195 of 213 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 2012
I have the Kindle Fire 1st gen, and decided to go with the Kindle Fire HD 8.9" since it solved some of the issues I had with the first one. There are plenty of reviews about what the tablet functionality includes, so I'll only cover some basic things about how it compares to the first gen Kindle Fire and some notable items about how to improve the HD with better apps. Toward the bottom of this review I provide instructions to installing the Dolphin Web Browser, which is the single best thing you can do to improve the Kindle Fire HD.
A few notable improvements from the Kindle Fire 1st Generation:
* Volume buttons: this is huge! Big improvement. Although I think the buttons should be separated a little to tell them apart, or be physical different somehow to tell which one is increase or decrease.
* Freetime: huge improvement. I don't worry about giving it to my kids any more, and my kids love it!
* Generally it's more responsive, the screen is better quality, and I like the size much more. As far as the screen goes my 7" Kindle Fire was good for reading books, but not so much for browsing the internet. If I needed/wanted to browse for something I'd usually fire up my laptop for a full browser. The Kindle Fire HD 8.9" larger screen and resolution makes a huge difference. I'm no longer using my laptop as much and able to more quickly look up things I need on the Kindle. It's a full tablet! Of course, this is also a slight negative--I could fit my old Kindle in some pant and coat pockets so it was easier to take around with me. I can't do that, and I'm taking it with me more. I'm a little more afraid of losing it.
Now a few things about the Kindle Fire HD 8.9" specifically:
* Overall I like much of it. The UI is great for novice and intermediate users. I'm an advanced user, and I still think it works pretty well for my purposes with a few simple enhancements I'll mention below. If you like Amazon's platform and have Prime, it's a no-brainer. Free books via the Lending Library or just free titles is great!
* Video is a real standout with this: I'm going to cancel my subscription to Netflix now! Netflix's catalog is going downhill quick, and is still terribly difficult to search for good content. On the flipside, Amazon's Instant Video on the Fire is now much better! I love how the free Instant Video is the 1st option when opening the video tab, and how they have shortcuts immediately to Editors Pick and Just for kids. Makes it simple to find good video, and it looks great output to my TV in HD. I've also installed the HBO To Go app and found it's awesome as well. HBO directly on it! I've also found myself just watching video on the Fire instead of plugging it up to my TV or turning on my TiVo for the same content--just easier.
* Integration with Audible is awesome! I used Audible several years ago and found when I logged in dozens of old Audio books I can download in a moment, with great quality. It almost makes me want to go back to Audible. I use Overdrive now and borrow from my local public library to my iPod, so probably will still do that.
* Books: it's a great ebook reader. I hate to say it but I prefer most books to be on my Kindle now. Don't forget you can get them from your public library as well (search for Overdrive!). One negative is that I can't put books into folders and I have a lot of books. Oh well...
* Integration with Amazon's cloud drive for music and files works great as well. Not much to say but it works flawlessly.
The device is great but does have some flaws:
* Most notably, Silk is a terrible web browser. Mine crashes continually and is very slow. Even after turning off "acceleration" it's slow. See a fix below for this.
* The battery life is so-so. I'm getting around 6-7 hours of use before the battery is dead.
* It really should have a forward looking camera.
* It would be very nice if Amazon allowed more advanced control over the settings of the device. There are tons of things I'd like to customize, but since this is a more controlled environment than other Android tablets, I just can't. One example: I get lots of email for work and personal use, and as a result I don't like audible email notifications. However, when I turn those off I lose all notifications. There isn't an ability to still show the new mail icon unless you have audio notifications!
Overall, I love my Kindle Fire HD 8.9". I have had some frustrations so I'll share how I've fixed those below:
* Web browser: GET THE DOLPHIN WEB BROWSER. Most people don't know this, but you can get a different web browser. You can also get plenty of other apps than what is available in the app store. Here's how:
o Set your Kindle to allow installing unknown applications: Settings > Device > Allow Installation of Applications = On.
o Install the One Mobile Market (independent market place). Amazon won't let me give a URL for this, so just Google "1 Mobile Market" or go to 1Market d o t com. This gives you the ability to install pretty much ANY Android application (with some functional limitations).
o Once installing One Mobile Market launch it and search for the Dolphin Browser. This browser works great and is much faster than Silk. It has more options to control privacy and other features. The only negative is that you can't change the Kindle's default "Web" menu item to open Dolphin--you'll just need to add it to your Favorite's menu.
* One you install the One Mobile Market and Dolphin also install:
o Youtube. Must have.
o OneNote (great notetaking product from Microsoft that allows you to sync notes to the cloud)
o Anything else you want--just remember that anything that relies on Google's framework functionality won't work without rooting your device. Generally, if an app is already in Amazon's store, get it there so you ensure it works with the Kindle.
o AirDroid: This is an amazing tool that allows you to access your Kindle from any web browser to copy files between your computer and Kindle--pictures, etc, and do other advanced tasks.
o Flash: While in Dolphin, find a Flash APK file to download. I had a link here but Amazon removed it. Instead, just BING for "flash_player_ics.apk". Currently the top link at Bing is the file you need directly from Macromedia's servers.
* In the Amazon App Store make sure you download these key must-haves:
o Slacker Radio--Spotify and Pandora have better PR, but Slacker is better IMO. Radio + choose your own music, and if you pay $10 a month you can listen to anything you want, any time.
o GSam Battery Monitor
o MapQuest--It's surprisingly good. You can also download Google Maps from 1 Mobile Market, but it doesn't work great due to bugs running on the Kindle.
Two additional items I realized I should mention:
* I didn't mind the Fire didn't come with a charger. I bought this instead: PowerGen Dual Port USB 2.1A 10W AC Travel Wall Charger for Apple iPad 2, New iPad 3, Amazon Kindle, Kindle DX, Kindle Fire / Noble Nook Color / HTC Flyer / Samsung Galaxy Tab Series (USB Cable not included) - White. This has 2 USB ports and works at a high-enough amperage to charge the Fire quickly.
* I bought the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9" Standing Leather Case, Ink Blue (will only fit Kindle Fire HD 8.9"). I gave that 4 stars in my review there. It's really great as well but just a little overpriced.
I still love my Fire, but wanted to write a quick update about Kindle FreeTime. The Kindle FreeTime function is great -- it helps kids have their own area on the device that is locked down to the items you let them have, so they don't accidentally start buying stuff on Amazon or send emails on your behalf.
