Fire HDX 8.9 Tablet, 8.9" HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers

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Special Offers

Special Offers on Your Fire or Kindle

If your Fire tablet or Kindle e-reader includes Special Offers, you'll receive Sponsored Screensavers and special offers, including personalized advertising, from Amazon directly on your device. You will see them as a screensaver when your device is in sleep mode. Connect your device to Wi-Fi to receive the latest offers.

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If you have an eligible Fire tablet or Kindle e-reader and are not already subscribed to Special Offers, you can subscribe at no charge from Manage Your Content and Devices.

To subscribe to Special Offers:

  1. Go to Manage Your Content and Devices.
  2. Select Your Devices, and then click the device Actions button to the left of the device name.
  3. Next to Special Offers, click Edit, and then click Subscribe.

The next time you connect your Kindle device wirelessly, it will complete the process of subscribing your device to Special Offers.

If you purchased a device that did not have Special Offers and subscribe to them, you can later unsubscribe at any time at no charge.

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Special Offers are displayed as a screensaver when your Kindle e-reader is in sleep mode. On Fire tablets, they are displayed on the lock screen.

Special Offers banners are displayed at the bottom of your Kindle e-reader Home screen. To see more details, select the banner.

If you buy a Special Offer when your device is offline, your order will not be processed immediately. The purchase will be queued and the transaction will be automatically completed the next time you connect to a wireless network.

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You can unsubscribe from Special Offers on your Fire or Kindle device if you do not want to receive Sponsored Screensavers and Special Offers.

Amazon is able to offer Kindle e-reader and Fire tablet models at a subsidized price by delivering Special Offers and Sponsored Screensavers, including personalized advertising. If you originally purchased a Special Offers device, you will be charged a one-time payment to unsubscribe from this service, covering the difference between the device price with and without special offers. This amount will be charged to the 1-Click payment method on your account, but will not be debited from any Gift Card amounts on your account.

To unsubscribe from Special Offers:

  1. Go to Manage Your Content and Devices.
  2. Select Your Devices and then click the device Actions button to the left of the device name.
  3. Next to Special Offers, click Edit, and then follow the instructions to unsubscribe from Special Offers. You'll see the amount of the one-time payment before you confirm.

Note: Your 1-Click payment method will be charged when you unsubscribe from Special Offers and you'll receive an email notification.

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The all-new Fire HDX 8.9 delivers powerful performance with an ultrafast 2.5 GHz quad-core processor, a 70% faster graphics engine, up to 4X faster Wi-Fi, and exceptional stereo sound with Dolby Atmos.


Ultrafast quad-core processor

Fire HDX 8.9 features the all-new, faster quad-core 2.5 GHz Snapdragon 805 processor—delivering quick app launches and smooth multi-tasking.

Console-quality graphics

The new Adreno 420 graphics processor on Fire HDX 8.9 delivers high frame rates and console-quality graphics—70% faster graphics performance than the previous generation Fire HDX.

Exclusive HDX display

Fire HDX 8.9 has the highest resolution (2560x1600) and the best pixel density (339 ppi) of any Fire tablet, providing an incredible multimedia experience. The HDX display features over 4 million pixels for vivid, lifelike images that go beyond standard HD.

HD Display

Front and rear HD cameras

High-resolution 8MP rear-facing camera, plus a front-facing HD camera—capture beautiful photos, shoot stunning 1080p videos, and connect with HD video calls.


4x faster Wi-Fi

Equipped with 802.11ac Wi-Fi, speeds can reach up to 600Mbps which is up to 4X faster than the previous generation Fire HDX. With MIMO (Multiple Input and Multiple Output) and 802.11ac you can seamlessly multi-task high-bandwidth activities like streaming music while downloading an HD movie.

Stay connected

Amazon Silk is our cloud-optimized web browser, exclusively available on Fire Tablets and Phones. The latest version now includes print support and Private Browsing mode (coming soon). Private Browsing allows you to browse the web without Silk saving a record of what you visit. Other features include Reading View, which provides a clean, easy-to-read version of websites by removing unnecessary images and clutter.

The email app on Fire tablets makes sending mail, viewing attachments, grouping conversations by subject, and syncing contacts simple. The app provides full support for the world's most popular email providers.

Fire tablets are fully integrated with Facebook and Twitter, making it easy to connect and share with friends and family.

Be entertained

Rent or purchase the biggest new releases and most popular movies and TV shows. Stream instantly over Wi-Fi or download to enjoy later.

Entertainment Image

Fire tablets are built for the best in gaming, with tilt, turn, and multi-touch controls.

With X-Ray for music, see lyrics that display line-by-line while you listen to many of your favorite songs. You can also explore an immersive artist experience with photos, videos, and more.

Our interactive magazine experience allows you to start reading in just a few seconds with access to any back issue at any time on the cloud. Many Kindle Magazines come with a 30-day free trial.

Be productive

Create, edit, view, and print Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files on your Fire tablet with WPS Office. Check and reply to work email on-the-go with a robust Exchange email experience with ActiveSync. Fire tablets also support printing to your home or office's wireless printer.


Amazon FreeTime

Parents can create a profile for each of their children and choose what books, apps, games, and videos they want to give their kids access to. Amazon FreeTime is free on every Fire tablet. Parents can also set daily limits for tablet use, or restrict certain categories—like games and video—while leaving unlimited time for reading.

Compare Fire Tablets

  Fire HD 6 Fire HD 7 Kindle Fire HDX Fire HDX 8.9
Starting Price $99 $139 $199 $379
Screen Size 6" 7" 7" 8.9"
Resolution 1280 x 800 (252 ppi) 1280 x 800 (216 ppi) 1920 x 1200 (323 ppi) 2560 x 1600 (339 ppi)
Processor Quad-core up to 1.5 GHz Quad-core 2.2 GHz Quad-core 2.5 GHz
Battery Life 8 hours mixed use 8 hours mixed use 11 hours mixed use 12 hours mixed use
Audio Dolby Audio, Mono speaker, Built-in micro-phone Dolby Audio, Dual stereo speakers, Built-in micro-phone Dolby Audio, Dual stereo speakers, Built-in micro-phone Dolby Atmos, Dual stereo speakers, Built-in micro-phone
Wi-Fi Single band Wi-Fi Dual band, Dual antenna (MIMO) Wi-Fi Dual band, Dual antenna (MIMO
+HT80) Wi-Fi
4G None Wi-Fi + 4G LTE Unlocked GSM (incl. AT&T)
Wi-Fi + 4G LTE (Verizon)
Camera Front-facing VGA camera + 2 MP rear-facing Front-facing HD camera Front-facing HD camera + 8 MP rear-facing camera
Storage 8 or 16GB 16, 32, or 64GB
Dimensions 6.7" x 4.1" x 0.4"
(169 X 103 X 10.7 mm)
7.5" x 5.0" x 0.42"
(191 X 128 X 10.6 mm)
7.3" x 5.0" x 0.35"
(186 X 128 X 9.0mm)
9.1" x 6.2" x 0.31"
(231 X 158 X 7.8mm)
Weight 10.1 oz
(290 grams)
11.9 oz
(337 grams)
Wi-Fi: 10.7 oz (303 grams)
4G: 11 oz (311 grams)
Wi-Fi: 13.2 oz (375 grams)
4G: 13.7 oz (390 grams)
Customer Support Email, web, and phone On-device "Mayday" button + email, web, and phone

