4,089 of 4,247 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rocks! Power Adapter included, Prime download clarification
Published 9 months ago by Kimberly R. Norton
7,146 of 7,397 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars KF HDX 8.9 is ok; do homework on Prime download before you buy
This review is for the the no-ad 64 GB wifi-only HDX 8.9. To Amazon's credit it arrived about 2 weeks earlier than originally claimed.
I have a Galaxy S3 Android smartphone so the HDX is for media / web surfing. Since I had already been using Amazon Prime and Cloud Music it was a no brainer for me to use the HDX to fill the role of media / web surfing on a...
Published 9 months ago by B. Tarbuck
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7,146 of 7,397 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars KF HDX 8.9 is ok; do homework on Prime download before you buy,
This review is from: Kindle Fire HDX 8.9", HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 64 GB (Electronics)
This review is for the the no-ad 64 GB wifi-only HDX 8.9. To Amazon's credit it arrived about 2 weeks earlier than originally claimed.
I have a Galaxy S3 Android smartphone so the HDX is for media / web surfing. Since I had already been using Amazon Prime and Cloud Music it was a no brainer for me to use the HDX to fill the role of media / web surfing on a tablet.
Be informed about the download limitations to this device. Amazon has been adding clarification to this which should help would-be purchasers make a more informed opinion. This wasn't as obvious as it should have been when I ordered mine so they're listening which is good.
Be aware that their most popular Prime content *may* not be available to download to your HDX. Caddyshack can be downloaded but not The Hunger Games. You can download certain videos but you won't know which ones until you buy an HDX and try it out. There is no banner (like the Prime banner on the movie icon) to show that it's content you can download to the HDX. You have to open the content to check. *** Edited 12/21: You can now see a list of Prime movies and shows that can be downloaded to the device. That's an improvement and more clearly shows the available downloadable Prime content. Nice job Amazon. ***
I was also under the assumption that you could download as many videos as you'd like with the limiting factor being the memory capacity of the HDX. Also NOT the case. So again, I bought the larger capacity HDX under this assumption. That was dumb on my part as it turns out because you're not limited by storage capacity. You're limited the NUMBER of downloads you can have on your device. Many people will opt up for the 64 GB device like I did only to find that 16 GB would likely do fine since it would be hard to download enough content to fill 64 GB. As another commenter pointed out if you downloaded long movies in full HD perhaps you'd really want the bigger device. Which brings me to the final point.
The final criticism is that once you start watching content you have to finish watching the content within 48 hours or you need to reconnect to the internet. Again, I was surprised to find out that the content I downloaded expired. Hopefully these criticisms lead to a more informed purchase decision on your part.
Here is the official word from Amazon which is indeed on their site and the purpose for my edit. I was unable to find this prior to my purchase and learned about it only after I acquired the device.
* Many (but not all as I note above) Prime Instant Video titles are also available for download on Kindle Fire HD 2nd Generation and Kindle Fire HDX devices. The detail page for each Prime Instant Video title indicates whether the title is available for download. You can download available titles to only two separate devices at one time. If you have already downloaded a title to two devices, you need to delete it from one of them before downloading it to another device.
* You can have a maximum of 25 total Prime Instant Video titles downloaded at a time across all devices associated with your Amazon.com account. While not all Prime Instant Video titles are available for download, the same videos may be available for rental or purchase from Amazon Instant Video, and rented or purchased titles can be downloaded to compatible devices.
* Viewing Period: If you have a Prime membership or Prime free trial, you can stream any video that is currently designated as a Prime Instant Video title on its detail page. You can watch Prime Instant Video titles that you've downloaded within a limited viewing period, which varies by title. A typical viewing period is either 48 hours after you start watching the title or 15 or 30 days after the download, whichever is earlier. We'll typically notify you when the viewing period for a title is close to expiring. After your Prime membership or Prime free trial expires or is cancelled, you cannot watch any Prime Instant Video titles unless you've also rented or purchased that title.
So my recommendations are this. Amazon is a great company, one that I have committed to in a big way with Cloud Music, Prime and now the HDX. They need to be more upfront about the download limitations and I'm very disappointed that I've had to discover these limitations on my own and feel it is important to convey that to others who may be considering this device over others based solely on the much touted video download feature.
Also the rear facing camera in my particular device only works properly 30% of the time. There is some weird RGB output happening. It's not even close to the Galaxy S3 quality or acquisition speed so just don't expect that the camera will replace your SLR and you won't be disappointed.
The rest of the device is great. All my Cloud music magically appeared and it is very easy to operate. I can get on a primitive version of Gmail but it works fine. Outlook Web Access for work is fine. Yahoo! email works fine. No Dropbox app yet and it won't work with Google Docs or Microsoft's online Excel / Word apps but that was known in advance and expected given the fact that Amazon isn't touting this as a work tool; it's for play.
Amazon really owes it to their faithful customers who purchase these devices to improve the download / Prime experience and this will be a home run. I'm looking forward to trying Mayday to help sort out the problems with the camera and inquire about the return policy as I felt very underinformed in advance on the downloaded video limitations. I hope these comments help you ask good questions and help Amazon improve their product and content experience.
4,089 of 4,247 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rocks! Power Adapter included, Prime download clarification,
This review is from: Kindle Fire HDX 8.9", HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 64 GB - Includes Special Offers (Electronics)
If you like the Kindle Fire HD then you will love the Kindle Fire HDX. The new device runs three times faster, is lighter in weight, and the battery lasts slightly longer. The sound quality on this device is excellent and the display quality is absolutely stunning. Below are some of the features to expect from the Fire HDX.
✔ BUILD QUALITY
---There is NO blue haze on the 8.9" HDX.
---The build quality is excellent.
---Auto contrast is good (not buggy).
---Operating system is very intuitive except after downloading free prime videos to watch offline. If you remove the videos from your Carousel then, from the video menu, you must go to the left side bar, and click *downloads* to see your videos.
✔ PRIME DOWNLOAD ISSUES (free video download limitations)
Prime members can download selected Prime Instant Videos to watch when not connected to the internet. There are major restrictions imposed on prime videos as listed below.
---Not all Prime titles are available for download.
---Most popular prime titles are NOT available for download.
---There is a max of 25 titles that can be downloaded free at any one time.
---Prime titles have a viewing period.
---Viewing period is either 48 hours after you start watching the video, or 15-30 days (which ever comes first).
---After the viewing period expires you need to reconnect to the internet.
---Titles can be downloaded to only two separate devices at a time.
---If you exceed the device quota then you must delete one of the titles before adding to another device.
---There is no way to know which titles can be downloaded unless you have the HDX (amazon does not place a banner on the titles other than to say PRIME).
---Videos you purchase do not have a viewing period.
---Verify your kindle is set for the correct TIME ZONE or you might have glitches.
---If you cannot see your apps or any other items on the CLOUD then you probably need to RESET your device.
---Filling the device to the max with videos then trying to delete a video might turn your kindle into a brick.
✔ POWER ADAPTER INCLUDED
---Yes, you get a Kindle Power charger! Previously this had to be purchased separately ($19).
✔ OFFICE SUITE MISSING
---You can view an item with the integrated Office Suite but you cannot edit the item unless you upgrade to the professional version and paying $4.99. That is, the HDX has a built in OfficeSuite shell, not the full functional program. Hint: Use your 500 free coins to get the upgrade free.
✔ No HDMI port (MIRACAST instead)
---There is no HDMI port. To view kindle content on a television you need a Miracast enabled receiver (which can be your tv or a Dongle you connect to your tv). Although this is all done wirelessly, you are not using your local wi-fi connection, the receiver creates its own adhoc network.
✔ PICTURE QUALITY
---The picture quality on the HDX is stunning. It is noticeably better than the HD, there is no comparison between the two of them.
---The sound on this device is about the same as the Fire HD.
---Faster. A lot faster than the HD!
✔ VOLUME AND POWER BUTTONS
---The volume and power buttons are on the back of the device instead of the side. Fortunately the power button is on a different side than the volume buttons.
✔ VIRTUAL KEYBOARD
---There is white secondary text on the virtual keyboard buttons which makes information easier to read. On the HD, the secondary text is black which is difficult to read on dark gray keys.
✔ KARAOKE (X-Ray)
---You can now get x-ray on your music which shows the lyrics line-by-line. This feature is not available with all songs.
---This new device will soon support printing documents straight from the kindle. Previously needed a .99 cents app.
---This model can be purchased as 64GB without having 4G connectivity.
✔ MAYDAY Customer support
---Click the Mayday customer support button (in the Quick Settings) and you can see the rep but they cannot see you. I have used Mayday about three times and it is wonderful.
✔ REAR AND FRONT CAMERA (Important information)
---The HDX includes a rear facing camera with an LED flash. There is also a front facing camera. On the HD there is only a front facing camera and no flash.
