The Kindle Fire line has been considerably successful thanks to the very attractive price points and its robust feature sets, considering they’re mainly e-readers in tablet form. The recently released Kindle Fire HD 8.9 offers the same things, albeit on a larger form factor. That said, it’s time to take a closer look at this new offering from Amazon.
Many have been praising the Kindle Fire HD 8.9’s design since it came out, and for good reason. The device is simply delightful to hold in the hand. It’s not as cumbersome as the larger 10.1-inch tablets, and there’s really not much bulk or weight added compared to the smaller 7-inch tablets. It’s bigger than an iPad Mini, but it would seem that the Kindle Fire HD is quite easier to hold. It’s considerably thin and not blocky at all, which contributes to the refined handling of the device.
As far as looks are concerned, the Kindle Fire HD is none too shabby. It’s quite a generic bezel-laden face and doesn’t stand out much, but the understated aesthetic gives way to the utility of the device. When you go to the tactile aspect of the device, you will likely be surprised at how well-built it feels. The matte finish no doubt helps contribute to this feeling. It might not be enough to shake people who swear by Apple’s reputed industrial design, but it should at least reassure you that your investment will last.
If you’ve used the initial 7-inch Kindle Fire, you might have been a bit bothered by the sometimes-sluggish performance. It’s a good thing that the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 isn’t only bigger, but it also packs a dual-core processor clocked at 1.5GHz—and it’s a pretty recent TI OMAP 4470 at that. As expected, videos will run smooth and HD games will play well enough.
However, there are some issues with the tablet’s basic functions that leave a bit of a bad taste in the mouth. For example, you might still experience some lag when switching between apps or even flicking through the pages of your ebooks. You just have to scratch your head and wonder why, although one of our suspects is the Kindle OS (a skinned version of Android) and how it just isn’t all that optimized just yet. It’s a bit sad considering how well the rest of the device has been made, only to find that there’s something amiss at its core.
When you go to the display, it’s clear that Amazon has a winning device. The 254 ppi display isn’t Retina-level just yet, but there’s very little difference in terms of the contrast and sharpness offered by the Kindle Fire HD 8.9’s screen. The 1920×1200 screen helps make text crisp and makes all manner of content look clean. Viewing angles are stellar, and the colors pop out on the display. These are all great for watching video content.
If this is your first foray into an Amazon tablet, you should know that you won’t have access to the same app store that other Android users get. The ecosystem just isn’t the same when it’s closed to Amazon. It’s great for shopping, definitely, thanks to Amazon Prime that gives you access to practically anything and everything. If you’re not really much of an app person and you really just want a multifaceted e-reader, there shouldn’t be any problem on this front.
The Kindle Fire HD 8.9 is available in WiFi and LTE-equipped variants. If you want to enjoy mobile data and services like RingCentral VoIP phone service while away from hotspots, you might want to go for the version that comes with 4G LTE connectivity. Of course, if you’re only planning to use this tablet as a reader most of the time, then you won’t have any problems with the Wi-Fi-only model. Starting at $299, it’s hard not to consider the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 as your next holiday gadget purchase.