Features & details


  • Our most powerful tablet ever
  • All-new Amazon Underground, a one-of-a-kind app store experience where over $10,000 in apps, games and even in-app items are actually free – including extra lives, unlocked levels, unlimited add-on packs and more
  • Incredibly light design, weighing just 13.2 ounces
  • Exclusive 8.9" HDX display with over 4 million pixels (339 ppi / 2560 x 1600)
  • Enjoy more than 33 million movies, TV shows, songs, books, Android apps and games
  • 8 MP rear-facing camera and front-facing 720p HD camera
  • Ultrafast 2.5 GHz quad-core processor for quick app launches and fluid graphics
  • Free, live video support 24x7, 365 days a year with Mayday
  • 2 GB of RAM, with 16, 32, or 64 GB storage and free unlimited cloud storage for Amazon content and photos taken with your Fire devices
  • Rich, multi-dimensional audio with crisp, clear sound and no distortion
  • Stay connected with fast web browsing, and email and calendar support including Gmail and Outlook

Product information Wi-Fi Only , 16 GB , With Special Offers

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Top reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
Connectivity: Wi-Fi OnlyDigital Storage Capacity: 16Offer Type: With Special Offers
EXCELLENT tablet at a reasonable price. The Fire HDX is setting the bar for other tablets!
The new Fire HDX 8.9 is definitely one powerful tablet, packed with some pretty nice features. While it does have some small flaws here and there, it generally is an all around great buy. I'll go over some of what I've noticed using the tablet, what I've learned from others... See more
The new Fire HDX 8.9 is definitely one powerful tablet, packed with some pretty nice features. While it does have some small flaws here and there, it generally is an all around great buy. I'll go over some of what I've noticed using the tablet, what I've learned from others who are using it, as well as the specs and how I feel about them. Hopefully it'll give you more insight into the product and help you make an easier decision whether or not to buy it.


One of the first things I noticed was the outstanding build quality. The tablet weighs less than much of its competition, and provides a nice feel due to the materials used in making the case which gives you a nice grip so you don't drop the tablet as easily. Everything feels solid... it doesn't have that cheap feel that some of the Android based tablets have. Apple still holds the title for most durable case as it's aluminum but unless you plan on throwing this thing around, you don't need the aluminum... it weighs more and it's cold!


This new HDX 8.9" comes with the 2.5Ghz Snapdragon processor and a nice GPU so this is going to be one of your fastest tablets on the market at the moment, if not the fastest. Intel and NVIDIA are continuously working on CPU's for the tablet and Chromebook markets, bragging about their performance and how they blow away the competition. Acer, for example, is utilizing an NVIDIA Tegra K1 ARM based CPU running at 2.1GHz quad-core. That is insanely fast for something like a Chromebook which functionality wise, is pretty much the same thing as a tablet. Unfortunately for Acer, the Snapdragon CPU on the Fire HDX is more powerful (2.5 GHz vs. 2.1 GHz) and appears to be using less power. Acer (NVIDIA) has some catching up to do! The HDX definitely gets some bonus points in that department.

GPU wise, the HDX comes with an Adreno 420 graphics processor which delivers high frame rates and as Amazon claims, 70% faster graphics performance than the previous generation Fire HDX 8.9. Amazon equates the graphics experience to that which you'd find on a game console which is a pretty impressive claim and from what I've seen, it's legitimate! Graphic-intensive games and advanced apps are ultra-responsive, run smoothly and use less battery power. This power savings is due to the low power consuming processor, and the LTPS LCD screen which I'll discuss now:


The screen is simply amazing with a 2560 x 1600 resolution and 30% more pixels than Apple's Retina display, along with the most accurate color calibration, accuracy, contrast, and brightness of any other tablet on the market... it is hands down, the best screen you can get right now, which makes me wonder why Amazon cut corners on the camera? (More on that later.) I'm going to go into a lot more detail on the screen right here so you can skip this part if you're fine knowing the screen is amazing! :-) For the nerdy tech stuff about the screen, read on:

NERDY SCREEN INFO: The screen has low reflectance (if that's a word?) so it's still easy to use outdoors in sunlight, and indoors where you may have a lot of overhead lights that typically would cause glare. Reflectance was measured at roughly 5% which is currently the lowest of all tablets on the market. The brightness is very high, in fact, it's higher than any other tablet at the moment, and it has amazing high ambient light performance. Color accuracy wise, every HDX display is individually factory calibrated for color accuracy and intensity and they've been doing this now since last year I believe. They've done a nice job with that as I've tested the HDX against a specialized photo editing monitor I use and the colors were nearly identical. This has typically been unheard of in tablets but Amazon really raised the bar here. Image contrast is also accurate and the HDX is using a 4 million pixel density (339 ppi) display meaning even with 20/20 vision, the naked eye will not be able to distinguish individual pixels. This also means the HDX has 30% more pixels than Apple's Retina display--Personally I think this is a bit overboard because you'll never notice those 30% extra pixels but who cares, it's an amazing screen! The HDX uses an LTPS (Low Temperature Poly Silicone) type LCD screen which makes it very power efficient giving the tablet longer battery life and allowing it to dedicate more power to the processor and GPU, making the tablet run faster without quickly draining the battery. As a power-saving comparison, the HDX's screen is 30% more efficient than the IGZO display used in the iPad Air.

*** AUDIO ***

Go buy yourself some decent headphones to appreciate the Dolby Atmos sound system built into the Fire HDX! Atmos is a newer sound technology and although it is already being used in other devices, the HDX is the first tablet to implement it. The sound is great but you're only going to get the most out of it with a good pair of headphones! The rear facing speakers are loud enough and decent enough to hear, but they don't take full advantage of the Atmos sound so again, get a good pair of headphones. As Dolby, the designer of Atmos puts it: "The sound comes from all directions, including overhead, to create an immersive experience with astonishing clarity, richness, detail, and depth. Dolby Atmos is the first audio format based on audio objects rather than channels. In Dolby Atmos, any sound--the helicopter, a blaring car horn, a yelling child--can exist as an independent audio object, free of channel restrictions. It can be placed and moved anywhere, including anywhere overhead." That basically sums it up. Needless to say, BOSE has some catching up to do!


Like the iPad and the Galaxy Tab, the Fire HDX has a nicely thought out and implemented operating system to work within. It's based on Android, however, Amazon has removed any references to Android in the software to help distinguish itself as its own OS (more on this in the detailed section below.) Fire OS offers free, unlimited cloud storage for all of your books, photos, music, etc., and Android OS (Google) does this as well for its Galaxy Tabs, although they only offer 15 GB of free storage. Apple's iOS has something similar as well for its iPads. It's hard to say which operating system is better than the other as all three are very well thought out. As I mentioned earlier, however, you're going to find way more apps on the Google Play Store and the iTunes Store. Amazon is continuously adding apps too and the same developers who are making the apps for Google and Apple, are starting to make their apps compatible with Amazon.

NERDY OPERATING SYSTEM INFO: Again, skip this part if you don't need the super-specific details. In case you're new to the Fire OS operating system, it's basically a modified Android OS. Amazon doesn't like to say that anymore since they're trying to make Fire OS its own thing and distinguish themselves from other operating systems so they say it's "Android compatible." In reality, the Fire OS 4.5.1 update you get with this tablet is built using the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), which is Unix based and built on Android 4.4.3., API level 20. What a mouthful! It looks nothing like Android but since it's built on it, it behaves the same way and as Amazon says, it's "compatible" with Android. Even though the operating system is built on Android, Amazon has (not surprisingly) blocked Google Play from being a native app on the device. You can still side-load it and use it but to use Google Play Apps, you'll need to switch the "Apps from Unknown Sources" to ON in the Applications Settings Menu.