♦Important: once you take a photo it automatically goes to the CLOUD storage. Please do not take any images that you do not want floating around in cyber space!
✔ Special Offers
---As before, Special Offers show up as screen savers. They are much better than the traditional screen savers. I recommend buying cheaper with the offers. If you do not want them then pay the extra to remove them. If you buy without the offers then change your mind and want them, you can't get the discount.
✔ Amazon Coins
---All new Kindle Fire owners receive 500 Amazon coins to spend in the app store. This equates to about $5. Plus there is always a free app of the day that can be downloaded. This is nothing new.
✔ RETURN POLICY
♦If you do not like the HDX (and you buy from now through the holidays) then you have until January 31, 2014 to return it. In general there is a 30 day return policy.
4,313 of 4,516 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enlarged version of the 7" HDX - Same good internal components with a nicer screen- still a battery hog though,
This review is from: Kindle Fire HDX 8.9", HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers (Electronics)
Simply put, this is the Amazon’s iPad Air Killer. The 7” HDX is the iPad mini killer. Both HDXs inherent very similar hardware. This means the 8.9” version is an enlarged version of the 7” version. For my 7” version review, please search for my HDX 7” review.
My profile: I’m a heavy tablet user for personal and business purposes. I work on my tablet around 4-5 hours a day (Email / Documents / Spreadsheet / PDF) & use the tablet 1-2 hours for personal use such as watching movies or reading books/magazine. The HDX tablet is my go-to device for all internet related search I do. It is also my main electronic device, more important than my smartphones and laptops
I have the following and/or used the following before:
1) iPad 1
2) iPad 2
3) iPad 4
4) iPad Mini
5) Kindle Fire
6) Kindle Fire HD
7) Kindle Fire HD 8.9
8) Asus Transformer with Keyboard
9) Nexus 7 First Gen
10) Kindle HDX 7” – which I also have a review you can check out
As you can see, I been through many devices and hope this review with my experience helps users decide if this is the right device for them. This will be an ongoing review for this device throughout this year. For comparison sake, I will use last year's Kindle Fire HD 8.9 and also the Fire HDX 7” as benchmarks
The same chipset is used on the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 as it is in the Kindle Fire 7” As I mentioned in the 7” review, this is leaps and bounds faster than last year Kindle HD. Last year Kindle struggles to go through any HD video content I put in. This year's HDX able to play seamlessly all the HD 1080p contents I added. It is incredible how much the 2.2Ghz quad processor improved vs last year's model Dual 1.2Ghz.
This screen is a much bigger step up from the original HD 8.9 1920x1200 screen to the Kindle Fire HDX screen at 2,560 x 1,600. The screen is comparable to the iPad Air which I saw in Apple store and text is crystal clear now with such a high per pixel inch density. The viewing angle is just as impressive as you can hang the kindle in the middle of the car and at any seat it is view very clearly. Last year's model was not as clear as this. The overall screen improvement for this year’s Kindle lineup is just impressive
The sound system in this Kindle Fire HDX is using Dolby Digital Plus with virtual 5.1 surround sound. Similar to the 7” that gives this device a much better surround sound then previous generation's.
Like the 7” HDX, this 8.9 HDX is more "angular" than last year's device. It's slightly rougher to hold in the corners than last year's model due to sharper edges though I doubt any users will hold their tablet by their corners.
The biggest improvement is the weight for this HDX 8.9 compared to last year’s HD 8.9, the device is noticeable lighter (567g for Kindle Fire HD vs 374g for Kindle Fire HDX). This mean you can hold this for longer time without fatigue. It’s also lighter than iPad Air and that’s quite impressive.
The power and volume button placement on this Kindle Fire HDX is interesting. It is behind the device which allows it to hide away from front view. However, this can cause user to accidentally hit the on/off button or the volume button when not being careful. Aesthetically it is great but it is definitely not a practical solution when you are trying to use this on the go.
It does look sturdy enough to survive minor drop but I highly recommend getting a case for it. Those sharp corners seems more prone to dents than round corners for last year's model.
With higher resolution similar to the kindle fire hdx 7, the battery life is still the biggest drawback. As mentioned in my HDX 7” review, it takes more to power to drive the battery now thanks to the screen upgrade. Anything on the screen requires higher resolution = more power draw. The 2650x1600 screen pulls a lot of power still compare to last year's model when the screen is on, especially when running HD videos. It maybe fine for casual use but for people who are more absent minded in charging or require this for business productivity purpose, it can be quite annoying when your batteryrunning out of power. Regardless, how much power saving features you have, it seems that the screen resolution is still taking most of the power. I'm able to pull 7 hours of moderately heavy usage vs 9.5 hours for last year's Kindle Fire HD at medium brightness with Wi-fi on all the time. Again, if something like a battery case is available, that will be great. Otherwise, it will be wise to find an external battery pack for this just in case.
Software & software compatibility (8/10):
The amount of app is still lacking compare to App store or Play store but has been steadily increasing which is a great sign. Games and software boot time has increased noticeably and compatibility is not an issue
Like the 7” Silk browser has definitely improved compare to last year's tablet with multiple tabs actually now usable on the HDX. For last year's version, it is practically unusable after 2 tabs due to the lack of hardware resource on the tablet (especially when the website is not optimized for mobile use). The HDX has no problem going through any webpages I throw at it.
Hopefully more apps will be optimized to use quad core soon. I'm guessing some of these apps are only optimized for last year's dual core.
I haven't got the opportunity to use Mayday yet but will review about it once I get more update on this.
Complimentary Accessories (3/10):
Same problem here arises for the 8.9" compare to 7". For all smart devices, one of the most important time is the number of accessories available. At launch, it is understandable the lack of accessories but productivity focus accessories such as integrated case/keyboard are missing at launch. This is rather disappointing as it can be a powerful productivity device with the right accessories attached. Also the lack of case selection is quite astonishing for a flagship product on Amazon. Hope there will be more cases such as battery case (due to above battery problem) or rugged case come out soon. At the moment, will just have to go with the original origami case (which again can be pricey as you can see from my other review)
I got the special offer model at 16Gb (lowest end model) and it is enough for me to use. The special offer ads are not intrusive like last year's model and its does show relevant items I maywant. Compare to the iPad Air, this is a total steal. At this screen range, you cannot find anything comparable
Conclusion in one sentence: Amazon's iPad Air killer (8.5/10)
For people who are justifying if this is a good upgrade from HD 8.9, I say YES to that. The overall lineup for Kindle Fire has vastly improved and that is great on Amazon’s part. The speed and screen difference alone is worth the upgrade. The whole user experience just improve drastically with the HDX.
It used to be, for Kindle Fire HD, you will trade low price for slow performance, stutter and lag. It honestly makes you think twice if the price is really worth all that poor experience.
For HDX, this is no longer the case. You get great price, great screen and great performance that surpass iPad Air. To me, the HDX is Amazon’s answer to an iPad killer. This tablet at the moment has the best performance/price ratio. It really marks how well Amazon has done to make themselves a worthy competitor in the tablet market with no only one device revamped, but an entire lineup of Kindle Fire HDX having such performance leap. I hope some software upgrade or battery pack can make this the ultimate road warrior!
With 7" HDX, it is my e-reader device whereas my 8.9" HDX, it will be my productivity device
This will be reviewed periodically throughout the year. A more comprehensive review on productivity will soon be available. [...] Thanks for reading!
593 of 643 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW. More than I expected!,
This review is from: Kindle Fire HDX 8.9", HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers (Electronics)
I had this delivered last week to an Amazon Locker so it wouldn't be sitting on my porch and so I could pick it up in the middle of a work day. The Amazon Locker experience was really cool and convenient.
First impressions....fast, lightweight, thin, and super sharp picture. How the heck are there so many enhancements stuffed in the Fire HDX without weighing it down or slowing the processor speed?
Navigating through the apps is quick and smooth, very responsive to touch. I had multiple apps (10-20) running at once and it didn't affect performance at all.
The picture is amazing, the colors are vivid and the contrast and sharpness makes some content almost look 3D. It also handles glare pretty good. Best screen I've seen to date and I have an iPhone w/ retina.
The speaker sound is really good, they actually put out some bass.
The app selection in the AppStore is plentiful...once you have your top 50 apps you should be set and Amazon has all of the must-have apps (do you really need 500,000 apps?), every app I looked for/needed was found and downloaded quickly and painlessly (love the Yahoo fantasy football, Facebook, Pandora, TuneIn PRO, and Netflix apps).
The video camera is crystal clear and the rear camera is a much welcomed addition. Great pics and video! The built in Skype app works very well for free video calls with friends and family. The good thing is, anyone with the Skype app can receive your video call on their device (unlike Facetime where both users must have an Apple device). This allows you to have free video calls with more of your contacts as long as they download Skype from their respective app store.
