13,338 of 13,637 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Thoughts (Typed Using The Kindle Fire HD 8.9)
Let me start out by saying that I am new to the tablet world and have had no experience using any tablets prior to this purchase. That being said, I spent a great deal of time fishing around through reviews and specs of what seemed like countless tablets for months. The obvious cliche conclusion led to all fingers pointing at some variation of an iPad, yet for me, I do...
Published on November 22, 2012 by Rick Mallory Jr.
9,529 of 9,960 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the Greatest Tablet, but a Good One
I wasn't really in the market for another tablet, but my girlfriend ended up getting one for me so she got me on this one. I would like to say that this tablet reminds me of the first Motorola Droid smartphone that came out several years back. The phone jam packed a ton of bells & whistles into its hardware and software to give a lot of bang for your buck. This is what it...
Published on November 16, 2012 by D. Carlson
Most Helpful First | Newest First
13,338 of 13,637 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Thoughts (Typed Using The Kindle Fire HD 8.9),
This review is from: Kindle Fire HD 8.9", Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB (Previous Generation - 2nd) (Electronics)
Let me start out by saying that I am new to the tablet world and have had no experience using any tablets prior to this purchase. That being said, I spent a great deal of time fishing around through reviews and specs of what seemed like countless tablets for months. The obvious cliche conclusion led to all fingers pointing at some variation of an iPad, yet for me, I do not see much sense in purchasing a tablet (regardless of brand) for around the same price as a cheap yet descent laptop that will have more potential.
Enter the Kindle Fire HD.
I will spare you the story on my process of how I ended up choosing a Fire HD and get right to what you all want to know: my thoughts and experience thus far with the product.
I will start with this since obviously that was the first thing i noticed. In a word, incredible. Now its not "eye popping" or anything out of this world, but i can honestly say it exceeded my expectations and i was (and continue to be) impressed by this piece of hardware's capabilities. I tested out just a few minutes of TV shows, trailers, videos, and films from Prime Instant Video, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Flixster, and Youtube (through the web browser since an app is currently unavailable) and everything looks as it should (and beautiful to boot)! Books come out crisp as well (both in text and picture) and the same goes for basic website visuals, apps, and games. Overall I am very impressed.
This is probably where i was most impressed. I have seen some of the reviews on here that are 3 stars or less putting down the audio or claiming they don't hear the big deal. Not to be a jerk or anything but i recommend those people check in at an ear clinic and have their hearing tested. I was literally amazed at how I was hearing sounds from various distances and angles. From up close it felt like i was hearing a high quality home theater system and not just for one flick but everything. From website audio to music, Netflix to Audiobooks, this tablet sounds great!
Book/Reading Features: (10/10)
At first this was not my primary reason for purchasing a Fire HD, but after toying around with a few things, I am truly impressed at how well Amazon has integrated the ability to find, purchase, read, and even listen to literature. The lending library for Prime users is a nice added touch allowing you to borrow from a rather extensive list of books. Not to mention many timeless classics are available for free (such as Dracula, Gulliver's Travels, Little Women, The Iliad, The Jungle Book and many more) and of those titles, many come with free audio! If you do not feel like spending the money on audio (or if your book has none available) the text-to-speech feature is surprisingly well done with minimal error. With all this being said, I can honestly say that I am excited to start reading again.
Web Browsing: (8/10)
The only reason I do not give this a 10 is because web browsing (with what is given out of the box) lacks Flash support which limits the capabilities. However, with a bit of research I was able to find forum discussions on how Fire HD users were able to work around this by downloading an app called ES File Explorer and then a separate browser called Dolphin that gives you Flash capabilities, so this is an easy fix that even a monkey could figure out how to do as long as they are patient. Though don't get me wrong, Silk is fast and beautiful and i use it for the majority of my web surfing, but occasionally Flash is needed. As I am sure you have read by now in other reviews, the fact that the Fire HD does not automatically come with Flash support is not Amazon's fault yet rather Adobe for pulling he plug on their involvement with tablets. Again, as long as your network is put together well, browsing the web is very fast and up to par with dare I say some computers.
App Availability: (8/10)
To me, this is the only area where the Fire HD lacks. I would rate lower here but I am trusting that over time and after updates, the lineup will have grown. Once more, with a bit of research you can find discussions on how to "sideload" apps from your computer and other devices, but that could be a bit too advanced for the average user. Though for what it is worth, the selection it does currently come with is top notch. Just to name a few, some important missing apps include: YouTube, Dropbox, and SiriusXM. Still, as far as I am concerned, this certainly is not a deal breaker and I am sure that as things progress access to these will become available.
The 8.9" model that I own and am currently reviewing was a lot lighter than I expected and it is true what they say ( it is just right to fit in one hand). Out of the box/pre-case the Fire HD looks great and is very thin, sleek, and dare I say...sexy? The only minor gripe I would have (that I noticed other reviewers mentioned) is the volume and power buttons are sometimes hard to find and do not always register, but after a while you get use to it. Aside from that, I love how it appears and functions.
There are a few things that by now you may know, such as how out of the box the Fire HD does not come with a wall charger. I know that is a bummer but if you don't already have one roaming around your house from a smartphone or if you cannot tolerate simply charging from your computer, Amazon sells them at a fairly reasonable price.
Bottom line? I have purchased over 500 items on Amazon and I rarely feel the need to review a product, but I genuinely felt my voice needed to be heard ( or read rather) with the Kindle Fire HD 8.9. I strongly recommend purchasing this product and if you have any questions, feel free to comment and hopefully either me or someone else can assist you!
P.S. This took me forever to type on the Fire HD but it was good practice and hopefully worth it!
I would highly recommend a screen protector and a case
6,193 of 6,463 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Value and Great Gadget,
This review is from: Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 4G LTE Wireless, Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 64 GB - Includes Special Offers (Previous Generation - 2nd) (Electronics)
Originally published in November 2012, Updated January 19, 2013 after using this Fire for several months...
As there appears to be mixed reviews of the 8.9' Fires - ones with 4G access and those without - to clarify, this review is for the 8.9" tablet with the 4G connectivity option.
To get the iPad comparison out of the way, I put this tablet side-by-side to my iPad 2 I use for work. Downloads were slightly faster and the video screen resolution and the colors were more vibrant on the Fire vs. the iPad 2.
Screen Display / Video Playback:
With the larger HD screen, if playing video is important to you this is the version of the Fire to get as the screen display is fairly impressive with sharp and crisp colors. The display on this HD Fire was one heck of a lot better in terms of sharpness than last year's model and even this year's smaller HD model.
Amazon also added a cool feature on this one with the HDMI micro connection port. I have an HDMI micro plug and was able to hook this up to the big screen to watch an episode of the science fiction series Defying Gravity. It played back great smoothly with no problems.
My standard test for trying out new gadgets is to see how fast they run side-by-side with a known piece of equipment doing the same test at the best place of Wi-Fi in my house and the worst place where it drags. In this comparison, I had this 8.9" version of the Fire sitting next to the "smaller" HD version of the Fire, my Motorola RAZR smartphone, my iPad 2 (yes, the Kindle guy uses an iPad for work), and the new 7" Fire all just using a Wi-Fi connection vs. cellular connectivity..
My website test is to hit the mobile websites of FoxNews, CNN, my personalized Yahoo page, Google, and the Houston Chronicle. The ones that were usually slow on the other devices and were still slow but faster than the other devices (Houston Chronicle and CNN), and for the other sites I couldn't tell a difference in speed at the location closest to my router. When I went to the slowest / worst reception location of my house, the speed did have a noticeable difference in the other devices as this one was slightly faster but for a casual surfer it is not noticeable nor does it hang.
Email setup was very easy with the included email app for my main Google account - it took about a minute to input my email address and password information and I was good to go: sending and receiving emails was a snap, and when I sent a test message with pictures they displayed crisply. I will tell you I primarily us an existing app called Enhanced Email that I received here on the Amazon app store for free vs. what came as standard with the Fire for daily use, and it was easy to use - actually better due to the larger screen size - with this version of the Fire. For those of you asking yourself why am I using the Enhanced Email program, the simple answer is like many of you I have more than one email account: you can quickly switch back and forth on the accounts with the tool. The lazy person in me appreciates that as I don't like getting out of the lazy chair once I'm settled in!
