AMAZON Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 Review

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In this article, I give you my Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 review with specs included. This is obviously the bigger companion to the Kindle Fire HDX (which is a 7-inch tablet). This has an 8.9-inch super-high-resolution display and the same fast Snapdragon quad-core CPU.

The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is Amazon’s Kindle for the fall of 2013 shopping season and beyond. The price starts at three hundred and seventy nine dollars for the 16 GB Wi-Fi model. $50 more ($429 total) will get you 32 GB of storage and $100 more (479 total) will get you the 64 GB model.

So, price-wise, this is not too expensive as some other makers charge a lot more for every storage increment upgrade. But, I guess, Amazon’s goal is to get everybody to buy one of these, and they generally don’t make a whole lot of profit on them because they’re going to make a profit on the services, books, and stuff that they sell you when using this device.

The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is available with LTE connectivity through either AT&T or Verizon, giving users the option for 4G LTE and 3G connections. However, this feature adds an extra $100 to the tablet’s price, positioning it as a relatively high-end option in the market.

Despite Amazon’s reputation for aggressive pricing strategies to stay competitive, the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 comes in at $379, making it more of a mid-range to high-end tablet rather than a budget-friendly option. This contrasts with the prevalent trend in the Android tablet market, where devices are often defined and marketed based on their affordability.

In comparison, the 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX is priced at $229, a figure comparable to the Nexus 7 2013 edition, which may seem like a significant bargain. Nevertheless, the higher price of the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is justified by its impressive features and capabilities.

One standout feature is its stunning display. Sporting an IPS display with a resolution of 2560 by 1600 pixels, the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 offers a visual experience that surpasses Full HD. While similar resolutions have been seen in larger displays such as the Nexus 10 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition, the compact 8.9-inch screen of the Kindle Fire HDX allows for even sharper visuals with a pixel density of 339 PPI and full RGB color coverage, resulting in lifelike and natural colors.

Amazon recognizes that users will primarily engage in activities like reading and watching videos on the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9. To cater to these needs, the device is equipped with adaptive contrast technology, ensuring optimal display performance under varying ambient lighting conditions. Whether users are enjoying Amazon Prime videos or streaming content from other platforms like YouTube, the device’s vibrant colors and excellent contrast enhance the viewing experience.

Although the device does not support the Google Play Store, users can access a wide range of applications through the Amazon App Store, which boasts a healthy ecosystem of popular apps. However, it’s worth noting that some high-end games may not be available due to the historically modest processing power of Kindle Fire devices. This changes with the HDX series, which features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 2.2 GHz quad-core CPU paired with Adreno 330 graphics, offering cutting-edge performance capable of handling demanding games with ease.

In terms of design and build, the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is impressively lightweight, weighing just 13.2 ounces. Its ergonomic design, featuring angled edges and a soft-touch finish, ensures a comfortable grip for extended use. The device runs on Fire OS 3.0, code-named “Mojito,” and includes features such as a front webcam compatible with Skype and an 8-megapixel rear camera with an LED flash for capturing high-quality photos and videos.

While the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 may not be the most visually striking tablet on the market, its combination of powerful hardware, stunning display, and user-friendly features make it a compelling choice for consumers seeking a premium tablet experience.

The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 features buttons located on the back, similar to its 7-inch counterpart. Positioned conveniently for users’ fingertips, the power button and volume controls offer a tactile feel with scalloped edges. While this layout may not be as immediately intuitive as side-mounted buttons, users typically adapt to it with continued use.

Positioned at the top of the device are stereo speakers, complemented by Dolby audio enhancement, providing surprisingly loud and spacious sound output. Despite the tablet’s compact form factor, the audio quality is robust enough to drown out ambient noise, making it suitable for various activities, such as watching movies during exercise sessions. The sound reproduction, characterized by clear tones and respectable bass, surpasses expectations for a tablet device, even outperforming the audio capabilities of competitors like the iPad Air.