The camera app is surprisingly useful considering it comes built in. It has a ton of photo editing capabilities including filters (way more than instagram), panorama shots, cropping, text, and funny stickers you can paste to pics. You would think this was a paid-for camera app.
The email client was very easy to set up, I had my Gmail loaded in less than a minute.
The overall build feels sturdy and just pure quality. Again, it is very thin and lightweight but feels like it was put together very well.
The battery lasted for 10+ hours while I was hopping around fantasy football, Facebook, and email on Sunday during the games. This is very good for an HD tablet. People must remember a tablet is more like a smartphone and needs to be charged when not using since apps and wifi are constantly running in the background. For being so thin and lightweight the battery is very impressive.
The Silk browser is nice, although it defaults with Bing, so I changed it to Google (personal choice).
I really like the icon with reading glasses that appears in the top right of the browser that let's you change to reading mode. It converts the web page text into a book-like page, similar to the Kindle e-reader. It really makes reading articles on various websites easy on the eyes.
X-ray feature: Watching TV shows and movies is enhanced by x-ray. Just tap on the screen and factoids about the actors in the scene (at that moment) pop up on the side of the screen without interrupting the play. Just tap the screen again and the info disappears. This also works when listening to music from the music tab; the lyrics of the song appear while the song is playing. I've always had to interrupt myself and check my phone for movie info or song lyrics when I watched or listened on other devices, now it's all in one place and available with a tap of the finger. No more asking "what's that actor's name", "what other movie was she in", or "how does that song go"!
The keyboard is really accurate, no typos yet. I noticed there is an external keyboard by AmazonBasics, but I'm okay with the on-screen keyboard for now.
The price was reasonable for what I got. It's good to know they're not making a profit on me before I even opened the box!
Overall, I am very pleased with the appearance and performance after using it for 7 days. I was really looking forward to this purchase and I must admit that I am more than satisfied. Amazon over-delivered on this. Well done Amazon.
If you don't care about "labels", then this is the best tablet you can buy right now. And if you ask me, Amazon is the best "label" when it comes to taking care of their customers. You won't be sorry. Enjoy!
P.S. - You really should be an Amazon Prime member to get the most out of this tablet. The free Amazon Instant Videos for Prime Members are awesome!
I also opted for the Special Offers, which knocked $15 off the price of the tablet and does not bother me at all. In fact, I am glad I got the special offers version! Since I've owned the tablet I have received offers that only Kindle Fire owners have access to. I got a new Kindle Paperwhite for $20 ($100 off) and a Cuisinart Juicer for $20 ($100 off) - these 2 deals alone practically paid for my tablet purchase! There was a deal for Madden 25 for $5 but I missed that one. They are really awesome deals to take advantage of or you can just ignore them since the special offers only appear for a split second on your screen as you swipe to unlock the tablet from sleep mode. Definitely recommend the special offers, you can always opt to pay $15 later to have it deactivated but you'll find they are totally worth having.
245 of 263 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An ipad convert,
This review is from: Kindle Fire HDX 8.9", HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 32 GB (Electronics)
I've been an apple guy since 1994. I learned how to program on the Iic and have been using just about every version of the macbook and iPhone since it's inception. I've also been a very proud iPad owner since day 1. I still have my original iPad and bought both the iPad 2 and most recently the iPad air. The iPad air is a remarkable device, it is gorgeous, thin and light. I realized quickly however that iOS 7 was not ready for primetime on the iPad air. Not to mention that I was having memory crashes 5-6 times per day. On mobile safari, I would have two web pages open and the device would slow down. If I opened a third tab and went back to one of the original two, they would both need to reload. On top of all that, even though I am fully vested in the apple ecosystem (I purchase all my apps, music and movies through iTunes), I was quickly realizing that the competition was catching up very quickly.
That's what lead me to the 8.9 HDX, mind you, I tested out the Galaxy note 10" as well as the Nexus 7 for a "true" android experience. I found jelly bean to be no different than ice cream sandwich which was marginally better than the last version. I know android purists will say there is a huge difference and jelly bean was designed for tablets, but in all honesty, android is just a boring experience. Even with a gorgeous screen as there is on the nexus 7, it has the occasional stutter, and I don't find the operating system intuitive with the exception of google now, I swear they've got spies in my house.
With all that said, the HDX is the first truly different tablet experience in almost four years. You will be truly dumbfounded by how light this thing is. I mean after holding an iPad air, you'll feel like this weighs nothing. But even with the lightness there is a "heft" to the device, one that gives it a presence. And 8.9" is the perfect size. I mean PERFECT. You can hold it in one hand in landscape easily. And the rubberized plastic feels phenomenal. From an iPad guy, this thing is neck and neck when it comes to design. Yes, it doesn't have an aluminum back, but the front screen feels so much better. The iPad Air screen felt plasticky in comparison to previous versions.
The OS on the HDX is good. I like the launcher. It doesn't give me the feeling of completeness that IOS does by allowing me to customize and launch different apps, but it does it's job well. I've always wondered why Apple didn't just have a live screen that automatically selected the apps I use most often and put them on the front page. That's where Mojito's (as an aside, dear Amazon and Android, stop. being. cute. Just give me a OS Version number, I can't wait for Android "lifesaver" or "mint julep") carousel comes into play. It updates as you use it.
Oh, and I know some folks like to use tablets for productivity, but let's be honest, they are purely entertainment consumption devices. I realized that quickly with my previous iPads. As much as I liked having email, iMessage, FaceTime, office suites, etc, the reality was that I used my iPad to browse the web, shop, read, and watch movies. Guess what, that's what the kindle fire focuses on. This is not a laptop replacement, this is not a post-pc device, it's the dessert you know you shouldn't have but realize after eating that it was the best thing ever.
Prime Content is not exactly amazon's strong suit unfortunately. I love prime, I've been a prime user for a very long time. The streaming features of prime are ok. Decent shows (like the most recent daily show) and movies (most of Marvel's latest flicks) are available. But I'm paying 7.99 for netflix and until Amazon shows me content like that, I'll stick with my buddy. Prime again is ok, not bad, not great, it does the job, but don't buy this for prime. You can obviously buy all the same shows and movies on amazon that you could on iTunes, but from a free content perspective, prime isn't the driving factor behind this device.
So, should you get the HDX, here's a few questions for you:
How vested are you in google's or apple's ecosystem? Have you purchased dozens of apps, more importantly, do you use the dozens of apps you've purchased?
How important is productivity software to you? Do you have to check email constantly on your tablet, open attachments, edit documents? Or do you find that using a laptop or other PC a better solution for that?
Do you play lots of tablet games?
Finally, where do you get most of your content and do you purchase, torrent, stream? There are ways to get movies from both the play store and iTunes to the kindle fire legally and easily.
I found for myself, that a laptop is the best solution, and with today's ultra books and the macbook air, you can get a small, light laptop for under $1000 that does exactly what you need. But for content consumption, the kindle fire is very hard to beat.
504 of 550 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Screen Display and All Around Nice Tablet,
This review is from: Kindle Fire HDX 8.9", HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers (Electronics)
To sum up what I will tell you about in the details below, for $379 you are getting a good deal on a large tablet computer - especially if you compare it to the $399 for last year's base unit of the first-generation 8.9” Fire HD and the $500 or more you can spend on a Wi-Fi base version of the iPad; if your pocketbook can afford it, I would recommend upgrading to the one with 64 GB of memory. Overall, if you consider the price and the functionality I think this is a great tool / toy if you watch a lot of video or play a lot of games on your device: the video quality is outstanding and you can really tell a difference between this and last year’s 8.9” HD Fire. If you are a first-time tablet buyer looking for the larger screen size, or where price vs. value is a key consideration, I'd recommend the "regular" Kindle Fire HD that is only $269. If you're comparing last year's 8.9” model to this version and it is operating fine, I'd say save your money and continue to get your money's worth out of that one because other than screen size, for what I am using it for, I can only tell the difference between the video playback and playing a couple of games.
I’ve been playing with this for over a week now, and my review below compares a lot of the features of this version of the 8.9” Fire HDX to the original 8.9” Fire HD as well as this year's model of the “regular” Fire HDX, but also some of the features for a first-time user.
Initial setup of this year's model of the 8.9”Kindle Fire HDX was pretty easy – that’s saying a lot as this year’s versions of the various models had significant crashing issues due to operating software updates. While this unit did update the operating software, it ran quietly in the background with no issues at all.