I do play a lot of games, but they aren't the heavy action / interactive games many of the kids play today. For my test, I tried out several rounds of Words with Friends and a Majong derivative. The display was crisp and the tablet was very responsive as it interacted over the WiFi network of my home to the game server.
Sound / Music Playback
Different than last year's model and the $159 this year's model, the two speakers are located in the back of the Kindle Fire in two not-noticeable ports. My test of this feature was cranking up Van Halen's Panama to maximum volume (I wanted to see if it could really play the guitar licks), and I would alternate covering one speaker up over the other: you have true stereo sound with no degradation of the sound that makes you think you are about to blow the speaker. However, the sound is not very crisp (the $159 Fire sounds better to me) as the sound is going away from you with the speakers being in the back. With a cover on the Fire to protect it, that can be a problem. It's going to take a little bit of getting used to having the volume controls at the top of the device.
Reading a book was enjoyable and easy on the eyes with the larger screen: I appreciate being able to changing the default font to something else in addition to increasing the font size so I don't have to wear my glasses. Turning pages is pretty darn easy - just tap the side of the screen to go to the next page or back a page, or you can swipe your finger across the screen to do the same.
Bluetooth setup was very easy. I tested this with audio in my car as well as an external keyboard. From a music standpoint, there were no delays or skips with the connection, and it paired up in about 30 seconds; I hooked up a Motorola Bluetooth keyboard and started banging away with several emails. Just make sure you give it a device name so you can recognize it and be recognized.
Cellular Connectivity (This Section Updated 1/19/2013):
The 4G connection is a lot like how I have heard one of my friends describe his relationship with a girlfriend: when things are good, they are real good and when they are bad, they absolutely suck.
The same can be true for the 4G connection - it can be real fast when it wants to be fast, and you can be dead in the water in the strangest places. For example, I can be out in the middle of the country and see a cell tower on the highway / frontage road, and the cell service is screaming fast and very convenient. On the other hand, I can be in downtown Houston, the display says I have full cellular strength, and it just won't work - no Internet, no email, no anything.
In other words, I have a love-hate relationship with it.
Concerning the introductory data plan - the one where you pay a one-time fee of $50 for 250 megabytes of data per month for 12 months, I have mixed emotions about it, also. I am not a heavy user of email or web surfing, I dislike video chat, and I don't download big files all of the time, so I initially thought the 250 meg per month limit would more than suit my needs.
I was wrong.
Why was I wrong? It's all of the apps loaded on your Fire that auto-magically turn themselves on that constantly check the Internet for updates, apps like Accuweather and The Weather Channel, a few news apps, and Words With Friends. The Weather Channel app had to be the worst: despite manually shutting it down, it would miraculously come back on and download maps, constantly check for updates and refresh said maps so frequently it chewed right through the month's allotment in a day and a half.
No kidding. And it's not a very good app, either, in comparison to Acccuweather so I deleted it.
Bottom line is you need to watch the data throughput carefully, or you will go over. I upgraded to the 3 gig per month plan, which is the same plan I have with my work iPad and seems to be enough. That's $30 per month, so I wasted the $49.99 on the 250 meg per month plan (AT&T wouldn't give me a refund even though I upgraded).
Affordability vs. an iPad
Dollarwise, this version of the Fire whips the iPad when you stack up the annual cost of connectivity, 64Gb of memory, and the cellular (or not) models of the iPad. The iPad's screen is slightly larger, but when I put it up against each other for the same things (web page, game app) I really couldn't tell that much of a difference.
Overall, if you are looking for a larger tablet this one wins hands down. With the full-features included with this model - especially the 4G connection - I believe this will be my go-to device, and I will no longer be carrying my e-Ink Kindle in addition to my iPad every day.
9,529 of 9,960 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the Greatest Tablet, but a Good One,
I wasn't really in the market for another tablet, but my girlfriend ended up getting one for me so she got me on this one. I would like to say that this tablet reminds me of the first Motorola Droid smartphone that came out several years back. The phone jam packed a ton of bells & whistles into its hardware and software to give a lot of bang for your buck. This is what it feels like amazon has done with the Kindle Fire 8.9. They have put a lot of advanced hardware and innovative software, so for the average user, specially someone who absorbs a lot of media, you get a lot for the price. But just because you get a lot for the price, doesn't mean it is without its flaws. This is an updated version of my likes and dislikes, (my original analysis was a bit rushed, this is more detailed):
I like the build of this product, it has good material design and durability. It feels nice in your hands and comfortable to hold with easy access to buttons. Since this is only 8.9" and not 10 or 11 inches, it is easier to grasp and hold in one hand with an overall good aesthetic look and feel to it.
I have to say, the more I listen to it, the more I like the sound. The speakers are definitely a step up from the norm and probably one of its best features. They produce a full, rich, and very vibrant sound you can experience music and movies the way they were meant to be experienced. It is not a home theatre experience, but as close as one can get with a small device like this.
The display is very nice. I'm not sure if it compares with the clarity of Super Amoled or Retina screens, but it comes close. High screen resolution is not special to the Kindle, lots of tablets now have high resolution screens, some higher. What this screen has that other tablets don't is the anti-glare, which works well under sunlight and highly lit places, it's not something that seems advantageous until you work with a screen that doesn't have this.
Kindle's Wi-fi and Silk Browser make internet browsing fast. I did a comparison with a Samsung and Apple tablet, and noticed that the surfing was faster, it wasn't a huge difference but it was noticeable. Streaming audio and video had a bigger and more noticeable difference, with the Kindle being very smooth, with fewer lags and dropped connections. This is key for me, I hate streaming content with pauses and breaks in loading, there is less of that in the Fire.
In my opinion, this is Fire HD's best feature, delivering a better reading experience than any tablet right now. This is no surprise as books are Amazon's claim to fame and where they excel and have always excelled. I don't know if you remember, but before Amazon was Amazon, they were the first online retailer for books. Before there was an iPad, there was the kindle. They have always been at the forefront of the book buying and reading experience, now especially digital books. I think I remember reading that the Kindle was the main reason Borders Bookstore went out of business, Borders said they just couldn't keep up with or match Amazon's delivery system.
Now with this Fire HD, they offer even more advancements. With its X-ray for books, its 'reading view' that takes away messy images on a site leaving only text, `immersive' reading that lets you play an audio book while reading, whispersync technology, and better optimization of text, other devices can't match. Granted it doesn't compare to digital ink like on the original Kindle for me did the best to mimic actual reading, but as far as tablets goes its better than what is out there. If you are getting a tablet primarily for reading, this is gonna be a good choice.
I have a love hate relationship with Amazon's Universe of services. I don't like how even though the Kindle HD uses Android, it is somewhat restricted. Also, they don't have as many apps as google or apple. But taking everything else into account, movies, books, music, prime lending library, prime movies, amazon is better. The big drawback is you have to own a kindle to fully enjoy their universe, which means if you own a kindle, you are limited from using other company's universe.
Apps and other features
All the apps work fine, they start and stop as they should, nothing to criticize or brag about. The touch screen is smooth and responds good, though nothing like iPad...hate to say it but iPad thumps everyone on that, their touch and scrolling is very fluid and just feels right. I don't have kids so I can't really comment on the parental controls but from other reviews seems like something to have if you have kids. Can access email and everything fine.
When it comes to bringing together the right mix of original and developing technology in a tablet, like the first Droid phone, Amazon did an admirable job. It merged a mix that most of us will enjoy and find useful. Although Amazon has put original elements that make this tablet worthy to compete in the tablet world, at the same time, they've done some things that make you question what they're doing.
This is the most disliked innovation to hit electronics since the Windows phone (and I don't mean the Windows 7 phone, I mean its predecessor, which was so disastrous nobody heard about its release and was pulled from shelves within two weeks). Microsoft was smart enough to pull its mistake, Amazon seems to continue to run with theirs.
As you have read in other reviews, this product does not come with a standard charger. I don't like that other reviewers excuse this by claiming it makes the product cheaper. Chargers are not expensive to produce so I don't think it makes the product cheaper, it gives Amazon more opportunity to recover the Kindle cost by charging $20+ dollars for an accessory that probably only costs a few dollars to make. Not sure how accurate this is, it's my own decision I've reached as it doesn't make sense not to include a standard charger adapter because for most people including myself, this is not a pc companion, rather a pc replacement. Without a real charger, it becomes a companion. Yes, you can buy one, but why make us do that.
