Amazon Announces Pricey New Kindle Fire HDX Tablets and $139 Kindle Fire HD

kindle-fire-HDX-family

Today Amazon unveiled their new line of tablets for 2013. Given all the leaks that have happened over the past couple of months, there really aren’t any surprises from a specs standpoint (I think Amazon likes to leak info on purpose to gauge and gain consumer interest).

The most shocking surprise is the big price increase. Unfortunately Amazon has elected to follow Google’s lead with the 2nd gen Nexus 7 by increasing the price of the 7″ Kindle Fire HDX by 15%, taking the starting price from $199 up to $229. And it gets worse.

This year’s 8.9″ Kindle Fire HDX has seen a price increase of about 27% for the base model. Last year it started at $299; now it’s $379. The price increases might not seem as bad if not for the advertisements that Amazon includes at those prices. It costs $15 more on top of that to get rid of the ads.

One silver lining is 4G-equipped wireless models add $100 to the price, a slight decrease from last year. And now the 7″ model has the option for 4G as well, with the choice of AT&T or Verizon for service.

Amazon has always had the reputation of having the lowest prices when it comes to ereaders and tablets, but that’s becoming farther and farther from the truth all the time. And while I’m ranting about prices, just look at how expensive Amazon’s official new Origami covers are for the Kindle Fire HDX. $65 for the 7″ model and $70 for the 8.9″ Kindle. $15 less for polyurethane instead of leather. Amazon’s covers have always been expensive, but I think they are starting to get too greedy with prices like that when there are plenty of other options out there.

Lets move onto specs and features for the new Kindle Fire HDX tablets.

7″ Kindle Fire HDX Specs

  • 7″ display with 1920 x 1200 pixels (323 ppi)
  • 100% sRGB color accuracy, max brightness over 400 nits
  • 2.2GHz Quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU, with Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM
  • Storage: 16GB (8.8GB available to user) or 32GB (25.6GB available to user), or 64 GB (54.3GB available to user)
  • Front-facing 720p HD camera
  • Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (MIMO+HT40)
  • 4G LTE wireless optional
  • Ambient light sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope
  • Bluetooth
  • 3.5 mm stereo jack, dual stereo speakers, dual mic
  • Battery Life: Up to 11 hours of reading, surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music. Up to 17 hours of battery life when only reading.
  • Dimensions: 7.3″ x 5.0″ x 0.35″ (186 mm x 128 mm x 9.0 mm)
  • Weight: Wi-Fi 10.7 ounces (303 grams); 4G LTE + Wi-Fi 11.0 ounces (311 grams)
  • Price: $229 – $425 at Amazon

8.9″ Kindle Fire HDX Specs

  • 8.9″ display with 2560 x 1600 pixels (339 ppi)
  • 100% sRGB color accuracy, max brightness over 400 nits
  • 2.2GHz Quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU, with Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM
  • Storage: 16GB (8.8GB available to user) or 32GB (25.6GB available to user), or 64 GB (54.3GB available to user)
  • Front-facing 720p HD camera; 8MP rear-facing camera with LED flash
  • Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (MIMO+HT40)
  • 4G LTE wireless optional
  • Ambient light sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope
  • Bluetooth
  • 3.5 mm stereo jack, dual stereo speakers, dual mic
  • Battery Life: Up to 12 hours of reading, surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music. Up to 18 hours of battery life when only reading.
  • Dimensions: 9.1″ x 6.2″ x 0.31″ (231 mm x 158 mm x 7.8 mm)
  • Weight: Wi-Fi – 13.2 ounces (374 grams). 4G LTE + Wi-Fi – 13.5 ounces (384 grams)
  • Price: $379 – $594 at Amazon

One disappointing detail that I noticed with the specs is that the HDMI port is missing from this year’s Kindle Fire tablets. Amazon is going the Miracast route instead, which requires an expensive adapter unless your TV supports it. Plus there’s still no rear camera on the 7″ model. Impressive battery life estimates, though.

While the new line of HDX tablets are a bit pricey, Amazon has also released a new watered-down version of the 7″ Kindle Fire HD from last year at a wallet-friendly price of $139. The main catch is that there’s only 8GB of memory at that price, which isn’t very much at all, especially on a tablet that lacks a memory card slot. Plus they removed the dual antenna Wi-Fi, the microphone, and the HDMI port, so it’s not as good of a deal as it would seem. The 16GB Kindle Fire HD from last year frequently went on sale for $159. It appears that Amazon can’t even beat their own prices anymore because the new 16GB model is $169.