Screen Display / Video Playback:
If video is your thing, this version of the Fire has the absolute best screen display of any Fire model to date: I’ve been comparing various episodes of the first season of the “Breaking Bad” TV show to each of the previous Fire models and I am very impressed at the picture quality. Looking at the technical specs Amazon made some major changes in the display / resolution, and the picture appears more crisp. The display on this Fire was one heck of a lot better in terms of sharpness than last year's model as well as this year's model of the Fire HD. For you technical folks out there, the display is 2,560 x 1,600 (25% better than the HD version of the 8.9” Fire) with 50% more pixels per inch at 339 ppi than the 8.9” Fire HD.
It was fairly easy to connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi. 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 HDX version sitting next to last year's HD version and this year's version of the 7” HDX Fire, Motorola RAZR smartphone, my iPad (yes, the Kindle guy uses an iPad for work), and the first-generation 7" Fire (the model from two years ago) all just using a Wi-Fi connection vs. cellular connectivity.
My "normal" website test is to hit the mobile websites of CNN, FoxNews, my personalized Yahoo page, Google, and the Houston Chronicle. The ones that were usually slow on the other devices were faster on the HDX (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 slight difference in the other devices as this one was a little bit faster than all but last year's model of the 7" Kindle Fire HD; yes, it was also faster than this year's model of the Fire HD but I attribute the increase in speed to the dual antennas on the HDX.
Sound / Music Playback:
The two speakers are located in the back of the Kindle Fire in two not-noticeable ports: one on the top and one on the bottom. My usual test of this feature is cranking up Van Halen's Panama to maximum volume (I always want to see if it could really play the guitar licks and hear the bass), 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. The Dolby speakers sound nice and you do get to hear the bass. However, I am still of the opinion the speakers aren't going to do very well being placed in the back as I am in the front: I want to be able to hear whatever I am listening to without really having to crank it up and disturbing someone else in the room (that's what happens when you start losing your hearing like I am). To have the sound throw back at you, you need to have a cover on it as the sound reverberates from the back of the Fire off of the cover back to you (hopefully, you followed that).
One thing to point out is there is not a default equalizer with this Fire: everything sounds the same. To get the most out of the bass and treble, as well as to turn down the mid-range, I highly recommend you downloading and installing one of the many free equalizer apps here from the Amazon app store as it makes a huge difference, especially if you are listening with headphones.
The X-ray feature is pretty neat as it displays the lyrics on the screen if you are so inclined; if you are not, it is as simple as the tap of an icon to make the lyric feature go away.
Consistent with previous versions of the Fire, email setup was very easy for my main Gmail account with the software came with the Fire. Previously, I had to install and use an existing app called Enhanced Email I purchased here in the Amazon app store because like many of you I have more than one email account: Amazon eliminated the need for this aftermarket app because you can now switch back and forth between your various email accounts and it was very easy to setup my particulars. The lazy person in me appreciates that as I don't like getting out of the lazy chair once I'm settled in!
New Tabs and Screen Layout:
In addition to the normal tabs Amazon has continued to make tweaks with the look and feel to the overall display such as more things to scroll through to find what you are looking for in an easier manner. Interestingly, and consistent with my experiences with this year's model of the Fire HD, I purchased the one with special offers and the only ad I have seen so far is on the main screen saver vs. being overwhelmed with ads like last year's model. The last tab on the top right contains a link to various deals on Amazon you can tap to open (or not) as you see fit.
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. Amazon did add the feature to see the book's description for books on your device like they have with the e-Ink Kindle (always an annoyance with last year's model), which is a plus as I can't remember what each book in my digital to-be-read pile is about; getting to the book description, requires several taps on the screen to eventually get to where you want to be. If there is an easier way to do it, I can't find it and maybe I should be one of the first guys, ever, to crack open the electronic user's manual to figure it out (doubt it). For those of you who have wondered, you still can't organize your books into categories unless you purchase a third-party app here in the Amazon app store.
There is a Bluetooth connection, and I did my usual test of this feature by taking it out to my car and having the Fire stream music through my car stereo. There were no delays or skips with the connection, and it paired up in about a minute. Just make sure you give it a device name so you can recognize it and be recognized.
There are two cameras on this model - one faces the front or toward the user / reader and one in the back. Focusing and taking a picture is pretty easy, and Amazon will by default store your pictures in the Cloud - which counts against your storage allotment. I'd recommend turning that automatic storage feature off unless you are sure you want it, because if you go over the limit that will provide Amazon another opportunity to collect a monthly revenue stream from you.
I really don’t like the positioning of the back facing camera – primarily because if you use the Origami cover purchased here from Amazon (about the only one available as I type this review), the cover hides not only the camera but the LED flash. That makes the back camera essentially worthless to me.
Playing most of the games I play on my tablet is a much better visual experience than the 8.9” HD model. Now if this device would help me move up faster with Candy Crush I would be even happier!
Unlike previous models of the Fire, this one DOES include a charger! Better yet, it is the “power fast” charger that charges your Fire faster. If you're scratching your head with that comment, in previous models you had to purchase a charger separately for $20 which always seemed kind of silly for Amazon to do. Amazon touts it takes about 5 hours to charge this version of the Fire when the battery is completely empty. I’ve charged it several times when it was in the 20% - 22% remaining charge, and it took about six hours.
A new feature with this model, and not included on this year's "regular" model of the Fire, is the introduction of the "Mayday" button. Basically, you can touch the button and a video screen will pop up and you can actually see - and talk to - a live customer service agent. I pressed the button but felt pretty dumb: when the person who answered asked me how can they help, I basically said "Hi, I just wanted to see if this works and just stopped by to say `hi' for purposes of this review." They laughed and I promptly let them get back to work answering other “I just wanted to try this out” queries.
What I Wish it Had: a screen protector that was ready to go. With all of the tapping, sliding, etc. on the screen, you can easily scratch the unit. The screen protectors have been out of stock for a while now and I hope mine gets here soon.
Overall, I think this is a good deal for someone who really uses the video / apps feature. Kids will love it as they can read books, play games, watch TV and movies, and a whole lot of other things. Adults should like it for the exact same reasons, but while I try to minimize the amount of work-related stuff I do at home with the business apps that are available here in the Amazon App store and other places around the Internet I can also work on Excel and Word-compatible files when I have to without having to fire up my work laptop or whatever the case may be.
If you've never owned a tablet before, or are looking to upgrade from an earlier model Fire, I would recommend this one if video and apps are your thing - but I would recommend you purchase the higher memory one vs. the minimum 16 GB. If you're comparing last year's HD model to this version and it is operating fine, or looking for a tablet for your younger children, I'd say save your money and continue to get your money's worth out of last year's model or get this year's model of the 8.9” Fire HD at $269.
190 of 210 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miracast and other misc.,
This review is from: Kindle Fire HDX 8.9", HDX Display (Electronics)
So, I love my new Fire HDX (64Gb, wifi only with ads), but all the positives have already been reviewed at length by others, so I will concentrate on what I have not yet seen discussed elsewhere in a lot of detail:
1) Display mirroring (with Miracast). I got the NETGEAR Push2TV Wireless Display HDMI Adapter - Miracast and WiDi (PTV3000) and finally managed to make it work, no thanks to Netgear who have just lost a customer. Well, not really since I never bought a Netgear product before and arguably I didn't this time either as I bought it refurbished, but still. Installation issues notwithstanding, after it started working, it was pretty amazing. I tested the Miracast functionality successfully with both my Win8 laptop and my Kindle Fire HDX. Yes, there is a very slight lag, but nothing major and I suspect the technology will only get better what with the rate of the firmware updates being pushed out by Netgear for this product, trying to keep up with their competition which I think will be fierce now that Amazon has put its weight behind the Miracast technology by doing away with the HDMI output port entirely in the Fire HDX models. Which means that if you are emotionally attached to using an HDMI cable to connect to your external screen or TV, or just do not want to put up with the potential pain in the neck the installation of the PTV3000 may turn out to be (though to be fair, some people had no trouble whatsoever?), you will want to stick with the HD models instead. If you are excited about Miracast and want a WiDi adapter for your TV, use some caution, because as my review of said item demonstrates, it can be a hassle to setup.
A cheaper alternative is the Tronsmart T1000 Mirror2TV Wireless Display HDMI Dongle which performance is unfortunately not as good as the PTV3000 (noticeable time delays and pixelation when mirroring and requires use of their free proprietary app, EZCast).
2) Customer service. I have never seen any company spend so much time and effort into ensuring customers were happy with their flagship product (the Kindles, I mean. When it comes to every other product and services, they are just as impersonal and crushing as you would expect). I have rarely -if ever- had to contact Amazon with any of my Kindle issues before, but I was forced to contact an Amazon representative three times since my HDX arrived and each rep was unbelievably polite, helpful (and downright nice! all three of them! What?) and went to extraordinary lengths to resolve my issues (minor hardware problems - I'll update this review upon final resolution).