The Kindle Fire 8.9 only has a front facing camera. It is useful for video chatting, but not for taking pictures. If I want to take a picture of something outside myself, I have to point the screen in that direction, which means I can't see what I am taking a picture of or have easy access to the camera buttons, doesn't make sense.
This is some of the qualms I have, nothing revolting.
All in all, do I like this Kindle HD? Yes. Will I keep it? Probably. Do I think it is the greatest tablet in the world? In some respects, yes, in others no. Should you buy it? The answer is this is not an all-in-one, do everything machine that the likes of iPad claim to be. With this it seems like amazon focused on some key things, like watching movies, listening to music, surfing the internet, and reading books. The things they concentrated on, they made sure to go full force to give users the best experience they could. They are things that most of us average users are going to use a tablet for...email, streaming, social media, video, music, for what amazon focused on with this product like I said they did admirably.
1,713 of 1,802 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Value Given All the Features & Options,
This review is from: Kindle Fire HD 8.9", Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers (Previous Generation - 2nd) (Electronics)
My wife purchased the new Kindle Fire HD 8.9" for me and have to say it is definitely one of the more nifty devices, with lots of cool features and options. Before I talk about them, I'd like to say that I enjoy tech gadgets and I usually get my hands on the latest and greatest ones. Although, I don't buy everything that comes out, I do play around and keep myself up-to-date with what is out there. Also, I don't hook myself into a particular manufacturer. If a product is good, I will purchase, use, and tell people about it. If something better comes out, then I move on. This review will cover the Kindle HD as well as my experiences with other devices.
This tablet has a very nice and fresh looking display. The images are super sharp and everything looks crystal clear. It is easy to view on off angles, which is useful when me and my friends are viewing the screen at the same time or for using the device in presentations and meetings. The anti-glare feature is a nice touch, I can view it in direct sunlight without a huge loss in clarity. Granted, it's not as great as in dim light or shade, but it does the job.
The audio was a huge selling point for me. Most speakers on laptop, netbook, and other portable devices like tablets and smartphones produce poor quality sound. You always have to plug in external headphones to really enjoy music and movies. That issue doesn't exist with the Kindle Fire HD 8.9" These speakers get loud, and with Dolby technology, produce an enjoyable experience. Again, this can come handy when you are listening/viewing the device with multiple people.
I really like the Kindle Fire HD's dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi. It not only does a better job of streaming HD content, but it allows you to connect to more types of signals. WiFi routers vary, some are old and outdated, while others are newer and function better working on different bandwidths and frequencies. Kindle can connect to all the different varieties. This is very handy if you travel a lot like me and need the ability to connect to whichever random connections you can find in the moment.
Nice, handy feature, I don't know why more devices don't have them. I can connect to my Bluetooth wireless headphones and walk around the house without being tied to the device. Also, I can have the Kindle connected to my other Bluetooth devices without having to be next to them. Not a deal breaker, but a nice feature.
Silk is a neat innovation in internet surfing. It predicts what links on a site you will navigate to, and downloads those pages b/f you click on the link. This increases the load speed of webpages. The concept is interesting, and it proves useful when you've lost internet connection, because if the pages were downloaded prior to you losing the connection, you can still navigate to them.
This is the part of the Kindle HD I dislike; the whole ad concept is unwise. Not only does it come off unprofessional, it adds an unnecessary decision/step in the purchase process. The price difference is not much, so Amazon should either price the device higher or just chalk up the cost. As a buyer, if ads are an issue, since your spending $300 - $500 on a device anyway, spend a little more so you don't have to deal with it...unless of course you like to be kept up-to-date with ads.
Outside of the ads, this is a fantastic media machine. With the display, speakers, dual core processor, and graphics card, it is the good for gaming, music, movies, and video. Add to it the Silk browser and the dual band, dual antenna Wi-Fi, it also becomes good for internet browsing, allowing for better streaming of those games, music, movies, and video.
Vs iPad 3
The main advantages iPad has over Kindle HD 8.9" are that iPad's Retina display gives its screen a higher resolution, but not by much. iPad 3 has both a front and rear camera, while the Kindle HD has only the front facing camera. Amazon says the front facing camera is HD, but I'm not sure what that means. The iPad has GPS which the Kindle HD lacks. The clear advantage for Apple is the number of apps. Apple phones and tablets have the most apps of any competitor.
On the other hand, the Kindle HD 8.9 is a bit thinner, lighter, and smaller than the Apple counter part. iPad has only a single mono speaker, while as mentioned, Kindle has the Dolby stereo speakers. Kindle's screen is a 16x9 aspect ratio (like Movie and HDTV screens), while the iPad is 4x3. What this means is that movies will display larger on the Kindle, using the entire screen whereas iPad will display smaller, leaving bars along the top and bottom.
For most people, the key distinction between iPad 3 and Kindle HD 8.9" is the price. The Kindle HD is considerably cheaper, with the WiFi model costing $200 less than iPad 3's comparable model, and the 4G LTE costing as much as $230 less than iPad 3's 4G LTE (even the iPad 2 and iPad mini are more expensive than the new Kindle). Take into consideration the data plan, and you are saving another $150 in the first year with Kindle HD.
Another disadvantage of the iPad is that you get the deliciously awkward pleasure of joining a cult that brainwashes you into thinking buying Apple makes you different, better, while offering an advanced product; when in reality they are like the million other Apple users, spending twice as much for a device that is rarely up to speed with current technology.
Falling behind in technology is one of the main reasons I've strayed from Apple over the few years. The original iPod and iPhone were true innovations. You might even say the iPad was an innovation, even though it was simply an oversized iPhone, even using the same operating system. To make their products work smooth, Apple's uses highly specialized components in their products. This makes it difficult for their products to evolve as quickly. The initial iPhone was one of the last phones to make the switch to 3G. And even though 4G has existed for nearly 2 years, iPhone made the jump only a few months ago. Apple's prized Siri is just an enhanced version of Google's voice activated search, which came out 2 years prior to Siri. Now Apple is playing catch up with the iPad mini and Amazons already on its second generation 7" tablet.
Vs Google Nexus 10
Before starting this comparison, I would like to point out a couple things. One, evaluating the Kindle Fire against the Nexus is more an apple's to apples comparison as they are both use the Android operating system. The Nexus is a 10" tablet (hence the name), while this review is for the 8.9" Kindle HD. Both companies have a 7" counterpart with the Kindle HD 7" and Nexus 7, though the comparison here is strictly between Kindle HD 8.9" and Nexus 10.
It is also important to note that Google is the main reason anyone is able to compete with Apple phones and tablets right now. They are the creators of the Android operating system that are used in majority of non-apple devices. Tablets like Amazon's Kindle Fire and Samsung's Galaxy Tab really owe it to Google's open source Android operating system for their ability to participate in the tablet market.
Now that we have gotten that out of the way, let's begin the comparison. Both Kindle HD 8.9" and Nexus 10 run version 4 of Android. However, Nexus runs the updated 4.2 Jellybean, while Kindle Fire HD runs the 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (the names are silly, but they are memorable). It is important to note, the version in Amazon's tablet is heavily customized. The customization has its advantage and disadvantages. The advantage is Amazon can offer things such as parental controls that can limit what your kids can do and for how long. The disadvantage is there are restrictions on certain features like Google's Play store.
As mentioned, Kindle HD is 8.9", the Nexus is bigger coming in at 10." Both have a front-facing camera but only the Nexus 10 has a rear one, which is 5 megapixels. Both have HD displays with Gorilla Glass and micro USB & HDMI connectors for HD video output. Google's display is higher resolution (even higher than iPad's retina), while Amazon's display has the polarizing filter and anti-glare technology. Both Fire and Nexus offer stereo speakers, but only Amazon offers Dolby sound.
As far as hardware, both boast a dual core processor, though Nexus is a little faster at 1.7Ghz against Fire HD's 1.5 Ghz. On the other hand, Fire HD has more storage capacity starting at 32GB and going up to 64GB, whereas the Nexus starts at 16GB and goes up to only 32 GB. Kindle HD 8.9 comes in both a Wi-Fi and 4G LTE version, Nexus 10 comes in only a Wi-Fi version. Kindle has the dual antenna and dual frequency Wi-Fi, I believe the Nexus comes in only dual frequency, not dual antenna.
