The "1-Minute" Review
- No microSD support
- Lack of customization options
- Amazon App Store only
Amazon’s Fire tablets have become fan favorites with their combination of price and easy access to the bounty of Amazon content available. The newest version, the Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 (2014) aims to continue this trend and introduce a few new twists to the classic Fire tablet. Is the tablet worthy of the title or just another model soon to be forgotten? Let’s see what the reviews have to say!
Combining a 8.9-inch display at 2560-by-1600 pixels and a 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor, the tablet is definitely a powerhouse on paper. Fortunately, reviews indicate that this also translate to real life performance as well. Wired calls it “fast and fluid.” Across many reviews, none noted any hesitance or instability to be found, even under high-definition gaming or heavy multitasking.
Whether you’re planning to enjoy the wealth of movies on Amazon or keep tabs on your social media accounts, the screen is sure to impress. Reviews all touted the screen for sharpness, brightness and color reproduction. CNet called the display “the best of the bunch” while Wired proclaimed it “the brightest, sharpest, and most-vivid in the tablet realm” even when compared to flagships from other manufacturers.
Couple this with rear-facing stereo speakers and Dolby Atmos audio processing and the reviews for the tablet as a media playback device are outstanding. PC Magazine called the speakers “the loudest, clearest built-in speakers of any tablet I've seen recently.” Reviewers also noted that the Atmos sound processing worked surprisingly well, even on small ear buds. However, the video must support Atmos for you to enjoy the effect, limiting its usefulness for some.
Other noted features included Amazon’s support service, Mayday, Amazon’s object discovery service, Firefly, and their in-depth parental controls and user profile support.
Unfortunately, there are some potential weak points to the new HDX as well depending on your preferences. The most obvious is lack of MicroSD card support. If you’re someone who prefers to store your movie and music on your tablet instead of stream them, you’ll definitely want to consider one of the larger storage options. With models ranging from 16GB to 64GB of storage, there is something available to suit most needs.
Another issue many reviews noted was the accessories offered for the tablet. While the Origamic Case works well to prop up the device, CNet found that the magnetic attachment was weak. Multiple sites also had issues with lag and delay on the Bluetooth keyboard.
One final concern listed by all reviews was that the Fire HDX locks you into Amazon services. Unlike many Android devices, there is no access to the default Google Apps or the Google Play store. If you’re a Prime subscriber or don’t mind investing in Amazon’s content and services, this is largely a non-issue, however, as Android Police points out “if you can't embrace the Amazon world, the Fire HDX is kind of a lump.”
Overall, reviews of the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 (2014) are overwhelmingly positive. From build quality and battery life to the display and performance, there was little that reviews found lacking. Wired summed up many reviews best, stating, “The HDX 8.9 looks great, feels great, sounds great, and performs great, even if it won’t bowl you over with bold new flavors.”