[UPDATED: my issues were resolved very satisfactorily, all it took was the guts to call Amazon support in the first place... All the customer service reps I spoke with -all 6 of them by now!- were helpful, patient, reasonable and even technically competent!? I don't understand this minor miracle, but it's certainly no coincidence and I was very glad to be able to take advantage of it. This great level of customer support is available for all your Kindle issues, not just HDX models, by the way].
One of my calls was made while testing the Mayday feature and I was stunned by how amazingly good the concept and execution of this idea was! Kudos to Jeff Bezos, this new feature is brilliant and will gain him major customer loyalty, especially among the older set (this is not meant to be insulting as I am no spring chicken myself).
3) Accessories. This tablet is a thing of beauty and a joy forever, granted, but it is also a fingerprint magnet -especially its display which is a touch screen, of course- and the rubberized back, which was so convenient and comfortable in the 7" original Fire, seems to have become a sponge for natural skin oils with the 8.9" HDX model? Fingerprints are everywhere and stay obstinately attached to every surface, not just the display, and personally I never figured on wiping them off as a full-time occupation.
My solution? DecalGirl skins (check their website for a dazzling number of choices or why not, the original DIY look: DecalGirl Skin - 'Create Your Own'): no, I do not work for them, I just spend a lot of time and as little money as possible trying to get the right accessories for my Kindles. They are a tad expensive ($20), but they are unbelievably easy to apply, of superior quality, extremely durable, come in a huge variety of designs from colorfully eccentric to classically elegant and DecalGirl often offers up to 25% discounts on their website. They will keep your Kindle looking and feeling like new.
Note that most cases easily fit over these skins but remember that if you also want a screen protector (I did!), it should be applied before the skin is applied to the body of the Kindle (front and back). By the way, covering the front of the Kindle (the bezel around the screen) makes holding your Kindle a lot more comfortable... This is no ad for DecalGirl: if you prefer one of their competitors (for instance: MightySkins Protective Skin Decal Cover), do your research and go for it, I am merely pointing out that I believe getting a good quality skin for your HDX is more important than buying a case. Also a lot cheaper than an Origami case, Amazon's preferred solution which at $50+ is just too rich for my tastes (sorry, this bon mot was just too easy)!
Speaking of accessories, since I cannot recommend any one case wholeheartedly, I can at least recommend the Targus Mini Stand (AWE65US). It's surprisingly practical and elegant for a simple block of transparent acrylic! Designed for any smartphone or tablet up to 10", it's perfect if you like watching videos on your HDX from a desk or a table rather than balanced in your lap.
4) Downloading videos. The limitations mentioned in B. Tarbuck's review could be a problem for everyone who purchased the 64Gb model with the new downloading features in mind, which was my case... but a few months of heavy usage later, I can confirm that the points he raises are not necessarily a big deal.
- First, you'll want to keep in mind that not all Prime videos are available for download as licensing rights limit what Amazon offers and which videos are Prime and downloadable is liable to change without notice.
- Second, there is indeed a 25 downloaded videos maximum at any given time which personally I find is acceptable, even though I would have preferred to have heard about it beforehand rather than discover it afterwards.
- Third, the Viewing Period limitation (48 hours or so depending on the video) is a lot easier to swallow when you realize it only starts applying to videos once you start watching them.
So the Viewing Period limit is actually quite comparable to the Lending Library's limitations: you just need to remember that Prime Videos are not available for streaming while you are traveling outside the US which is why you need to download them to your Fire HDX before leaving the US. Or if you are an overseas customer: yes, this IS discrimination! Just kidding, it's due to the same licensing rights limits referred to above which Amazon negotiates with the content owners (Warner, Fox etc.) themselves, ie the same people who insist on different DVD regions etc.
[IMPORTANT: the 'Viewing period' limit actually applies only once you've STARTED watching a video. As long as you simply keep your downloaded videos on your Kindle Fire for later viewing without starting the playback of the file, the Viewing Period limit is irrelevant. Now, that's more like it! :) ]
Personally, I invested in the 64Gb model because I am often in the position of traveling overseas for months, with very little personal internet access. Let's not get into a discussion of what most hotels overseas -ahem UK, I am looking at you here, not that Italy or Germany or Japan have a leg to stand on either- think is 'free internet access' or the availability of English-speaking entertainment media outside the US. Can you believe that some countries expect you to understand their own non-English language to get your entertainment?! Just joking: English is not my native language... My point stands, however.
Therefore purchasing the 64Gb model may be worthwhile if you like to load up your Kindle with lots of videos in preparation for a long overseas trip: just remember that once you start watching a video, a fairly short Viewing Period time limit starts running - about 48 hours (more or less depending on the movie/show in question). This is similar to the time limit you run into when downloading Prime Videos to your PC or renting vs. purchasing movies from Amazon, by the way... Please also note that movies and TV shows take up a huge amount of space when downloaded from Amazon, even when you do not choose the HD version, compared to your own personal videos (ripped from your own DVDs, I mean) which usually take up no more than 1 or 2 Gb per movie. Plus, your own videos have no such intrinsic Viewing Period time limit and can be re-watched as often as you want, forever, just like the videos you actually purchase from Amazon.
Remember, if you are willing to actually pay money to purchase a video from Amazon, you can then download it to your device at any time (while you are in the US), and keep it on the hard disk of your Kindle Fire -and any other Kindle Fire you own, past and future- forever (or you can re-download it repeatedly). Which is what Amazon is hoping we'll do, in fact... That's the whole point of selling the Kindles at near cost, after all.
One more relevant item of information when it comes to choosing your Fire HDX hard disk size: the micro USB port is not OTG compatible, so you cannot simply use an OTG USB key (like this little beauty for instance: Patriot Stellar Series 64GB USB 3.0 OTG - PSF64GSTROTG) to easily increase the size of your Fire HDX hard disk. Oh well...
5) non-Amazon content and apps: let's just reiterate a few points which most official reviews I have seen rarely make.
- you can totally get non-Amazon apps from the Google Play store. Or any reputable website, as long as you are careful and do a bit/a lot of research first if you don't want to be sorry later. Download the .apk file (all Android apps are really files with an apk extension), then transfer it to the appropriate folder on your Kindle. Opening the apk file then installs the app on your Kindle Fire and the app will afterwards appear in your Fire's Apps section. It's that easy! This simple process is called sideloading and no, it's not difficult or complicated and does not require rooting and does not invalidate your warranty or anything: the internet is full of simple how-tos on the subject, just begging to be read. And Amazon is perfectly fine with your sideloading non-Amazon apps, especially free apps.
Obviously Amazon will not refer to it or explain how to do it and they will avoid even mentioning it, but Jeff Bezos is well aware that lack of flexibility on this issue would be a deal breaker, even if he'd rather not admit as much officially. Which is why it's a fairly straightforward process, even though it would have been quite easy for Amazon to prevent us from sideloading non-Amazon apps.
- you can easily get non-Amazon ebooks (pdf or epub or any other commonly used ebook format, free or otherwise - B&N etc.) to your Kindle: just install the Calibre software on your computer and it will handle all the format converting and transferring to your Kindles, from the oldest Kindle e-reader to the latest HDX. Plus lots of other neat and amazing features, including tagging or helping with the rental of ebooks from your public library system. Calibre is free, it's got heaps of documentation and technical help, it's regularly updated and it can and will handle your whole ebook collection beautifully while synchronizing all your e-Readers easily. It's like iTunes for ebooks! If iTunes was easy to use, efficient, inclusive of formats and platforms. And came with helpful free add-ins like Firefox does. And did not lose your full media library the way iTunes loses mine all the time.
- comic books/graphic novels/mangas and magazines in pdf format. This is a seldom mentioned advantage of the 8.9" HDX: its larger screen size and higher resolution makes it a great way to read comics in pdf format with the built-in pdf reader! It's a bit less practical in cbr or cbz format (as opposed to reading comics on a PC where using a free cbr/cbz reader is best), but easily doable and well worth it for facing the hours of tedium that travel often requires. No need to use a comic book reader app, especially since the best such apps are not free, if your comics are in pdf format! But if your non-pdf comics library is just too extensive to convert, then you can check out ComiCat which costs $2.99: it handles most comic formats, organizes your collection nicely on your Kindle HDX and allows easy synchronization with cloud services like Dropbox, which is pretty nifty - compared to having to copy your comics files to your HDX yourself.
- other external content (music, photos, audiobooks and videos): nothing is to stop you from ripping your favorite DVDs and CDs (reliable free and paying tools are all around you) and transferring them to your Kindle Fire. It's even easier with an HDX than ever before!