*** CAMERA ***

I was not impressed with the 8 MP camera at all which is unfortunate because Amazon did such an awesome job with the display! What happened Amazon?! Competitor's tablets, specifically the Galaxy Tab and the iPad have much better camera resolution and overall clarity. If you don't need the camera, no need to worry about this but if it's going to replace the camera on your phone, you better compare the pictures you're getting on your phone or hand-held camera to the ones you're getting on the Fire HDX first. This MUST be addressed by Amazon as it's the biggest pitfall with the product. A later release may address this since so many people have also complained about it.


Personally, I have Amazon Prime mainly because of the shipping, and the fact that I stream a lot of videos on my home television for free with the Prime Instant Video. I'm not going to go into a whole lot of detail here as there is an entire section on Amazon's main menu dealing with the benefits of Amazon Prime but I will say, if you're paying for Prime Membership ($99/year or $49/year for students) you're going to benefit even more going with this tablet over the competition. From streaming thousands of free videos, millions of songs, buying videos to watch, borrowing books for free, and so much more, it really makes the Fire HDX stand out from the crowd as neither Google, nor Apple has anything similar that I'm aware of.


If you're switching over to the Fire HDX from an iPad or Galaxy Tab, you'll definitely want to make sure everything you'll need is either already pre-installed, or, is available on the Amazon App Store. If not, you may want to reconsider purchasing. If it's not an app you must have now, it will likely be available in the future as app developers continue to make their apps cross-compatible with the various operating systems. Google Chrome App developers, for example, are currently working hard to get their apps to function correctly with the new NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor (the first Tegra based processor to be used in a Chromebook.) The same concept applies to the Fire HDX.

As is the case with previous versions of Amazon's Fire OS software, the Fire HDX's interface is easy to learn and use. If you've used other tablets such as the iPad or Galaxy Tab, you'll get the hang of it pretty easily. It does take a little getting used to if you're completely new to the world of tablets but even children and seniors can figure out how to use the Fire HDX quickly. Apps launch fast, browsing is seamless with no lag and there are plenty of apps to choose from. Certainly not as many as Google or Apple have to offer, but enough where you'll likely find something that will work for your purposes. New apps are constantly being developed.

The HDX does come with internet browsing, calendar and email support, specifically for Gmail and Outlook. Office docs can also be edited using on-board software.

The MayDay service is unique to Amazon and it's basically an instant customer service feature. This can come in handy especially when first using the device, but also down the road when you're having problems with potential software crashes, issues downloading books, movies, or music, and so forth. It's available 24/7, 365 days per year and allows the customer service rep to see exactly what you're seeing on your device so they can walk you through fixing your issue. They can even draw on your screen remotely to make it even easier! This feature isn't running constantly so you don't have some customer service rep watching everything you do... you have to manually turn it on and start the MayDay program to begin.


$379 is a lot of money to drop so it's important to feel out the competition and make an informed decision. Looking only at the price and not comparing the features, pros, or cons, the base model HDX is $120 less expensive than a new iPad Air 2, just slightly less expensive than the Samsung Galaxy Tab S-8, and $100 less expensive than the Samsung Galaxy Tab S-10.5. I've listed the price as both a Pro and a Con because while it is less expensive than some of the other tablets on the market, at $379, it's still out of the budget for many potential customers looking for a tablet for their kids for schooling purposes, games, etc., especially if you're buying more than one!


Typical start-up process, similar to what you'd go through setting up a new smartphone, but you'll want to have your Amazon account information handy because like any other tablet, you'll have to go through a quick registration process and sync process to get your Fire HDX up and running. This really doesn't take much time but it is necessary in order to get your WiFi connected and your books, music, videos, and files synced.


I've compiled a list of some of the pros and cons I've experienced in testing the product, as well as some of the common pros and cons I'm seeing other users reporting. One reviewer got upset because I shared his pros and cons in this review so I've removed his pros and cons and made a much more comprehensive list that is more professional and addresses many issues he left out that people were asking about. We'll start with the pro's:

*** PROS ***

1. **PROCESSOR**: The Snapdragon processor, which is becoming mainstream in many of these devices including Chromebooks and smartphones, is blazing fast. It's a 2.5 GHz quad-core CPU and the speed is fast enough for everything you'll need to do on this tablet. I'm pretty sure this CPU even blows away the new NVIDIA Tegra K1 CPU's Acer has been using in their devices, and bragging about being the fastest out there... they run at 2.1 GHz quad-core, slightly slower than the Snapdragon.
2. **DISPLAY**: The display is the best on the market with 30% more pixels than Apple's Retina display, 30% more efficient than the iPad Air's display (thanks to the LTPS LCD screen), and unmatched color accuracy, brightness, and contrast. NOTHING beats this display.
3. **GRAPHICS**: The new Adreno 420 graphics processor delivers game-console quality graphics. I have noticed some excessive battery drain under high GPU usage situations but nothing alarming when compared to similar devices.
4. **SOUND**: The Dolby Atmos audio system is phenomenal but you won't get the full experience without a decent pair of headphones. The speakers are acceptable, in fact, they're better than most laptops, but they don't take full advantage of the Atmos technology.
5. **OPERATING SYSTEM**: The Fire OS operating system is nice and stable. As discussed above, it is built on the Android OS, rebranded, and modified to be Fire OS. (As of 11/22/2014, I've seen enough reports of the HDX crashing for no particular reason, several times per day, that I feel it's worth warning you about. While I haven't experienced this myself, it's something to think about. Again, it's a brand new product and software patches should hopefully correct these issues.)
6. **CAMERA (PRO AND CON)**: The tablet has a front and rear camera, although this is more of a "con" because the cameras are horrible, as addressed earlier in the review but some people need them so they're a pro and con. One reviewer on here is saying the camera is acceptable in bright light... it's not.
7. **UNLIMITED CLOUD STORAGE**: Like most tablet and Chromebook manufacturers are doing nowadays, unlimited cloud storage is included for your books, photos, videos, and music. Google does this as well but only offers 15 GB. (Update: As of 11/22/14, I am getting multiple reports from people saying the storage is NOT unlimited but rather 5GB. I am waiting for a response from Amazon to confirm this.)
8. **AMAZON PRIME BENEFITS**: Amazon Prime benefits, if you have it (it's $99/year and $45/year for students I believe) are great including being able to checkout books for free, stream thousands of movies, millions of songs, etc.
9. **CONNECTIVITY**: HDMI and VGA adapters can be connected to the device due to the SlimPort enabled micro-USB port
10. **OFFICE SOFTWARE**: Like other tablets and Chromebooks, there are apps to view, edit, and create Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint presentations.
11. **EMAIL SUPPORT**: The HDX 8.9 also supports web browsing, Gmail, and Outlook. Haven't tried Google Calendar yet but I'm hoping that is supported, too.
12. **WiFi**: The 802.11ac Wi-Fi is the new standard for tablets, Chromebooks, and laptops and is included in the HDX. Speeds can reach 600Mbps (4x faster than the previous generation) and with MIMO (Multiple Input and Multiple Output), you can multi-task high-bandwidth activities like streaming music on wireless speakers, while downloading an HD movie, and transferring high-resolution photos, for example
13. **PRICE (PRO AND CON)**: Price is reasonable for what you're getting and is comparable to other products on the market. If you've already invested into the Amazon environment via Kindle usage, etc., it may be cost effective to stay in that operating system/format.

