Amazon's best freakin' tablet ever is on sale
I tend to reserve hyperbole for things like food and movies. "Gravity"? Best film of 2013, if not the entire decade. The drunken noodles at Wazuzu in Las Vegas? Best Thai dish that's ever passed through my pie hole.
So when I say the Kindle Fire HDX is the single best tablet you can buy, believe it. And I say this as someone who has owned or used just about every other tablet on the planet.
I'll explain my gushing in a moment. For now, know that Amazon is cutting $30 off the price of the Kindle Fire HDX
when you apply coupon code MAYDAY30
at checkout. That means you can buy the 16GB model for just $199, the lowest price I've seen since Black November. (Yeah, Black Friday is really a month-long affair nowadays.) The discount is available through tomorrow, January 11.
At $199, the HDX is literally half the price of Apple's newest iPad Mini, which does have a slightly larger screen (7.9 inches to the Kindle's 7-incher). The Mini also has slightly higher screen resolution, but at these sizes I don't think that matters. Indeed, to look at the HDX's display is to see gorgeous colors and razor-sharp images.
But forget the hardware for a moment. Amazon offers a much better user experience than Apple, with a number of practical and valuable features not available on the iPad.
For starters, if you subscribe to Amazon Prime (and for $79 annually, I think you should), you can download thousands of movies and TV shows to your Kindle for offline viewing--a feature that served me well on recent flights. (Even with in-flight Wi-Fi, you can't stream Netflix.) I caught up on episodes of "The Good Wife" that I'd downloaded before departure. That's just an awesome feature no other tablet can match.
Likewise, Amazon's unrivaled Mayday option provides assisted real-time tech support for users who need help using certain features or finding various settings. You've probably seen the TV commercials: a live tech appears in a video window and actually highlights the areas of the screen where you need to tap or swipe. Genius.
For business types, Amazon supplies free office apps you can use to view and edit documents, spreadsheets, and the like. And for pop-culture fans, the X-Ray feature reveals trivia and character info while you watch movies and TV shows.
Finally, I can't speak highly enough of Amazon's optional Origami cases, which, unlike Apple's much-ballyhooed SmartCovers, protect your entire tablet, not just the screen. (Actually, the SmartCover won't save your screen in a fall.) Even better, the Origami folds in such a way that it can prop up your Kindle for portrait or landscape viewing. (The former is how I prefer to read books and magazines.)
At $199, the Kindle Fire HDX is the best tablet you can buy, period. The more I use it, the more I like it. In fact, I think I may actually love the thing.Veteran technology writer Rick Broida
is the author of numerous books, blogs, and features. He lends his
money-saving expertise to CNET and Savings.com, and also writes for PC