The key thing though is Kindle FreeTime "Unlimited". This is the monthly subscription service that gives your kids immediate access to hundreds of books, apps, and videos. (http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000863021). I used this for the 30 day trial for my two kids, and it is a huge benefit. My kids love my Kindle now because there is so much to do on it--and it's not just Angry Birds. They watch movies--even educational videos like Reading Rainbow, read books, and play apps that are educational. Last night I watched my 8 year old son help my 5 year old daughter play a learning game for 45 minutes--what is this animal, what sound does it make, etc. For $6.99 per month it's a huge value--worth every penny!
110 of 118 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2012
I have owned two Kindle devices one of which was the original Kindle. Both of which I have been very happy with. If you are planning on buying a tablet for e-reading and want some of the benefits of a tablet (Web, email, music, or videos), then the Kindle is the best way to go. If you are buying a tablet for business purposes primarily, then you would be better served with a Nexus 10 from Google.
For personal use, the Kindle Fire HD 8.9", is the best device on the market this Christmas 2012. It provides the perfect balance between hardware to power use, which allows the user to have a device that runs for a long time, 10 hours, for reading, music, videos, and games. When you add in the power of Amazon Integration, users are blessed with vast sources of books, music, videos, and games/apps that will make becoming bored nearly impossible.
The typeface is amazing on the new Kindle Fire HD. There is no eye strain and the controls easily allow you to change the font type, size, margin, and background colors. Outside, the screen displays the page easily in full light of day with no glare. Amazon didn't include any frills such as page turning animations like you see with the Google Books or Nook, but never the less, turning pages is easily done with a swipe. Highlighting is easily done and seen by the viewer. Buying books is simple and can be completed by any educated person. The size of 8.9", in my humble opinion, is the perfect size. It allows you to see a real page of text from a book, which is great because it gives you the actual feeling of reading from a book. Whereas a 7' screen never really shows you an actual page of text . A 10.1" screen will show you a screen of text on a page but it is slightly harder to hold in your hands.
The only real downside is that Amazon continues to use their places rather than actual page numbers in many books.
The devices comes with two great speakers which allow you to play your favorite tunes loud enough to hear in almost any venue. The Amazon Music store offers great deals with $3, $5 and discounted music on any genre of you desire. You can make playlists to organize your tunes easily.
With a 1080p HD screen supporting a resolution of 1920 x 1200 you will enjoy movies all your movies and if you are an Amazon Prime customer, many will be free. The Amazon store offers a wide range of movies for all interests. If you can't find it in the Amazon store you can always use Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO or Youtube.
You easily browse the web using Amazon proprietary browser Silk or you can download Firefox or Dolphin. With these choices you can access almost any site with the exception of parts of sites that use Adobe Flash which is no longer supported on Android after version 4. There are also apps for accessing your email which provide access to almost any provider. Please understand that if you are a power email user, you will have to use the browser to access full GMail functionality, which is easy to do.
One of the first things you will want to do is disable the feature that allows only Amazon store apps. This way you can put apps like Nook or Zinio on your Kindle Fire HD. Now you have a fully functional tablet... But seriously folks, the app store is not as full as Google's store but for most major apps if they exist in Google's store, they will be published in Amazon's store too.
In general, the device feels solid in your hands. It weighs in at 20 oz which is a little heavy. The speakers are nice quality and sound clearly when used with clean country music or distorted head banger styles. The 1.5 GHz Dual core processor is more than enough to power this device for personal use as an e-reader or personal web browser and email. It powers the music and video with great quality giving the user High Definition on a 8.9" screen.
The screen is amazing in that it is brilliantly colorful, has a great resolution, and is easy on your eyes during reading. With a resolution of 1920 x 1200 you will easily be able to watch videos in full HD brilliance and to be honest anything beyond this resolution in this size of a screen is overkill that is just using more power. The glass is strong, but I would recommend a case and a screen saver to prevent scratching.
Battery life is great in the device and you could easily fly from New York to Los Angeles on one charge. The device recharges quickly when you use the additional cost charger which is a must buy unless of course you have existing Samsung or Motorola mobility devices that use micro USB in which case you can share the cable and chargers with your new Kindle.
The new Dual Band capability is a big benefit as most routers contain G and N functionality allowing for greater range of connectivity from the wireless base station.
With options for 16GB or 32GB you will have plenty of room. People fail to realize just how big a GB is. For the average person 16GB will more than do. If you are a music nut or video freak there is the 32GB option, but to make your life easy Amazon includes free Amazon Cloud storage for media purchased from their store. This is great because you can access your movies from XBOX, Roku or Google TV devices.
106 of 114 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2012
Posted on 1/7/2013, this is an update to my comments about the Kindle's weight that I posted on 12/12/2012. I've now had my Kindle Fire HD 8.9" WiFi 32GB with Special Offers tablet for one month. My experiences might help others assess their "need" for this tablet.
Many of the 1-star reviews of the KFHD8.9 remind me of the time some decades ago when a famous consumer reporting magazine gave a poor rating to America's favorite sports car because "it still only seats two."
When buying a product, I want to know what that product claims to be, what it really is, and whether any of it is of any use to me at all.
In December I thought I might "need" a tablet device. This despite the fact that I've never used a smart phone and I hate laptop computers. I figured that poking a screen with a finger is crude at best when compared to the precision, flexibility, and speed of a touch typist using a keyboard/mouse combination. Giving up a multi-tasking windowed environment seemed like stepping backwards a few decades.
I chose the Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 32 GB WiFi with Special Offers based on Amazon's description and on user comments and reviews that persuaded me it could do the several media viewing tasks that I had in mind.
My biggest surprise was that Amazon seems not to realize that a 32 GB tablet is far more than a media display device. It is in fact an information and entertainment system. As such it requires tools to manage large quantities of information stored in thousands of files. Not acting on this fact is the same mistake made by so many when hard disks first appeared and transformed desktop computers from simple data manipulation devices to systems that required management.
Developing and refining management tools for the desktop has taken 30 years and is continuing. Hopefully Amazon will learn more quickly what it is selling. For now, the KFHD8.9 lacks the most basic organizational tools. Fortunately, independent software developers are working on apps that enable us to make the Kindle useful.
Here are the 6 things I wanted to do with a tablet, along with a brief summary of how I made the KFHD8.9 useful for each task.
SIX TASKS FOR MY KINDLE
1.) Play home videos for my elderly mother so she can see her great granddaughters on her big screen TV.