*** CONS ***

1. **BUTTON PLACEMENT**: This could be a pro or a con I suppose, but the buttons are on the back of the device which may be annoying for some, yet appreciated by others. That's up to you to decide.
2. **LACK OF EXPANSION PORT: No expansion options! This is a big one for me because with the exception of Apple, almost every other manufacturer gives you the option to insert an SD card to expand your storage capacity. Not the case here with the HDX.
3. **ON-BOARD SPEAKERS**: The speakers are loud enough but they're on the back of the device and more importantly, they were not designed around the Dolby Atmos system so if you want the Atmos sound quality, you'll need to use a good pair of headphones.
4. **CAMERAS (HORRIBLE)**: The camera is disappointing as I mentioned earlier in the review but you can record in 1080p resolution (not impressive given the QUALITY of the 1080p video due to the disappointing camera.) Again, this is a tablet, not a camera, but come on Amazon, smart phones are using amazing cameras now... put a better one in the HDX!
5. **TO BUY OR NOT TO BUY**: Buy now or wait for a more substantial upgrade? I put this is the con section because this HDX is not a HUGE upgrade over 2013's HDX and I have a feeling Amazon is going to step up their game even more, especially now that they're beginning to gain substantial traction in the tablet and even smartphone market. I know I keep mentioning the camera being crappy and I will say, Amazon is almost 100% likely to address this in a future update since so many people are complaining about it so if the camera is important to you, you may want to hold off for right now.
6. **PRICE (PRO AND CON)**: I have this as a pro also because it is reasonably priced, however, it is not a product that everyone can afford and a lot of people I've spoken to, and showed the device to people who want to get one for their kids for reading, games, and schooling purposes... unfortunately, it's the price point that's holding them back. As I mentioned to them and I'll mention here, to get a decent tablet, you're going to have to pay close to $400 no matter which manufacturer you go with. I understand this isn't in the price range of everyone so I'll leave this as a pro and con as it is very affordable to some, and not so much for others.
7. **NO NATIVE SUPPORT FOR GOOGLE PLAY STORE**: Google Play Store is not a native app on the HDX. It can be side-loaded but involves changing some settings. Dozens of users are also reporting problems with app compatibility, apps freezing, Android apps simply not working, etc. Keep in mind though, this is a brand new device... it's going to take a couple months for patches to be released to address all the bugs.
8. **GOOGLE APP COMPATIBILITY ISSUES**: Using certain Google apps would require "rooting" the device which is not advised as it voids your warranty and could affect the ability to use the MayDay service. You're better off finding Amazon apps to use than doing something that could either "brick" your device or void your warranty.
9. **FREEZING/LOCKING UP**: (Updated 11/23/2014): After about a month, I have noticed the device occasionally locks up for no apparent reason, usually when streaming audio or video. MANY other users are reporting the same thing. This will likely be fixed with a software patch but for right now, it is a pretty big problem for a lot of people.
10. **BATTERY POWER**: Something is eating up a lot of battery power. The screen is a special type of LCD that is highly power efficient so my guess is, the power drain is coming from the CPU and GPU. It's not horrible, but it's not great either. And as we all know, every time you recharge the battery, the battery life gets lower and lower over the course of a year or two. As far as I know, the HDX's battery is NOT serviceable so this could be problematic in the future.


The bottom line is, you really can't go wrong with this tablet. What it comes down to is your needs in a tablet. Do you need apps that are only available on the Google Play Store or the iTunes store or have you already heavily invested in them? If so, you may have to eliminate the Fire HDX from your list and stick with the operating system you have now. If you're brand new to tablets in general, or all you're looking for is a great, beautifully performing tablet with the best display on the market, blazing fast processor and WiFi, console-quality graphics, combined with a stable and proven operating system, and a solid feel and durability, then the Fire HDX immediately moves to the front of the line. Besides the camera, I honestly cannot think of a problem serious enough to caution me from giving the green-light to make the purchase. Personally, as much as I love the new HDX 8.9, I'm going to stick with my Galaxy Tab and Chromebook (and Kindle Paper White for eBooks) because I'm so heavily invested into Google apps but I will say this: I will continuously be jealous of the HDX every time I pick up my Galaxy Tab!

*** If you found this review helpful, please let me know! I try my best to spend time with the product to review it in detail and pass on what I discover to you. I do this to help you make a stress-free decision on whether or not to purchase the product, and to let the manufacturers know about any flaws or defects in their product. I appreciate you reading my review and I hope it was helpful to you! ***

UPDATED ON: 11/09/2014, 11/19/2014, 11/20/2014, 11/21/2014. 11/22/2014. More updates will be added as the product is tested further and more data comes in. I know this is a lot of info but I hope it has been helpful to you in some way!
4,596 people found this helpful
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Connectivity: Wi-Fi OnlyDigital Storage Capacity: 64Offer Type: With Special Offers
Great device; it's zippy, has an AWESOME display, great sound for a tablet (rivals/bests any portable device I currently own, including laptops) has incredible ease of use and I'm basically "all-in" on the Amazon ecosystem. I know people lament the loss of Google... See more
Great device; it's zippy, has an AWESOME display, great sound for a tablet (rivals/bests any portable device I currently own, including laptops) has incredible ease of use and I'm basically "all-in" on the Amazon ecosystem. I know people lament the loss of Google Play, but I'm a simple guy who doesn't actually "need" absolutely everything. I can watch movies/videos from the major streaming services I use (Netflix/Prime), music (Pandora, Spotify, Prime), the various apps I use for fantasy sports, reading emails, ebooks (honestly the main reason I bought this thing), and reddit. That's more or less all I need it to do, and it does all of these things beautifully and quickly.

The reason for the 3 star is because, as of this review, the device has the SUPREMELY ANNOYING HABIT OF LOCKING UP. It seems to happen most often when I'm running a music program while reading or browsing then attempting to shutting it off. It occurs to me anywhere from once to three times a day, but this is a device that I only use when I'm traveling around or somewhere away from my home computer, so those 1-3 times happen at the most inconvenient opportunities.

Example of a recent situation: I'm waiting for my class to start so I'm hanging out at the college library, listening to some stuff on Prime while flipping through reddit, with headphones on. It's time to go in, so I switch to the music app to shut it off and simultaneously remove the headphones to put it in my bag. Except it locks up; the screen stops moving, I lose any and all functions to use it, and the music just KEEPS ON PLAYING. I can't shut it off. I can't even manually shut off the device by holding the power button; doing so just shuts off the display, yet the sound continues and now I'm just looking at a black screen that won't turn back on. I feel like the biggest d-bag standing there in the library with music just playing at full blast. I was mortified. There are kids around me studying for exams for Christ's sake. My final option (when it finally occurred to me) was to just plug the headphones back in and toss it in my bag, scurrying out with my head down and refusing to make eye contact. When the lockup happened again later at home, it took a little over 2 minutes (I'm guess, it was about the duration of one song) before the screen started working again. So...that happens.

