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Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 and Kindle Fire HDX 7: A visual comparison

The latest tablets from Amazon are each good in their own right. Which one to choose often comes down to size so we pit them head-to-head to help you decide which is better for you.
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Topic: Mobility
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1 of 16 James Kendrick/ZDNet

Tale of two Kindles

Amazon released the new Kindle Fire HDX tablets a few months ago. Both have excellent hardware and run the capable Fire OS. The decision of which one to buy often comes down to size so we’ve compared them head-to-head to help make that decision easier.

I bought the larger Kindle Fire HDX a while back and love the device. Even so, as I recently wrote, a good tablet purchase often comes down to mobility vs screen size. Getting the smallest display that you can comfortably use is the best way to go, and that’s not always apparent at purchase time.

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

I experienced this first-hand and after using the 8.9-inch screen for months, I recently bought the smaller model. I find the better portability of the Kindle Fire HDX 7 is a better fit for my needs. Having both models it makes sense to give a visual comparison of the two for readers trying to decide.

The primary difference between the two tablets is screen size. resolution, price, and the lack of a rear camera on the smaller Kindle Fire HDX. The size of the display can have a big difference to the user as apps can display differently on the two devices.

It's surprising given its higher resolution that the pixels per inch (ppi) of the Kindle Fire 8.9 is only slightly higher than that of the 7-inch tablet (339 vs. 323). The audio of both tablets sounds really good, probably the best on any tablet I've tried.

The photos in this collection show popular apps running side-by-side on both tablets. Some apps display better on one size and if that's the case that is indicated. The rest are shown to help you decide which size you prefer for running your favorite apps.

You'll notice on the following slides that the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 screen looks whiter than that of the smaller Kindle. This is exaggerated on the photos, and while the 8.9 is whiter the difference is not as distinct in reality.

Hardware comparison of the Kindle Fire HDX 7 and 8.9:

  Kindle Fire HDX 7 Kindle Fire HDX 8.9
Processor Quad-core 2.2 GHz Quad-core 2.2 GHz
Display 7-inch, 1,920 x 1,200 (323 ppi) 2,560 x 1,600 (339 ppi)
Camera Front only Front and 8MP rear
Storage 16, 32, 64GB 16, 32, 64GB
Dimensions 7.3 x 5.0 x 0.35 inches 9.1 x 6.2 x 0.31 inches
Weight 

Wi-fi only: 10.7 oz

4G: 11 oz

Wi-fi only: 13.2 oz

4G: 13.5 oz

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Home screen

Both Kindles show the home screen well in both screen orientations.

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Similar hardware casing

The backs of the Kindles are very similar and comfortable to hold.

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Facebook

The Facebook app doesn't allow manually changing the text size and it is too tiny to read comfortably on the 8.9-inch tablet. It is easier to use on the smaller Kindle Fire HDX.

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Kindle App Drawer

The screen of icons looks much the same on the two Kindle Fire HDX models, with more visible on the bigger tablet.

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6 of 16 James Kendrick/ZDNet

Silk Browser

The Silk browser, the default browser on Fire OS, works well on either size tablet. It comes down to choice of liking wider web pages or not.

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Kindle Calendar

Both display the native calendar screens fine.

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YouTube video

The larger Kindle is wonderful for watching video, and the smaller tablet is not too bad, either.

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Weatherbug

This app runs very well on both Kindles.

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Kindle app

The 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX screen is about the size of a paperback novel, while the larger one displays more content as expected. Both are nice for reading.

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Battery HD Pro

Runs well on both tablets.

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ES Explorer

This file explorer app is good on both sized Kindles. You can see in the photo above how much more information is displayed on the larger tablet.

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13 of 16 James Kendrick/ZDNet

Kindle Mail

Both Kindle models handle email well.

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Kindle PDF viewer

Viewing PDF documents comes down to size preference.

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TweetCaster Pro

This Twitter app displays well on either Kindle model.

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gReader Pro

This app for reading Feedly news is a little easier to read on the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9, but not bad on the smaller one.

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