Customer Review

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4.0 out of 5 stars The Fire HD 8.9 essentials - the Ys, the FAQ and some comments, November 16, 2012
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Length:: 0:41 Mins

VIDEO-related NOTE

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?
A: 12.8GB

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
- Siri
- 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.
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Tracked by 6 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 43 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 16, 2012 9:35:18 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 16, 2012 9:35:50 AM PST
J. Orr says:
Overall a good review. My only comment would be the bias shown towards "other" ecosystems when they also "fence" you in as well. The ecosystem is a choice that you make first and foremost when buying a tablet so I feel that using it as a negative basis for your review is unfair.

Posted on Nov 16, 2012 9:54:00 AM PST
I confused why you switched from 3 stars to 5 stars. I know you said you might switch it after more usage, but I didn't see any rational as to why you made the change so quickly. It seems like same review with only stars changed?

Posted on Nov 16, 2012 9:57:27 AM PST
T. GOODMAN says:
thanks a bunch. I am an apple user and my family but my 11 year old daughter want a kindle fire because she says there are more books to read options and that's what she likes to do. I was looking everywhere for difference between the 8.9 and 7 Hd fires since this is my first time purchasing a kindle. This helped. :)

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2012 10:03:34 AM PST
A. Dent says:
I upgraded my rating after I showed the HD 8.9 to about a dozen co-workers. We had a Fire HD 8.9 party at lunch, watching an episode of LOST, playing with setting up parental controls and a couple of games - arguably the parts where this model shines and everyone agreed that it was an exceptional tablet. My personal preference continues to lean toward the Nexus 7 but I have to admit that this is a great product almost any way you look at it.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2012 10:06:18 AM PST
A. Dent says:
I used the words 'fence' in reference to Apple as well. In all fairness, the Kindle HDs do allow you to sideload apps but it's extremely difficult to have both the Amazon Appstore and Google Play. On the Nexus, it took me about 3 minutes to install the Amazon Appstore app and access and run all the apps I had in Amazon's cloud.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2012 10:07:39 AM PST
A. Dent says:
The Fire HDs appear to be better suited for kids use, especially with the time management feature on.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2012 10:17:00 AM PST
Paola says:
I actually like Apple's "walled garden". The fact that Amazon has their own version is one of the main reasons I want to buy the Kindle Fire HD. I don't like Google Play because they don't vet their apps like Apple and Amazon do. It's one less worry for me.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2012 10:23:57 AM PST
Thanks. That makes a lot of sense. Thank you for your review.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2012 11:05:09 AM PST
A. Dent says:
Nothing prevents you from installing Amazon's Appstore on an Android device and use it exclusively if you want. I have it on my Nexus and XOOM tablets and it's where I usually go first when I need an app. However, some apps are not available on Amazon's store.

Posted on Nov 16, 2012 11:51:37 AM PST
You are incorrect about the apps. Many of the apps I purchased for the Kindle Fire that I bought last year will not work on the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 because it does not have flash. Most notably, I cannot read any of the comics that I have purchased digitally because Comixology is not compatible. Check your apps for compatibility before you buy this. I am sending mine back.
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A. Dent "Aragorn"

Location: Minas Anor, GD

Top Reviewer Ranking: 17