I'm not the only one to complain about this either. It's a shame; I love this device, more than any other tablet I currently have, because it does everything I want in a quick and intuitive manner (this my second Kindle, and I personally love the carousel). But this little bug or whatever is positively rage-inducing, especially on a brand new product I just dropped almost $479 on. Until it's fixed, I don't feel comfortable taking it anywhere with me in public wherever A) I'll be playing any kind of media, and B) headphones are required.
2,235 people found this helpful
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Connectivity: Wi-Fi OnlyDigital Storage Capacity: 16Offer Type: With Special Offers
Quality Tablet and Excellent Video / Screen Display
I'm writing this review with the benefit of being an experienced Kindle Fire user vs. someone brand new to the Kindle family. In summary, you are getting a great deal on a tablet computer - especially if you compare it to the $500 or more you can spend on a Wi-Fi version of... See more
I'm writing this review with the benefit of being an experienced Kindle Fire user vs. someone brand new to the Kindle family. In summary, you are getting a great deal on a tablet computer - especially if you compare it to the $500 or more you can spend on a Wi-Fi version of iPad. 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. If you are a first-time large-screen tablet buyer, where price vs. value is a key consideration in comparison to more expensive versions, I'd recommend it. If you're comparing last year's HDX 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.

My review below compares a lot of the features of this version of the Fire HDX to last year's Fire HDX but also some of the features for a first-time user.

Consistent with my experience with setup of previous models of the Fire, setup took a while: despite being a brand new product, the Fire attempted to download and install several operating software updates. You just need to be patient while it downloads and installs.

Screen Display / Video Playback:

This version of the Fire has the best screen display of any previous model of Fire and looking at the technical specs Amazon made some major changes in the display / resolution, and the picture appears more crisp in a side-by-side comparison to last year’s HDX version and my iPad Air (yes, the Kindle guy uses an iPad for work): I compared the viewing experience watching an episode of The Lost Ship. The display on this Fire was one heck of a lot better in terms of sharpness than last year's model as well as the iPad, and is the #1 selling feature (to me) for this model. That may be a combination of some better technology as well as a new vs. year-old screen.

Wi-Fi Connectivity:

After the final operating software update I mentioned above, 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 version of the HDX sitting next to the last two year’s versions of the HDX, this year’s 7” Fire tablet, and my iPad Air, all just using a Wi-Fi connection vs. cellular connectivity.

My "normal" website test is to hit the mobile websites of FoxNews, CNN, my personalized Yahoo page, Google, and the Houston Chronicle. The ones that were usually slow on the other devices were just as slow, and for the other sites I couldn't tell a difference in speed in comparison to this model.

Sound / Music Playback:

The two speakers are located in the back of the HDX in two not-noticeable ports: both of them are on the right (or maybe it's on the top, depending upon your screen orientation) side of the Kindle. My test of this feature was cranking up Van Halen's Panama to maximum volume (I always want to see if it could really play the guitar licks), and I would alternate covering one speaker up over the other: you have true stereo sound with no degradation of the sound that makes you think you are about to blow the speaker. The Dolby speakers sound really nice and you can really crank up the volume in comparison to previous versions of the Fire: you do get to hear the bass if you install and use an Equalizer app and adjust until it sounds "just right" to you. Mixing the sound with an equalizer app, and using good headphones, is really the way I want to listen to music on the Fire as you not only have a better sound experience but you're also not disturbing others in the room. 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.

Email Setup:

Consistent with previous versions of the Fire, email setup was very easy for my main Gmail account with the software came with the Fire. Amazon has some good enhancements to their email product, so I did not have to install the third-party email app I used on previous versions of the Fire and am happy with Amazon's email client.

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. Consistent with my experiences with previous versions of the Fire, I purchased the one with special offers and I don't feel overwhelmed with ads. In fact, I don't even notice them.

Reading Books:

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. You do have the feature to see the book's description for books on your device like they have with the e-Ink Kindle which is a plus as I can't remember what each book in my digital to-be-read pile is about. You can see previous categories and collections you may have setup on an e-Ink version of the Kindle for your books stored in the Cloud; while that is nice and has been a much-requested feature by Fire owners for years, either that feature is not available with books stored on your device or I’m just not smart enough to figure it out.


There are cameras on this model - one facing the back and one facing the front or toward the user / reader. Focusing and taking a picture is pretty easy, and Amazon will by default store your pictures in the Cloud. I'm not much of a picture-taker with my tablet, so I can't really comment on the quality. The icon to turn the camera on is easy to tap as I did accidentally turn it on while carrying the HDX down the stairs last night and snapped a photo of my shoes so watch out for stray taps!


Unlike previous models of the Fire, this one DOES include a charger! 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.

Other Random Stuff:

One of the setup features in the menu is the ability to turn on a location-based service as well as a find-your-Fire feature in case you misplace it. I also like the location-based GPS feature turned on periodically so I can get a weather update on whatever city I may be traveling in for a particular day – but the paranoid side of me turns it off when I’m not specifically using it.

If you've never owned a larger 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 make sure you purchase the higher memory one vs. the minimum 16 GB if you can afford the extra dollars as you will see better performance. If you're comparing last year's HDX 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 it. I purchased the one with 64 GB as I wanted the better performance as it is my traveling companion. 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.
1,747 people found this helpful
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Connectivity: Wi-Fi OnlyDigital Storage Capacity: 64Offer Type: With Special Offers
$400 For Problems Galore
I was going to write a glorious review after my three days of ownership but then the problems started. I had to retire my Kindle Fire 8.9 HD after 4 years. The problems became overwhelming. and it basically was worn out. I ordered this Fire 8.9 HDX to the tune... See more
I was going to write a glorious review after my three days of ownership but then the problems started.

I had to retire my Kindle Fire 8.9 HD after 4 years. The problems became overwhelming. and it basically was worn out. I ordered this Fire 8.9 HDX to the tune of about $400.

If you're playing music and surfing the web.... the music stops and the Kindle freezes. Where have I seen that before. While waiting for the infamous "Silk is not responding box would you like to reset.... well, after five minutes it never showed. SO.... let's try the wonderful 40 second reset trick. This Kindle will NOT reset. You press the button and after ten seconds it turns back on.

Speaking of buttons.... they've been moved. The on/off button has been moved to the back of the unit. The volume button is also on the back. This is problematic. You're feeling around looking for them. It's even more difficult if you've purchased a cover. Volume.... the option to slide the menu down from the top and adjust the volume is gone.

I primarily use my Kindle for reading. I'm actually having trouble turning pages. I swipe and swipe and it actually turns the pages BACKWORDS sometimes. This is really upsetting me.

Mayday button. Used three times all to no avail. The Silk browser on my BRAND NEW Kindle was the wrong version. First rep couldn't figure it out so he suggested I reset (which I told him didn't work) and wait a half hour. HA. Second rep told me this was impossible. HA. Third rep couldn't figure it out so had a tech call me by phone. I got cut off. HA. Lately I've found Amazon customer service to be a tad short on the phone and bordering on rude.

For some reason when buying from Amazon it keeps declining my credit card.... the one I've been using for five years. I've tried everything to fix this. No joy. My bank says the card is okay. My books are going to the wrong Kindle. I've tried to fix this.... Again nope. Time to call Amazon again.

To be fair: I haven't watched a video yet so can't speak to that. Also, I've read complaints about battery life. I can't speak to that either. I am taking an 8 hour flight next week so I'll certainly back and update.

I LOVE the new music channels. Lots and lots of options. But..... don't listen while surfing the web. It will either start skipping or freeze your page.

Granted.... This Kindle is MUCH faster than my poor worn out 8.9 HD. I wanted that version again but Amazon no longer makes it.

For $400 plus, this Kindle is sub-par. Can't decide if I should send it back. Maybe the kinks will work out. For right now? I sit disappointed, frustrated and angry.