This finally succeeded just yesterday when another Kindle owner recommended the free app BSPlayer Lite. I had produced some mp4 videos of dance and piano recitals from my AVCHD files. These mp4's played flawlessly on my desktop PC using several mp4 players. I then copied the files to my Kindle using the USB cable. I then connected the Kindle to my mother's TV using an HDMI cable.
The Kindle Personal Videos app and two other video player apps stumbled where the videos included crossfades between scenes or where there were scrolling credits over a still image. The sound continued but the progress of the video display halted for a few seconds and then jumped ahead. ES File Explorer crashed completely when I tried to use it's built-in player to open an mp4 file. I assume there is a bug in these apps or in the codecs included with the Kindle that will eventually be fixed. Meanwhile, BSPlayer Lite is the only app I've found that plays my mp4 files smoothly.
2.) Streaming HiDef Netflix video to a big screen TV
This works well with no additional software. I previously used a Wii game machine (which is not HiDef) to stream Netflix. I connected my Kindle to the TV with a 15' HDMI cable that allows me to sit in my recliner with the Kindle and watch streaming video on my HiDef TV. This saved me the cost of buying some other network HiDef video streaming device.
3.) Replace old iPod Nano 2nd generation for listening to podcasts.
I listen to podcasts several hours each week with my iPod always connected to one of my stereo systems. Using the Kindle for podcast listening almost didn't work in any useful way. The iPod is well integrated with iTunes self-organizing playlist system based on attributes of each mp3 file. In contrast, the Kindle has only rudimentary tools for organizing podcasts and music.
Fortunately, Amazon had a 99 cent offer that called my attention to iSyncr and the free Rocket Music Player. These can be synced to my iTunes playlists on my PC. I am now well on the way to making the Kindle into a useful podcast organizing and listening device. This saves me the cost of buying a new iPod or other mp3 player.
The rave reviews about the Kindle speakers imply to me that most small devices have really terrible speakers or that no one knows any more what high fidelity sound is meant to be. These tiny speakers have minimal usefulness, though they do beat listening through iPod earbuds.
4.) Browsing the web when away from desktop
This works pretty well. The Silk browser has never crashed since I started using it. I have no more trouble with it than I do with Internet Explorer on my desktop PC. Silk is fine for casual surfing and quick lookups. It is utterly inadequate for serious research and writing. Especially it lacks a robust method of managing a lot of bookmarks or of keeping multiple tabs open for instantaneous switching among pages. (On my desktop PC I have some 2,500 bookmarks organized into 140 folders.) Clicking links with a finger can be trying on some web pages. A stylus was less helpful than I had expected. A severe fault is that you have no control over where Silk puts downloaded files. They all go to the Downloads folder and you need another app to find them and move them where you want them.
5.) Reading books and technical papers in many formats, especially PDF
I have never liked reading books on my computer and I doubted I would like it on the Kindle. My opinion is slowly changing now that I have loaded dozens of PDF files and Mobi files (all free) from various web sites and from my public library. The free Adobe reader has basic markup capabilities, though it's far less capable than what I am accustomed to with FoxIt Reader on my PC. With the Kindle I can read longer documents in a comfortable chair instead of at my desktop.
A major deficiency is that bookseller Amazon provides almost no means for organizing books and documents. Fortunately, on my first day with the Kindle I found the free ES File Explorer that enables me to work with documents much as I do using Windows Explorer on my desktop PC.
Some publishers do not allow network transfer of library electronic books directly to the Kindle. The file must first be downloaded to your PC and then copied to the Kindle over a USB connection. Connecting a networked device through a USB cable seems slightly ridiculous. WiFi File Explorer Pro costs only 99 cents. It lets you copy files to and from the Kindle over WiFi.
6.) Playing games
I am not a computer gamer, but I thought my granddaughters would enjoy playing games when they visit a few times each week. Having had to step up to their challenges, I am now addicted to several puzzle games, including Flow Free: Bridges, that can be played by 5-year-olds and by their granddaddy. I've also found that Bubbles is not so mindless as I first thought. It does require some strategy. With Go Free I'm recovering my old love of Go from several decades ago.
Had it running in a few minutes, partly because I had read a lot in advance. The Quick Start card packaged with the Kindle was not much use as it was glued into its slot in the top of the box.
A truly terrible button. Some report the Kindle can be accidentally turned off when you brush the on/off button. In contrast, I find it very difficult to turn it on or off when I deliberately press the on/off button. Using a cover with the auto-on feature eliminates most of this annoyance.
Some reviewers think the Kindle Fire HD 8.9" is too heavy. With my kitchen/garden scale I determined that the KFHD8.9 with the Marware Revolve case weighs less than most hardbound books I own. Without the case it weighs less than many of my paperbound trade books, and it weighs less than my daughter's iPad. Weight is just not an issue.
Weight details added 3/2/2013:
Kindle Fire HD 8.9": 19 oz. (Amazon says 20 on their specs, perhaps my scale is underweighing by 1 oz, doesn't matter)
Marware Revolve Case: 13 oz.
Combined weight of Kindle + Case: 32 oz.
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows: 40 oz.
Bennet's The Book of Virtues: 42 oz.
Michener's Hawaii: 39 oz.
Paperbound trade books:
Mutual Funds for Dummies: 29 oz.
Gleick's Chaos: 20 oz.
Crockett's Victory Garden: 34 oz.
Apple iPad (my daughter weighed hers on her electronic kitchen scale): 23 oz.
iPad with cover + integral keyboard: 43 oz.
Conclusion: Kindle with Revolve case weighs less than many hardbound books. Kindle alone weighs less than many trade paperbacks. Kindle alone weighs less than iPad. Kindle with case weighs much less than iPad with keyboard case.
I'm finding the trick is learning how to hold the Kindle since it is denser and has a different leverage than a printed book. It all depends on what you want to do.
My old Netgear WNR2000 N300 router is perfectly adequate for streaming video. I did not have to upgrade to a dual-band router as some have claimed is necessary. CNet describes my router as a no-frills, budget, wireless-N router. I used the free Wifi Analyzer to measure signal strength and channel interference from neighbors houses. I was surprised how strong the signals were from some of my neighbors 50' to 150' away. I have been streaming HiDef video to a room 50' from the router without problems.
The Kindle runs all day for my purposes of reading, light web browsing, and video watching, along with games with my grandchildren.
