I have made no secret of my disapproval of the Amazon Kindle.
I have written about how I much prefer books a couple of times. Laughed as people on planes are told to put their “book” down as the Captain is preparing his descent and therefore all electronics must be stowed away. Savoured having to go to the book shop to buy a book, the delay in getting hold of it adding to the anticipation. Sticking two fingers up to the immediacy of the download. Enjoyed physically turning a page, even turning down a corner to signify where I am in the story. Not having to worry that I will drop it in the bath and ruin it (we have all put a book on a radiator at some point, haven’t we? And carried on reading it even if it bears no relation to a normal book anymore).
Then something happened last year. Something that I am almost too embarrassed to mention. I went to an event in London where we were invited to play with a Kindle. Watch a demonstration. Listen to all that it can do. And leave with one. Yes a real one. A whole Kindle that we got to keep.
And with that I was converted.
The Kindle Fire HDX is by far one of the greatest things ever invented. The end. Full stop. Not only is it a great way to read a book, but it is a really great alternative to the (in my opinion) much over priced iPad. Smaller, lighter and much better value.
There are one or two disadvantages to it, but they only disadvantages if that particular feature is important to you, which for me they aren’t particuarly. Does that even make any sense? Such as, whilst the Kindle Fire HDX is an android device it doesn’t connect to the usual Google Play store but to Amazon’s app store. So if there is a particular game or app that you are addicted to you might want to check that it is available on Amazon before you purchase this tablet over say a Nexus 7.
Like the Nexus 7 there is no rear facing camera, though there is a front facing one so you can still Skype etc.
Again, these are two features that don’t really matter to me, but they may do if you are really into say, Instagram uploading.
A couple of genius things that I love about the Kindle Fire HDX, the first is the Mayday function. You know when you can’t work something out with technology and you say “If only there was a fifteen year old around”? Well now there is. Sort of. The “Mayday” function connects you via video to an Amazon tech support person. Though generally they are not 15. They can see your screen and can show you in real time, what it is you need to do to solve your problem.
I have used this a few times now, and each time my issue has been resolved. The last time it couldn’t be done over the Mayday app so I was talked through it over the phone, but all arranged by the clever tech chap on the end of my Mayday call. This feature really appeals to me as a technophobe.
The other brilliant feature which I think really sells this device to families is the Free Time function. In a nutshell you can set a profile for each member of your family and assign apps, books, games etc to that profile. So when logged in to that profile the user then only has access to those, and nothing else. You can also set time limits. Once that time limit is up the device shuts down. I think this is a really great idea.
It is a bit of a faff having to add each app or book to the individual profiles but the benefits far outweigh that. For instance if you want to limit access to games you might use that have online purchasing switched on, you just don’t add them to any other profile. That way you can be sure that when you give the tablet to any other user they are not going to land you with a £400 bill like some of the people we have read about in the paper. Nor are they able to download any new games or books that may not be age appropriate.
It also comes with Netflix so you can catch up with all the shows and films you may have missed. (though you can only stream them, you can’t download and save them to watch on a car journey). I love this as I can have it propped up on my desk or on the kitchen table as I am peeling a pile of potatoes to break up the monotony! Or on the end of ironing board 🙂
Though I have also just seen on the Amazon website that with the Prime membership from later this week you will be able to stream hundreds of video and TV shows too. As well as have access to the huge lending library of books. I signed up to Prime before Christmas because for £49 a year it meant every delivery from Amazon was free if I picked a Prime Seller. With all of us big fans of Amazon this seemed like a bargain.
But of course at the heart of it all is a fabulous ereader. Where you can download books (or magazines and newspapers) which a huge library right at your fingertips. Enabling you at 2am when you can’t sleep to browse row after row of books and find bargains you had forgotten existed and download them instantly to read under the duvet.
No more going out in the rain to buy the papers at the weekend, they come to you in your sleep!
And that for me is pure joy.
Kindle Fire HDX is available from £199 and comes in both Wifi and 3G with either 16GB or 32GB of storage
Photo of Kindle courtesy of Shutterstock