Kindle Fire HD vs. Kindle Fire HDX

Should I buy the Kindle Fire HD or the Kindle Fire HDX? That’s a question we’ve heard for the past month from readers and family members looking for an affordable Android tablet that can do apps, videos and ebooks with ease.

The Kindle Fire HDX is the latest and greatest from Amazon, which goes up against the iPad Air in Amazon’s commercials. The Kindle Fire HD is a year older with a lower resolution screen, but many of the same software features that Kindle Fire Buyers are attracted to.

When it comes down to deciding if you should buy the Kindle Fire HD or the Kindle Fire HDX, you need to compare the features and see if the differences are worth $90.

As you look at the variety of differences between the Kindle Fire HDX and the Kindle Fire HD, think of how long you will own the tablet or features mean the most to you. If you plan to keep the Kindle Fire HD or HDX for a year or longer, the difference in cost is less than $8 a month. Or if you prefer to value the features it is easy break the number down and see if one feature is really worth $90 more.

In the following comparison we will look at the Kindle Fire HD vs Kindle Fire HDX and explain what the differences mean in terms of what the user can do with the device and offer advice on which Kindle Fire you should buy.

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Kindle Fire HD vs Kindle Fire HDX

The Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HDX are similar devices in many ways. No matter which Kindle Fire you buy, you get some of the same services, features and benefits.

  • Parental Controls – Limit how long children can use the tablet with Kindle Freetime
  • Email, Calendar and Web browsing support
  • HD Video streaming, free downloadable videos and free ebooks with Prime membership
  • WiFi
  • Dual Stereo speakers with Dolby Audio
  • 7-inch display

Both of these Kindle Fire tablets allow you to download apps from the Kindle App store including popular apps like Angry Birds, HBO Go, Facebook, Hulu Plus,

If you are looking at buying a Kindle Fire HD at a retailer like Staples or Best Buy, look for the latest Kindle Fire HD model. Amazon replaced the Kindle Fire HD 2012 model with new models for 2013.

Display

The display is one of the biggest differences between the Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HDX, and it’s one that many users may consider the feature that is worth upgrading to the Kindle Fire HDX.

When it comes to tablets, the display is key. This is the primary means of accessing the tablet and the focus of consuming content and browsing the web.

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The Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HDX are sold by Amazon.

The Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HDX are sold by Amazon.

Both of these Kindle Fire models include a 7-inch display, but the Kindle Fire HDX offers a higher resolution. The difference is similar to the iPad mini and iPad mini Retina that Apple sells.

  • Kindle Fire HD – 1280 x 800 (216 ppi)
  • Kindle Fire HDX 1920 x 1200 (323 ppi)

With the higher resolution, more pixels are packed into the same space. The ppi rating that Amazon lists basically means how many pixels are packed into one inch of screen space. With more pixels in a small space it is harder to make out the individual pixels on a screen. Ideally you won’t see a pixel on the HDX while watching movies and reading text.

The Kindle Fire HD display isn’t bad, but the Kindle Fire HDX display looks much better.

Design and Features

The Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HDX share some features, but there are enough differences that it will matter which model you buy.

The Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HDX are similar, but there are enough differences that buyers should take note.

The Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HDX are similar, but there are enough differences that buyers should take note.

The Kindle Fire HDX is 13% lighter than the Kindle Fire HD and it is thinner, narrower and lighter. The new Kindle Fire HDX design uses more angles than the Fire HD, which some users find easier to hold.

  • Kindle Fire HD – 7.5″ X 5.0″ X 0.42″ – 12.2 oz
  • Kindle Fire HDX – 7.3″ X 5.0″ X 0.35″ – 10.7

The Kindle Fire HD starts at 8GB of storage and maxes out at 16GB. The Kindle Fire HDX starts at 16GB and also comes in 32GB or 64GB models. The $90 price difference also earns you double the starting storage on the Kindle Fire HDX. If you plan to download movies to watch while not connected to the Internet or want to keep a lot of magazines, movies or photos the added storage will be a benefit.

Kindle Fire HDX GamingThe Kindle Fire HDX uses a new type of WiFi which is faster, if you have a newer supported router. The HDX also includes a built-in microphone for video chat. The Kindle Fire HDX includes a front facing camera, while the Kindle Fire HD does not come with a microphone or camera. If you want to use this to keep in touch with friends and family over Skype, you will want to go with the Kindle Fire HDX. The Kindle Fire HDX can be purchased with 4G LTE cellular connectivity.

Another new feature on the Kindle Fire HDX is the Mayday button which allows the owner to get live video support from an Amazon representative 24/7. Kindle Fire Mayday offers free support and allows the Amazon rep to take control of the device to show you how to use the Kindle Fire HDX and show or make changes for you.

The Kindle Fire HD includes phone, email and chat support, but is not compatible with Mayday.

Performance & Battery Life

The Kindle Fire HDX comes with a quad-core processor compared to the Kindle Fire HD’s dual core processor. The Kindle Fire HDX uses the same processor as many high-end smartphones. This will deliver a smoother overall experience with less waiting for apps to open. The faster processor should also help with gaming on the Kindle Fire HDX tablet.

Kindle Fire battery life is close, but the Kindle Fire HDX (11 hours) offers an hour more of mixed use than the Kindle Fire HD (10 hours). Amazon also lists 17 hours of reading for the Kindle Fire HDX but does not list any reading only time for the Kindle Fire HD.

Kindle Fire HD or Kindle Fire HDX?

Choosing the Kindle Fire HD or the Kindle Fire HDX should be easier with these breakouts in mind, but if you can afford to spend the extra $90 the Kindle Fire HDX.

The main reasons to spend the extra cash are,

  • Better display
  • Longer battery life
  • Video chat capabilities
  • Better processor
  • Mayday live support
  • Thinner, lighter tablet

If you value each of these at $15, that will help you figure out the overall value of the Kindle Fire HDX over the Kindle Fire HD. The Kindle Fire HD is still a good tablet, but the Kindle Fire HDX offers a clear value over the Fire HD.