I paid attention to the advertising and decided to order the $10 charger. I don't have many portable devices so I don't have spare chargers lying around.
Recharging Time (added 3/2/2013)
Recharging time for the KFHD8.9 using the Kindle Power Fast charger depends on how low the charge is when you begin charging. Here's some recharging times I observed for overnight charging with WiFi turned off. I read the numbers from the excellent chart made by Battery HD:
Starting from 9% charged:
to 80% took 2-1/2 hours
to 90% took 3 hours
to 100% took 4 hours
Starting from 28% charged:
to 80% took 2 hours
to 90% took 3 hours
to 100% took 3-1/2 hours
From 33% charged:
to 80% took 1-3/4 hours
to 90% to 2 hours 10 minutes
to 100 took 3 hours
From a low starting point to about 90% charge is almost a straight line charge. After that the charging rate slows as it approaches 100% charge.
A case is an absolutely necessity for me. My one day out with the Kindle in the car (I only used it when I was parked) and at friends' homes was a bit terrifying.
This is almost useless with its huge icons and incredibly clunky appearance. It's not even a carousel as it does not wrap around. It is simply a linear icon array with no management capabilities except using a long tap to delete a particular item.
Transferring files to a networked device over a USB connection is tedious. Amazon provides the Send to Kindle for PC software, but it has bizarre behavior, and I used it only once. The two PDF files I sent using Send to Kindle were first sent to Amazon after which they were sent by Amazon to my Kindle. Perversely, Amazon added nearly 3 dozen random alphabetic characters to the beginning of the filenames. Fortunately, WiFi File Explorer Pro is available for only 99 cents and it does a good job of moving files between your desktop PC and the Kindle without using a USB cable.
Lack of significant free apps
The Kindle world has some good free games, but other free apps can be more annoying than useful to the point that they discourage me from upgrading to the supposedly more powerful paid versions. Compared to the Windows world, the Kindle world has a shortage of powerful and useful free apps. Perhaps this will change as the tablet market expands. I have mentioned in this review a few good free to low-priced apps that were vital in making the Kindle a useful device for me.
Kindle is boring say some
Not for me. I've been thoroughly engrossed in the details of my Kindle for almost a month. I've had similar learning experiences with unfamiliar technologies over the 30 years I worked with mainframe, DOS, Windows, and Mac computers. It's never boring. (Then I just might be a geek, though a late adopter.)
Locked into Amazon say some
Hardly. I've loaded my Kindle with home videos, home photos, and podcasts, and I've been browsing all over the web. I've downloaded books in various formats from a variety of web sites including my public library and Project Gutenberg. I do appreciate that it is very easy to access Amazon when I want to buy something (though I prefer using my desktop PC). You can easily ignore the Amazon tools, though I recommend checking the free app of the day every day. The free trial of Amazon Prime was a revelation to me. I've never paid Amazon shipping charges, having always used the free shipping option that causes slower delivery. With Prime I no longer have to accumulate $25 worth of orders to get free shipping. Even the least expensive items are now just two days away with free shipping. (Yeah, there's an annual membership charge. I'm betting I'll come out ahead.)
Special Offers and Other Ads
These ads that appear on the opening splash screen are hardly noticeable, though some have displayed images that are mildly offensive. If some company wants to share sponsorship of my Kindle with other advertisers, good for them. People who walk around with advertising on their sweat shirts, shoes, and pants should hardly be complaining. I have not seen ads popping up randomly, though there are tiny ads in some of the ad-supported free games. Some free games do display full-screen ads. Turning off the WiFi has served to remove them during game play. With Special Offers on the opening splash page I've been surprised at the lack of variety. After the 20th display of the same car at startup I knew that advertisers don't realize that I only buy a car every 15 years or so. Perhaps the lack of variety means few advertisers are buying space on the Kindle.
Flash doesn't work
An endless stream of Kindle detractors keep reporting this obvious fact. Adobe discontinued mobile Flash some months before the KFHD8.9 was released. Many imply that the iPad comes with Flash support, which it never did. Steve Jobs published his reasons for not allowing Flash on the iPad nearly 3 years ago. Some credit him for killing Flash, though Flash's many problems, not the least being security and the cookies you may not realize it puts on your device, would have killed it eventually. Not having Flash is less of a problem every day as HTML5 is replacing it (now with support from Adobe). Others have documented the workarounds for those who must have it.
GOOD CHOICE AFTER USING ONE MONTH
So far I think the Kindle is proving to be the right choice for a portable device for my specific purposes. If I am still using it after 6 months I'll know I made the right choice.
122 of 133 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2012
Wow, I don't quite know where to start! This is probably the most "mixed" review I'm going to write.
First off, I had no preconceptions if I was going to like this or not. This is my first tablet, so I have no pre-conceived notions on that front. In fact, I was quite determined to like the Kindle Fire HD, but after 2 weeks of one problem after another, my resolve is wearing down.
Please note that this review will also largely revolve around several Kindle Fire HD specific customer service/tech support experiences. I realize that they are not the actual device, but they have a HUGE influence on your experience with the device when something comes up, so I feel that needs to be taken into account too.
So, let's start at the beginning. My kindle arrived, and earlier than expected. It was great out of the box, until I tried to register it and it just wouldn't.
It seemed straightforward enough, and I'm reasonably tech-savy, but it wouldn't work. Off to tech support. Longish story short, they couldn't register it either, and an hour and two supervisor tech guys later, they managed to register my kindle to my account. In order to do it, they had to create another kindle listing, but oh well. They got it done - great!
Next, once I got into the kindle, now that I could use it, I noticed that it was showing the "offers" even though I had ordered and paid for without offers. Back to CS to have them turn it off. Should have been quick enough, but oh no.
Because there were now 2 Kindle Fire HDs showing, there was confusion. Then because for some reason my order status hadn't updated and my Kindle was still showing as not even having shipped, she kept on telling me that this kindle can't be it, because it hadn't shipped. Again, long story short, I eventually convinced her that I did indeed have the Amazon Kindle in my hand and that it was indeed that order - she set it to no offers and we were good.
I then spent a fair bit of time moving my files and stuff to the kindle, uploading and downloading from the cloud, inputting passwords, setting up apps, etc.
All that went well and I have to say, I'm loving the screen and the sound on this Kindle. The speed is great too and once I figured out some of the inner workings, I got it nicely customized!
That evening, in the middle of a movie, the kindle did a spontanous factory reset and erased everything back to square one! I have NO idea why - it just did.