Notably absent from the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is an HDMI port, although it does include a micro USB port for file transfer purposes. Users can transfer their own files, including books and movies, to the tablet as long as they are in supported formats. Additionally, the device supports Miracast wireless display technology, allowing users to stream content to compatible displays wirelessly. Furthermore, the tablet offers a second-screen feature, enabling integration with devices such as PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and Samsung TVs, where the TV serves as the primary display while the tablet’s interface remains accessible for other tasks.

In terms of battery life, Amazon claims up to 12 hours of mixed use, including video playback and reading, thanks in part to the tablet’s low-power mode during reading sessions. Real-world usage typically yields around 10 to 11 hours of battery life, with extended streaming potentially reducing this figure slightly. Despite this, the battery performance is commendable, particularly considering the device’s capabilities and display quality.

The user interface (UI) of the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 has undergone revisions, introducing improvements to the carousel-based navigation system. The UI seamlessly transitions between portrait and landscape modes, with optimized layouts for each orientation. Users can easily access their preferred content categories, such as games, apps, books, music, and videos, with Amazon Prime Video prominently featured by default. The UI also includes suggestions based on users’ interests, promoting content available for purchase through Amazon’s extensive marketplace. Furthermore, the UI maintains a convenient launcher layout, facilitating quick access to frequently used apps and content.

Although the tablet runs on Android Jelly Bean, the user experience diverges significantly from stock Android, particularly in terms of visual design and interface elements. While the underlying operating system is recognizable in certain settings menus, the overall user interface has been heavily customized to align with Amazon’s ecosystem and branding. However, users retain some flexibility, such as the ability to enable the installation of non-marketplace apps, allowing for sideloading of applications not available through Amazon’s official store. This feature caters to users who may prefer specific third-party apps, such as Gmail, which is notably absent from the Amazon App Store.

The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 incorporates an ambient light sensor to adjust screen brightness dynamically, ensuring optimal readability in various lighting conditions. The high-resolution display, boasting sharp text and vivid colors, enhances the reading experience, particularly for e-books. Users can customize the text size to their preference, with the option to view facing pages in landscape mode, a feature familiar to users transitioning from platforms like the iPad and iBooks.

The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 offers a compelling combination of features, including robust audio performance, versatile connectivity options, extended battery life, and a user-friendly interface tailored to Amazon’s ecosystem. While it diverges from the standard Android experience in some respects, the tablet delivers a cohesive and immersive user experience, particularly for consumers deeply integrated into Amazon’s digital ecosystem.

The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 boasts a screen size that offers a comfortable and rewarding reading experience, distinguishing itself from its 7-inch counterpart. While the 7-inch model may present challenges with small text when displaying facing pages, the larger screen of the HDX 8.9 provides a more spacious layout, making it easier to read. To further enhance the reading experience, users have the option to install the Nook app, enabling access to ePub books and supporting side loading for personalized content. This flexibility appeals to users who may not be exclusively tied to Amazon’s ecosystem for their digital content needs.

In addition to reading capabilities, the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 offers a suite of productivity tools, including a calendar, contacts, and email applications. While these applications may not be as robust as their counterparts on other platforms, such as Google’s Gmail app, users can still access their Gmail accounts through the standard email application, albeit without the dedicated Gmail interface. The emphasis on cloud integration and streaming services underscores Amazon’s commitment to providing seamless access to digital content stored on its platform, including Prime videos, music, and applications.

One notable feature of the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is its support for offline access to content, allowing users to download videos, music, and applications directly to the device for offline use. This feature is particularly useful for travelers or individuals with limited internet connectivity, ensuring uninterrupted access to entertainment and productivity resources. Additionally, the device’s integration with Amazon’s ecosystem extends to its web browser, Silk, which offers caching capabilities for faster browsing speeds. While users have the option to sideload alternative browsers like Chrome, the Silk browser provides a capable and smooth browsing experience, complemented by features such as a reading mode for text-heavy pages.