I've been doing all of the above since the Kindle Fire 1st gen all the way to the HDX without any trouble via the USB port of my computer: a simple USB to micro USB cable -the same type of cable you use to recharge your Kindle- and you're all set! Or send your ebooks attached to an email to your Kindle's email address: Amazon Help pages are full of detailed descriptions about it... this email method incidentally lets you share your non-DRM ebooks with your friends and family simply by emailing them with your ebook. Assuming their own Kindles have been set up to accept documents from your email address - this last requirement is a security measure to avoid spam. Personally, I use this nifty 'sending books via email to a Kindle device' functionality to guilt my relatives into reading edifying books I think they would benefit from (passive-aggressive stuff about healthy diet, exercise and the like... ) and it helps with their insomnia issues, if nothing else!
Google will lead you to numerous helpful how-tos explaining which folder you should copy your video/audio files to on your Kindle Fire and which free apps to use if for some reason you do not want/cannot use the default app. Videos and Photos will show up in your gallery under your Photos section and your uploaded music and audiobooks, naturally enough, in your Music section. If your files are in a format your Kindle Fire cannot open and you don't want the headache of having to convert your files, just use one of several apps that open most files: personally, I use ES File Explorer to navigate the hard disk of my Fire and open all my non-Amazon content. You can also check out MoboPlayer which plays any video file format, not just only mp4 files like the Fire default video viewer app. These two apps are both available free on the Amazon app store and are very popular for good reasons.
Again: all of the above in point 5 works for all Fire models, not just the HDX.
6) On a different, UNRELATED topic: if for some reason you want to root your Amazon Fire in order to run the non-Amazon version of Android and be able to control the look and feel and functionality of your tablet, please be aware that you will lose all Prime membership advantages on this Fire tablet (though not on your computer or any other Fire you may own). Such as free Instant Prime Videos and the Lending Library. And Mayday functionality, also a bonus of the FireOS.
I just want to emphasize the fact that sideloading has nothing to do with rooting: the amount of ignorance and misinformation floating about this topic is simply astonishing. And by the way, I really don't recommend rooting a Kindle Fire, though yes, technically speaking, it is doable. By anyone with nerves of steel. And at least several hours of free, preferably uninterrupted time for in-depth research beforehand... Just be prepared to take responsibility for the waste of hundreds of your dollars if you do brick your Kindle device.
374 of 421 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointed in the 8.9" HDX vs the 8.9" HD,
This review is from: Kindle Fire HDX 8.9", HDX Display, Wi-Fi and 4G LTE, 32 GB - Includes Special Offers (Electronics)
I have owned the Kindle Fire 8.9" HD for a year, having gotten it last Christmas (2012). I have also been an Amazon Prime customer for some time. So I was pretty excited when I saw the hype for the new HDX. This seemed like it would be a great upgrade. It seemed like it had several things I wanted in the HD, like all my icons on one page, a rear facing camera, and faster Wi-Fi and internet, and a lighter, thinner package. Since I already had the HD, this should be a pretty seamless upgrade.
Well that's not how things went for me. First of all taking the HDX out of the box, it felt really cheap and flimsy compared to my HD. Even though both tablets are 8.9", the HDX has a slightly smaller display. It actually seemed like a tablet you might buy your 10 year old. I already was having my doubts, but let's fire it up and give it a try.
I started it up and went through all the registration hoops, and then had to go to the cloud to get all of my apps loaded onto the HDX. Well, immediately, I noticed that apps I had purchased were missing. Most notably was Weatherbug, which is my main weather app on the HD. I went to the app store, and it's not there, either. Ditto a calendar, contact list and calculator I have on the HD. Apparently these are not compatible with the HDX.
There are some items on the HDX that are not on the HD, as well, but for someone that has already set up all their apps, this is disappointing. Most of the games, candy crush, deer hunter, pipes, etc., that I play came over, but you lose the levels you have achieved playing them on the HD. That was a big disappointment.
The other thing missing from the HDX is an HDMI port to connect the tablet to your TV. The HDX uses some kind of sync technology, but it would not work with any of the 4 TVs, two of which are HD flat screen, in my house. So there is no way I can watch videos or movies on my TV. That was the real deal breaker.
In addition, Amazon touts a much better display, faster Wi-Fi and faster browsing. I didn't see it. comparing the 2 tablets side by side, I noticed no difference in speed, and couldn't discern a difference in the screen quality. They are both very good. When I turned both tablets on from a cold start, the HD actually booted up and was ready to go slightly faster than the HDX, The browser interface is different and much less intuitive in the HDX than in the HD.
If you like to read books, which my wife and I do a lot of, you will also be disappointed in the ability to control font size in the HDX. In the HD I have the font set to 7. There is no comparable setting in the HDX. You get small, bigger, bigger yet, and HUGE. None of those suited me like the settings on the HD, which are easily adjusted.
If you already have an HD and are thinking about an upgrade, I would suggest you not waste the money. You are not gaining much with the HDX (the rear camera, mostly), and are giving up a lot. If you haven't purchased a tablet yet and are considering the Kindle Fire, I think I would still buy the HD, the prices have dropped to $229 for the 8.9", which I feel is a great value.
If you find you must buy the 8.9" HDX, definitely stay away from the Origami cover. It's expensive and it's a piece of junk. I returned it along with the HDX, and would not recommend it to anyone.
I have since returned both the HDX and the Origami case. Seeing how this was a Christmas present to me from my wife, we are both disappointed. I certainly hope Amazon rethinks the HDX and it's marketing. For now, my old 8.9" HD workhorse is still going strong!
319 of 360 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Beautiful Screen I've Ever Seen,
The video is a quick unboxing since I have not yet seen one on here yet. To see more videos on this Kindle Fire HDX, visit my YouTube channel:
You've already read a few detailed reviews from here, so I'll make this one simple to read: bullet points!
*Beeee-ay-ew-tee-full screen: 8.9 inches at 2560x1600 resolution means the highest pixels per inch(339 PPI) for ANY tablet to date. Compare that with 299 PPI for the new iPad Air. This screen will literally blow you away. Apple is known to have the best phone and tablet screens on the market, and the new iPad Air is leaps and bounds better than the original iPad. However, compared to the Kindle HDX 8.9", even it has to take a second seat.
I read an article where DisplayMate compared this Kindle HDX's screen to that of the Nexus 10 and the new iPad Air:
-100% color accuracy means whatever that is displayed is true to form. The best way to compare this is to pick up the Nexus 10(Samsung-made) and any Samsung AMOLED on Vivid settings.
-This screen also has the brightest output - 527 cd/m2(or "nits"). This means that whether you're using it in pitch black, or on a sunny day in direct sunlight, this screen has enough brightness to excel in any situation. For a comparison, the best computer monitors output in the 400 nits range, and most TVs are in the 300 range.
-Viewing angles are also top notch - you will not lose much quality even when you're not looking at it straight on.
-Reflectivity is also minor. You bought this Kindle to see what's on the screen, not use it as a mirror. You don't know how important this becomes until you see a crappy screen such as cheap laptops.
-Finally, it uses very little power, which means more battery life, and won't heat up and burn your hands.
*Awesome stereo speakers. The virtual Dolby surround sound is really effective, and really immersive. You can crank the sound to 11 and it won't distort. By far the best speakers I've heard on any tablet or phone.
*Truly lighter than "Air." I hated holding the iPad 3(the most recent iPad I have). It was uncomfortable and wrist-breaking. Even with the iPad Air weight reductions, it still weighs about a pound(16 ounces). The Kindle HDX is 13.2 ounces. I can now finally read and watch videos in bed comfortably. Even holding it one-handed is now a comfortable reality.
*Downloading movies, streaming videos, etc. through WiFi is super fast with the built in dual-band, dual-antenna.
*This tablet is fast! Having a Snapdragon 800 processor means you'll never have to worry about apps and games slowing down on you. Having 2GB of RAM also means you can multi-task and run multiple apps to your heart's content.
*It has never gotten hot or uncomfortable while holding/using it so far, so in totality the form factor and userability are excellent.
*This is subjective, but I think at 8.9," this is the perfect screen size for a tablet. I have the old Nexus 7, and when compared to my Samsung Galaxy Note 3(5.5"), or even my HTC One(4.7"), there wasn't a big upgrade in screen size for me to use it more than my phones. The iPad, while having a nice screen size at 9.7," is too heavy and uncomfortable to use for a long session, even with the improved iPad Air. The Kindle HDX, at 8.9" and 13.2 ounces, has the perfect combination. If you want something bigger, then just use your laptop!
*There is no Micro-SD slot, so there is no potential of increasing your storage capacity. This is perhaps where the hardest decisions will be. The 16GB version has 10.9GB of useable space left, so it would not make sense if you want to download or store more than a handful of movies. Considering an HD movie can be anywhere from 2-10GB, make sure you select the right capacity for you.
*There is no micro HDMI-out like on the older Kindle HD. The new HDX uses a wireless system called Miracast. This is all great, however, it is a new functionality that has not been widely implemented, meaning most likely that the TV you are using now isn't Miracast-enabled. So if you want to mirror your Kindle screen to your TV, you'll need to buy a new TV, or find an app or dongle that would provide an alternative.
