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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.
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.
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.
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.
Rent or purchase the biggest new releases and most popular movies and TV shows. Stream instantly over Wi-Fi or download to enjoy later.
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.
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.
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|
|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
|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)
|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
|Product Dimensions||9.08 x 6.2 x 0.31 inches|
|Item Weight||13.3 ounces|
|Item model number||GPZ45RW|
|Batteries||Lithium Metal batteries required. (included)|
|Date First Available||September 16, 2014|
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Q: Hdx discontinued?
A: A suitable replacement would be the Fire HD 8 model. The screen is a little smaller and ev…
Q: I'm going to ask a blunt question. Is there a benefit to buying this if I already own an i…
A: I haven't purchased a Fire HDX (yet), but I'm seriously considering it. I do have an iPad…
Q: does it have a card slot
A: No card slot. Though you can archive anything that you do not need right now and more cont…
*** BUILD QUALITY ***
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!
*** SNAPDRAGON PROCESSOR AND GPU ***
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:
*** GRAPHICS & SCREEN PERFORMANCE ***
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!
*** OPERATING SYSTEM ***
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.
*** AMAZON PRIME BENEFITS ***
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.
*** APP AVAILABILITY, SOFTWARE, AND MAYDAY SERVICE ***
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.
*** PRICE COMPARISON ***
$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!
*** POWERING UP FOR THE FIRST TIME ***
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.
*** PROS AND CONS ***
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.
*** CONCLUSION ***
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I dinged it a star for Amazon not growing up and jealously excluding Google Play from their app store. As a result, my favorite BBC News and Live365 Radio apps are no longer available even though they both still work on my Kindle 7" HDX due to me downloading them back in January. I would also like the option of using Firefox instead of Silk. Meanwhile Amazon leaves in its store too many apps that are little more than spam or spying tools or that are just crap (such the various You Tube offerings and their Google Maps adaptation). I also hate the slow pace with which they add new apps that aren't games (I'm not a gamer). Come on Amazon, GTFU on the Google Play issue and do some actual quality control with your app store, too. Finally, no SD card slot? Really?
Okay, now about the Kindle HDX 8.9 Fourth Generation with 64 GB of storage. After getting it three days late (thank you for your continued lackadaisical service USPS!), I've been playing with it a lot. As an earlier reviewer stated, this is not a business machine. It is purely for entertainment by customers like me who like being tied to Amazon's book ecosystem. I mostly use it to watch tv (especially using Watch ESPN and the live offerings from my cable provider when I'm in parts of the house with no television (my wireless signal is strongest in my upstairs bathroom----go figure!). I don't think the footage looks radically better than on my Kindle HDX 7", but it does look real good, it's bright enough and, for those times when there is a major news event and I want to watch MSNBC and CNN at the same time while reading a news forum and working on my pc, well, now I can do that with the two Kindles to supplement my television and pc. The 8.9 not only has a larger image than the 7", but the sound is far louder and goes just short of distorting the speakers when you've maxed it. You can't expect a lot of SPL out of such small speakers anyway, but this is definitely the most standout feature of it from an audio standpointI haven't gotten headphones for it because I don't need them while with the 7" you do. It doesn't reproduce bass very well, but again, you'd need a larger speaker and driver for that. It actually reminds me of the compressed bandwidth of analog terrestrial radio, very midrangey.
The previous reviewers complained mainly about three things: the Silk browser freezing and crashing frequently, seeing dots, shadows or rainbows due to how the screen is made or lit and the inability to charge it after a year or a year and a half because of some kind of problem with the charging terminal. Unfortunately, the browser is still pretty crashy, but if you get the 64gb hard drive it will do it less. It freezes every now and again, too, especially with graphics rich sites. But it does it less than my HDX 7" 16gb and I haven't had to do a restart on it yet. That's not to say it won't happen. It just seems to be something that is the nature of the beast and is one reason why I would prefer using Firefox instead.
On the second problem, I don't see it. Yeah, you can feel the dots on the screen, but they don't intrude on the image on the screen at all.
With the charging problem, I've had this happen with a couple of name brand laptops and found it to usually be a related to something with the charger's connector and not the machine's terminal. I did run into this issue with the HDX 7" too, after only about seven months of use (power user), but if you tilt the charging connector upward slightly and hold it there, you can usually get it to charge. In fact, now it seems to have self corrected and charges straightaway when I meed it to. Maybe I got lucky and somehow altered the HDX' charging terminal so that it will take some juice, but before you write off your unit try playing with the connector of the charging cable and see if it helps. If you've tried that, though, I don't know what to tell you.
I seriously considered buying an I-Pad, but what they charge for extra storage capacity is just such a rip off and, for me, I want the easy access to Amazon's bookstore. I don't download music or movies. The Samsung line was out of the question because living in Korea in the 1990's made me leery of anything produced there. They were producing garbage products then. Once bitten, twice shy. Given the price of the HDX 8.9, as long as you don't look at it as a laptop replacement (and I would buy a laptop before an I-Pad unless Apple stops thinking that just slapping its badge on something makes it worth $150-200 more than the competition, not to mention the Foxconn worker abuses), this is a very decent entertainment product, especially in terms of sound. It will be the last Kindle I buy in any event unless Amazon makes it easier to personalize. If this one craps out, I'm getting a laptop because Amazon just does not seem to care enough about the long term viability of its Kindle products. That is aggravated by some of the small minded programming decisions they've made, as enumerated above.
The problem here with its small minded decision to effectively cut its customers out of the Google Play app store and you can't get any of the I-Tunes apps for it either is that a lot of people are going to see the Kindle line as just too limited and control freaky. If I absolutely needed a business tablet, I would choose the I-pad since it will also do a lot of other stuff the Kindle does from an entertainment perspective. In a way, those users who still want to download books from Amazon would be better with accompanying the I-pad with a Kindle Paperwhite, even with some of its quirks But if all you want is entertainment and the 7" series is unsatisfying to you then this is a pretty okay alternative. Still, shortchanging your customers on access to any product such as apps in an age that is both app crazy and obsessed with user friendliness is a marketing minus that will tend to drive people to your competitors.