Kindle Fire HD The Hottest For Christmas Holiday 2012
I had no idea there were so many ebook readers and tablets out there until our review copies piled up so quickly, but I knew all about the Kindle Fire HD 8.9" in the same way as the iPad. Those two are the biggest competitors out there, and we're reviewing them separately, but this week we'll have a comparison review too for those of you torn between which one to choose. We've got about twenty reviews coming on every table you can think of for our 2012 Holiday Tech Geek Gift Ideas list.
If you missed our smartphone reviews here's all the ones we’ve reviewed the LG Optimus G, HTC One X, Samsung Galaxy S3, Samsung Galaxy Reverb, Samsung Galaxy Note II, Asis Padfone 2, Nokia Lumia, iPhone 5, LG Escape and the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx for our Holiday Shop. We also put together a full guide which compared Apple’s iPhone 5 to everyone else and let you know which phone was right for you. I hate trying to wade through all the sites figuring out which one is more accurate so we put together this ten page guide make it easier for you readers.
The Kindle Fire HD 8.9” is one of the newest wave of Kindle Fire products, and takes the range into new territory with a larger screen. This changes which tablets it competes with in some ways, and also gives it a different feel for eReader purposes too. So if you’re interested in the Kindle Fire HD 8.9” as either a tablet or an eReader, read on here to find out whether it’s worth buying.
Key Specs For The Kindle Fire HD 8.9”
Average Price: $499 / $299
Release Year: 2012
Screen Size: 8.9 inches
Screen Type: HD Color LCD
Weight: 20 oz
Storage Size: 8GB or 32GB or 64GB
Internet: 4G LTE+Wi-Fi /Wi-Fi
Main eBook Format: AZW (Kindle) + Apps
Kindle Fire HD 8.9”: The Pros
16GB And 32GB Storage Options: As many of us have come to expect of tablets, the Kindle Fire HD 8.9” comes with two different storage options. There is a 16GB version and a 32GB version, each of which has its pros and cons. Obviously, the smaller storage capacity model is cheaper, but the larger storage capacity model gives you more room for photos, movies, music and applications.
From an eReader standpoint, both storage options represent a significant step up over standard eReader storage. The larger of the two storage sizes is actually several times larger than virtually all other eReaders. That means you’ll have room to store thousands more books on your device, so if you’re a total book-aholic this will be great news for you.
8.9” Screen: Another great feature of the Kindle Fire HD 8.9” is the screen size. It’s slightly more portable than other tablets that feature a 10.1” screen, yet still offers a great display area so that you can better enjoy movies and web browsing.
From an eReader point of view, this is a large screen, closest in style to the Kindle DX. The pages are much larger, which means that even if you like reading with the largest font sizes, you can still get a fair bit of text on the page. It’s definitely a nice feeling to have larger page sizes for reading.
Image Quality: The whole point of the Kindle Fire HD is to upgrade all aspects of the original Kindle Fire, especially the screen. This new model has fantastic image quality that displays in full HD quality. Not only that, but with the 8.9” version, you can see the details so much more clearly.
Audio Quality: A common complaint regarding a large number of tablets is sound quality. Whether it’s the speakers themselves or where they’re positioned on the device, a lot of consumers complain that the sound isn’t up to par without headphones
The Kindle Fire HD has some of the best sound on any tablet now. Not only is the quality itself great, but there is plenty of volume which means you don’t need to boost volume levels with a special application. Just play and enjoy.
Amazon Prime: All Kindle Fire products have a one month free trial of Amazon Prime, and are designed from the ground up to work with Amazon’s online shopping system. Of course, this is a benefit for Amazon, but it’s also a benefit to the consumer, especially if they like to shop through Amazon.
Amazon Prime membership has all kinds of benefits. Firstly, products are delivered to you more quickly, but it also grants access to unlimited use of their streaming media services hosting tens of thousands of TV shows and movies. Besides that, there are also benefits for eBook readers: every month you can borrow a book from the lending library for free. The library includes hundreds of thousands of books, including many recent best-sellers.
Front-Facing Camera: Another great thing about the Kindle Fire HD is the front-facing camera. This is a fairly standard feature for any tablet, but as an eReader it’s pretty unique. The main benefit of this is that you can make free Skype calls from the device – a great feature, especially on a portable device.
Tablet Features: If you’re looking at the Kindle Fire HD primarily as an eReader, then you’ll no doubt be excited by the prospect of having a suite of tablet features at your fingertips. These include the ability to view movies and photos, access streaming media content, download applications and play games, as well as browsing the web. What more could you want out of your eReader?
Fast: The Kindle Fire HD may not be as fast as some of the top level rival tablets, but it is certainly fast enough to carry out the kind of tasks you’d expect it to handle well, and definitely over-performs for its price.
Touch Screen: As a tablet, this device naturally uses touch screen technology. It uses multi-touch technology to respond to up to ten simultaneous touches – as high as any other tablet on the market. The touch technology is great on the Kindle Fire HD, and if you’re looking at it primarily as an eReader it will likely be a welcome novelty!
Reduces Screen Glare: As a portable device, the Kindle Fire HD is intended for use everywhere, including outdoors. Of course, everyone knows that using devices with screens outdoors can be problematic on bright days because of screen glare. However, the Kindle Fire HD has glare-reduction technology that automatically adjusts screen settings to counter the effects of glare. This helps to ensure it’s easy to use wherever you are.
4G Internet: There are two versions of the Kindle Fire HD 8.9”, one is Wi-Fi only, the other is Wi-Fi + 4G. 4G is a new technology that’s only become available with the most recent wave of tablets. Basically, it lets you connect to a phone network to get internet access at broadband speeds. That means you don’t have to be connected to a Wi-Fi network to access streaming media and other online services. You can browse the web wherever you are, at speeds no different to those you’d get at home.
Kindle Fire HD 8.9”: The Cons
Backlit Screen: One of the main drawbacks of the Kindle Fire HD as an eReader is the backlit screen. EReaders have generally been designed specifically not to use backlit screens, as these kind of screens (just like a computer monitor of TV) can cause eye strain and other discomfort if used for reading over a long period of time.
Sadly, because this device is a tablet, it has to use a backlit screen, which means if you plan to do a lot of reading on the device you may find it uncomfortable.
Expensive For An eReader: If you’re looking at the Kindle Fire HD 8.9” primarily as an eReader then you’ll find it to be very expensive. Compared to most other eReaders it’s at least twice the price, or even up to four times the price. And if you’re looking at the 4G version then you’re talking some serious money at around the $500 mark.
Heavy: Another issue with using this device as an eReader is that it weighs a lot more than standard eReaders. In fact, it weighs about twice as much, which makes a significant impact on the comfort level when holding the device in a reading position for extended periods of time.
Is The Kindle Fire HD 8.9” Worth Buying?
The Kindle Fire HD 8.9” is definitely worth buying as a tablet. It’s pretty fast, has a great range of features, excellent screen and sound quality and hooks you up to Amazon content very effectively (if that’s what you want). However, as an eReader it’s really lacking. The backlit screen, weight and price will be prohibitive. If you’re main interest is in a device for doing lots of reading, then you’ll want to look at standard eReader alternatives. However, if you’ll only be doing light reading and fancy the idea of having tablet features too, or just want a standout tablet, then this is a great choice. Naturally, the best deal you'll get is at Amazon for this one and you can check out their sales on them here.