Why you should buy a Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 (review)

Summary:After using the evaluation Kindle Fire HDX that Amazon sent me for a few days, I was so impressed I bought one of my own.

I like to have a tablet on each mobile platform to keep up with what's new. That leads me to buy too many gadgets, but I only buy those I find to be outstanding. That was the case with the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 from Amazon. This tablet is so good it has replaced two tablets in my stable.

Kindle Fire HDX
Image: Amazon

Amazon sent me a Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 to test recently and my review made it clear I was impressed by it. I found it to be so good it didn't take me long to buy one. Why I find it good enough to get my hard-earned cash can be detailed in several categories in which the Kindle Fire HDX shines.

The hardware

The full specs of the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 are in the review so I won't rehash them. The model I bought is the 8.9-inch version, with 64GB of storage, and with integrated 4G LTE. 

See related:  Kindle Fire HDX: Smooth operation, great screen (hands on)  |  Belkin QODE Keyboard Case for Kindle Fire HDX 8.9: Poor design at a price

The high-resolution display on the HDX is simply gorgeous. Everything displays crisply, and colors are bright and vivid. I tend to use tablets in both landscape and portrait orientations, and the HDX handles both nicely.

Amazon's Fire OS used on the Kindle is not only designed to be easy to use, it is very efficient.

The 8.9-inch screen of the HDX is almost as big as that of the iPad Air, which I also own, but the Kindle only weighs about the same as the much smaller iPad mini. This makes a big difference when using the Kindle for extended periods, something I do regularly.

The back of the HDX is not slippery so it can be used securely in the hand. This is something I can't do with the iPads as I find them too slippery, and I've almost dropped them several times. That's not the case with the Kindle.

The power and volume buttons are on the back of the Kindle, and I find them easy to use as a result. Most other tablets have them located on the side of the devices, which forces the OEMs to make them too small compared to these on the HDX. It quickly becomes intuitive to use them by feel as they are near the fingers when holding the tablet.

Audio is not overly loud on the Kindle, but it has a nice sound with Dolby technology. Listening to music and watching video is a nice experience due to the sound quality.

Integrated LTE is something I get on tablets when available. It's nice to have high-speed connectivity when Wi-Fi hotspots are not around. I don't like using my phone as a hotspot as it ties up my phone and kills the battery quickly.

The LTE option on the Kindle Fire HDX is better than that on the iPad Air as it works on both Verizon and AT&T. This makes it possible to switch carriers, something you can't do with an iPad.

Next: The user experience

Topics: Mobility, Amazon, Reviews, Tablets


James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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