Update: 2/27 -- Okay, now I get it. The reviewers complaining about the new OS system. I had no idea what they were talking about. Now I do. Arrived this morning (magically) on my Fire. Are you kidding me? As noted above, I primarily use my Kindle/Fire for reading. I bought this in order to keep the carousel. The carousel is GONE. All my books are now in some jumbled heap in the book "tab". I now CANNOT discern which are "read" or "unread". To understand the gravity: I have 1500 read books and 50 unread which were on my carousel. They're now married-- so to speak.

Tried Mayday twice - what a crock. Listen: if anyone is saying great things about this service on these reviews? Dismiss them. Calling on the phone is useless. AMAZON DOES NOT CARE!!!!! I asked for a supervisor which basically amounted to platitudes.

I've read on the boards that books in this ginormous mess can be put into folders. Been trying for hours. Hope I can sort this out.

Some of these complaints may seem trivial or insignificant but it's brought my 3 star review down to a 1 star.
39 people found this helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars
Connectivity: Wi-Fi OnlyDigital Storage Capacity: 16Offer Type: With Special Offers
Buy at Your Own Risk - NO SERVICE CENTER
The only option to fix a kindle after their own software update causes it to freeze, is to buy a new one. We have had our kindle fire HD 8.9 for over a year (so out of warranty), and it worked fine. However, after a recent software update, the kindle fire froze at start... See more
The only option to fix a kindle after their own software update causes it to freeze, is to buy a new one. We have had our kindle fire HD 8.9 for over a year (so out of warranty), and it worked fine. However, after a recent software update, the kindle fire froze at start up. I called customer support, they offered me the typical trouble shooting options -> restart, turn off and on, hold power button down for 40s, make sure it is charged. None of this worked, they said, well, you'll you have to buy a new one. WHAT!? How can their update, which they admit to causing software issues on kindles, force me to buy a new one? Just about any other computing device can be sent to some service center to get the software fixed, reset, etc. I asked if I can send it in so they can re-load the software through a hardwire option, they said they don't have a service center. The only option is to buy a new one, but they'll discount it $25 dollars, not cool.

Bottom line, unlike most computers, tablets and any other computing device, these kindles have no way of being serviced or fixing software issues. Amazon just wants you to buy a new one after the warranty is done, and they send an update that kills your tablet.


Customer service quotes: "I wish I could have an option to remotely access the kindle and reset the software however we don't have an option to do so and since Amazon doesn't have any service center so it is not possible to send it for repair." ***What a scam***

"I know a lot of other companies don't give you any options outside of the original warranty, because you are already a Kindle owner, rather than leaving you hanging we can actually get you an upgrade for your Kindle at a highly discounted rate." ***other companies would fix the software issue, so you don't have to replace it, again scam***

Highly discounted rate: "Certified Refurbished Kindle Fire HDX 8.9", HDX Display, Wi-Fi and 4G LTE, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers for $308.00" ***I actually have a 64GB one, but thanks for the terrible offer***

What will happen, is I'll send in mine, Buy this "refurbished" Kindle, then they will fix mine, and turn around and sell it as "certified refurbished" for some other sucker who ran into a software glitch caused by their own update. That won't happen, I'll never buy another one.
452 people found this helpful
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Connectivity: Wi-Fi OnlyDigital Storage Capacity: 64Offer Type: With Special Offers
Three stars down to one.
UPDATED on September 9, 2016 The following is a detailed excerpt from an email exchange with customer service. It fully describes my experience with my tablet: “Since receiving my Kindle in May, it has consistently had the following problems: not... See more
UPDATED on September 9, 2016

The following is a detailed excerpt from an email exchange with customer service. It fully describes my experience with my tablet:

“Since receiving my Kindle in May, it has consistently had the following problems: not uploading to the Cloud Drive, despite ample free space and daily attempts; shutting down and restarting multiple times in a row on its own; speakers clicking and screeching during media playback, after video froze; screen dimming after five minutes during video playback, then brightening again, multiple times; Blue Shade staying on past set daily time; Blue Shade and Do Not Disturb turning themselves on without me selecting them, then coming back on after I turned them of again, multiple times; Silk Browser window truncated on left side, causing me to be unable to read entire article; Silk Browser altering my search engine settings; battery charge after nine hours of charging varying daily from 100%, to 80%, to 31%, to 23%, and back up again, despite multiple hard resets (suggested by Customer Service representative); lock screen rotates to vertical position when screen brought out of sleep in horizontal position; battery twice drained from 100% to completely dead in three hours of reading. As I began experiencing these problems since the week after I received and began using my brand-new Kindle, I do not feel that I have received my money's worth out of my purchase. I would very much appreciate a solution that takes into account the price I paid versus the quality of my experience.

In addition to what I have detailed above, this morning, September 9, my Kindle would not turn on. I attempted normal activation twice, and when that did not work, I unplugged and plugged in the charger. My Kindle did not turn on. I called Customer Service for help, and, while waiting, attempted a hard reset, which worked.

Though the problems I originally reported to Customer Service began 2 ½ months after ownership, your response motivated me to think about and list all of the issues I have experienced, since the first week after receiving my Kindle. You helped me realize that all of these “bugs” were actually symptomatic of a much larger problem.

I understand that you very strongly stand behind your products, both new and refurbished. I paid $399.99 for a brand-new tablet, and received one full week’s worth of excellent quality, followed by a few months’ worth of frustration. I attempted many ways to solve what appeared to be minor problems, only to realize in the end, that I have a defective tablet.

I have done hard resets, I have uninstalled and reinstalled apps, I have called Customer Service. I have done everything that Tech Support would have me do in order to use my tablet properly. All of these measures have failed, culminating in an inability to use my tablet comfortably and smoothly.

I am requesting a fix that I do believe you are able to provide. Please give me an experience that takes into account the amount of money I paid, as well as the effort I have put in to using my Kindle."

This Kindle has a nice, large screen size and very loud speakers. Unfortunately, after only three months of use, my brand-new Kindle is having charging problems. After nine hours of charge per night, it was charging to only 80% over a two-week period. This morning, after charging for nine hours, it only charged to 31%. I am receiving a free replacement via a refurbished Kindle. That does not seem correct. It seems that my Kindle should last longer than three months. If it does not, it seems that it should be replaced with a brand-new one. I am surprised and disappointed with this decision.
17 people found this helpful
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Connectivity: Wi-Fi OnlyDigital Storage Capacity: 64Offer Type: With Special Offers
Far cry from the versatility of the 2013 HDX 8.9"
When the HDX 8.9 works, it works well. I cannot give more than 3 stars due to a major flaw in the operation of the device. If walk away from the device for more than about 20 minutes it will not quickly turn back on with a push of the power button. As near as I can tell,... See more
When the HDX 8.9 works, it works well. I cannot give more than 3 stars due to a major flaw in the operation of the device. If walk away from the device for more than about 20 minutes it will not quickly turn back on with a push of the power button. As near as I can tell, it seems that it will freeze/lock-up and I have to hold the power button to force shut-off the device before I can push the power button to start cold, which takes about 40 seconds. What I've found is that it is better for me to shut down the device if I know I'll be away from it for a longer duration. That way, I can just push the power button and start cold rather than needing to hold the power button to force shut-off and then pushing the power button again to start cold anyway. Other than this pain, I can use the device relatively interruption free. The only issue I had with the HDX 8.9 locking up during is use is when I was trying to read the Wall Street Journal. I tried reading the Journal about 5 times and it would freeze each time while I was actively reading, then requiring me to force shut-off the device. The other reason this is a solid 3-star is because this new version of the 8.9 doesn't have the mini-HDMI hook-up. I have the 2013 version of the HDX 8.9 and it is great to hook to any HDMI ready device/TV and watch movies or other media. The only reason I didn't give this less than 3 stars is what I said up front, when it works - it works really well and has amazing visual quality.
24 people found this helpful
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Connectivity: Wi-Fi OnlyDigital Storage Capacity: 64Offer Type: With Special Offers
Fire OS 5 (Figuratively) Broke Our Great Tablet
Fire OS 5 Review This review is aimed specifically at the major software update we just received, not at the particular Kindle Fire model. I myself use an HDX 8.9 which I love in terms of its hardware, and until the system overhaul that OS 5 brought had loved... See more
Fire OS 5 Review

