The Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 is a great entertainment tablet that includes a beautiful display, access to all the entertainment apps we need and performance that doesn’t stutter. At $70 cheaper than the iPad Air 2 with double the storage this is a tempting and comparable tablet for many users.
This is an Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 review of the 2014 model that retails for $429 with special offers.
The iPad Air 2 still offers more for the power user, but the Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 is a very capable tablet that excels at entertainment and even includes options for LTE connectivity so users can connect the Fire HDX 8.9 to AT&T or Verizon to use apps, the Internet and watch videos while mobile.
Amazon packs in new Dolby Atmos technology that delivers enhanced audio to go with many of the biggest movies. This lets users plug-in any headphones and experience audio that sounds like it is not just to the side or behind you, but sometimes overhead.
Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 Review Summary
In our Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 review we’ll share our experience using this new Amazon Fire tablet for the last month, mainly as a way to relax with entertainment apps.
What We Like: Great display, wealth of entertainment apps, Dolby Atmos sound with headphones.
What we Don’t like: Not as many apps as Google Play, No Micro SD card slot & only 64GB of Storage Max.
The Bottom Line: The Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 is an excellent tablet for users that want to watch, read and play.
Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 Design
The Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 2014 looks a lot like the Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 from 2013, so don’t go looking for many changes to the design or display. While there is nothing wrong with upgrades, it is also nice to see companies focusing on upgrading what matters instead of simply changing things to change them.
The exterior of the Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 2014 is a soft touch matte black plastic. Similar to Henry Ford’s take on cars, Amazon only offers one color option for the Amazon Fire HDX 8.9. You can buy colorful cases that include folding stands if you need a brighter color or you want a built-in stand to prop the tablet up while you are using it.
There are power and volume buttons on the back of the device, a headphone jack and Micro USB charging port on the sides. Here’s a handy trick, the volume control is on the headphone jack side. There are dual speakers on the upper back of the tablet.
On the back of the Amazon Fire HDX 8.9, the edges angle in toward the center of the back. This isn’t the most visually stunning design, but it is easy enough to hold on to and it sits in our favorite stand for watching movies in bed or at a desk. The Fire HDX 8.9 weighs 13.2 ounces.
There is no way to add storage to the Amazon Fire HDX 8.9, which lacks a Micro SD card slot and only offers a 64GB max storage option.
Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 Display
The Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 features an 8.9-inch display, as the name suggests. This display looks great while watching movies on Netflix or Amazon Instant with deep blacks and vivid colors. The Fire HDX 8.9 resolution is 2,560 x 1,600 which means that there are a lot of pixels packed incredibly tightly on this display so you don’t see the pixels while reading or watching videos. This is a higher resolution than the iPad Air and iPad Air 2.
Ultimately, the most important part about the display is, does it look great. The Fire HDX 8.9 display is simply incredible.
Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 Entertainment
Although there are apps for productivity and you can connect a Bluetooth Keyboard to get some work done, this tablet is definitely geared towards entertainment.
Amazon packs in Dolby Atmos technology inside that delivers a cool new way to experience movies. When watching Dolby Atmos movies, you can hear sound that is above you instead of just to the side or back like on a traditional surround setup. You do not need special headphones for this to work. Even with a $30 pair of earbuds I can hear a propeller fly over me in Transformers Age of Extinction. Check out the growing number of Dolby Atmos movies.
With Hulu Plus, Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Instant Video and others the Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 delivers access to all the movies, TV and videos that I want on an Entertainment tablet. It can also connect to the Fire TV or Fire TV stick to mirror the display to your HDTV or act as a second screen to show information about the movies you are watching. The tablet is also great for reading eBooks, listing to audiobooks and other entertainment tasks.
The Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 is an amazing entertainment tablet.
Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 Performance
There is a speed 2.5GHz processor inside the Fire HDX 8.9 that offers more than enough power to quickly switch apps, load apps and get to what you want to do without waiting around. While previous Kindle Fire tablets were not exactly speedy, this is a new and improved model that does not leave you waiting for it to catch up.
The speakers are good enough to get by, but there is not a lot of depth and with Atmos for headphones it makes sense to plug-in when you want to watch a movie.
Overall the Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 battery life is good and with the last software update standby battery life is much better. The tablet can turn off WiFi while the device is not in use, which will make sure the tablet isn’t sitting with 2% battery life when you need to use it.
Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 Software & Camera
The Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 runs on a modified version of Android with a completely new look. The carousel interface takes some getting used to but thankfully you can also swipe from the bottom of the screen up to see more apps. There is a bar at the top with shortcuts to books, apps, music, videos, audiobooks and more.
Although there are a good number of apps, I do miss access to the full Google Play Store on the Amazon Fire HDX 8.9. The Play Store offers a wider range of apps to choose from.
You can swipe down from the top to use quick settings for device toggles like WiFi or brightness and to see notifications. You can also access Mayday and Firefly here. Mayday allows you to get help direct from Amazon for your Fire HDX 8.9. You’ll see a person on video, but they will only see your screen. The customer support rep can show you how to use many of the features by highlighting where to tap.
The tablet also includes Amazon FreeTime, which lets parents set screen limits and app limits on the tablet. Unlike the iPad, the Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 delivers great parental controls and includes support for multiple users.
Firefly uses the camera on the back of the tablet to identify barcodes, identify text, wine, music, TV and more. It can also pick up on QR codes, phone numbers and emails or websites written down.
There is a capable 8MP rear facing camera with flash on the back of the Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 2014. This is not going to replace a high-end point and shoot, but it can take very good-looking photographs for a tablet. If you own a smartphone that will likely take better photos, but for someone who may only use one device, this is a nice touch.
Is the Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 Worth Buying?
Users who want a great entertainment tablet should certainly consider the Amazon Fire HDX 8.9. The tablet offers access to all the movies, TV shows, audio books and ebooks that I need and is highly connected to the Amazon experience.
As a gift to a first time tablet user, the Mayday feature completes this package. The user can ask Amazon for help at any time, without feeling like they are bothering a relative for small items, which makes it easier to get in and start using the tablet.
You should certainly compare the Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 and the cheaper iPad Air before picking a tablet, but this is an excellent entertainment tablet.