The Nexus 10 excels in that it has the NFC chip for device-to-device communication, GPS, and it is fully integrated out of the box with Google services like Maps, Drive, and Gmail. As mentioned, Amazon's modified Android places restrictions on some of these services. Also, since Google makes Android, it is highly likely that updates to the Android operating system will likely be released to Nexus devices before Kindle Fire devices.
As it relates to price, like with iPad 3, Kindle Fire HD has the clear advantage. The Nexus starts at $399 while the Amazon 8.9" starts at $299. The next model up for Nexus is the 32 GB version which costs $499. At that price, you can get the Kindle not only at 32GB, but with 4G LTE. As far as price, Kindle has everyone beat.
These are the major players in the world of tablets today. There are other manufactures like Samsung and Acer, however, they don't offer an extensive ecosystem of apps, media, and services like Google, Apple, and Amazon. Also, as stated earlier, most tablets use Android's operating system, so aside from hardware size and features, they are going to offer an experience similar to the Nexus.
The question that beckons is which one to buy? If you really like one company's ecosystem of services, the answer becomes less difficult - get that company's device. That is, if you like Amazon's Whispersync technology, Silk browser, Xray for books and are a Prime junkie, then go with Kindle Fire HD. If you are a fan of Google Play and their services, consider the Nexus. If you are diehard Apple, well, I don't have to say what your going to go with...though if you go with Apple, do it and be quiet. Don't be like the masses of Apple customers who feel the need to run around advertising to the world about how they own Apple. Ranting and raving doesn't make you cool, it just shows how childish and insecure your need for validation is. Although, you might think you are cool, we all laugh and talk behind your back.
On the flipside, if you are not overly committed to any company's services and are looking for a good overall tablet for a good price, then the clear winner is the Kindle Fire HD 8.9". Given the hardware specs, its focus on media, internet, and reading, and the price point, it is hands down the best value. In my opinion it is the most advanced, feature rich device for the price.
I love technology and enjoy following its progression, I've really enjoyed sharing my thoughts about this so I hope you've found it helpful.
2,878 of 3,040 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We like it better than our iPad (please don't hate me),
This review is from: Kindle Fire HD 8.9", Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers (Previous Generation - 2nd) (Electronics)
We originally bought this for our daughter to use so my wife can get her iPad back.
Let's start with the comparison...
Size (and weight) matter - This larger version of the Kindle Fire is smaller, thinner, and a quarter pound lighter than the iPad 3. Of course that means the screen is a bit smaller too, less than 1". However, the Kindle screen is breathtakingly clear and the weight difference, while it sounds small when you type it into a review or read it as you are now, is really noticeable after just a few minutes of holding the device with one hand while using it.
Price - Another tiny difference is that the Fire is a couple hundred dollars less than a similarly configured iPad.
About the Ads supported version - We never notice them. They are only on the lock screen.
Display - We like the Kindle display better than the iPad. There, I've said it and hope I won't have to go into hiding. It is clear and bright without making everything look like a comic book and shows up well in sunlight without having to turn the display way up (which means the battery won't drain quickly).
Usability - I'm liking the Kindle interface more and more, compared to the iPad or "Native" android tablets. The Kindle prominently displays apps used most recently and the ones I just installed in a side scrolling "Carousel". Other apps are just a few taps away. That's great for me and greater still for my young daughter (see FreeTime, below) since there's no hunting for the things I'm likely to want the most. The iPhone and other Androids I've seen do it the other way around.
First use - First use was very straightforward. I liked that it knew my name without me having to tell it. First thing it did, after greeting me (by name) was ask for my WiFi password. After that it took a few minutes to download updates. When I clicked on the "Apps" menu it already had listed every Android app I bought from Amazon. Same goes for videos, music, and books. I realize iPad does something similar. However, having used both, I feel the Kindle is easier.
On the business side I can access my email accounts, including those in an Exchange server, with no problems. Attachments, including .PDF files, Word documents, and Excel spreadsheets can all be read with no problems.
Back to the fun stuff, YouTube, Netflix, and SmugMug videos stream flawlessly. Pandora provides music without a hitch. It connects to Bluetooth devices quickly and easily.
The Camera - The front facing camera, designed for video conferencing, provides a clear image while the screen provides a vivid image of the person at the other end. We ran some side-by-side tests with our iPad 3 and the Fire always performed better. There is no rear-facing camera for taking snapshots and I figure that's what my iPhone is for.
FreeTime - We love it!!! This allows us to limit the app's and sites accessible to our daughter. For us it's as much to keep her from getting into confusing places that interrupt her activities and keeping her from things we don't want her to see. This is so much nicer than handing her my iPad or Samsung tablet and dealing with the frequent frustrations from her stumbling into an application she doesn't understand. OK, these are not so much child friendly as parent friendly but everybody wins in the end.
The Missing Charger - One difference that could be important to some is that the Kindle doesn't come with a charger. It does include a cable that you can use with any USB charger or computer you may have on hand. However, if you don't have one of those then you will want to order a charger along with this.
Remember at the start of this I said we originally bought the Fire so my wife can get her iPad back? After using the Fire my wife prefers it and leaves the iPad to our daughter. The only problem is I need to buy a second Kindle Fire because now I want one too.
FIRST THING TO BUY after you get your Kindle: Best 100 Kindle Fire HD Apps (Updated With Top Apps for the Kindle Fire HD!). It's a bargain at $0.99 (Free to borrow if you're a Prime member). You can zip through, read descriptions for the mostly free app's, click on the ones that interest you, and have them installed right away.
A NICE CASE: A little while ago I got an Innovic Multi Functional Handmade Leather Zip Bag for iPad 2 and 3 16gb, 32gb, 64gb edition. Turns out even though it's made for an iPad it fits the 8.9" Fire HD pretty well. (I've added a video showing how well it works with this Kindle along with my review for that case) It may not be a perfect solution but given the limited options for cases right now, especially for the price (originally $11, it has as of this writing almost doubled since I originally added this to my review and is still a good value), it isn't a bad temporary choice. (I had a chance to try the Marware Revolve Case for Kindle Fire HD 8.9", Black and will be sticking with this one.)
398 of 421 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I LOVE the Kindle Fire 8.9": A Detailed Review,
As I did with my review of the 7" version of this device, I had the chance to check out my friend's advanced copy of the 8.9" version as well. My conclusion? Simple: I LOVE this device. GO OUT AND BUY IT NOW!!!! You will not be disappointed!!!
I am a former Apple fanboy; I had the iPhone, I still have the second generation iPad; but now I am finding myself expanding to other, less expensive options. I now have the Galaxy S II, and am seriously considering switching to this product. You'll find most of my comments similar to the review of the 7", with a few exceptions.
DESIGN - I really like how the shortcut bar switches to the right side of the screen when you turn it to landscape mode, so you won't have to look for them. Landscape mode already uses up more vertical space so putting these buttons on the bottom in landscape mode would be silly. It's a bit weird that the home button is now on the right instead of left, but hey, that's fine with me as long as you're not using my landscape space.
Attachments download pretty easily. Once you get the hang of things, you'll be using it in no time.
FEEL - The fire HD 8.9 was designed very well this time around. So much easier to hold one-handed than a 10 incher or the even bigger 11.6" guys that weighs down your hand. It has a fairly large bezel which does not look so great aesthetically (I would rather have an edge to edge screen with only a tiny bezel for holding, but I'll live!) It has a soft touch back which looks very pleasant. wider bezel as I noted before, and is extremely light. It is somewhat thick - definitely thicker than the ipad, but the 8.9 version feels just right. It weighs 20 oz. so it's the heaviest product in the Amazon kindle repertoire, but it offers the most so that is expected.
It is bigger than the original fire and has nice curved edges which makes it much easier to hold than the original fire. It looks very sharp!!! It has volume buttons, a MAJOR improvement on the original fire as well. It is bigger than an iPad mini and feels bigger too - while still keeping a similar price point as the regular iPad but with far more options.
SOUND - the sound is clear and fantastic and comes out very crisp. The fire uses dolby digital audio which comes out very clearly. Dolby knows what they are doing. The music plays very nicely and can be stored in the cloud which is great. Amazon allows you to import up to 250 songs which is not very much, but what can you do?
SOFTWARE - the device has new programs such as x-ray which is great to learn more about books and movies, and FreeTime which is fantastic for kids.
