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Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 review


The Kindle Fire HD has improved on its smaller sibling with a larger and higher-quality display, but the issues around performance and usability remain.


Low cost, screen quality, carousel interface


Sluggish performance, battery life

Overall Rating:

4 Star Rating: Recommended

Price: £229 for 16GB; £259 for 32GB

Amazon has added to its tablet family with the Kindle Fire HD 8.9". The tablet is a larger version of the 7in model introduced by Amazon last year, and aims to please those users looking for a high-quality screen in the more traditional larger form factor.

Design and build
The Kindle Fire HD 8.9 measures 239x163x9mm, putting it at about the same height at the 241mm tall iPad, but significantly narrower in width for both the device itself and the screen, losing around one inch of width from the display.

The Fire HD 8.9 weighs 567g, which will feel a little lighter if you're used to the full-size iPad at 652g, but you lose the high-end aluminium Apple casing and gain a plastic one.

Amazon is pretty coy about the materials used for the Kindle Fire HD 8.9, but it seems to be toughened plastic surrounding the Gorilla Glass screen, so again this should stand up pretty well to any bumps and scrapes. However, we did notice it picking up fingerprints more than other touch screen devices we're used to.

amazon kindle fire hd 8.9in

On the outside, the Fire HD 8.9 has a headphone jack, volume up/down and power buttons on the top, and micro HDMI and micro USB ports along the right-hand side.

The Fire HD features an 8.9in HD display with 1920x1200 resolution at 254ppi. As with the 7in model, we often found we needed to press the touchscreen twice to get it to perform the desired action, as it requires a hard push down.

The use of In-Plane Switching (IPS) and an advanced polarising filter have also been included, designed to improve colours while viewing the screen from any angle.

We found that watching video, viewing photos and browsing the web is a pleasant experience, and this seems to be an improvement on the 7in model, with text much crisper when zooming in. Image and video playback was generally sharp and clear, with good colour detail.

Next: Performance, operating system


Model: Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9"
Display: 8.9in 1920x1200 resolution screen at 254ppi, with in-plane switching technology, advanced polarising filter and anti-glare technology
Processor: Texas Instruments OMAP 1.5Ghz dual-core
Storage: 16GB or 32GB
Operating system: Android Ice Cream Sandwich (heavily modified)
Connectivity: Dual-band, dual-antenna 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, WEP/WPA/WPA2 security using password authentication
Ports: micro USB (USB 2.0), micro HDMI, 3.5mm headphone jack
Camera: Front-facing HD camera for video calling
Battery: Over 10 hours quoted
Dimensions: 240x164x8.8mm
Weight: 567g

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Madeline Bennett

Madeline Bennett is editor of V3 and The INQUIRER. Previously, she was editor of IT Week. Prior to becoming a journalist, Madeline was an English teacher at a London secondary school. Madeline is a regular technology commentator on TV and radio, including Sky, BBC and CNN. 

View Madeline's Google+ profile

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