The Kindle Fire HD 8.9

So, as the iPad finally gets a slightly smaller version, the Kindle Fire HD gets a slightly bigger one.

 

Both models are, essentially, the same as the latest versions of their respective series. However, both are oddly sized additions to their respective families. The iPad Mini is 7.9-Inches and so is not, strictly speaking, a 7-Inch tablet and, not to be outdone, this new Kindle Fire is 8.9-Inches and so is therefore not, strictly speaking, a 10-inch version of the (usually 7-Inch) Kindle Fire HD.

 

By Chris Messenger | Published 08/05/2013

The Good

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Cheaper than the ipad

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1080p HD Display

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Cloud-accelerated browsing

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Dual stereo speakers

The Bad

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Can't play Facebook games

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battery does take a long time to charge

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Currently kindle apps not fully loaded

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Additonal price for removing Adverts

 

 

the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 is the same classy, cosmopolitan accessory as the regular Kindle Fire HD

Traditionally, tablets come in two sizes, 10-Inch and 7-Inch, and both sizes have their advocates, just as much as both sides have advantages and disadvantages. I checked out this new Kindle Fire in an attempt to discover if bigger really is better...

 

THE SPECS

 

Perhaps I would have been better off comparing the Kindle Fire HD to the Google Nexus instead. The Nexus is, after all, the only tablet in Kindle Fire’s price range that matches it for efficiency, specs and popularity.

 

Originally a 7-Inch tablet, the 10-Inch Nexus model was released to about as warm a reception as George Costanza’s toupee and sold pretty poorly from there. In fact, there are only around 680,000 Nexus 10 models currently in use, which looks bad, especially in comparison to the estimated 6.8 million Nexus 7 tablets.

 

Why is this? The Nexus 10 was just as good a tablet the Nexus 7 (and the Nexus 7 is a very, very good tablet). However, for some reason, it just didn’t cut the mustard.

 

Perhaps it’s a size thing. Bigger tablets simply aren’t as portable (or as cheap) as their smaller counterparts. Basically, it seems that when people go big, they go iPad.

 

Ostensibly, the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 is the same classy, cosmopolitan accessory as the regular Kindle Fire HD, but it’s just a little bit bigger this time around. This means it has the same duel WiFi antenna, the same dazzling array of downloadable apps and content and the same specially designed Dolby surround sound system.

 

THE PRICE

 

The 8.9 version of the Kindle Fire HD is a good deal more expensive than the 7-Inch model. For example, I could buy a 7-Inch Kindle Fire HD (with free delivery, no less) from Amazon for £160, but the 8.9-Inch version, which is, barring a few minor changes, the same device, will set me back about £230. That’s quite a bit to consider.

 

The Kindle Fire HD is a masterpiece of condensed computing; it offers a simple, likeable user interface, excellent media playback and a fine array of apps to boot

THE PERFORMANCE

 

Now, I’ve talked (at great length) about the Kindle Fire HD in various other places, so I’ll simply summarise here in order to save space and avoid repeating myself.

 

The Kindle Fire HD is a masterpiece of condensed computing; it offers a simple, likeable user interface, excellent media playback and a fine array of apps to boot. The Kindle Fire HD is an excellent all rounder that offers great value for money and is a very good choice for the commuter, first-time buyer and/or the casual user.

 

Experienced programmers will probably find the Fire HD restrictive (Amazon are notoriously heavy-handed about what you can and cannot install, for example) and its not on the level of an iPad or a Surface in terms of processing power. However, it is an excellent product overall.

 

The 8.9-Inch version differs in only the one, achingly obvious, way.

 

The size increase does benefit from a bigger screen, which is a real boon to the visually impaired user, but beyond that, it seems slightly superfluous. The increased size makes the Kindle Fire HD feel that much more cumbersome and clumsy, whilst also making it less likely to fit on your bedside, or as snugly into a handbag or rucksack.

The difference in size isn’t as jarring as a 10-Inch model would have been, but it is certainly noticeable. On the one hand, its nice to have increased options, but on the other...

 

THE VERDICT

 

Essentially, the smaller size of the Kindle Fire HD is one of its major selling points. Cheap and cheerful, the 7-Inch Kindle Fire HD was seemingly made for livening up boring train journeys, replacing the book on your nightstand and being a perfect travel companion on the last-minute getaway. Conversely, the 8.9-Inch version lacks most of these charms, whilst at the same time also lacking the processing power of a 10-Inch tablet.

 

This new Kindle Fire HD is still a fine device, but the size (as well as the price) increase doesn’t seem likely to make it many new friends. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of the series, but I foresee this one sharing a similar fate to the Nexus 10.

 

 

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