SEATTLE — In the fleeting moments I had with Amazon's new Kindle Fire tablet, I noticed one major thing: It lost a lot of weight.
The engineers at Amazon managed to slim down their flagship tablet in every dimension.
The new Kindle Fire HDX is lighter by 23 percent for the smaller model and 34 percent for the full-sized one. The slimmer profile is made possible by a new, lighter magnesium alloy body, a touch screen with fewer layers than before and a frame that is about one-quarter narrower all around the edge of the screen.
Add to that the company's claim that the processor is three times as fast as last year's Kindle Fire HD, and Amazon.com Inc. seems to have an attractive holiday gift option on its hands.
The weight reduction is noticeable. The new HDX with a 7-inch screen, measured diagonally, is now lighter than the iPad Mini, at 10.7 ounces compared with 10.9 ounces. Google's new Nexus 7 is lighter than both, though, at 10.2 ounces. The HDX has a starting price of $229, a $100 less than the Mini.
The 8.9-inch HDX is also significantly lighter, at 13.2 ounces, than a full-size iPad, at 23 ounces. Of course, the smaller screen — 0.8 inches shorter on the diagonal — contributes to Amazon's undersized achievement here. The larger HDX starts at $379, or $120 less than the iPad.
The new Kindle devices sport a “unibody,” compared with the previous model's casing made of many parts put together. The back still has a rubbery feel like the old Kindle Fire HD. There is still shiny plastic covering the camera area, so fans of Apple's aluminum casing might not be impressed.