Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9in review (2013)

£329
Price when reviewed

The quad-core CPU delivers, too, in terms of general responsiveness, gaming and benchmarks. Amazon’s proprietary Android-based OS feels as slick on this device as iOS 7 does on the Air. Demanding games fly by: Asphalt 8: Airborne is playable, with only the odd hitch in frame rate when the action really heats up, as is Despicable Me: Minion Rush. In benchmarks, it lags behind the iPad Air, but is almost twice as fast as the Nexus 10.

Battery life is superb. In flight mode, with a low-resolution video looping continuously, the HDX lasted 16hrs 3mins – the HDX 8.9in has the beating of the iPad Air here, and any other pure tablet we’ve seen since the iPad 2.

Audio from the rear-facing speakers is as loud, full-bodied and clear as we’ve heard from a tablet this size. However, the rear-facing 8-megapixel camera is less impressive, capturing soft and frequently out-of-focus photographs. It’s okay for the occasional snapshot, but nothing more. The 1080p video quality is better, but focus hunts back and forth a lot.

Software

The HDX 8.9in’s Achilles heel, as with its little brother, is the Amazon Fire OS. We don’t have any beef with its usability, and if you’re already persuaded by the Amazon way of doing things, you’ll love it. When the tablet turns up, it’s registered to your account out of the box, and all it takes to access the ebooks and MP3s you’ve already bought is to flick over to the appropriate sections and download or stream them.

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9in

Buying more content is just as easy, and there are other features we like: the new Mayday feature – which allows you to set up a tech-support video call directly from the HDX 8.9in’s pull-down menu –will be a boon for novices, and the second screen and Miracast support for viewing movies on your TV is equally welcome.

However, we can’t help but hanker after the flexibility of pure Android, as seen on the Nexus 10 and 7 tablets. It allows you to access the full riches of Google Play, which has a much broader selection of apps than the Amazon Appstore, plus Google’s excellent selection of core apps, including Maps and Google Now. We also prefer the way the stock Android OS works – it feels more grown up.

Verdict

For all that, the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9in is a device that anyone in the market for a larger tablet should consider. The display is fantastic, it’s amazingly light, the performance and battery life are simply superb, and we certainly can’t fault its all-round usability.

If you don’t mind the Amazon lock-in, it’s a fabulous tablet – with much better hardware than on anything we’ve seen from an Android tablet so far, and a tempting price. But we’d advise waiting to see what the second-generation Nexus 10 brings before taking the plunge.

What next? Read our review of the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7in, which is for sale during the week of Black Friday for £99.

Detail

Warranty1 yr return to base

Physical

Dimensions230 x 7.7 x 158mm (WDH)
Weight369g

Display

Primary keyboardOn-screen
Screen size8.9in
Resolution screen horizontal2,560
Resolution screen vertical1,600
Display typeMultitouch, capacitive
Panel technologyIPS

Core specifications

CPU frequency, MHz2.2GHz
Integrated memory16/32/64GB
RAM capacity2.00GB

Camera

Camera megapixel rating8.0mp
Focus typeAutofocus
Built-in flash?yes
Built-in flash typeLED
Front-facing camera?yes
Video capture?yes

Other

WiFi standard802.11abgn
Integrated GPSno
Upstream USB ports0
HDMI output?no
Video/TV output?no

Software

Mobile operating systemKindle Fire OS

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.

Todays Highlights
How to See Google Search History
how to download photos from google photos