So, I put everything back on. I lost a couple of hours, but at least it was at the very beginning of things - nothing I couldn't put right back in. Ok.
A couple more minor malfunctions came up in the following days, one of which led to yet another factory reset as "the only solution."
Since this is also a 4G device, I signed up for the AT&T offer. All went well, I got the confirmations etc.
By all rights, the thing should have just been working now, but I kept on getting an error message, saying the SIM card could not be located and to remove it and reinsert it.
Since there was no easy way to do this, I called AT&T customer service in the hopes that they would know what to do. They didn't. In fact, had very little documentation about the Kindle Fire HD 4G yet, and she couldn't even tell me how to remove the SIM card (it's not immediately obvious like it is on a phone btw)
Anyway, at their recommendation back to Kindle tech support to find out where the SIM card was for sure and how to open the slot.
I spent 20 minutes with somebody that kept on telling me that my device didn't have a SIM card! I kept on telling her that yes indeed it did, I even gave her the SIM card number that the kindle was displaying, and told her that all I needed to know where the card was located, so I could remove it and replace it as instructed, but all I got was repetitive copy and pastes from some manual she must have been consulting.
After she finally got that I did have a SIM card, she kept on copying and pasting instructions on how I can purchase the data plan, which I had previously already given all the information of, as well as the information that I bought it, etc.
It went on for a while, which led me to believe that she had NO idea what she was talking about, as everything was copy and paste and quite basic manual stuff and only vaguely related to my actual problem. And totally ignoring what I told her I had already tried.
Then we did the reset dance again.
Reset. Didn't help. Hard reset. Didn't help. And then she got to factory reset. Again.
This time I had enough. She kept on saying it was the only way and I'm sorry but my trust in that wasn't that great. This is the person who insisted my Kindle didn't even have a SIM card and now she was insisting that I trust her in believing yet another reset was the only way.
Again, long story short, I declined further help on yet another factory reset, as I just wanted to have some time for another solution.
Anyway, hopefully this may help somebody else!
Turns out that when the Kindle is connected to WIFI, it will say that the SIM card can't be found or may not be present. It gives the standard blurb about removing it, etc. That is a tad misleading. Basically, when it's connected to WIFI it feels no need to be "seeing" the SIM card. Once you get out of the WIFI range it sees the card and connects.
That I didn't know that is maybe not surprising due to my inexperience, that the error message wording is misleading is unfortunate, but that Kindle Fire Tech Support didn't know that is just tragic. This could have been a one sentence tech support consult! There wasn't even a problem!
I am so glad I didn't actually factory reset the kindle - again!
So I'm sailing along quite nicely for a few days and I'm loving it! This tablet is really awesome by itself and when it works correctly, all I had hoped for and then some!
I have now downloaded what I need for the most part, I have my work documents on it and ordered as I need them. I totally love Kindle Free Time!! There's no fighting about time limits, it says it's all done for today, the kids accept it and happily skip off to do other things! I don't have to worry about my son buying stuff because he can't get out of his area, nobody fights over who's turn it is - it's great!
Until last night, when all of a sudden a grey square appeared in the carousel.
It's a random grey square that is there instead of the icon for any given app or book. But it's not always the same app. It's truly random. So it's anybody's guess what it might be hiding.
I went through the usual reset, hard reset and all that. I deleted the kindle library book that I had gotten last, thinking that maybe it messed things up. Did the resetting game again. The grey square remains. Since I haven't installed anything that wasn't from the kindle store and approved for my device, I'm not sure why it would do it.
So back to Tech support I went.
And yes, you guessed it. After repeating all I had done already, the only answer they said they had was: Factory reset! It seems indeed a favorite of the support people. But it's all in the cloud he says, you can download everything again.
Yeah, in a few hours! And that's not even counting having to input everything again (passwords etc)
I can't keep on doing this!
So, for now I'm living with an annoying grey square and having to find my books/apps by guessing, but I've had it with the factory reset and wasting hours putting everything back! It seems something always goes wrong with this device.
Never enough to really render the device useless but enough for stuff not to run smoothly. And yes, it is entirely possible/likely that this came from some book or app and has nothing to do with the device, but since the Kindle is so tied in with Amazon and their apps and books, as well as their customer support, this is relevant to the whole package!
What's worse, I have no real trust in Amazon tech support right now and don't know if they just say factory reset because it's a catch all and they don't have to deal with anything else, or if it really does require a factory reset! I have no way of telling if it's a big or a small issue!
I would hope that on these more sophisticated devices with a large storage capacity, a factory reset is more of a last resort than the first solution to jump to!
So in summary:
- This tablet, when it works, is awesome!
- Seems to have a fair amount of little issues that keep on popping up.
- Amazon Customer/Tech support really needs to have a LOT more training on this to be effective with these new devices!
- My experience surrounding my ownership of the new Kindle Fire HD 4G has been very mixed due to all the above!
69 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2012
Received my Kindle Fire HD 8.9" WiFi only yesterday and I am loving it.
-battery life is about 10 hours as is stated.
-charging with the power adapter is fast and easy, the USB is great to power it off a computer if I need to.
-The speaker system is so much better than it was on the first Kindle Fire, I don't need to use headphones or strain to hear at times.
-HD quality is nice and the images are clear and sharp.
-X Ray feature is great watching a movie and wanting to learn more.
-It has a camera that works with some free apps
-Free time will be great when my nieces and nephews come for a visit.
-Ad's are built in to the opening screen, so they disappear when I swipe the Kindle Fire open. Nice way to save $$. ( I can just ignore the "offers" tab too)
-Weight is good and it is easy to handle.
-setup was easy
-no manual sent with it, great as they always seem like wasted space and paper. I can just go online to find more info or use the Fire itself.
-Settings is more like other Android devices now, so I can move through it easier than the first Kindle Fire.
-some apps are not supported yet.Hopefully the developers will create updates so it is compatible with the Kindle Fire HD soon.
-Camera is basic, lower quality. I'll stick using my phone or digital camera
-need to get used to the controls for volume and power, awkward right now, I'm sure I'll get used to it though.
-not as flexible as other devices when it comes to it being only for Amazon markets, but I use Amazon mostly and like to keep just one account for my devices.
-I wish the case was available at the time we received the Kindle Fire. I guess I have to be extra careful for a couple of weeks.
I haven't tried hooking it up to our HD TV for streaming as we have the ability to play Amazon Instant Videos on our TV and don't need to do this.
