Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9in review
Amazon upgrades its Android-based tablet with a bigger, better screen
Review Date: 4 Apr 2013
Reviewed By: Darien Graham-Smith
Price when reviewed: £191 (16GB, £191 (£229 inc VAT); 32GB, £216 (£259 inc VAT). Without ads: 16GB, £199 (£239 inc VAT); 32GB, £224 (£269 inc VAT) inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
The Amazon Kindle Fire HD tablet made its UK debut in 7in form last September. Now, the 8.9in variant is here. With prices starting at £229 for the 16GB model, the new format is distinctly pricier than its 7in sibling, which comes in at £159.
Where the 7in model’s broad bezel looked cheap and chunky, however, this one is more comfortably proportioned, with thumb-sized edges sitting neatly around its 8.9in panel. And a fine panel it is: its 1,920 x 1,200 resolution represents a superfine pixel density of 254ppi – a smidgen behind the 264ppi of Apple’s “Retina” iPads, but a step up from the Nexus 7 and Amazon’s own Kindle Fire HD 7in, which both offer 216ppi. With a maximum brightness of 480cd/m2, and an excellent 980:1 contrast ratio, it’s beautifully bold and crisp, and a delight to read on. It also lends itself admirably to magazines and comics, an area where the traditional Kindle struggles.
The Kindle Fire is also a gateway to Amazon’s Lovefilm streaming service. Predictably, watching video is a pleasant experience, with rich – if not exactly vibrant – colour and excellent viewing angles. Dual-band, dual-antenna wireless helps ensure a smooth streaming experience (an LTE model is also offered in the US, although not yet here).
The speakers are nice and punchy, too, although if you turn up the volume to maximum, distortion becomes a problem. The glossy screen is rather susceptible to reflections, but a micro-HDMI port at the base makes it easy to hook up a TV if you prefer to watch on the big screen.
Naturally, the Kindle Fire HD 8.9in isn’t as light as an E Ink Kindle, but at 567g it can be thrown in a bag easily enough. Similarly, while battery life is measured in hours rather than days, it’s very creditable by the standards of touchscreen tablets. With wireless disabled, and the screen set to half brightness, our video rundown test looped for 12hrs 26mins on a single charge – enough to keep you entertained on even the longest flight. When streaming wirelessly from Lovefilm, battery life naturally falls, but Amazon still promises more than ten hours of viewing time.
Through all of this, Amazon’s custom front-end puts your content front and centre, and cleverly encourages you to build up your library by placing recommendations directly on the homescreen, ready to be purchased with a few clicks. If you’re primarily looking for a tablet for consuming books and videos, it’s all accessible and effective.
Amazon App Store is a Joke
My daughter has the Kindle Fire HD 7" and while it is a fine tablet the app situation really annoys me. If you want BBC iPlayer, ITV player or even YouTube you need to locate the apk files and sideload them. This is really not as simple as it sounds and I came across some dodgy sites claiming to have the .apk files. Just be careful where you try to get them from!
By dwmoook on 4 Apr 2013
"However, since no-one else is offering a full-size Android tablet at this price, the Kindle Fire HD 8.9in’s foibles could be worth putting up with."
Bet you wish you had not typed that out.
Archos Platinum 97HD £229 on Amazon (!) quad core cpu, 8 core graphics, 9.7" 2048 x 1536 pixel IPS panel, fully google play certified. OK its only 8gb but the SD card slot accepts 64gb media.
or the Titanium version for sub £200 with dual core cpu and quad core graphics.
I am sure there are many others.
By davidk1962 on 4 Apr 2013
The Kindle Fire is also a gateway to Amazon’s Lovefilm streaming service.
This is the only reason to by a kindle fire. Otherwise, it's nothing special and more expensive that the nexus.
By JamesD29 on 4 Apr 2013
Buy a dictionary
To Darien Graham-Smith
Buy yourself a dictionary and stop using words you don't understand:- (Equivocal:calculus:consuming)!!
By oldpedant on 4 Apr 2013
You'd have to really dislike movies to want to watch them on a 9-inch screen.
By nelviticus on 4 Apr 2013
- Windows 10 trackpad shortcuts: Microsoft takes a leaf out of Apple's book
- Why the Microsoft Band could be a game changer
- What's on this week's PC Pro podcast?
- Microsoft Office 16 set to launch late next year
- HP's vision for the future of PCs: the 3D Sprout
- How Google X plans to detect cancer and heart disease using nano-magnets
- Google Fit app arrives, but without third-party support
- Five ways Amazon Fire TV Stick beats Google Chromecast
- Lenovo's Smartband will unlock your PC
- Office 365 trumps Dropbox and Google Drive with unlimited OneDrive storage
- Google Glass: mugger bait, pub problem and other lessons learned from two dangerous weeks
- Twitter, please don't fiddle with my feed
- How Satya Nadella can get some pay-raise karma
- Windows 10: a step back to go forward
- Michael Dell: Cloud infrastructure is the roads, bridges and highways of the 21st century
- How to check your identity hasn’t been sold to the hackers
- Tim Cook: this is how much TV has changed since the 70s
- Westminster wins the .London battle
- 20 years of PC Pro: from deep pan pizza to virtualisation
- Five reasons why the Apple Watch leaves me cold
- Five smartwatch features we’ll see by 2015
- How to wipe an Android phone or tablet
- iPad Air 2 vs Nexus 9: Apple and Google's latest high-end tablets compared
- Five things that are actually new in the iPad Air 2
- Bendgate, Antennagate, and why Apple doesn’t care about bad news
- iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 release date, specs and UK price rumours
- Office Online vs Google Docs: which free online office suite is best?
- iPhone 6 Plus vs iPhone 6 design comparison
- How to speed up an Android smartphone
- Nexus 6 release date, specs, UK price and leaked images
- How to sell more ebooks on Amazon
- 10 ways to make your business more secure
- Top five VoIP mistakes
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office