My Wife, The Gadget Flipper (Kindle Fire HDX)

Dave Zatz —  December 17, 2013 — 10 Comments

While I’m the CTO of the Zatz household, my wife Melissa is also capable of making tech purchasing decisions… and living with the consequences. What follows is her realization that one gadget doesn’t fit all.

Dave’s pattern of flipping gadgets must be contagious because I’ve caught the bug! More importantly, I’ve inherited his appreciation (or lack thereof) of a gadget’s usability and functionality. As such, technology is frequently coming and going in our home.

A year ago I wrote about swapping my iPad 3 for the new iPad Mini. At the time I wanted a smaller device that I could more comfortably handle when lounging around; a gadget I could use for mundane web browsing and video streaming. But, the Mini and I had a short lived love affair as I quickly starting yearning for something sexier. The lack of retina display was hard to get used to and I never adjusted to the fonts. Having to constantly pinch and zoom the screen became annoying. My $330 toy started collecting dust.

My iPhone became my “go to” device when doing non work-related web browsing. But as close to perfect as the iPhone is, size does matter! I was missing a larger screen. A larger screen that I could still easily hold without needing a stand or case. When the iPad Mini retina display launched earlier this year I was tempted to buy one. I’m a loyal Apple fan who loves their sleekness and simplicity. But, I didn’t want to indulge myself by purchasing the new model knowing that I would likely want something new sometime soon! Yup, I’m a true Zatz!

When we got up Sunday morning, Dave read that the Kindle Fire HDX was on sale at Best Buy for $200 and convinced me I needed one (this man spoils me rotten!). A few hours later I became a happy first time Kindle owner. At the reasonable price point I know I won’t feel guilty when I decide to flip it….sooner or later

kindle-hdz-origami

And that is the main point here. There is an abundance of tech options to meet different budgets and user experience preferences for novices like myself or the brilliant minded gadget gurus like Dave. Getting a lower priced tablet made sense for me considering it is a toy. A toy I casually and sporadically play with throughout the week (unlike my $650 iPhone 5s which serves as my phone, GPS, internet-on-the-go, and camera on a daily basis).

I’ve played with the HDX for about 48 hours now and it has been a fun user experience thus far. Although I feel like I’m cheating on a spouse, I’m kind of enjoying becoming familiar with a new ecosystem. The HDX is sized similarly to my previous first gen Mini; however, the font and overall display seem friendlier on my eyes. I’m enjoying the 7” screen once again and don’t miss the text-message interruptions I frequently experienced when using my phone to browse the web. Dave and I briefly checked out video streaming which looked crisp and sharp. I’m looking forward to actually using the HDX as an e-reader instead of the Kindle app on my iPhone during some upcoming trips.

Thanks to Dave I’ve definitely gained a deeper appreciation for technology. This also means my frustration levels and desire for that perfect product have increased as well. Until and if that time comes, when that perfectly spec-ed and sized gadget appears, I’m going to continue having fun flipping them!

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10 responses to My Wife, The Gadget Flipper (Kindle Fire HDX)

  1. We missed the real good sale when it was $180, but I did have a $10 Best Buy coupon. Amazon’s steep case surcharge, at $50, really irks me. But it’s quite clever. I’ll probably share a few opinions on the HDX (compared to my former Fire HD which I wasn’t too fond of) and case. Related, while Melissa is quite pleased thus far, she mentioned she’s encountered some lag when composing emails on the HDX – waiting for the text/cursor to catch up. And I tried the Mayday button. In fact, I filmed it. Still deciding if that should be shared. ;)

  2. I picked up a Fire HDX on Amazon when they had them for $180, mostly as a device that I can use at the gym to watch TV on the elyptical rather than taking my new iPad Air (which is really a great upgrade to my iPad 2. I love the retina display and how much lighter it is). I think the screen on the HDX is quite good (comparable to the Air) but the Amazon App store is a bit of a disappointment.