This review is aimed specifically at the major software update we just received, not at the particular Kindle Fire model. I myself use an HDX 8.9 which I love in terms of its hardware, and until the system overhaul that OS 5 brought had loved for its software as well. Since this review will be rather lengthy, you can just read the headings that seam pertinent to you. I will be reviewing this in terms of comparison and contrast with how it has improved or devolved since Fire OS 4.


Pros: The lock screen has added a really nice feature allowing us to directly access the quick pull-down menu with wifi, airplane mode, etc. I will talk about the development of the pull-down menu in the next part of this review. Another nice feature is the ability to directly access the camera app from the lock screen with a swipe from the bottom right corner.

Cons: As is the case with almost all the changes for OS 5, the cons far outweigh the pros. First, the biggest problem with the lock screen is the loss of the direct ability to pause, skip, or go back 30 seconds when listening to an audiobook or to music as we had before. Even with access to the pull-down menu on the unlock screen we are not able to control playback. We must unlock the screen first; and THEN access the pull-down menu to access the playback controls. Ridiculous.

The other major nuisance of the lock screen is the fact that the unlock swipe has been changed from a right-to-left swipe in the middle of the screen (which allows for one-handed operation of a large tablet) to a down-to-up swipe from the middle of the bottom of the screen, forcing two-hand operation to unlock the tablet. To add insult to injury, this time fro the gesture to actual unlock seems to take longer than before.

Finally, I find it obnoxious that Amazon added a quick-swipe into shopping on the lockscreen, as though accessing the Amazon store is as essential as accessing the camera quickly. Seems to me there are many other apps that deserve such a useful piece of lock screen real estate (say, e-mail).

Pros: This is one of the aspects of OS 5 that is done pretty well overall. It provides all of the most essential features: Wifi, Airplane Mode, Blue Shade*, Do Not Disturb, Settings, Auto-Rotate toggle, Mayday (help), and Firefly (to catch the name of that song on the radio quickly). Blue Shade is an excellent feature addition which allows us to use the Fire before bedtime without the sleep-preventing overuse of blue light. The blue shade removes the blue light, turning the screen a reddish color, and dimming it, though you can easily adjust the red-yellow balance and brightness to your liking.

Cons: The biggest Con has to do with the implementation of Audiobook playback controls. Music playback controls are largely unchanged. If you play a song, then playback controls are added into the native pull-down menu. However, for audiobooks, the playback controls are added as a white notification below the native pull-down menu. This has two disadvantages. First, the controls are ultra-small requiring super-accurate touches. Second, I have not figured out what triggers its disappearance, but the playback controls seem to randomly disappear from the notification section. The fact that I can even remove them from the notification while the audiobook is still playing is also weird. They should be there permanently unless I actually quit the audiobook app, as they were with OS 4.

Non-Pro-Con: This depends on preference. I like less options; but others like more. If you own a Kindle Fire, like owning an iPad, you understand that you are losing customization choices with the OS. Nevertheless, some might be annoyed that there is no customizability with the actual pull-down menu’s native items, though all of the notifications and priorities can be controlled through the App Settings menu.

Perhaps, I’m using the wrong wording, but when I say the main UI, I simply refer to how the whole Home Screen, Tabs, animations, etc. have been tweaked (or more accurately, mangled) with OS 5.

Probably the best new feature that was added to the interface is the addition of a small box icon next to the home circle and back arrow icons. When the box is tapped you will get a carousel view of all running apps. In fact this view has revealed either a new problem with the OS or perhaps a problem that remained hidden in previous versions since there was no “App Reveal” button. I am including a screenshot of the problem. As you will see, the system seems to run duplicates once apps are opened. I am only including an example that shows two of these (Music and Settings), but the problem persists across all built-in apps. An app exists for Settings as well as menus accessible from Settings—Wi-Fi Settings, E-mail Settings, Parental Controls, etc. Music artists each take up an app tab, the music library requires an App tab, etc. Thus, the system appears to be wasting a lot of resources running so many separate apps. The other possibility is that this is always the case in the OS with the aim of speeding up launches, but the end result is still an extremely cluttered app carousel. We only need one Settings tab, one music tab, etc.

Another possible Pro for some is the ability to change the Home Screen wallpaper. I prefer the simplicity of the original dark gray screen of OS 4 (less distracting when searching for a colorful app that could be lost in the colorful background), but I was easily able to change the wallpaper to a simple gray to suit my needs. Others may like the ability to put their own pictures or scenic backgrounds to more personalize the home page.

Perhaps the most egregious of the UI problems is the removal of a main tab for Photos and Docs. Some might argue that the Docs tab gets less mainstream use, but Photos is undeniably one of the most frequently used apps for most users. Nevertheless, both Photos and Docs have been removed from the major tabs in the banner across the main screen WHILE KEEPING A TAB CALLED “SHOP”!!! That is to say, in order to push for impulse buying, Amazon has removed the instant accessibility to photos in favor of keeping an entire tab dedicated to shopping.

Another major change with the OS is that instead of accessing tabs within the main screen, each tab has been broken into separate apps. Photos and Docs have been removed from the tabs and exist only as separate apps that we can open from the Home Screen or from the Apps tab. The result is more Home Screen clutter. What is crazy is that all of the apps are stuck on the Home Screen…they can no longer be removed for a neater Home Screen. The only workaround I have found is that I can combine them into their own “Folder” so that instead of taking up 50 App spaces, I can cull them into 1 App Folder space.

While on the topic of the Home Screen, it is also worth noting that we can no longer save our favorite books as an app-like icon to the home screen. For example, I read my Bible every day. Previously this could just be seen immediately on my Home Screen next to my Silk browser app. Now I must go to the inconvenient Recent tab (discussed later).

Regarding the Tabs (Music, Apps, Shop, etc.), these have become less useful. Previously, you were brought directly to your library for the selected tab; now the screen wastes resources animating a movement to a tab which shows you your most recently accessed apps, but you must additionally tap “Library” in order to see all of it, which is exactly the same Library interface we had on OS 4. Thus, two taps are required to do what was previously one tap. This is a small insignificant amount of time; but the digression in usability is the bigger problem. What happens when OS 6 requires three taps, then four?

When Accessing the Apps tab, the results are far more problematic. Seeing only five apps in the Tab section, we almost always have to view the Library, but the apps library has become horrible. The apps are not viewable as icons. Instead they are in a list form with their icon, name, download/cloud status, and a context menu. First of all, this view makes it impossible to see more than 15 apps at a time. Second of all, you can’t tap the App name or icon to open it. Tapping these will bring you to the app information page in the Store! Ridiculous! This makes no sense from a UI perspective. Instead, the only way to open it is by tapping the tiny “Open” button on the right side.