*The only other thing I can think of for the casual user on the fence is, because the ecosystem is not as robust as Apple iOS and pure Google Anroid, they won't have access to all those apps of the other two ecosystems. The Amazon App Store is growing rapidly, but it is climbing an uphill battle to reach the other two.
The two most important factors I think people will have to decide from is:
1) Do you love and live Amazon enough so that the lack of apps you would get from the iOS and Google app stores won't affect you?
2) Are you one of those that uses your tablet as your universal multimedia hub, and want to store all your apps, games, music, photos/videos, and movies in there?
I only play other media and games occasionally, so for me the lack of app quantity of Amazon from iOS and pure Android is not a deal breaker for me. It is for a lot of people, so in the end, it might come down to user preference and brand loyalty.
Overall, for my needs, which is to watch Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Videos, and surf the Net/read the news apps, this is the perfect tablet for me.
128 of 142 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Display; Compares Favorably to Competition,
This review is from: Kindle Fire HDX 8.9", HDX Display (Electronics)
This is the top model of the three models that Amazon is shipping this year: the Kindle Fire HD, the Kindle Fire HDX, and the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9" (this tablet). This is the successor for last year's Kindle Fire HD 8.9" but with an updated operating system and new features, a redesigned shell (with the power and volume control buttons more readily accessible), an 8MP rear-facing camera, an absolutely amazing display, superb sound, an included power adapter, and the new Mayday feature. See http://www.amazon.com/review/RNH700DOM9WN3 for my review of the Kindle Fire HD and http://www.amazon.com/review/R2KVHBC7NMNOGU for my review of the Kindle Fire HDX.
The first thing I noticed with this tablet was how amazingly light it was. Not only is it 34% lighter than last year's 8.9" tablet, it's even lighter than last year's 7" tablet! This really is a one-handed tablet. Even better, they shaved the weight off without sacrificing build quality. The tablet looks and feels solid, stable, and secure.
A fairly common complaint about the Kindle Fire HDX 7" tablet is that a slight blue glow is visible at the edges of the screen when there is a white background. I saw no such blue glow on my 8.9" tablet. According to DisplayMate Technologies, the backlight on the HDX 8.9" has white LEDs, so no blue glow source.
So how does this Kindle Fire HDX differ from the previous generation Kindle Fire HD?
Display: 2560x1600 (323 ppi) vs 1920x1200 (254 ppi). It's more than that, though, as the colors are richer, brighter, with better contrast. Amazon has also added technology to automatically adjust the contrast and brightness when viewing the tablet in bright sunlight. While there is definitely a noticeable improvement in sunlight, this isn't what you need for reading on the beach. For that, you'll need an eInk reader like the Kindle Paperwhite.
Sound: As far as I can tell, the sound is about the same. This was already one of the best-sounding tablets on the market, with Dolby digital stereo output and enough power to actually make it possible to listen to music or video without requiring headphones.
Size and Weight: Amazingly light (13.2 oz vs. 20 oz) and noticeably smaller (9.1" x 6.2" x 0.31" vs. 9.4" x 6.4" x 0.35"). This is the first large tablet I've seen that is truly a comfortable tablet to hold one-handed, even for long periods of time. That was definitely not true of last year's model.
Processor: It's a *lot* faster (2.2GHz quad-core, top-of-the-line CPU, compared to 1.5GHz dual-core). This tablet is amazingly fast and smooth, with the fastest processor in its class. Every game I've tried on it has run smoothly, with no hesitations, slowdowns, or glitches. Scrolling through content is smoother and faster, without the hesitations and occasional slowdowns of the previous generations. The additional 1GB of RAM doesn't hurt (2GB vs. 1GB for last year's model).
Build: A redesigned shell with power and volume control buttons that are easy to find! This is a solid build but the back of the shell is something of a fingerprint magnet. Since most of us will be buying a case to put the tablet in, that may not be an issue.
Camera: Last year's HD had only a front-facing HD (720p) camera. This year's HDX has that front-facing camera as well as a rear-facing 8 MP camera, complete with LED flash and the ability to take a 1080p video.
HDMI Output: This is the one area where last year's model wins. Amazon has removed the HDMI out connector from its tablet line (but see the description above for details on how Amazon is providing a software solution for sharing your tablet screen on your television). No other tablet that I'm aware of has this functionality so if this is something you need, you will need to purchase one of last year's models.
Battery Life: The battery life has been increased, from 10 to 12 hours. Additionally, Amazon has added a special "reading mode" to the device, which they claim will extend the battery life to as much as 18 hours. I did not test this. For my own personal use, the battery life is fine; I find that I'm charging it about twice a week with regular use.
Price: It's more expensive ($379 vs. $299 (the price when last year's model launched; last year's model is currently $229)) but this year they include a power adapter, which was a $20 extra last year, so the actual difference in the launch-day price is $60. That's a larger spread than the other tablets, where the difference between the 2013 HDX and 2012 HD is only $10, or the 2013 HD vs. the 2012 Kindle Fire, where the price has dropped by $20. This one isn't a slam-dunk, as the other two are. What you get for that price increase is pretty good, though, including the lighter weight, the added RAM, the longer battery life, the rear camera, the better display, the faster processor, and the updated software. Still, while I can definitely recommend this tablet, you might want to wait a couple of months for a sale or for Amazon to drop the price, which it likely will do next year. Or, if you want the larger size and don't need the latest and greatest, fastest and lightest, $229 for the regular Kindle Fire HD 8.9" is a very good price.
It has an updated OS and updated feature software (including the free unlimited Mayday customer support feature). The software updates include the ability to download some Prime Instant Videos to your device and watch them offline, enhanced accessibility, enhanced enterprise controls and features (so now it's better suited for office work), enhanced email client, enhanced parental controls, improved X-Ray features (now including lyrics for music, as well as additional information for both books and movies), integration with GoodReads (coming soon), and the like.
Where I noticed the biggest difference was the home screen. The default view is still the carousel but if you swipe upward, you'll see a more traditional icon view. The "Recommended for you" display on the home screen is now smaller and much less obtrusive (and it can be turned off in the settings). Amazon has also added multi-tasking of a sort, where swiping up from the bottom of the screen while you're in an app shows you the 20 most-recently-used items from your home screen, so you can quickly switch from one app to another without returning to the home screen.
There is also a left panel available on most screens (but not the home screen) and in some of the apps, with navigation links and settings to make it easier to navigate and control your tablet or to navigate within the app. If you tap the center of your display and then swipe left while you're reading a book, for example, you'll see a panel that shows you the table of contents, the About the Author link, the Sync to Furthest Page Read link, and so on.
The Kindle FreeTime option and the parental controls are still among the best in the business. If you want a tablet for a child and want to control what they can access, how long they can use the tablet at any given time, and the like, Amazon has you covered.
You can now also schedule "Quiet Time" on the tablet, where notification sounds and pop-up notifications are disabled, either on a temporary basis by simply pushing a button or on a scheduled basis. Frankly, I doubt I'll ever use this feature but if you're the type who likes to read or watch video until you fall asleep, it's kind of nice to be able to disable all sounds so that you don't get rudely awakened when, e.g., someone plays a new word in your Words with Friends game.
Mayday: This is a huge gamble by Amazon and it will be interesting to see whether it pays off. This isn't a feature for a techie like me and I didn't use it (although I was sorely tempted). From the commercials, it's pretty amazing, particularly that you can get a live chat in a matter of a minute or less (Amazon's goal is something like 15 seconds, I believe, although I can't help wondering what will happen on Christmas Day!). If you're thinking of getting a tablet for a technophobe, the addition of this feature may make the Kindle Fire HDX your best choice.
The Amazon tablets are primarily content consumption devices, best suited for connecting to the Amazon ecosystem, including videos, music, books, apps, and so on. With the free Prime trial subscription, you can check out the Prime Instant Video options and watch movies and shows at no charge for 30 days. For videos, music, and books, the Amazon selection is at or near the top of the list; for apps, much less so. 90% of the top 100 apps are available on Amazon.com, as well as 100,000 others, but that's only a small fraction of what is available with Google or Apple.
It's not quite as bad as it sounds because, while the competition has ten times as many apps, most of those apps are, um ... how shall I put this ... less than stellar (look up Sturgeon's Law). If there are specific apps you need or want, you definitely should double-check before purchasing to make sure that they are available. The apps that will likely never become available on the Kindle Fire ecosystem are those apps that require Google services (i.e., anything that uses Google location services). One ameloriating factor is that it is possible to side-load most of the apps from the Google Play store onto an Amazon tablet and a web search on side-loading apps onto Kindle Fire will show dozens of websites with detailed instructions. If the app you are sideloading requires a Google service to work, though, it will not run on the Fire, even if you manage to successfully install it.