    First off, NO Google apps – no Gmail, no Maps, nothing. That alone is pretty bad, but they also have quite outdated versions of quite a few apps from the Play store. I didn’t like the Amazon video player (I use kmttg to get files from my TiVo to tablet) because it doesn’t display file names or metadata from personal video — and seems to tile videos in random order, so I can’t even guess at alphabetical. I downloaded Moboplayer from the Amazon store but it constantly reminds me that I don’t have the latest version – which isn’t in the Amazon store (I used Mobo on my HP Touchpad running CM9 until that bricked so was familiar with the app). FireOS (is that their official name) also seems to eat some screen gestures that Mobo uses (such as fast forwarding!) so that was a bit of a let down.

    I think the HDX is a great device if you want to stay in the Amazon garden but I wish the Amazon App store was less limiting. I don’t want to try rooting it (if its even possible) after having a bad CM9 build brick my Touchpads so I’ll stick with my work-around for video (ES File Explorer to launch the Amazon video app).

  3. On my former Kindle Fire HD, I sideloaded the Google Apps. No rooting was required, was pretty easy. But I actually moved back to the native Amazon email app for Gmail – it was less cluttered and perfect for an occasional and “off duty” relaxation device. Most of what Melissa will do is web surfing, so this should be suitable. But I did load up SHO, HBO, Netflix, and FiOS apps… for the times I “borrow” her tablet at the gym. Related, we registered the HDX in my name so it’d benefit from my status as the king of our Prime account for Amazon Instant video and free Kindle books. Being able to download Prime videos is a newer feature and will probably come in handy for Melissa given a few upcoming flights.

  4. I opted for the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition. I looked very closely at the Kindle Fire HDX. I had actually gone to Best Buy to purchase one. When I found I could not access my g-mail or other Google apps, and might not be able to get Amazon books or Nook, I switched to the Android powered Note. I have access to everything on that. I am using it mostly as a book reader, but the longer I have it, the more apps I find myself using.
    I did not want to be locked into anyone’s sphere, be it B&N, Amazon or Apple. The Android devise gives me access to all of them (I buy books on iTunes on my PC and transfer them to the tablet).

  5. I had owned the original Fire as well as the 7″ and 8.9″ FireHD. I had originally planned to get the FireHDX versions until the pricing was released. Once I saw that they were much higher, I decided to get a Gen2 Nexus 7 since the FireHDX tablets were in the same price range now. And once I started using the Gen 2 Nexus 7, I could not go back to using the FireHD UI and knew I could not get the newer HDX versions.

    I’ve used my Nexus 7 more in the last few months than I ever used my FireHD tablets. I ended up trading in both of my FireHD tablet to Amazon for Amazon credit. My only complaint now is that there is not a Gen 2 Nexus 10 yet. The experience with my gen 2 Nexus 7 has been so much better than my FireHD tablets ever were.

  6. Go back to Best Buy and try out the HDX 8.9. I started out with the 7, but a friend of mine convinced me to go look at the 8.9 and I ended up trading up to it. The screen is incredible, the weight is only a couple of ounces more and it is absolutely perfect for watching TV shows, movies and web surfing. It somehow feels better in the hand as well versus the 7″, maybe better weight distribution. It is more $$$, but the price is worth it. Still less than IPad.

  7. I never heard of Jeff Bezos or had any interest in any e-reader or tablet before I stumbled across the initial Kindle Fire press conference in September of 2011…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYi1jZXz9Kg

    I couldn’t wait to get a Fire. We bought four and loved them. My youngest and his mother could not be separated from these toys. We got him an 8.9″ HD earlier this year, and there is an 8.9″ HDX under the tree for her.

    While we were initially attracted to the price, but are now married to the Amazon ecosystem. Watch the linked video, sign up for a free Prime trial, and enjoy your new toy.

  8. link is to a later presser. i can’t find the 9/28/2011 video and would appreciate a link to the complete press conference if anyone has it.

  9. I’m going out of streaming range. I used an older version of kmttg to put tivo videos on my pc and copied them to my kindle. Unfortunately the audio and video didn’t sync well. I used the ipad settings. I just downloaded kmttg v1.p01. Any suggestions on settings for a kindle fire hdx 7?

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