I’m not sure how many felt about the Carousel that previously dominated the Home Screen. I loved it. Instead this has been replaced by a Recent tab. I have two problems with this. One, it now requires two taps instead of one to access the most recently used 5 apps. Two, the apps are organized in a vertical pane instead of a carousel (though I know this is more habit/visual preference than a Con with the system UI). I think that we should either have the option to activate a carousel into the Home Screen or the carousel should be added as a permanent strip between the Tab titles and the apps on the Home Screen. I think this is much more efficient than forcing me to either tap Recent tab, the box/app-reveal icon, or the other associated tab (i.e., Books for my Bible).

This is a small UI problem and easily fixable. Previously, we had sliders for turning things like On or Off (e.g., the Wi-Fi). However, they did not give a visual cue that they needed to be slid. They have changed these sliders to now look like sliders! Excellent, right? The “sliders” are shown as small floating dot inside of an oval that is orange when the dot is on the left to indicate On and gray when the dot is on the right for Off. HOWEVER, a sliding motion does not move this dot! Instead of sliding, we must TAP them. It makes no sense. If a tap is required, the icon should not be shown as a slider, it should be shown as a tap-switch; otherwise the sliding motion we used in OS 4 should be preserved to go with the much better visual slider cue.

I will only speak about the system Apps I use most frequently, as I cannot comment on Apps that I didn’t really use in OS 4.

Calculator: This app has a huge new problem. They got rid of the “C” and “CE” buttons! Thus, as you tap out “5 + 5” you can see the answer “10” below it on the screen like any normal smartphone calculator. No need to tap “=“ to find the answer. But how do you delete the numbers? No “C” button. You must first tap “=.” The “DEL” (which had only functioned as a backspace) will then change to “CLR” and then a really slow animation erases the answer so that you can begin a new problem. There is in fact space on the calculator to keep both the DEL and CLR buttons visible at the same time without squeezing, shrinking, or removing any other keys.

Clock: The clock changes LOOK nice, but they don’t work nicer. When you want to set an alarm clock, for example, you no longer get a big number keypad where you can tap out the time you want. Instead, you get a tiny little clock-like circle of numbers 1 - 12 to choose the hour to wake. For selecting the minutes, you get the same clock circle for numbers 5 - 60. These numbers are so small and squeezed that it is not easy to tap out the right time on first touch. Worse, if you want a time like 5:22pm you have to do a really difficult tap on :25, then slowly slide your finger until the :22 appears. By the time you lift your finger, you may accidentally change it to :23 or :21 from the movement during the lift of your fingertip. This is an easily fixable problem. If they insist on keeping this interface because it is more attractive then a number pad, then blow up the clock…use more screen real estate. Then add little dots to represent the minutes between the 5-minute increments currently shown.

Camera: I like how the camera added the ability to tap either a photograph shutter button or a video record button from the same menu without having to switch between Camera and Video mode. This is an excellent end-user consideration to make when adding/changing a feature. Also, I’m not sure if we had HDR previously; if not, I’m glad this was added. At the very least, the camera adds a “HDR recommended” text to the screen during camera mode if you do not have it activated but it might help the shot be better.

E-mail: This has become slightly streamlined, making deletion of messages easier, and making the composing icon more meaningful by changing it to an always-visible pen in the bottom right corner. I like the e-mail client on here and I’m glad they didn’t tweak it too much.

Calendar: I haven’t used the calendar very much in the past or even now. The reason: it is useless when you set a reminder but the reminder does not remind you. I want my calendar reminders to go off with their alarm and turn on my screen just like the alarm clock does. Instead, you won’t see the reminder until you take the time to turn on your Fire and look at your notifications. It works nicely in terms of its Cloud connectedness and its interface (if your requirements are relatively basic), but its inability to wake the device up and actually remind me of events leaves its purposes moot at this point.

I have encountered several bugs, but cannot remember all of them at the moment. The only one I can remember at the moment happens when you have a Folder of apps on the Home Screen and open that folder, then open an app inside the folder. Once in the app, if you tap the Home circle at the bottom of the screen, it will bring you back to the Home Screen, BUT it will automatically enter the Keyboard mode trying to make you edit the name of the Folder containing the app you just accessed. I will update the bugs as I run into more or remember others down the line...
*Music/Audio playbook gets a new notification number near the device name in the top left corner. This may not be a bug in technicality, but it is strange to always tell us we have a new notification when it is simply a running app.
*Pulling the headphones out used to stop audio playback EVERY time. Now, TWICE I have been sitting in my quiet office listening to something (an audiobook once and music the other time), and as I pulled the headphones out the playback did NOT stop. The result was super loud music/speaking all of the sudden filling the whole office. No clue how to make the problem repeat; I can only say that it is something that happens now and did not happen before.
*When user uses Recents tab to play an Audiobook, the audiobook is opened so that the user may press play and listen to the audiobook. If the screen is turned off and then turned back on, after the unlock screen, the user is redirected to the Recents tab instead of remaining inside the open Audiobook app. The Audiobook app should be the first screen seen when unlocking the Fire tablet, just as the Music app is when it is left open before the screen is turned off.

*If the tablet has an audiobook open in the Notifications tab but not playing when it is plugged into wall outlet (using the Amazon charger), the audiobook will disappear from the Notifications tabs in the pull down menu (despite the fact that tapping the Apps square at the bottom of the screen shows that the Audiobook app is still running).

*When making a new collection in Books, the name cannot be the same as the name of a collection in Audiobooks, despite the fact that they are running in separate apps. Example: gave the name “Classics” to a collection in Audiobooks. Then named a collection in Books “Classics” but it was automatically changed to “Classics 2” without the ability to override.

*Also in Collections. When a new collection is created, the preview thumbnail of one collection appears the same on the other collections (even though the books in each collection are different). Must exit the Collections screen and return to see the correct thumbnail. The collection thumbnails still seem to go haywire without a predictable replicability.

I am aware of how long this review of OS 5 is, but I hope that bears witness to how much I love Amazon and how much I had loved my Fire HDX 8.9 before this attractive but non-user-friendly OS 5 was automatically downloaded and added to my device. I think that many user’s who read this will notice that they share in my dislike for many of the changes. I am not against change, I am simply against changes that do one or more of the following:
Favor visual attractiveness over user friendliness (animations just to animate)
Replace simplicity with unnecessary complexity (two taps instead of one)
Overlook simple design issues (small buttons on large screens)

I think that Amazon has made all three of these mistakes with the release of OS 5. Moreover, I am really unhappy with how hard Amazon has pushed shopping with the added swipe on the lock screen as well as with favoring a Shop tab over a much more widely used tab like Photos. I feel like I signed up for having the ads on the lock screen when I bought this; I knew, accepted, and sometimes even liked these. It keeps the lock screen from being boring. However, I feel like Amazon is favoring its bank account more than the end user with these choices, and it does not seem very Amazon-like to me.

As a result, I give 4.5 stars for the tablet itself, but 2 stars for OS 5, which makes the 4.5 star tablet work like a 3-star tablet.

Amazon has always been fantastic with customer service; it is why I have remained a customer since its humble beginnings. And I believe in Amazon’s ability to fix these issues. They have always done a great job responding to customer feedback. I really hope that by posting this review across all devices that at least one developer sees it and responds with actions that get me back to loving my Kindle Fire.

Thanks for reading and hope this helps you make an informed decision about the OS ecosystem you may or may not want to enter.
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