Tried and Tested: Kindle Fire HDX Screen Magnification

2 May 2014

We review the latest screen magnification feature in Kindle Fire...

Tester: Sarah Bailey, RNIB Strategy Assistant

What is it?

'The new Kindle Fire HDX features an in-built screen magnification function for partially sighted users, which you can access instantly in order to help you set up the device.'

How does it work?

'There's no need for additional visual aids here. You can turn on the magnification function within moments of switching on your device using one gesture, which means easier access and more freedom to use your Kindle.'

How to get started

'Once you've switched your Kindle Fire on, there should be an image covering the whole screen which consists of many bright colours. This is just the screen lock and ensures you don't accidentally touch the screen.

Firstly, you'll need to hold down the tactile power button on the back of the device located near the bottom edge. There is only one circular button on one end and you will know if it’s the right one because at the other end of the device are two circular buttons.  It doesn’t matter what way up you have it but as long as you can distinguish between the power and volume keys then you will be good to go.

Next, wait for a message within a dark grey box to appear in the middle of the screen. The message will say ‘do you want to shut down your kindle?’ You may notice at this point that the rest of the screen has decreased in brightness.

You will then need to take your middle three fingers, separate them slightly and hold your fingertips down on the screen. Anywhere is fine, although, I found it works best on the bottom half of the screen no matter what way up I had the Kindle facing.

Keep holding your fingers on the screen until you hear a voice confirming that the screen magnification has been activated. Now you can use one finger to triple tap and pan the screen with two fingers as normal. You may be familiar with these gestures if you are an existing Android user, if not, you'll need to continue to triple tap with one finger to activate the zoom as you go in and out of different pages on the device.'

How do I change the level of magnification?

'You will need to use the gesture known as 'pinch and zoom'. So, take your thumb and first finger and put the tips of them together so they are touching as if you were to pinch something. Place your fingers on the screen in this pinch position and either push them apart from one another to increase the zoom and back together to decrease it.'

My Experience

'The thing that frustrates me when buying a new device is that I have to use a handheld magnifier to read the instructions when setting up a device. With the Kindle Fire HDX, this problem has been eliminated because you can now activate the screen magnification as soon as you turn on the device.

To start with I found activating the zoom tricky because I was holding my fingers too close together and soon realised after a few attempts, that separating them finally allowed the device to realise what I was asking it to do. However, it did take me a couple of times to activate the magnification although, this may have been because I wasn’t patient enough to wait for the voice confirmation.

Using the triple tap gesture with one finger is something I am familiar with as an Android user and believe it makes activating the screen magnification easy.'


'Overall, using this shortcut enables partially sighted people to use the device straight out of the box without any need for using additional visual aids to read the screen. This gives users more freedom and independence to buy products and use them straight away.'

The Kindle Fire HDX starts from £199 and you can find out more by visiting the Amazon website.

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