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Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £329
inc VAT

Amazon's best Kindle Fire yet, but the gorgeous screen and great camera can't offset the custom Android interface


8.9 in 2,560×1,600 display, 374g, 2.2GHz Qualcom Snapdragon 800, 2.00GB RAM, 16GB disk, Android 4.2 (Fire OS 3.0 Mojito)

Unfortunately Amazon’s insistence on carving its own Android niche has left the Kindle isolated in terms of app support for Google’s services. There’s no dedicated YouTube or Maps app, no Chrome web browser and no Play Music for your cloud-saved MP3s. It’s possible to side-load Android APK files onto the device directly so that you can access your most commonly used apps even if they aren’t available in the Amazon store. As most of Google’s own apps rely on repositories that simply aren’t installed on Kindle devices, you won’t be able to use certain apps without them crashing constantly.

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9
We’re not sold on FireOS, the interface can be frustrating and the range of apps is limited

Even the built-in Silk web browser defaults to Microsoft’s Bing search engine rather than Google, but you can switch to a different default search provider. Silk doesn’t support synchronisation so, unlike Google Chrome, it can’t share usernames, passwords or browser tabs with other devices, and Silk isn’t as smooth as Chrome when browsing media-heavy pages.


It can be incredibly quick in certain cases, though. The HDX completed the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark in a rapid 702.7ms, which puts it on par with Tegra 4-powered tablets from other manufacturers. That’s largely thanks to the HDX’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor. This runs each of its four cores at 2.2GHz and is paired with 2GB of RAM, which makes FireOS feel snappy and responsive. Apps load quickly and show no signs of lag or stutter, even when using the new Quick Switch multitasking menu to flip between several demanding games.

The HDX’s Adreno 330 graphics processor is well-suited to playing games on the high resolution screen, and the HDX scored 12,661 in the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited test. That score’s lower than we’ve seen from Tegra 4-based tablets, but the HDX is powerful enough to play demanding titles such as Real Racing 3 smoothly.

The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 lasted nine hours and eight minutes in our video rundown test, which is average considering the screen size. The slightly smaller LG G Pad 8.3 lasted eight hours and 26 minutes, but the 8in Asus MemoPad 8 lasted 13 hours and 31 minutes. Even so, you should be able to use the HDX for a full day without having to recharge it, as long as you keep the brightness to a reasonable level.

There’s no microSD card slot to add extra storage capacity, so you’re limited to storage capacity built into the HDX. You can choose between 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models, with Wi-Fi only or an integrated 4G LTE modem for internet access on the move.

Unless you opt to pay £10 extra to disable “special offers”, adverts will appear on the lock screen whenever you wake the tablet from sleep mode. If you don’t pay £10 at the time of purchase you can always pay it at a later date to disable the adverts by calling Amazon customer services or using the Mayday service.

The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is the best tablet Amazon has made. It’s powerful, has a gorgeous screen and it takes great photos. However, it’s so radically different from Android and so divorced from Google’s apps that you’ll have to be a big fan of Amazon’s services and products to get the most from it.

If you just want a great Android tablet, you should buy the LG G Pad 8.3 instead.

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Basic Specifications

ProcessorQualcom Snapdragon 800
Processor clock speed2.2GHz
Memory slots1
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory2GB
Pointing deviceTouchscreen


Viewable size8.9 in
Native resolution2,560×1,600
Graphics ProcessorQualcomm Adreno 330


Total storage capacity16GB
Optical drive typenone

Ports and Expansion

Wired network portsnone
Wireless networking support802.11n
PC Card slotsnone
Supported memory cardsnone
Other ports3.5mm audio output


Carrying caseNo
Operating systemAndroid 4.2 (Fire OS 3.0 Mojito)
Operating system restore optionrestore partition
Software includednone
Optional extrasnone

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB

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