The platform is Android 4.0, but this is Amazon's customized version of the platform. It is based solely to sell products so don't think of this device primarily as a iPad replacement - folks, think of it more as a faster way to line amazon's pockets with other purchases that you will almost certainly make through the device. The home screen is not customizable with widgets, live wallpapers, weather apps, etc., the way an android screen is.
Immersive reading is a new feature that allows you to play an audiobook while reading the screen - you can read and listen at the same time, or if you're bored with reading, just listen. I love having the option. They do well with the sound here using the new Dolby digital feature - that is just super neat and not expected in a tablet!
While x-rays for movies is super cool, I got bored of it quickly. I enjoy learning about interesting features of the movie, but after the first time, I just want to enjoy the movie.
The idea of FreeTime is great for my kids. My daughter can play with her games, and I know she is not doing other things because of the bright, vibrant blue background color of the screen which I can easily ascertain with a quick glance. I can lock them down on time so they can share with each other. Most importantly, the new fire HD is built tougher.
The browser runs very nicely. It seems to run faster than the original fire did. I can turn full screen on or their new "reading view" which eliminates all the background junk that wastes space. I was able to download and load PDF files and some of my word documents without any issues, and I'm told by my friend that he had no issues loading his exchange server for work on the 8.9 fire HD.
Movie and book titles show up the same way the original fire did, in a library look which seems to work well for Amazon's needs. It displays your titles easily and clearly and allows you to find what you are looking for quickly. The whispersync feature was a great idea - it lets you access your content on any device, so I was able to download a book on the fire HD and see it on my original kindle fire and my iPad's kindle app. Now they have whispersync for movies, games and audiobooks as well!!!!
You can use skype which works fine on wifi - it's integrated but is not as full featured as their desktop app. You can also check email - they allow access to aol, gmail, etc. Facebook is set up with the device, and you can easily view photos as well. In short, it's a pretty full featured tablet just as all the others on the market, but at a fantastic price point.
HARDWARE - The 8.9" version costs $299 and $369 respectively (add $15 if you can live with special offers), as well as 32gb and 64gb ($500/$600) with LTE, plus you can get a fantastic 250mb data plan for only $50 a year on the LTE version. As my previous review noted, the 7" kindle HD comes in 16gb (only $200!!!) and 32gb for $50 more. So you are getting a pretty fantastic deal. In comparision, the 64gb version of the iPad is $659 not including the data plan, so you're saving some money on this guy. Additionally you get 5 gb of amazon cloud storage free, plus you can pay more for more cloud storage (for files: 10/20gb, $25/50gb, $50/100gb, $100/200gb, $250/500gb, and $500/1k gb, plus for music: free/250 songs, and $25/250,000 songs).
The data plan, if you get the LTE version of the 8.9" fire HD, blows away the competition. Consider any smartphone you own - for instance a Galaxy S 2 - you have to pay at least $10 a month premium for the data plan alone, and this is only $50 a year! Not to mention the data plan includes 20gb cloud storage and a $10 Amazon app store credit!
It has dual band wi-fi with 802.11 a/b/g/n that makes it much faster than the competition. It also has an amazing screen and dolby digital sound! It can handle WPA2, WEP and WPA security. The processor is a speedy 1.5 Ghz dual core processor with 16 gb integrated flash memory, which is almost as fast as my desktop PC... time to upgrade... :)
It is a capacitive touch screen with fantastic resolution. The video playback is 720p. The device also has Bluetooth (A2DP) and HDMI port, as well as text to speech which is great for my blind friend. It comes pre-registered to my account which is a good and a bad thing. I have to be sure not to give it to anyone else without undoing that! It also has a USB 2.0 and 3.5mm stereo jack. It has an accelerometer and gyroscope and front facing HD camera with built in microphone for Skype! It also has an ambient light sensor as well which is a fantastic feature.
As noted in my other review, I was able to check out the cover for the 7" (haven't seen it for the 8.9" yet) which has a nice leather grain. The interior is made of nylon which has a bit of a plasticky feel. I love the iPad 3 magnetic locking feature and they seem to have utilized that here which turns the device off (sleep) when you close it, and turns it on when you open it. Simple. Uncomplicated. I assume the cover is the same for the 8.9" version.
SCREEN - They have reduced the screen glare on the device using IPS technology, a polarizing filter and anti-glare, which is pretty nice. IPS is a big deal as you don't want to be looking at it from a sharp angle and not be able to see the screen. I don't have as much trouble seeing it in direct sunlight. Also, the screen is much sharper and crisper than the original fire. I can lay the screen down flat on the table and still see what's being played pretty well. The color is vibrant and the magazines show up fantastic similar to the iPad's retina screen. It has vibrant blacks and a display resolution of 1920 x 1200 which is about 255 ppi so that does lag a bit behind the iPad with retina display.
PERFORMANCE - The HD 8.9" seems to run a bit more efficiently than the 7" version that I tested earlier, and it certainly runs much faster than my current kindle fire. It has a hardware called MIMO (multiple input/multiple output) which is increased antennas that work together to transfer data and improve data performance without taking up more unnecessary power or even adding any bandwidth to the spectrum! It uses all antennas provided to improve the connection quality as well. Not only that, the processor needed can be the same one without requiring an updated one.
Downloads are pretty fast. I have Prime so I am able to run movies and shows for free and they ran fantastic on the device. On Wifi they just scream OWWWWWWW FAST. Much better than the iPad 3 as I've cross tested them. Netflix and YouTube ran seamlessly with no stuttering as sometimes happens on wireless devices like the iPad. I was able to get about 8 to 9 hours of battery life with VERY heavy usage, a bit less than the 7" version since I had the LTE running, I think they say over 11 hours but that did not happen for me. It charges pretty fast - it took only a few hours using their "powerfast" charger.
ADVERTISING - The device DOES have advertising, which is displayed on the lock screen only. I found this did not bother me too much, but now Amazon allows you to pay $15 to turn this feature off. If you care so much, then you probably should not be wearing that shirt with the polo logo on it. I'm sure most of you don't and would rather spend that $15 on a new app for the device.
OPENING THE BOX - It has a USB 2.0 cable and the quick start guide, as well as the tablet itself. I wish it came with the power adapter up front. I would have to go out and buy one - the iPad comes with one so why not this device? I would rather pay the extra price up front, although I guess it's better to have the option than the choice made for me. The micro-USB cable is nice for plugging it into the computer. No headphones, although I just plugged mine in from my iPad and was fine.
WARRANTY - this comes with Amazon's 1 year limited warranty but you can buy a 2 year warranty as well.
ACCESSORIES - You get a $3 mp3 credit with any kindle accessory you buy, so that's a bonus. You can and probably should buy two products with the device. Most importantly, pick up a powerfast charger which allows for superfast charging in only 4 hours and costs $20 which is not unreasonable. Amazon Kindle PowerFast for Accelerated Charging (for all Kindle Fire models, not included with device). I did not get a chance to see the cover for the 8.9" but I DID see it for the 7", so I assume they are very similar. You can get it here for about $55 Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9" Standing Leather Case, Fuchsia (will only fit Kindle Fire HD 8.9") which is a bit pricey but attaches magnetically, will wake and put your iPad to sleep, and serves as a built in stand.
CONS - Very minimal issues - no charger included. No microSD port. No rear camera (most have dual cams now). But let's consider these things - you save money with the absence of a charger - remember, Amazon is already selling these at cost. If you have any USB charger (most people have a smartphone so you can reuse that charger if it's USB), you'll be fine. No rear camera is fine - you aren't holding a larger device like this at all times and if you really need to take a photo, you'll have your smartphone or camera for that. The only real negative I found was the lack of a microSD port, but given that Amazon is generous with the significant memory capacity of the 8.9", this isn't a desktop replacement so you probably wont need to use up all of that storage.
Conclusion - Price is great in comparison to the competition (i.e., the iPad) but you may still want to get a charger and almost certainly a case to protect your baby. Definitely a worthwhile buy if you are looking for a functional tablet and you want to be at the forefront of the technology line. I LOVED IT and recommend it!!!
I hope you enjoyed this review. Please feel free to post any comments and I'll be happy to answer!
