The Bottom Line
Nov 13 2013 - Amazon's 8.9-inch version of the Kindle Fire HDX takes all of the great features of the 7-inch version and adds a larger higher resolution display and a rear facing camera. The problem is that the price jump for these extra features generally outweigh their gains. The result is a tablet that is great for those that love using the Amazon services specifically for high definition TV and movies, but beyond that you are probably better off saving the money and opting for the 7-inch version.
- Excellent High Resoltion Display
- High Resolution Camera
- MayDay Video Support Chat Service
- Removing Ads From Tablet Requires Additional Fee
- Lacks MicroSD Slot
- Huge Jump In Price For Limited Feature Improvement Over 7-inch Version
- 2.2 GHz Qualcomm SnapDragon 800 (Cortex-A9) Quad Core Processor
- 2GB Memory
- 16GB Storage
- 8.9" WQHD (2560x1600) Multitouch Display
- 1.0 Megapixel Front Camera and 8.0 Megapixel Read Camera with LED Flash
- Adreno 330 Graphics
- 802.11a/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- MicroUSB, 3.5mm Audio
- 9.1" x 6.2" x .31" @ .83 lbs.
- Fire OS 3.0
Review - Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9-inch
Nov 13 2013 - Just like the Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch was a larger version of the Kindle Fire HD, the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9-inch is essentially a larger version of the Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch with a few changes. It has the same basic design elements including the angled edges rather than the round one and a mix of magnesium and glass/nylon that provides a very lightweight frame that is also durable and features a soft touch surface. The thickness was reduced to just .31 inches which is even thinner than the 7-inch version of the tablet and the weight is now just .87 pounds which is even lighter than the original Fire HD 7-inch model.
The 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HDX uses the same Qualcomm SnapDragon 800 quad core processor with 2GB of memory that was in the Kindle Fire HDX. This combined with the updated Fire OS 3.0 provides a very quick and responsive experience. It also gives it a much more general purpose capability for tasks such as mobile gaming that the previous generation seemed to lack.
The primary difference with the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9-inch is of course the larger screen. In addition to the screen being larger, it also offers an even higher 2560x1600 resolution that provides it with super sharp images that rival that found in the iPad Air or the larger Google Nexus 10. Color, viewing angles and brightness are all also superb on the tablet making it a great way to experience any high definition video content. The screen is very reflective but the dynamic contrast function of the tablet does a very good job of keeping the screen visible say when moving from indoors to bright sunlight.
One feature that the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9-inch offers that the 7-inch model lacks is a rear facing camera which is a first for the company's tablet lineup. It uses a fairly high eight megapixel sensor that should provide a bit more detail than your average five megapixels in many tablets. The performance from the camera is decent but not outstanding which is probably due to the lack of experience both in the software and hardware aspects. In addition to taking still images, the camera can be used to produce 1080p video.
All the software features from the Fire OS 3.0 introduction with the Kindle Fire HDX are all here as well. This includes the new home screen function that can have icons in addition to the previous carousel. Of course the big feature is the MayDay function that allows you to connect with an Amazon representative that can help you navigate the functions of the tablet including drawing on the screen to help the user find them. Sadly, the second screen function is still not implemented in it as is the Goodreads integration.
Amazon still does not list the capacity ratings for their tablet battery packs but instead lists the projected running times. The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9-inch is claimed to have a twelve hour running time with mixed use and eighteen hours with reading. Both of these numbers are one hour longer than the 7-inch version. In digital video playback testing, the tablet was able to run for ten and three quarter hours. This is a half hour improvement over the 7-inch model. It still falls short of the nearly twelve hours that the iPad Air can achieve in the same conditions.
Pricing is one of the key issues for the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9-inch. The previous model was just $299 and now it is $379 for the 16GB capacity version. This price is with the special offers displayed periodically which costs another $15 to remove them. It should be noted that this is also $150 more than the Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch which is pretty significant since the primary difference between the two is the screen resolution and the rear facing camera. Thankfully extra capacity is just $50 per step up to 32GB and 64GB versions.
The primary competition at this price point comes from the Google Nexus 10, Applre iPad Air and upcoming iPad Mini with Retina Display. The Nexus 10 is fairly dated now and needs an update as it is certainly larger, heavier and not as responsive. Apple's iPad Air is a good $100 more and doesn't have as high of the resolution display but offers a more stylish design, longer battery life and a larger application library. The problem is that the iPad Mini with Retina will cost jsut a bit more at the 16GB capacity with all the same capabilities and features as the Air but in a smaller size that makes it a touch choice between the two that will really come down to the software and media offerings of the two platforms.