Been playing on it for a total of almost 12 hours now and still loving it.
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
I'm writing this review on my new Kindle Fire HD 8.9" right now, stylus in hand, testing things out, making sure that things all work as they should. Had thought about writing the entire review with this device, but the more I get into it, don't think that I can do it justice this way, so I'll just make my notes here as I go, then save them to the Amazon Cloud.
Of the four different Kindle Fire HD 8.9" models available at the time of this review, I picked the one that would best fit my personal needs. The Kindle Fire HD 8.9", Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB was chosen based on prior experience with the first generation Kindle Fire, as I had found no problems whatsoever with Wi-Fi in my area, either in the home or within the establishments that I visit. Picked the model that includes special offers, as personally they don't bother me a bit.
Breaking this down into sections, I'll offer a subjective overview of what's good and not so good, followed by more details.
+ Excellent display; very easy on the eyes, good access to Amazon and to the `Net
+ High resolution; 1920x1200 HD display, rich color from all viewing angles
+ Strong Wi-Fi connectivity; dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi, fast downloads & video streaming
+ Exceptional sound quality; offers true Dolby Surround Sound
+ Long battery life; over 10 hours average, measured and confirmed
+ No setup needed; ready to go and runs right out of the box
+ Built-in micro HDMI port; allows for 1080P to be streamed to the TV
+ Prime Instant Videos; unlimited, and so many from which to pick
+ Excellent product feel; very solid and comfortable to the hand
+ 16GB storage; about 12.7GB available to the user, more on the Cloud
+ Good clean styling; minimalist, yet highly functional
- No charging indicator light/LED as on 1st generation Kindle Fire
- No charger; it could have been factored into the base price
Amazon isn't kidding when they offer fast delivery on the new Kindle Fire models. Mine was received within 36 hours from time of ordering, and the minimalist packaging is quite good, with the USB cable stowed in the box lid. Ordered it with the charger, though I already had one from earlier, and immediately charged it even though it comes partially charged. Setup is minimal, making it all so easy. Once it was fully charged, took it online and immediately installed the Battery HD Pro app and ran the full calibration routine as suggested, just as I had done last summer with the original Kindle Fire; this one is highly recommended.
The Kindle Fire HD 8.9" came preloaded with content already purchased before. The Home screen offers a search bar at the top, with additional groupings below: Shop, Games, Apps, Books, Music, Videos, Newsstand, etc. Additional groupings will show up when it's held in landscape mode. Below these there's a carousel of recently viewed material, be it a book, app, web page, movie, etc.
Exploring the new Kindle Fire HD for a few hours, it was apparent that this unit is no simple upgrade over the original. The larger 1920x1200 HD display is clearly sharper, compared to 1024 x 600 on my original 7-inch Kindle Fire, and the reduced screen glare is immediately apparent, probably due to its built-in polarizing filter. The colors were deeper and more intense, with darker blacks and even at varied viewing angles. The 1920×1200 HD also helps make text crisp and sharp, and reading books and magazines is a pleasure.
The real test came when I tried uploading some ultra-sharp high resolution JPG photos, and was quite pleased at how well they were rendered on the screen. The display on this Kindle Fire HD 8.9" is rated at a very dense 254 pixels per inch (ppi), making it excellent with the 300 & 600 ppi photos that I had uploaded. Tried a few HD videos as well, and the more vivid colors and deeper blacks were apparent, again even at different viewing angles, a step up from my original Kindle Fire.
The Kindle Fire HD 8.9" has a good look and feel. It's actually quite a minimalist device, and is easy to hold even without a case. Measuring slightly less than 9½ x 6½ inches and only 0.35 inch thick, it has beveled edges, which make it feel even thinner. Weighing in at 20 ounces, it has a solid feel, and the screen surface feels quite robust. Some sources have noted that the screen is made from Gorilla Glass, which may account for the solid feel, but that remains to be verified. The power button is a simple pushbutton, which is nearly flush with the device; no snags here.
As noted earlier, I chose the Kindle Fire HD 8.9" that is equipped with dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity because of earlier experiences with the original Kindle Fire. What I found with this new one was surprising. The product description claims that it offers "over 40% faster speeds" due to the dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi. Where I live there's plenty of connectivity, but it can dip or stutter now and then. This newer Kindle Fire HD is said to be able to switch automatically between the more congested 2.4 GHz and less congested 5 GHz Wi-Fi frequencies, and I've experienced a longer range and faster overall speed, so it works.
Processor & Storage:
I never had issues with the performance of the original, but this Kindle Fire HD really does perform faster. It's probably the combination between its newer dual-core 1.5 GHz TI OMAP4 4470 processor and the improved Imagination SGX544 3D graphics core, but there's a noticeable difference, both in speed and graphics rendering. Videos are smoother and far snappier. As far as storage goes, I picked the 16 GB version as I do not accumulate as much as others. Most of the items stored here are books, magazines, photos, some videos and MP3 music files. The Amazon Cloud is where much of my content is kept, and after a book is read, it goes back there for storage so that it can be pulled when need. Keeps things simple and accessible over multiple devices.
The newest version of Amazon Silk works well on this device and offers faster page loads than previous versions. But one of the first things that I did was to switch the default search to Google. It's a personal thing, easy to do, and it allows me to search just as I would on my Windows PCs and on my MacBook Pro. It's fast, easy, familiar and far less hassle that way. Luckily this Kindle Fire HD makes it easy to do in the settings, and it just takes a few seconds of exploring to do it.
There is Facebook integration as well, and you can import your photos from Facebook to your Amazon Cloud Drive and view them there, along with any other photos you may already have placed in your Cloud Drive. But a word of caution here: if importing your images directly from Facebook, you're cannot specify which photos you want to import; you'll end up importing them all. Just be aware of this before you start.
Email & Address Book:
Email setup was a breeze. I use Gmail as my primary, and it was set up and configured within seconds. Once that was setup, the Gmail address book was simple and smooth, and no problems encountered. The larger screen on this device makes it a breeze to access Gmail, read messages and to reply to them.
There are a number of apps that I use from Amazon's Appstore for Android, and was most curious to see how these would function on the new device. There's a "Compatibility with your devices" checkbox in the upper right of each app, and if it's designed to function on the Kindle Fire HD, there's a green checkbox. Most of the apps that I use have to do with news, travel, photo imaging, word processing, music and utilities. There are a few that won't work on the new device, yet with all of the choices in the Appstore, have yet to find a number of apps to fit my needs. Many of them offer a test drive so that you can decide if it works for you.