***UPDATE 11-19-12 - Still loving it. I play with it every day. Noticed that the browser does predictive linking. Cool! Screen is super clear and immersive - those pixels are put to great usage and the IPS with a variety of angles is simply fantastic (although it's included with many devices, it's still a great feature for those not used to the future of tech!). Gotta love that x-ray tech - it's so nice to download something on my kindle then switch to my phone when I dont feel like holding it, without having to redo everything. Makes life SO much easier! Amazon, you're a blessing!***
***UPDATE 11/23/12-have been playing with it for a few more days and i am still very happy with it. When I'm on wifi, movies load super fast and snappy, even better than the 7" version. It seems like the wifi is just much better on this model. Also, when watching movies, the sound is fantastic and crisp, due to the speakers on each side, almost like surround sound! One thing you should know is that the device does have a tendency to get a bit warm, nothing extremely unusual, pretty typical in fact but you should just be aware of that fact. Minor issue. Still love it and reccommend it!!!***
***UPDATE 12/17/12 - Sorry this is a bit behind the 8-ball but better late than never!!! Just so you are aware, Amazon has posted an update for the Kindle. Doesn't work on the lower end models. This is the text of the update taken from the forums: "We have a new, free software update available for Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire Second Generation. The software update will be delivered automatically via wireless to your Kindle in the coming weeks. These software updates will include: *Kindle FreeTime, a tablet experience just for kids allowing parents to set daily screen time limits, and give access to appropriate content for each child. *A setting so customers can control whether or not personalized recommendations appear below the carousel on the device homepage. *Ability for customers to set the default device language to one of six languages, including English (US), English (UK), German, French, Italian, and Spanish. We will be delivering this update over wireless connections in the coming weeks. Customers who prefer to receive the update immediately can manually download and install the software update from: http://www.amazon.com/kindlesoftwareupdates. If you have any questions related to this release, please visit the Kindle Help Forum - http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/forums/kindleqna/ref=kindle_help_forum_gd."
1,044 of 1,114 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Fire HD 8.9 essentials - the Ys, the FAQ and some comments,
First I apologize for the poor quality. I am not a pro videographer and couldn't find a way to better focus on the screen and cancel out the screen reflections.
Second, this is NOT a video review. It only illustrates the answer to one and only one important question: how do you get around the seemingly impossible to turn off 1-Click? This is how you do it:
1 - Whether you are a parent or not, you must have parental controls turned on.
2 - From the top settings menu select 'More...'
3 - Select 'Parental Controls'
4 - Change 'Password Protect Purchases' from the default 'OFF' to 'ON'
The video illustrates the above, then shows how attempting to buy a book prompts for a password rather than immediately beginning to download it, which is what happens if you didn't do 1-2-3-4.
We own the original 7" Fire and the 7" Fire HD which is our daughter's favorite tablet now. In addition - we are a relatively large, gadget-using family - we own a Nexus 7, a XOOM, a Galaxy Tab and a couple of lesser known Android tablets. We used to own a first generation iPad and I have access and have used the latest 10" iPad but only spent a few minutes with the 'mini'.
These being said, I will break my review into 2 main sections, followed by some conclusions. I'll have a section on the Y's (as in why the Fire HD 8.9 and not...) which may be slightly subjective and a FAQ which should focus on the Fire HD 8.9 and I will try to make it as unbiased as possible and then I will insert my own personal comments and views concerning the product. I will not going to list all the features: pixel density, expected battery life or CPU speed, etc. because the exact specs are all listed and can be found at the product's page.
THE FAQ - I am trying to be objective here but the last 2 answers reflect my own views
Q: In what ways is the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 different from the Kindle Fire HD 7?
A: Larger screen, slightly better speakers, heavier, costs more, can be purchased with a 4G option.
Q: Does it come with a charger?
A: No. A charger must be purchased separately. There is an Amazon branded charger but many generic chargers will do.
Q: Besides the charger, what other essential accessories should I consider?
A: You may want to shop for a case/sleeve/portfolio, a stylus, possibly a glare-reducing screen overlay and a screen cleaning kit.
Q: What should be the first things I may want to do as far as setup is concerned.
A: You may want to disable/password protect in-app purchases, set you favorite search engine if you'd like something other than Bing, set parental controls if you have children, password-protecting any content purchase and deciding which type of content they are allowed to access.
Q: What can I set through FreeTime, as opposed to the 'regular' parental controls?
A: You can set profiles for more than one child, set limits on the amount of time they can use the Kindle each day, specific time limits for specific activities (reading, gaming, watching videos) and you can add specific books, Videos, Apps that the child can access.
Q: Is all the content I purchased through my Kindle Fire 7 or my Kindle reader, including Paperwhite accessible from the Fire HD 8.9?
A: Yes and No. Any purchases from Amazon's Appstore, including books, movies, games can be accessed from any Kindle tablet and on any non-Amazon Android tablet that run the Amazon apps (Appstore, Kindle, etc.) if they are compatible with your device. Incompatible apps that were purchased, let's say, for the original KF 7 or the KF HD 7 will become available for the KFHD 8.9 if and when the publisher upgrades them to run on it.
Q: How much storage is available on the 16GB model?
Q: Can you make a compelling case for purchasing the 32GB model?
A: Yes, IF you have a lot of non-Amazon-purchased content (music, photos, videos) that you do not wish to store on Amazon's cloud.
Q: Is storage on Amazon's cloud unlimited and free?
A: Yes for Amazon-purchased only. No for everything else.
Q: Can I install 'third party' apps, not purchased from Amazon's Appstore?
A: Yes. Under 'Device' set 'Allow Installation of Applications from unknown sources' to 'On'
Q: Can I change my browser's search engine to anything other than Bing?
A: Yes, you can do it from within browser's settings.
Q: Is there a way to prevent 1-Click from ordering items as soon as I touch them?
A: Yes. See the (poorly made) video and the note at the top.
Q: Name the most compelling reasons for buying a Kindle HD.
A: Easy access to all Amazon-purchased content, unique and very effective parental controls, great sound quality off built-in speakers, good value for the price.
Q: Name the most annoying features that may drive you away from buying a Kindle HD.
A: Sold without a charger, hard to get to buttons, fenced in inside Amazon's own 'ecosystem'.
Why should I pick a Fire HD 8.9 over a Fire HD 7 (+) or why should I prefer the Fire HD 7 over the Fire HD 8.9 (-)?
+ Larger screen
+ Slightly faster processor
- Lower price
- Lighter, more portable
Why should I pick a Fire HD 8.9 over an iPad (+) or why should I prefer the iPad over the Fire HD 8.9 (-)?
+ Significantly lower price
+ Excellent parental controls
+ Easy access to all Amazon's content
+ Amazon's cloud with free storage for all Amazon purchases
+ Not fenced inside Apple's ecosystem
- Larger screen
- Access to Apple's store
- Rear-facing camera
- Not fenced inside Amazon's ecosystem
- iPads come either black or white
Why should I pick a Fire HD 8.9 over a Nexus 10 (+) or why should I prefer the Nexus 10 over the Fire HD 8.9 (-)?
+ Excellent parental controls
+ Ability to play Amazon Prime movies (don't believe can get it on the Nexus)
+ Amazon's cloud with free storage for all Amazon purchases
- Comes with a charger
- Runs Chrome, Gmail natively and all other Google Apps
- Google Play, does not block access to Amazon's Appstore or Amazon apps such as Kindle
- Google Now
- Pure Android, sure to be upgraded as Android evolves
- GPS, Near Field Communication (NFC)
We have our Fire HD 8.9 now and it's a good quality tablet, right at the top when it comes to quality, design, user interface (very top there) and to a good extent, features. If I was about to buy a new Kindle Fire right now I would probably go for a Fire HD 7. The HD 8.9's larger screen size is the only clearly distinguishing difference between the two so, if screen size matters, get the HD 8.9 but be aware that others make equally sharp-looking tablets with larger 10" screens.
The Y's section below seems to suggest my preference for the Google Nexus tablets or 'pure Android' in general and, yes, I do prefer them over Amazon's. But I am a minority of one in my family because everybody else prefers the Kindles. I actually prefer to see my younger kid use the Kindle Fire because of the exceptionally well done parental controls.
In the end, iPads, Fires, Nexuses are all going to sell millions of units each. I can only hope that my review helped at least some of you who invested time reading it decide what's best for them.
1,708 of 1,842 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad experience,
This review is from: Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 4G LTE Wireless, Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 64 GB (Previous Generation - 2nd) (Electronics)
Since I am getting so many rude comments, I decided to delete the issues and problems I had with this unit. A little background on myself; WAN Tech, Project Manager for 3 major Internet providers and a telecom specialist for 15 years. I had purchased the Original Kindle fire and love it. You may search my reviews to see that I am credible.
