Kindle Fire HDX 8.9: Three months in and it still feels right

Since picking up the latest tablet from Amazon I regularly get asked what I think about it. This is my take on using the Kindle Fire HDX for both work and play.
Written by James Kendrick, Contributor
Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet

The great hardware and reasonable price drew me into buying a Kindle Fire HDX three months ago. It was a good value and I felt it would fit my needs. After using it for a while it is my favorite tablet for leisure activities.

The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is the perfect size for me. The high-resolution screen is the right size to display things without the device being too big. The light weight in combination with that size makes the tablet feel right in the hand. That doesn't sound like much but it's a very big deal when using a tablet for extended sessions.

I often use it for hours; it's a common sight to see me with the Kindle in hand. The tablet is as good or better than other tablets for conducting leisure activities. Online activities feel natural with the Kindle.

It's no surprise that the Kindle Fire HDX is a good ebook reader; it's easily the best ereader I've used. The Kindle app is tightly integrated with the hardware. The reading experience is so good I forget about the tablet, and that's the way it should be.

See related: Kindle Fire HDX 8.9: Two weeks in and replacing the iPad Air (almost)Why you should buy a Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 (review) | Kindle Fire HDX: Smooth operation, great screen (hands on) | Belkin QODE Keyboard Case for Kindle Fire HDX 8.9: Poor design at a price | Review: Poetic Keybook Case, take the Kindle Fire HDX to work

Surfing the web with the Silk browser is as good as it gets on a tablet. Web pages render almost instantly, and touch operation is first-rate. Amazon has done an amazing job with the browser and it shows.

With one exception, apps on the Kindle Fire HDX are very good. The fast hardware runs all apps smoothly and without lags. The screen scrolls fluidly and touch operation is smooth. The one exception is the Facebook app that displays text too small on the high-res screen to be useful. Facebook needs to fix this ASAP.

Watching video on the Kindle draws me into the content. The crisp display and the close proximity to it while watching video is in an immersive experience. The audio is great, which complements the video.

Using the Kindle Fire HDX is so pleasant that I use it far more than other tablets I own. I always use it at home and often carry it with me when I go out. It is highly portable so I often grab it when heading out the door.

Poetic Keyboard Case
Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet

I use it for my writing work a lot, although I wish there was a better physical keyboard available. I use the Poetic Keyboard Case for writing, and while it's OK it could be better. I can't wait for ZAGG to release the 8-inch Auto-Fit Keyboard, which should fit the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9. Given my experience with ZAGG keyboards I believe this one will facilitate my writing work. I expect I'll carry the Kindle all the time for my daily work outings once I have a good keyboard.

The mail app on the Kindle handles my Gmail email nicely. It's easy to keep on top of work issues as a result. The integrated Microsoft Office viewers on the Kindle Fire HDX work very well for reviewing documents sent via email. I simply click on the attachment and the viewer displays it perfectly.

To sum up why I like the Kindle Fire HDX so much, I have to come back to the fact that it just feels right. The combination of the size, the weight and how it's distributed across the device, the high-resolution screen, and the Fire OS, work together to make the tablet enjoyable to use. Using it is natural, and as surprising that sounds it's not always the case with tablets.

The Kindle works perfectly in portrait orientation, which is how I prefer to use tablets. The long dimension of the screen displayed vertically is more natural, and the device is more comfortable to hold. 

I am very happy with the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 and consider it one of the best purchases I've made in years. It is my go-to tablet for play, and will likely be for work, too, should a decent keyboard case come along.

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