I'm the wrong one to comment on game performance, as there are very few that I've even tried. The few that I've installed to see what the experience was like seemed to perform well, but not being a gamer, my opinions would be almost worthless.
In the Clouds:
I've found the Amazon Cloud Drive to be invaluable for storage, and quite easy to use as my freebie backup for books, magazines and apps. But it can also be used to back up documents, photos, videos and other digital files. This review was initially stored on the Amazon Cloud when it was being written, and from there downloaded to my PC for final edits. There's a free desktop app that one can download for access and connection to the Amazon Cloud that makes life easy, and it works well.
But my main cloud storage for general use on my PCs and MacBook Pro is the Google Drive, and I looked for an app to install it, but it didn't exist in the Amazon Appstore. There are workarounds, but I hate wasting time hacking apps and interfaces, so I dug deeper... and it was there, in my Gmail settings, along with my address book and the Google+ access. Simple, no hassles, and it works.
Didn't know how well the tiny stereo speakers would work on this version of the Kindle Fire HD would work, but it's said to offer Dolby Digital Plus, and that they were tuned to better reproduce low, bass notes, and without distortion. So I tested it using a particular track that I've used before: Strauss: Introduction to Also Sprach Zarathustra, also known as the Theme from 2001, A Space Odyssey. This particular pure digital (DDD) track has the full dynamics that can bring your speakers to their knees. Without getting too deep here, the opening ultra low notes could be heard, and the kittle drums were surprisingly clear.
This also held up quite well with a couple more music tracks, some films and videos that I watched. Distortion is truly minimal, and there is a slightly different though quite good sound when headphones or external speakers are plugged in. Over it's quite better with stereo sound than anticipated.
Setting up Bluetooth was very easy. I paired it with the Plantronics Voyager Legend headset as an audio alternative and tested it with Skype for future use. No problems encountered, and the audio quality was quite good.
Reading Books & Magazines:
There's no doubt that the 1920x1200 HD display adds to the enjoyment of reading books and magazines, and the sharper text is very easy on the eyes, especially late at night when one is tired. With the X-Ray for Books feature, you can easily get more info about characters, locations, terms, and historical figures mentioned in a Kindle book, and it also highlights exactly where in the book those details are mentioned, allowing you the ability to jump right to the appropriate page. It also allows you to get biographies and more from Wikipedia and Shelfari.
There's no such thing as a perfect product, and in that this Kindle Fire HD 8.9" isn't alone. My older 1st generation Kindle Fire has a charging indicator LED built into the power button, and I was surprised to see the lack of the same on this newer product. Let's just call it an irritant. The other gripe is that there was no charger included as there was with the original Kindle Fire, and a decent charger is essential for this device. As of this writing you can get the Amazon Kindle PowerFast charger for about half price, but only if it's ordered at the same time as the Kindle Fire HD, so if you're considering one of these, be sure to order it at the same time.
Accessories & Cases:
Though the device offers a 10-point multi-touch interface, which is quite good and far superior to the earlier interface from the original Kindle Fire, I've reverted to old habits and use a amPen New Hybrid Stylus for most applications. This one is quite responsive on the screen, and for some of us it's a faster way of working.
Also picked up the Marware Vibe Standing Case for Kindle Fire HD 8.9" based on past experience with a smaller one for the original Kindle Fire. This is a solid 4-star product, but the more costly Marware Revolve Portrait and Landscape Standing Case for Kindle Fire HD 8.9", which is made from genuine leather lined with soft microfiber interior, may be a better and more functional choice for many. These are just two among the many to be found here; the choices are yours.
The Kindle Fire HD 8.9", Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB is a solid product, easily worthy of a +4.5 star rating, considering the minor complaints that I've noted above. It has proven to be subjectively the perfect choice for my needs, though yours may vary, and the 4G versions may better suit your needs. The Wi-Fi performance has showed itself to be better than expected, the navigation is quicker than earlier versions, and the higher-resolution screen does a better job displaying menu options. To date I've had no crashed or lockups. It's currently largest tablet Amazon makes at the moment, and it gives you access to all of your Amazon content in high definition. As a multimedia device it has proven to be quite good, and considering how vast Amazon's content offerings are, especially if you're a Prime member, this is probably one of the best media consumption tablets on the market today, and certainly one of the most affordable in its class.
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
As the owner of a first generation Kindle Fire, I was looking forward to a new version of the Fire and preordered the Kindle Fire HD 8.9". I have been using the device for close to a week and so far have been very pleased. This version of the Fire is a big step up over the first generation 7" Fire, and with key improvements in screen resolution, Bluetooth, sound and even user interface.
The HD display is super sharp and vibrant, and this version of the Fire has a polarizing filter and anti-glare technology, to help improve readability at any angle and in direct light situations. E-ink technology (the technology used in the Kindle and other e-readers) will remain the ultimate when it comes to reading outdoors, but the screen resolution of the HD 8.9" for reading is leaps and bounds better than the first generation Fire, and HD movies and television shows are super clear and vibrant.
Bluetooth is important to me, as I have a number of Bluetooth speakers and like good sound for my movies and music. Setup takes a few seconds. The HD 8.9" also has Dolby audio and dual stereo speakers if you do not have Bluetooth speakers. While not exactly booming, the sound these speakers produce is much deeper, clearer, and louder than the two speakers included in the first gen Fire.
Like the first generation Fire, the HD 8.9" has a customized Android operating system. For the new Fire, Amazon used Ice Cream Sandwich, Android 4.0. Set-up is extremely easy. The Fire arrives personalized and pre-registered, so as soon as you turn on the device, it immediately walks you through set-up, finds your router/WiFi, and downloads your books and apps. The most time-consuming part of set-up was downloading the latest software. The user interface also includes a recommendation engine on the home screen, to find similar material. You can also turn this feature off. My device has offers on it, and I don't really find it obtrusive, as they only appear on the lock screen. The user interface is very intuitive. Web browsing is fast, and I like the "Reading View" feature, which removes unnecessary images or information on a Web site and lets you read or see what you want to see. I also like the "Trending Now" feature, which alerts you to Web sites that have a high amount of traffic. X-Ray technology also allows you to do a "deeper dive" and to find out more about actors, a scene in a movie or book, etc.
