The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9
The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is among the new tablets released in 2014 that has excellent battery life and a commendable user interface. It costs $379 for the 16gb Wi-Fi model – still pricey, but definitely way cheaper than an iPad – and gives a free trial for Prime Music, Prime Instant Video, and Kindle Unlimited. A more expensive 64gb LTE version is available at $579. Unlike other Kindle models, the Fire HDX 8.9 has applications such as Netflix, Amazon, and Facebook. It also has a rear and front camera.
Some accessories such as a foldable origami case and a Bluetooth keyboard are available at $70 and $60 respectively. The leather case is heavy – a stark contrast to the tablet’s lightness – and the keyboard (which can also be inserted into the case) is not really useful for a Kindle.
Changes from the 2013 Fire HDX
- The major improvement from the 2013 model is the processor, which is now a Snapdragon 805 that provides faster GPU, Wi-Fi, and other performance developments.
- The operating system is now Fire OS 4 Sangria 4.0, which brings new features like Firefly, an Amazon app similar to Google Goggles. It works okay (just don’t have high expectations), and is most useful for people who use Amazon often.
- Supports multi-user: parents can now create accounts for their children and customize the apps that would be accessible to them. “Free Time Unlimited”, Amazon’s subscription service, can also provide unlimited access to applications for children
What to like about the Fire HDX 8.9
- The UI is simple and content can be quickly and easily accessed.
- Powerful free time interface: parents can easily choose which apps their kids can access and set limitations for the others.
- PIN code can be set
- It’s easy to learn, and it’s hard to forget. The defined order of the shortcuts permanently placed on the home screen is: (1) shop, (2) games, (3) apps, (4) books, (5) music, (6) videos, (7) newsstand, (8) audiobooks, (9) web, (10) photos, (11) docs.
- Tablet is light and comfortable to carry around.
Things to be improved
- The Firefly system – and the Amazon system in general – is still limited.
- Appstore also has limited choices and it’s difficult to navigate the app itself. There are no search options or filters.
- Limited built-in features such as changing the OS’ visual aspect. On the other hand, this was probably done by Amazon to retain consistency in its overall look.
- Build quality such as the huge bezels and plastic frame does not make the device look premium. In fact it looks cheaper than it really is.
- Camera quality is poor.
- Lags despite the fast processor. This happens on the internet browser Silk and Amazon’s shopping app.
In short, the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is a tablet, but it won’t be satisfying for those who are expecting it to be one. While it has the features of one, it’s still incomparable to an iPad or a Galaxy Tab. Amazon’s brand is firmly rooted in the device, so while it may not be perfect for some users, it is for some (especially those who are really users of Amazon).
What do you think of this product? Add your thoughts to the comments section below!