Like the other Kindle Fire tablets, as well as the Apple iPad and the Google Nexus, the Kindle tablet line doesn't have a micro-SD slot, so the assumption is that you're consuming content from the cloud. This is fine when you're using your tablet with wifi; not so good when you're traveling and want to load up your tablet with content for the trip. If the latter is something you expect to do regularly, you might want to consider the 32GB or 64GB versions, or pay the additional price for the 4G version. Also, if all of your content is on iTunes or on Google Play, you would have to side-load everything onto the tablet. As is true of Apple and Google tablets, there's no way to automatically connect to the cloud storage of the competition.
Something new this year is the ability to download Prime Instant Videos. I verified that I can download Prime Instant Videos to my HDX. However, that option is not available for all movies and TV shows. It looks like they had to get the permission of the studios and not all of them said yes. So, for example, I was able to download "Casablanca" but not able to download "The Avengers" even though both are part of the Prime Instant Video collection and both are available for free streaming.
Amazon is clearly looking at the Enterprise market with this launch, at least based on the details they provide. They've added full accessibility support (required in order to get government contracts), will be bringing support for VPN and business printing, have a better email client with tighter integration to Exchange, and are including OfficeSuite for productivity. There are other productivity tools available in their app store, as well, although both Google and Apple, particularly the latter, have more options. When VPN support arrives, I'll definitely be taking a look, as it would be nice to not have to lug my laptop home every night.
How does this tablet rank against the competition? There are really only two other tablets in its class currently: the Google Nexus 10 and the just-announced Apple iPad Air. This year's Google Nexus 10 has not yet been officially announced, although some details have leaked; I'll update when I have more information.
Display: All three devices have retina displays, with the HDX and the Nexus at 2560x1600 (323 ppi) and the iPad Air at 2048x1536 (264 ppi). All three displays are stunning. Amazon claims that it has enhanced the ability to read the display in bright sunlight, something that's a problem for all such devices. While this wouldn't be my first choice to read by the pool (I'd pick the Paperwhite), I can testify that it is easier to view the display in bright sunlight than its predecessors. The HDX display is 8.9" (measured diagonally), the iPad Air display is 9.7", and the Nexus is 10". In the recent DisplayMate Technologies Flagship Tablet Display Technology Shoot-Out, the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9" tablet got the highest score they have ever given:
"Most impressive of all is the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9, which has leapfrogged into the best performing Tablet display that we have ever tested, significantly out-performing the iPad Air in Brightness, Screen Reflectance, and high ambient light contrast, plus a first place finish in the very challenging category of Absolute Color Accuracy."
It's worth noting that the aspect ratio of the HDX and Nexus is 16:10 while the aspect ratio of the iPad Air is 4:3. Where this matters is watching video. If you're watching an old television show, a 4:3 aspect ratio is fine. If you're watching a high-def movie, the 4:3 aspect ratio is going to leave large black bars on your screen and the video will be much more compressed than it would be on the HDX and Nexus. Apple chose to maintain backward compatibility with prior devices rather than moving up.
Sound: The HDX has Dolby Digital Surround Sound; the Nexus has Frauenhofer Surround Sound; the iPad Air has stereo sound. The iPad Air also makes the same mistake that Amazon made in its first-generation tablet: putting both speakers on the same side (in this case, at the bottom of the tablet). If you're watching a video, you'll have the tablet turned sideways and the sound will all come from the same side. The HDX, in contrast, has the speakers placed perfectly for video watching.
Networking: The HDX and the iPad Air both have dual band, dual antenna (MIMO) Wi-Fi. The Nexus is dual band but not dual antenna. All things being equal, I would expect the Nexus to lag a bit behind the others in networking performance, particularly in areas where the connection is spotty.
Size and Weight:
HDX: 9.1" x 6.2" x 0.31" and 13.2 oz.
Nexus: Not yet announced
iPad Air: 9.4" x 6.6" x 0.29" and 16.8 oz.
The HDX is definitely smaller and it's significantly lighter than is the iPad Air, although the iPad is a bit thinner. The size difference isn't too surprising when you consider that the iPad Air has a larger screen (with a lower resolution, though).
HDX: 2.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB memory
Nexus: Not yet announced
iPad Air: 64-bit dual-core A7, 1GB memory
The A7 is only a dual-core processor but according to some tech sites that have run benchmarks, it definitely holds its own against the quad-core Snapdragon. These are all pretty powerful tablets.
Cameras: Both the Nexus and the iPad Air have 1.2 MP front and 5MP rear cameras. The HDX has a front 720p camera and an 8MP rear camera. Realistically, I doubt that the extra resolution on the HDX will make that much of a difference but if you take a lot of pictures, the HDX may be your best choice.
Battery Life: HDX = 12 hours (18 hours when reading); Nexus = TBD; iPad Air = 10 hours. Amazon wins this one, particularly if you will be spending a lot of time reading.
Expansion: None of them have a microSD slot; they all assume that you'll be using their respective cloud systems.
Parental Controls: All of them have the basic parental controls that allow you to limit your child's access to content, purchases, the web, and so on. Amazon goes farther, though, with the Kindle Free Time and Kindle Free Time Unlimited options, the latter of which is an inexpensive subscription to a curated library of content. If you are buying a first tablet for a child, though, I'd choose the Kindle Fire HD. At only $139, it is significantly cheaper and it has all of the parental controls and options that the HDX has.
Enterprise: As soon as Amazon releases its software update, it will add VPN and network printing support. I believe all of the tablets have basic enterprise capabilities, including that support and various office apps. For real corporate productivity, though, I'd go with a laptop, not a tablet.
Support: Amazon wins this category, hands down, with the new Mayday system. Apple comes in second, with Apple and Amazon usually taking top marks in any customer support survey. This is an area where Google does not shine.
Price: The HDX and Nexus win this category. With the HDX at $379 and the Nexus at $399, both are priced significantly less than the iPad Air at $499. Neither Google nor Amazon makes much, if any, money on their tablets; they're counting on you to purchase content from their respective stores.
I don't think there is a single clear winner, as each tablet has strengths and weaknesses. If you already have Amazon Prime, the HDX is a no-brainer, with the access to the Prime Instant Video and the Kindle Owners' Lending Library. If you're primarily buying a tablet to read with, Amazon wins there, as well, with the 18-hour battery life while reading and the best display for reading outdoors. If you want apps, Apple and Google both have far more choices. If you want to watch movies, I'd pick either the HDX or the Nexus, as Apple's aspect ratio and its lagging sound put it at the back of the pack. If price is a factor, then you should pick either the HDX or the Nexus.
If you're heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem, i.e., you already own an iPhone or iPad and all of your content is on iTunes, the HDX really isn't the tablet for you. Similarly, if you love browsing Google Play for apps to play on your Samsung Galaxy phone, you're likely to be disappointed in the section available on Amazon (although, as I note above, most of the Google Play apps can be sideloaded onto the tablet). If you love your Google Now or Siri, neither of which will ever be available on Amazon, this isn't the tablet for you.
The bottom line: This tablet is primarily intended as a viewport into Amazon content and Amazon services. If you have Amazon Prime and you have Amazon eBooks in your collection, this tablet is a no-brainer. The price is decent, particularly for what you get, and it's a light, high-quality, high-powered, tablet with a stunning display and superb sound. This really is one of the top tablets in its class.
Note: As others have noted, the tablet will update its software when you first turn it on and connect to wifi. Unlike some others, I had no trouble with this operation, no glitches or crashes. It took several minutes but the process ran smoothly, as did the tablet when everything was done.
For a couple of reasons, I have all three of Amazon's 2013 tablets. So which one should you get?
Kindle Fire HD - A good choice for a child or for a first tablet when you're not sure just how much you'll use a tablet. The price can't be beat and while it's clearly a budget tablet, it's not cheaply made. The only corner they cut is that they don't include a camera, so no Skype or self-portraits.
Kindle Fire HDX - A good choice if you want the smallest lightest tablet of the bunch. If you'll be regularly on the go with your tablet and you want something you can easily slip into a purse or coat pocket, this is the tablet for you. You should also get this tablet over the Kindle Fire HD if you need a front-facing camera or you need the extra power. And you should get this over the larger version if price is an issue, since it's $150 cheaper.
Kindle Fire HDX 8.9" - This is the one I use most around the house because I really like the large size and I love that I get that size with that amazingly low weight. If you need a rear camera, this is the tablet to get. And the one to get if price isn't an issue. I stick by my recommendation above, though, that you should probably wait for a sale or for Amazon to drop the price.
This year, Amazon released three good, solid, highly competitive tablets. Personally, I think they got it right and I can recommend all three.
Note: I check back here pretty regularly. If you have questions, I'll be happy to try to answer them.
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