Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″ Review: An Entertainment Leader
Continuing to build off the success of the original Kindle Fire line of tablets, Amazon has released the new Kindle Fire HDX this year. The new series offers an even better display, a faster processor and new features to guide customers through the tablet’s applications. In the past Amazon has proven that there is still room in the marketplace for a cheaper tablet, but this year everyone will be comparing the new Kindle Fire HDX with the iPad 5 and the Google Nexus 7, two tablets that are made by the best manufacturers in the industry.
Everything about the new Kindle Fire HDX has improved, the tablet is much faster than any of the previous generations, and the new design allows it to be thinner and lighter than ever before. The real competition for the Kindle fire HDX 8.9″ is the smaller, less expensive version of the same line (the Kindle Fire HDX 7″).
The 7″ version of the HDX has already been on the market for a few weeks now, and it was met with some terrific reviews, even receiving a 10/10 for price and functionality here on our site. The new 8.9-inch model launches today with the same wonderfully brilliant display that is sure to attract a lot of interested shoppers this holiday season. The tablet is of course more expensive than the smaller version, the 8.9″ model starts at $379 for a 16GB Wi-Fi model (with Special Offers) putting it in a higher price-range and rubbing elbows with some of the tablet market’s top choices. The same model in 7″ form starts at $229.
Amazon has made it very clear that the company’s line of tablets are designed with entertainment in mind, that is to be expected, as Amazon is one of the foremost distributors of e-books, digital movies, and digital services in the world. All of Amazon’s cloud and shopping features make the Kindle Fire HDX standout in the market as an entertainment workhorse. All of these services are included when you purchase any of the HDX models and the tablet itself seems custom made to be the perfect companion for anyone that uses their tablet regularly to watch shows, movies, or browse the internet.
The new 8.9″ model is 13.2 ounces, less than a pound and even lighter than the new Apple iPad Air. This simple fact is what led Amazon to create the tagline (Lighter than Air) a clever jab at Apple’s new tablet offering. This is one of the only tablets, in the larger category, that is still light enough, and small enough to hold in one hand easily. It’s also thin, very thin, at only 0.31 inches thick, so the HDX should have no issue fitting into any bag, tote, shoulder-bag, messenger bag or briefcase. It is however too large to go pocket diving.
“The 8.9” Fire HDX is startlingly light—at just 13.2 ounces, it’s the lightest large-screen tablet. This is combined with a 339 ppi, perfect-color HDX display, 3x the processing power, 2x the memory, 4x the graphics performance, and backed by Fire OS 3.0, with exclusive features like the revolutionary new Mayday button—and all of this is just $379, much less than you’d pay for a comparable tablet,” said Peter Larsen, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. “This is the best tablet we’ve ever built, and we can’t wait to see what our customers think.”
Fire HDX 8.9” has the most advanced display on any tablet—Dr. Raymond Soneira at DisplayMate Technologies says: “Most impressive of all is the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9, which has leapfrogged into the best performing Tablet display that we have ever tested, significantly out-performing the iPad Air in Brightness, Screen Reflectance, and high ambient light contrast, plus a first place finish in the very challenging category of Absolute Color Accuracy.”
Amazon offers one of the best displays on any mobile device on the market, and the HDX 8.9″ display is terrific in every situation and application. The screen features a 2560 x 1600 pixel resolution with 339 ppi; it’s the best, no other tablet can beat the tablet’s specs and only promotes the HDX as a digital download masterpiece for movies and shows. This is what helps Amazon claim the entertainment throne in the tablet market, offering services and a screen that you can’t find anywhere else, while keeping the price low-enough to allow it to compete with Apple and Google, even though it doesn’t have the third-party apps and other work-enabled features that those company’s offer.
Just like the 7″ model the back is a plastic and ‘AMAZON’ branded eye-sore, at least when compared to premium tablets, but this helps keep prices down and almost everyone has a cover on their tablets now anyway. Also on the back are the stereo speakers, these easily outperform the standard Apple speakers or other large tablets sound abilities. Customers can also use the new 8-megapixel camera equipped with an LED flash. There is also a front-facing camera that will be used with Skype and other video-conferencing apps and situations.
The HDX 8.9″ runs on the new Fire OS 3.0, if you have used a Kindle Fire in the past then you should notice that the new OS is much snappier and runs all of your applications and videos much more smoothly. Amazon still dominates most of the operating system with its own services and in-house apps. Since so many of the included features are linked to Amazon’s digital-store, most of the retail space on the home screen and other locations are geared to work straight with Amazon. If you are a frequent Amazon shopper, or if you get the majority of your digital content from the Amazon store, then this will be really convenient; if you don’t then this will be rather annoying. Amazon tablets are truly designed for the Amazon customer, and if you are on, then you will love all the integration.
Powering the device is the new 2.2GHz quad-core processor featuring 2GB of RAM with the Adreno 330 GPU. Outside of streaming video there weren’t any situations that slowed the tablet down, even when jumping between apps and updating social-media or downloading from the Amazon storefront. If you are streaming video and jumping around a lot, then you of course will be pushing the GPU on such a powerful screen. There weren’t any problems to report though and the overall experience with the device was pleasant regardless of application, video quality, or resolution.
As for browsing the internet, you will have the newly improved Silk browser. Utilizing Amazon’s web-services and CDN departments, the Silk browser offers incredibly fast page-rendering times on almost every website that you could visit. The browser doesn’t have the same options and advancement of Google Chrome, or Apple’s Safari browsers, but if you normally surf the web for reading, social media or general browsing, you shouldn’t be disappointed with its performance.
The only true drawback I could find with the larger model is that, besides the screen, there aren’t too many improvements over the 7″ model. If you want a larger screen than this model would be perfect for you, but if the extra 1.9″ isn’t a deal breaker, then I think the Kindle Fire HDX 7″ would be a better investment. At $229 the 7″ model offers all of the same features and services from Amazon like X-Ray for Music, Prime Instant Video downloads and the incredible new Mayday button. At $379 with the 8.9″ model, you’re getting a little too close to Apple and Google’s price-range. These company’s don’t offer the same entertainment-based services like Amazon does for its tablets, but they do make up for that with more third-party apps and the ability to do more productivity applications for work or school. The Amazon tablet is perfect for entertainment (books, movies, shows, shopping, social-media and internet browsing) and if that’s the target you are looking for then the HDX line should be on the top of your list to compare tablets. I would still suggest the 7″ model however, unless the screen is your top-choice.
more info: amazon.com/kindlefirehdx