It has a gorgeous 7" HD screen which looks better than the Retina screen on my iPad, it's slim and lightweight with a battery that lasts 11 hours. The key new feature is free built in customer support delivered via one way video conference It's a new service called Mayday and you just press a button and someone comes on within 10 to 20 seconds. You can see them as shown in the screenshot below, and they can control your device and show you how to use certain features.
I tried Mayday twice with amazing results. If you have a grand parent or anyone computer illiterate, this is true differentiator that makes this product stand out from anything else out there. And this is coming from a huge Apple fan.
I am also a user of Amazon Prime and use Amazon for an increasing amount of purchases as well as books and movies. The device's tight integration with Amazon allows you to access all that content in one place could certainly simplify my life.
It's priced at $269 but for forty bucks less you can get a version that shows you an ad every time you start up. I opted for the cheaper model and its really not very intrusive and doesn't bug me.
Here is a pretty good review comparing it to other tablets out there.
There were two issues:
The biggest by far is that it has only a front facing camera. So while its great for Skype you can forget about taking any photos or videos. I was so sure that it would have a rear camera that I didn't even read the spec closely enough prior to purchase. My wife was also convinced that the camera must be and even spent some time looking for it! I'm guessing that most people, like us, would rather have a rear facing camera and this is a huge oversight. Amazon probably figured that most people have smart phones which could be used for photos. But here's what's wrong with that thinking; tablets and mini tablets with their ten hour battery life were tailor made to be used as a camera. Plus no one wants to crowd around a smartphone to watch a video. Its hard to recommend this device without one.
The interface is also not quite perfect. Movies, books and apps are mixed together in a jumbled display of different sizes that I just don't find intuitive. In the screen shot of my screen below you see two apps, a movie and two books. It just doesn't look right and a week later, I just don't like it.
When its doing something one doesn't get a full sense of what exactly is happening or when its going to be over. For instance when fetching movies and books from my Amazon account all I saw was a message about the content being queued and later on they were there but never got a sense of what was happening or when I would have it.
There are a couple of competitors to the HDX; Apple iPad Mini at $399 and the Google Nexus 7 at $229. You can see a detailed comparison of all three here
Based on my usage of 7" tablets, here are my power rankings as of November, 2013:
- Apple iPad Mini (the leader with gazillions of apps, a simple intuitive UI and five year track record)
- Google Nexus 7 (has pretty much everything you need except all those apps)
- Kindle HDX 7 (a must for every Amazon user but no rear camera)
- Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 (a distant fourth. See my review here)