Amazon blazes up the tablet scene with the Kindle Fire HDX

Credit: Amazon

Amazon, the massive web retailer is putting up a fight in the tablet arena, this time with the release of its latest beefed up tablet, the Kindle Fire HDX.

The Kindle Fire HDX is a formidable contender in the specs department. Available in both a 7-inch (1,280 x 800 resolution) and 8.9-inch model (2,560 x 1600 resolution), each tablet has a 2.2 GHz processor and 11 hours of battery life. The 8.9-inch model also also gains a pair of cameras on the front and back (8-megapixel). It's also a portable 13.2 ounces, which makes it 34 percent lighter than Amazon's previous Kindle models.

Amazon spared no expense for tablet movie lovers: the new Kindle will sport dual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus audio and virtual 5.1 multi-channel surround sound. Coupled with its Prime Instant Video app that now allows downloads to your Fire HDX, movies can now be watched even when you're offline. A free one-month Prime membership will be available to those who purchase a HDX and are first-time Prime members.

You are also now able to "fling" your movie or show from the HDX with Second Screen, a new feature that allows you to wirelessly watch videos on your HDX to a bigger screen, converting the HDX into a control panel in the process. Using Second Screen, which will be available for PS3 and Samsung TVs next month, you can also Web browse, use the X-ray media feature, and pretty much do anything on the HDX while your TV does its own thing in the background. Mirroring with the HDX will be possible with Miracast-enabled TVs.

Mayday, X-Ray Music And More

In addition, both the HDX 7-inch and 8.9-inch will support 4G LTE wireless on the AT&T and Verizon, the latter of which is a first for Kindle. The devices will operate on none other than the newly released Fire OS 3.0 "Mojito" that will include new features, updates and Amazon-exclusive services.And like any respectable OS, Amazon will be adding its content-synchronizing Cloud Collections for all Kindle devices as part of the Fire OS 3.1 update. Kindle Fire in the hole!

One handy new feature added to the HDX that sets it apart from other tablets is the new Mayday button, which will supposedly deliver "revolutionary live tech support" from an "Amazon expert" 24/7, on any day of the year. Seeing as getting in touch with an actual human representative on the traditional Amazon.com customer support line is next to impossible, the effectiveness of the Mayday button remains to be seen — though the target response time for a Mayday query is 15 seconds or less.

Amazon also added a few new doodads to change up how you consume your multimedia. The aforementioned X-ray feature provides on-screen lyrics to follow along with a song you play, and trivia when you watch a movie. A TV character's backstory will also be shown in case you ever forget why Spongebob's pants are square, all powered by IMDb.

Finally, to protect the good stuff, the Kindle Fire HDX has its very own magnetic Origami cover, which converts into a two-way stand, of course. The cover will come in multiple colors and in a choice of leather or polyurethane.

Easy On The Wallet

As for pricing, the 7-inch HDX, which ships October 15, will cost $239 and the 8.9-inch model will ship roughly a month later on November 7 at $379. 4G versions of both are available for $100 extra, on either AT&T or Verizon. The release of the HDX also results in a price drop for last year's Kindle Fire HD, from $199 to $139, and is now considered the entry-level Kindle tablet. Out with the old, in with the HDX!

Via Amazon

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