The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9’s larger display also enhances the reading experience for digital magazines, presenting content in a format that closely resembles traditional print layouts. This layout minimizes the need for zooming and scrolling, making text and images more legible and visually appealing. Despite the larger form factor compared to the 7-inch model, the HDX 8.9 remains portable and offers quick access to magazine sections and features, providing a comfortable reading experience for users.

In terms of multimedia capabilities, the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 delivers impressive performance, with stereo speakers enhanced by Dolby audio technology, offering loud and immersive sound quality. While the absence of an HDMI port may limit connectivity options for some users, the device compensates with features such as Miracast wireless display support, enabling seamless streaming to compatible displays. Furthermore, the tablet’s high-resolution display and powerful hardware make it well-suited for multimedia consumption, with support for HD video playback and smooth performance across various applications and games.

The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9’s user interface (UI) has been refined to offer a more intuitive and visually appealing experience, with improved navigation options and customization features. The UI retains elements of Amazon’s branding and ecosystem, including easy access to the Amazon Appstore for downloading applications and content. While the device runs on a customized version of Android, users have some flexibility in terms of customization and sideloading of apps, albeit within the constraints of Amazon’s ecosystem and marketplace.

Overall, the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 stands out as a versatile and capable tablet, offering a compelling combination of features, performance, and affordability. From its spacious display and robust multimedia capabilities to its seamless integration with Amazon’s ecosystem and extensive content library, the HDX 8.9 caters to a wide range of users, from avid readers and media enthusiasts to productivity-minded individuals. While it may not offer the same level of versatility and customization as some competing platforms, the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 excels in delivering a cohesive and user-friendly experience tailored to Amazon’s ecosystem and digital content offerings.

The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 comes with certain features and specifications that set it apart in the tablet market. Notably, it lacks haptic feedback, meaning there are no vibrations on the display, though audible key presses on the keyboard enhance the user experience. Speaking of the keyboard, it is commendable in terms of usability and functionality.

In the realm of gaming, the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 proves itself capable, especially evident in tests with demanding games like Asphalt 8. Benchmarks provide insight into its performance, with competitive scores on Quadrant and 3DMark Ice Storm. However, it’s worth noting that the higher resolution of the 8.9-inch display may result in slightly lower frame rates compared to its smaller counterpart, the Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch.

The device also introduces Amazon’s Mayday feature, allowing users to initiate video chats with customer support representatives for assistance. This feature is particularly beneficial for less tech-savvy individuals who may require help navigating the device or troubleshooting issues, alleviating the burden on more tech-savvy friends or relatives.

Considering its target audience, the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is well-suited for newcomers to the tablet world, offering a user-friendly interface and access to Amazon’s extensive ecosystem of digital content. However, it primarily caters to users deeply invested in Amazon’s ecosystem, providing seamless integration with services like Amazon Prime for shopping, books, magazines, music, and video streaming.

While the device runs on Android, its heavily customized version restricts access to the Google Play Store, limiting the availability of certain apps and services. Nonetheless, for users primarily interested in consuming content from Amazon, the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 offers a compelling option with the ability to sideload personal content, including books, music, and movies.

Moreover, the device boasts a decent rear camera, a feature not commonly found in tablets below the $500 price range. Its 8.9-inch display strikes a balance between portability and screen real estate, providing a high-resolution viewing experience without the bulkiness often associated with larger tablets.

Ultimately, the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 appeals to users seeking a multimedia-centric tablet with a focus on Amazon’s ecosystem. Its availability in both online and brick-and-mortar stores makes it accessible to a wide range of consumers, particularly those looking for a larger screen for enhanced video playback and magazine reading experiences. While the cost may be higher than its smaller counterpart, the device’s superb display and robust performance justify the investment for users prioritizing content consumption and integration with Amazon’s services.

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Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9
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    Performance - 93%
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    Price - 94%
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    Value - 94%