video indicators, that are despatched out at as much as 1080p. The older and the up to date Kindle Hearth HD are able to dealing with solely as much as 720p streams.
The eight.9-inch HDX now comes with a rear-facing digital camera and devoted photo-editing software program, though I’ve all the time felt taking photos with a giant pill appears foolish, particularly when you have a smartphone in your pocket that does the identical job.
Different options embody an improved X-ray on-screen trivia service, which now options musical knowledge. Amazon’s Prime Prompt Video service now options downloads for offline viewing reasonably than simply streaming, which requires a relentless Web connection. I am going to want extra hands-on time to attempt them out, although.
With HDX, Amazon is making key enhancements in areas the place I really feel it lagged behind its opponents essentially the most: on weight and with its processor, because the outdated Kindle Hearth HD felt laggy and gradual to reply. I do not assume Amazon will ever be the model for, say, avid gamers in search of excessive efficiency from a pill. However for individuals who use Amazon so much for books, video and different companies, it’s going to be good to have a bit much less wrist pressure and a bit extra zip when flitting across the machine.