I am currently on my 3rd replacement of the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 with 64GB. The current unit is working, but the previous two had major issues regarding WiFi/4G connectivity and memory problems to the point where the units were useless and had to be replaced.
I would not recommend this unit for the following reasons....
1) Many android apps on the Amazon store do not work, or harm the unit. For example the app called "Locate my Kindle" (now removed by Amazon) has harmed over 130 kindle fire units.
2) It appears that memory management software may be, or has been defective. Hopefully the last update has cured this.
For a synopsis of the memory problems I had with unit number 2, you may visit the kindle forum at the Amazon link below ....
Now that my third Kindle Fire HD 8.9 64GB is working, I feel I can write a full review of what I like and don't like.
1) Email Support. The embedded email app works well. I use the MSN Outlook platform, and it even supports multiple sub email boxes. This is better than the Kindle Fire Original app. 4 of 5 stars.
2) Music. The music app is fine. However it does not let you add a new song to one that is playing like the Original Kindle Fire. However, the work-around for that is simply to play a song, then while listening to it, build a new play list. You can sort by Albums, Artists, and Songs. 3 of 5 stars
3) Sound. The sound of the internal speakers is ok. The Amazon marketing department use words such as "Booming". No, they don't boom. They are loud enough for two people to watch a movie without headphones. They do have good stereo separation thanks to Dolby. However, if you really want a good experience with sound, get yourself a very good set of ear buds and enjoy, then, and only then, does the Kindle Fire HD actually BOOM. 2 of 5 stars
4) Movies. I have to say that this was the whole reason I got the 8.9 64gb unit. And, I have had nothing but problems in this area. But (cross my fingers) I hope third time is a charm. So, lets say it like this .... When the unit is working well, the screen has excellent resolution when playing movies. You can download them from the Amazon store with different resolutions depending on the quality of playback you want as well as how much memory storage you have left. 3 of 5 stars
5) HDMI Output. This is a new feature and I do like it. However, be very careful when looking at cables for this. The first one I purchased was HDMI rated, but the video quality sucks with it, even though I downloaded the movie in the highest definition. I would buy one that said HDMI with HIGH SPEED. That should be the best one. 4 of 5 stars.
6) Video Quality. The screen on the HD unit is good. When displaying icons for music and menu functions, it is totally clear and easy to read. When watching an action movie, the screen keeps up with the fast moving scenes quite well. Further, there is an auto-dimming function that works really good with my 3rd unit, that didn't work well at all with my first two units. 5 of 5 stars.
7) Amazon App Store. Apps are limited and have a much lower selection than those available for other Android tablets. Further, apps that work on other android devices simply do not work on certain models of the Kindle Fire (such as the HD). However, if you read the reviews, most of the time you'll be fine. But, don't expect that just because an app is in the Amazon store that it wont harm your Kindle Fire. There is some history of damaging apps that are on or have been on the Amazon Store. I suggest reading the reviews carefully before downloading ANY applications for the Kindle Fire HD. 0 of 5 stars
8) Amazon Tech Support. I work during the day, so I have found that when I call in for technical support I usually get someone that is from another country and has a difficult time understanding what I am saying, or I get someone else in the USA that doesn't have any technical knowledge at all. So I would have to say they simply don't have any technical support that is any good at all. Further, if you are a tech head like myself, and find a problem with the unit, the really only viable option is simply sending it back and purchasing another one. To get an exchange is next to impossible without using colorful metaphors. 0 of 5 stars.
9) WiFi Wireless. Simply awesome! They really did their homework on this function and they deserve to use all the really dramatic marketing buzz words they wish. It simply is really good, it works from a long distance, and is quick to sync up with a network. 5 of 5 stars.
10) AT&T 4G. Not as good as I had hoped. First of all, if you leave your 4G on, you wont have much battery life left is just a few hours. So, some of the really cool texting apps are out of the question when using the 4G. Further, when you turn it on, it can take 2-3 minutes to sync up, sometimes even longer. It seems to bounce around from the regular AT&T network and the 4G as if it didn't know that it only should work on the 4G network. Although I do like the promotional plan they give for $50 for one year because it seems to be great for me if I am just checking email, facebook or my stocks. 2 of 5 stars
11) Silk Web Browser. When this came out for the Original Kindle Fire, there was a lot of hype about the Silk browser. Personally, I think it was, and still is just that, hype. The browser is slow to launch and will display that its ready, but then you start to type something and it isn't. Only a few seconds later you realize that you typed your UserID and Password to your bank and the Silk browser wasn't actually in secure mode - which is a little alarming. Sometimes the Keyboard doesn't show up when you want it to, and sometimes its just slow to show up. Also, if you are new to Tablet browsing, realize that Flash is no longer supported. Although there are work-arounds for that (side-loading a different browser), be prepared to start getting a little more tech savvy in regards to that. 3 of 5 stars.
12) Battery Life. Its not so good. I have really learned to use the Airplane mode which shuts off the WiFi and the 4G antennas from searching for a network, when I know there isn't one. Also, if I leave on the WiFi and 4G, the other choice is simply to power down the unit. The only problem with that is that it takes a bit to power back on. If you are looking for a battery application, I would advise against the Free Battery HD app. I had a lot of problems with it and do not recommend it. 2 of 5
13) Amazon Shopping. I have not had the best experience in the last several months with Amazon shopping. This hasn't always been the case. However, in the last 4-6 months, I have returned about 30% of the items due to issues with the items. You are welcome to view my reviews for more details on those. Suffice to say, I avoid Amazon shopping unless there are absolute glowing reviews AND the item is a good value. Otherwise I shop elsewhere. Further, the merchants have been quite rude. Several have tried to bribe me to change my review with cash. I suppose if they didn't have ethics when they shipped me a defective item, there would be no reason for me to think they would have ethics later. Suffice to say I did not accept their bribe - the negative reviews stand. 0 of 5
14) Camera. It comes with only one camera that faces you when you look at the screen. This is good for Skype. You can still take photos with it (get an app), it just takes a little more mental coordination when shooting scenes. But I have shot photos that way and it works pretty well. It would have been nice to have two cameras though. 3 of 5 stars.
15) Sync/power and HDMI receptacles. The placement of the these probably has to do with a future accessory stand. However, depending on the design of the optional case you purchase, you may not be able to keep the unit charging while viewing it, especially in landscape mode while watching a movie. 4 of 5.
16) Power and Volume Buttons. The power button on the Original Kindle Fire actually lit up and depending on the color, you could tell if the unit was fully charged, or was charging. This does not have that function on the button itself. Further, the button protrudes from the unit, which makes it easy to accidentally turn off. However, some of the optional cases actually help with this problem. The volume button is a new addition to the Kindle Fire. With the Original Kindle Fire, you had to used the on-screen volume in order to change the volume. This wasn't always compatible with some apps. So, this is a good addition. 4 of 5 stars.
17) Included Accessories. You get a nice cardboard box and a sync cable. You can buy the Amazon Charger with the unit for a discount. The retail is around $20, but when you buy it with the unit its about half price. The charger is mandatory. My personal opinion is that it should be included especially for the price that we are paying for this 64GB unit. The optional charger (which really isn't an option) does not come with a sync cord, you use the sync cord that came with the unit. Since I mentioned the box, I would make sure and keep it if you have to return the Kindle Fire. 0 of 5 stars.
18) Blue Tooth. I have re-written this section of my review. The blue tooth function is poor. It seems to drop blue tooth functionality quite often, no matter what the Blue Tooth device is. This is especially a problem when running the skype application with a blue tooth headset. I have tried this with the Kinovo and the Rocketfish headset, but both drop about 20 minutes into a call and can not be reestablished unless I completely do a hard reboot of the Kindle Fire. Obviously there is some sort of a software problem with the Blue Tooth. Hopefully this will be resolved in the future. 0 of 5 stars.