$139 7″ Kindle Fire HD Specs

  • 7″ display with 1280 x 800 pixels (216 ppi)
  • 1.5GHz Dual-Core CPU, with 1GB of RAM
  • Storage: 8GB (5.1GB available to user) or 16GB (12.2GB available to user) of internal storage
  • Dual-band, single antenna Wi-Fi
  • Accelerometer, gyroscope
  • Bluetooth
  • 3.5 mm stereo jack, dual stereo speakers
  • Battery Life: Up to 10 hours
  • Dimensions: 7.5″ x 5.0″ x 0.42″ (191 mm x 128 mm x 10.6 mm)
  • Weight: 12.2 ounces (345 grams)
  • Price: $139 – $184 at Amazon

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13 Responses to “Amazon Announces Pricey New Kindle Fire HDX Tablets and $139 Kindle Fire HD”

  1. I get the impression that these are not sold at cost and that Amazon’s strategy is to say, “[We make no money on the hardware,] We make money when people use our devices” until we all believe it.

  2. I think, in the past, Amazon was able to sell their devices relatively cheap because there were no other players in the game. However, now there is more competition and devices have evolved. Even though they claim to sell at costs, I don’t think they can really afford to anymore. Not if they want to compete with iPads and Nexus tablets.

  3. Yes, they seem expensive. The 8.9 is really expensive: when the ipad mini came out it was about $50 cheaper, and I really think apple is not going to raise the price so much, so… amazon selling things at more high prcies than apple? Yes, lloks like it. who would have said it…

    In other topic, I’ve been reading what people say in forums. No one looks really happy, it seems… But then I remember that people who are techie enough to post on a forum are the less, so maybe a majority will still buy the stuff.

  4. Jeez, they really missed the boat on these tablets. You might as well get a refurb iPad or Nexus and just add the Amazon apps you want.

  5. When factor in the costs to sell in physical stores , doing the OS and value add apps, support , and R&D these probably are close to ‘at cost’. Amazon probably makes a bit of margin if they sell it directly (rather than Best Buy , Staples , etc). I don’t think those 3rd parties are selling “for free” nor is Amazon paying higher subsidies to them to do so.

    The Nexus 7″ and 7″ HDX moved up in price partially because the screen is substantially better among some other component improvements. In so far at these tend to fill the hand held gaming machine role for some, if cut too far back on performance to hit a marginally lower price then run the risk of losing as many folks as gain.

    One problem is “make money later” is kind of hard if folks primarily download ‘free’ apps. The advertising subsystems are making money, the platform the app is running on isn’t. A big enough shift so that if have quality components, the user has to pay for them.

    The lower price points largely done with trailing edge technology. That is rather risky if the bulk shelf life of the product is somewhat bound to a holiday sales season.

    What is going to happen though when current high end high dpi screens drop down to e-ink reader price points?

  6. they are trying to copy the nexus 7 go look on cnet

  7. If I had to decide whether to get a Nexus 7 2nd generation or a Kindle Fire HDX 7, I would probably go for the Nexus 7 2nd generation. If the Kindle Fire HDX was cheaper than the Nexus 7 2nd generation, then I might have thought otherwise, but now that I see that both prices are about the same, I’d probably get the Nexus 7 2.

    • Yeah I see what you mean. Last year the Kindle at least had a few advantages up against the Nexus 7, like the HDMI port, but now that’s gone too. I really don’t see any reason to get the Kindle instead on the Nexus 7 2. The kindle may have a slightly faster processor, but at this point it isn’t going to make much of a noticeable difference.

  8. This years 16gb hdx model has about 1/3 less user available memory (8.8 gb) than last years base hd model (12.9 gb).

    • I saw that and it sure seemed low, but I didn’t realize it was that big of a difference. The new Kindle 3.0 operating system must be huge to take up half the storage space.

      Just checked the Nexus 7 2 16GB and it has 12.2GB available.

  9. If Amazon offered a 32gb hdx at $229 i’d seriously consider buying. But 8.8gb is too low for a device without microsd storage and $269 surpasses my tablet price ceiling.