Contrary to what they say, size is important, especially for tablets. The HD 8.9" is light and thin, so I am able to hold it and use it with one hand. Swiping makes it easy to move from one page or Web site to another.
Other Things to Consider
If you like or are connected to the Amazon ecosystem, and have Amazon Prime membership, then the HD 8.9" is a perfectly designed media consumption device. With access to literally thousands of free movies, television shows, and even books, the Kindle works hard at keeping you easily connected to all of Amazon's content. Of course, if you want to buy something, the Kindle also works hard at making it easy for you to make purchases. The Amazon app store offers thousands of apps, but not as many as the Google Play store or iTunes.
Also, text inputting is fine for e-mail or other simple Web applications, but until Amazon or some third party developers come out with a free-standing keyboard, I wouldn't attempt to write a doctoral dissertation or the Great American Novel on this device. E-mail set up for numerous accounts is easy, and this version of the Fire also integrates with Microsoft Outlook Exchange.
Overall, I am very pleased with the Kindle HD 8.9". If you don't mind the fact that the Kindle is totally tied to the Amazon ecosystem, it is a fun and easy-to-use personal entertainment device that is priced considerably less than the competition.
95 of 104 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2012
I purchased the kindle fire hd 7 and fell in love after one 4 hour flight. I have an iPad and love it. However when I travel the iPad is a little larger then I want to carry on the plane. The kd fire hd 7 was just prefect. Then I thought about the hdmi out. I totally hate that apple makes you buy numerous hdmi adapters for iPod classic, and iPad and I just refuse to buy another one. The kd fire hd 7 again was beautiful. The hdmi out was outstanding, or at least I thought. It puts out a 720p. The kindle fire hd 8.9 puts out 1080p. I have a 60inch tv and it makes for a big difference. That fact sold me into buying the 8.9. I'm so glad I went to the 8.9, yes sold my 7 on amazon and took a $49 loss. Just love the picture resolution. Books, magazines, tv/movies just look better. Don't think you can go wrong with this unless you're looking for a notebook. Great job amazon. Too, like most people I was surprised and extremely happy to get the kindle 8.9 prior to the Thanksgiving vacation trip. One last note, the kindle deluxe is also a wonderful ereader for those looking for a larger screen, however, pretty costly but worth it. Update- about to get the otterbox. Not happy with the price but otterbox usually have the best covers period! update- 1-17-13 I have had the opportunity to download videos and the standard video's look horrible on here while they look like High Def on the iPad. this made me take away two stars. when I say iPad,I mean the 1st edition not the retina version. Also, the battery life is less that stellar. I'm becoming less and less excited about my kindle HD. on the other hand the streaming and web search is amazing- super fast!
117 of 130 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2012
I purchased the Kindle Fire HD with the expectation it would be just a barebones tablet that I could carry anywhere and also eventually replace my notebook at home for day to day web surfing. Heck, for 299 and a 8.9" screen it was a no brainer to me. I initially looked at the very same 7" model and Nexus tablet, but the screen was just too small and it did not feel "right" on the hands. Being the past owner of an iPad 2 that got destroyed by my kids I went back shopping for a replacement. The iPad 3 was just too heavy and wayyy too expensive for the kind of use it will have. Plus, add the kids to the picture, I was not planning on spending over 500 bucks on something that would end up rolling around the house and taking the risk of being destroyed...again...So I took the gamble and went with the 8.9" HD. And after only a few days, how surprised I am...Now, I was always a big fan of Amazon, customer service is something I'd pay for and when you get the best price and great customer service all I can tell you is you got my business forever. With PRIME, this device is a full entertainment powerhouse, I have movies and games for the kids, music on the cloud, books for the wife, a great browser and an unexpected amazing screen. Watching movies on it is just great, listening to music another big surprise: the speakers are just fantastic...I did not get into the 'dolby' thing, as I thought it would just not make a difference on a small device, but the sound in LOUD and clear. As for the camera, I understand other reviews mentioning the lack of rear facing camera as a problem...but honestly, I had an iPad for 2 years and NEVER used the rear facing camera. You simply will not...I do Skype and that is the only need for a camera in a tablet in my opinion (again, different users might disagree). As for the charger (or lack of), I have at least 5 in my house (cell phones, iPad, iPod, etc, etc). I just plug my cell phone one on it and done, not a big deal. And if you are a PRIME subscriber, this device is a NO BRAINER. Get one ! If not, it is still a great take-along carry-around-the-house gadget, very well built, slim and light. Screen is very responsive, haven't seen any lag in the Amazon ecosystem Android wrap and the browser is faster than I remember my iPad being. Maybe I am just overjoyed with the fact I spent so little with no great expectations and got this pleasant surprise. I do have one complaint (so far): the power and volume buttons are hard to find and to a certain point frustrating...I saw that in the 7" and was hoping it would be better in the larger form factor but it is still something that needs improvement (Amazon, are you listening ?). About the ads...really ? I just skip them, so no problem for me. They are not intrusive as you my think, not at all. I am loving this purchase so far.
68 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2012
I have the first Kindle Fire that I still use and love. I just received the new Fire 8.9 which I ordered without advertisements. At first glance it is just bigger and heavier. But it has more storage, has a better screen, Bluetooth and a cool mosaic photo display when in landscape position. Yes, I have read the specs and know there is more under the hood but I don't care as long as it works well. I do like the layout of the new carousel and favorites better. I also like that it is harder to move the icons around in favorites. I like to put them in my own order but on the first Fire they would randomly skip across the screen by accident. One big OOOPPPS Amazon made is with the new case. If you are watching a video and you have the cover opened to support the Fire in the landscape position you cannot leave it plugged in. I am sure other companies will get on that soon. I do love the magnetic cover that turns the Fire on and off. I was horrified that there was no 'FLASH' because I watch several video podcasts that are still in flash. However, there is a flash work around. Go to your account, help, forums on the right and type in flash for Fire 8.9. There is a nice lady that has that all organized for you. You basically download a free app (ES File Explorer) then download an old version of Dolphin Browser to the app and then the flash for Dolphin. It works perfect. Today as I watched my flash video podcast I was amazed at how good the video is on the new HD screen. Also, I actually think my music sounds better on the Fires so I take one to the gym instead of my iPod. I use AblePlanet noise cancelling headphones and ear buds and both are really really good. Good luck with your new toy.
April 2013 Update - I loved this Kindle Fire but sadly in December it died on me and I had to return it. I hope to get another one soon.