19) Value. When my #2 unit failed due to memory issues, I did take a hard look at the options out there for other brands. This unit is unique because it has some nice options that others don't especially if you love movies like I do. As an independent telecom project manager, I have a history of flying around the country working with my clients on their WAN projects. This unit does especially well (when the Kindle Fire itself is working) with Email (great for work and home email accounts), playing HD movies (Entertainment; because of the larger screen and extra memory storage), music, and access to documents on the cloud. That boils down to a large HD Screen, cloud storage, and the large internal storage (64GB). Further, when I can't access the WiFi network, I can switch to the AT&T 4G network to get email. Those features on the IPAD Mini still cost more than the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 4G 64GB. Further, the next popular choice would have been the Nexus 7, but the internal storage is half of the Kindle Fire. And although its about half the price, that simple doesn't suit my needs. So, I'd have to say, as long as all the features of the Kindle Fire actually work as advertised, its value is 4 of 5 stars.
All the ratings I have given are my honest opinion with the 3rd unit that is working (but still having issues with Blue Tooth). My overall rating is still 1 star since I purchased the unit over two months ago and I have finally got a unit that is working. And for those that don't like negative reviews, I am sorry. I write my own personal review the way Amazon intended so that people can read my experience and determine if it will work for them. Simply writing glowing reviews without any attention to detail never helped any future customer. And although I have been accused of not actually purchasing a Kindle Fire HD, please note that this is indeed a verified purchase. And for those still intent on shooting down the author of a negative review by insulting my credibility, please realize that I am in my late 40's, I am a telecom and network specialist and have worked as a project manager for no less than 5 major telecom companies. Suffice to say I've been around computers for a very long time.
Absolute Essentials to buy with the Kindle Fire
1) Home Charger. Find it at this link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006GWO5WK/ref=oh_details_o00_s01_i00
You cant fully charge the HD without it. 5 of 5 stars
2) USB Charging Cord. The cord that comes with the unit from Amazon is ok, but if you want to keep charging the unit while in landscape mode with the rooCase (see below) you need a USB cable that has a right angle to the left. I've tried a few cords like this, and this is the best one that is durable and is rated for the higher voltage charging. The right angle to the left is important so as to not get in the way of the HDMI port. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AJCC2TQ/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 . 5 of 5 stars
3) rooCASE Origami Dual-View. Find it at this link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0097FLMVK/ref=oh_details_o02_s00_i00
The case is needed to protect the unit, plus offer multiple viewing angles. 5 of 5 stars
4) ReVIVE Series DualFLUX DC to USB Rapid Car Charger. Link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005OTESFK/ref=oh_details_o04_s00_i00
The car charger provides the higher power needed to charge your Kindle HD while on the road. 5 of 5 stars
5) Silver Executive Stylus Pen 2-in-1 Combo for Business Professionals. Link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009UUA1CI/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i00
This pen is also a stylus and fits perfectly into the rooCASE Origami Dual View elastic pen holder.
6) I would have recommended the Blue Tooth Rocket Fish headset, but since the Blue Tooth functionality on the Kindle Fire is poor, there really isn't a reason to recommended a headset at this point.
1) eWeather HD - Weather, HD Radar, Alerts, Quakes, Barometer. Link: http://www.amazon.com/eWeather-HD-Weather-Alerts-Barometer/dp/B0058EBNAO/ref=cm_cr-mr-img
All the weather in one app. Moviing radar images, alerts, and even customizable earthquake alerts. Everything in one app that is ROCK SOLID! 10 of 5 stars!
2) USA TODAY News App. Link: http://www.amazon.com/USA-TODAY/dp/B006PJ3UKC/ref=sr_1_1?s=mobile-apps&ie=UTF8&qid=1360772023&sr=1-1&keywords=usa+today
All the news with even a temperature update for your area. Video and stories in one app. Also has breaking news notifications. 5 of 5 stars
3) FREE Calls with magicJack app. Link: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Dmobile-apps&field-keywords=Majic%20Jack
If you already have a magicjack account, this allows your Kindle Fire HD WiFi 4g to be used as a cell phone! There is no extra monthy charge if you already have a magic jack account. When your magicjack number rings at home, so does your Kindle Fire HD! Combine that with a blue tooth headset, and you can make calls over your WiFi or 4G plan. And yes, you can dump your cell phone! 5 of 5 stars.
4) Skype (Kindle Tablet Edition). Link: http://www.amazon.com/Skype-Software-S-a-r-l-Kindle-Edition/dp/B008M721MS/ref=sr_1_2?s=mobile-apps&ie=UTF8&qid=1360772336&sr=1-2&keywords=Skype
Allows you to text with a free skype account and also video call with your Kindle Fire HD on board camera. 5 of 5 stars.
5) imo Messenger. Link: http://www.amazon.com/imo-im-imo-Messenger/dp/B0052AZJV8/ref=sr_1_1?s=mobile-apps&ie=UTF8&qid=1360772494&sr=1-1&keywords=IMO+Messenger
Combines Yahoo IM, Messenger IM, Skype IM, Facebook IM and more into one Instant message platform. Once installed, the app remains in the background. As long as you have WiFi or 4G, you'll get instant messages. No need for a cell phone for messaging. It also allows you to send a link to others with smart cell phones to sign up for a free IMO account so they can text messagee you from their cell phone. However, for those that text message from a dumb cell phone, they will lose the ability to text you unless they text to your email address. 5 of 5 stars.
6) NBC Nightly News App. Link: http://www.amazon.com/MSNBC-Interactive-News-LLC-Nightly/dp/B007JWF5TI/ref=sr_1_1?s=mobile-apps&ie=UTF8&qid=1360772845&sr=1-1&keywords=NBC+Nightly+News
This is basically video stories of the previous news cast. Start with one story, and it keeps playing one story after the other. Quite good! 5 of 5 stars
215 of 234 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great value, beautiful device for media.,
This review is from: Kindle Fire HD 8.9", Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 32 GB - Includes Special Offers (Previous Generation - 2nd) (Electronics)
I have the 7" Kindle Fire HD, and love it. When I decided to get something larger to use for out of town travel, I considered just about everything out there, but ended up purchasing the 8.9" Kindle Fire HD. I couldn't be happier! I put my hands on as many tablets as possible in the stores to make sure I was making an informed decision. I even considered plunking down $600+ on the new ipad with retina display; also seriously considered the top of the line Toshiba tablet (has a great screen, among other things, but not as sharp as the Fire). In the end, it was price and SOUND that made my decision. I use my Kindle Fires mostly for music, web and video (aside from reading, of course). The screen on the 8.9 is absolutely gorgeous! Yes, the retina dispay on ipad is also fantastic, but the difference was not worth nearly twice the price, IMHO. But where Kindle blew everyone away was the sound. The stereo speakers on both sizes cannot be beat. I literally had to put the speaker of the Toshiba up to my ear to hear it on the loudest setting in the quite noisy store I was in. A few short steps away, in the same noisy crowd, the Kindle speakers were loud and crystal-clear, and not even all the way up. I can really crank it up and rarely get any distortion. Don't worry about the youtube app,etc. There are plenty of instructions to be found on the net for loading apps like that onto your Kindle Fire. Took me only a couple of minutes, and the app works just fine. The silk web browser is fast, and I have no complaints about it. A word about the ads vs ad-free argument: Unless you reeeeaaallly want to look at a picture of your kids or whatever for the few seconds your lock screen will be seen, I wouldn't bother cancelling the ads. Even the "suggestions" at the bottom of the carousel are unobtrusive, and don't even show in landscape mode. It's only $15 to opt out if it really bothers you, but I don't see what all the fuss is about. I used that $15 to buy a magazine subscription to enjoy on my awesome new toy! I picked up the case made by Amazon, which to me is a must, and will be adding an anti-glare screen protector. The Fire already has less glare than anything else I looked at, but I still like the protectors. Some things to take into consideration about my review: I do have alot of Amazon content. Now, I know full well I could still have taken full advantage of my Amazon content from another tablet, but it may make a difference to some of you reading this. I am not a gamer, and I don't have 500 time-wasting apps on my phone or Kindle, nor do I want them. And last, I am not and have never been a die-hard Apple fan. They make great products, but so do other companies. If you are someone who will not be happy with anything but an ipad, please do yourself a favor and buy one. Please don't buy this great Kindle Fire HD 8.9 and then return it and post a negative review because it's not an ipad. I hope my review helps someone! Thanks for reading.
105 of 112 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why I bought a Kindle Fire HD 8.9" and how I made it useful,
This review is from: Kindle Fire HD 8.9", Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers (Previous Generation - 2nd) (Electronics)
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.
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Kindle Fire HD 8.9", Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers (Previous Generation - 2nd) by Amazon
Used & New from: $134.52