Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD 8.9 Reviews: Full Media Experience in a Tablet Fraught with Glitches

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By Erik Pineda | November 21, 2012 12:41 PM EST

The Kindle Fire HD 8.9 is the tablet incarnation of everything about Amazon. As one reviewer observed - consumers so deeply entangled with the giant online retailer's sub-ecosystem will find this new slate the quickest gateway in accessing products on the company's store.

This bigger Fire HD was designed to sell, which explains the omnipresent ads that can only be done away if users would be willing enough to shell out another $15, on top of the starting price of $US299 that will bump up depending on storage and connectivity options.

Amazon would let you enjoy a super-fast LTE web-browsing experience plus 64GB of internal memory if the price is right and in Fire HD's case that would translate to $US599 - sufficient price for most everyone to consider the competition, which needless to say is aplenty at the moment and even more powerful.

The tablet's display offering is near enough to that of the regular-sized iPad, in fact just 10ppi shy with its 254ppi that is squeezed almost majestically on its resolution of 1920 x 1200, according to a review by TechHive.

But actual viewing enjoyment on the Fire HD is mostly characterised by mixed results, Melissa Perenson of TechHive wrote. Her initial scrutiny revealed surprising deficiencies that she offered "may be due to the Kindle Fire HD's software."

Even with muscle of a dual-core processor that performs to a top-speed of 1.5GHz, with about 700MB of spare RAM as attested by Engadget, this "8.9-inch tablet was a bit sluggish to respond on occasion ... and some graphics were jerky and not as smooth as on the Fire HD 7-inch," Ms Perenson observed.

Power juice is also a lament, she added, as "the tablet drained well faster than that during my casual use."

Other misses such as the withholding of a rear-shooting camera pushes the Fire HD 8.9 down to the cellar for those canvassing their next tablet buys as it "continues to lack what are often considered standard inclusions for a tablet," said Ms Perenson.

"The omission of such features probably would be acceptable if Amazon was aiming this model only at the value market-but Amazon claims that this tablet, like its smaller sibling, is the best tablet at any price. Maybe not," the TechHive review concluded.

The Fire HD, according to Engadget, was obviously geared for tablet lovers looking to get "slightly better performance, slightly more size and cellular connectivity," without spending too much. That purpose, again, was immediately defeated as the tablet sells no less than $US299.

"If you're a more serious tablet user who wants access to the full power of the Android operating system, the decision is still simple: go with something else," the Engadget review strongly advised.

And users would be completely justified to do so, said the review by LaptopMag.com, because the Fire HD is fraught with "occasional freezes and crashes," making it "glitchier than the 7-inch model."

In the end, Amazon has packaged the Fire HD 8.9, as with its other tablets, as an alternative for the main Google ecosystem while using Android as a hidden platform. In case consumers are lured by the good value that comes with the brick, they ought to remember that this product is "a better choice for consuming than creating content."

CNET agreed that this latest Kindle iteration "is still the strongest media consumption tablet line going, and this latest version is the best one yet ... (because) the new Fire HD interface feels better suited on the 8.9-inch screen."

Indeed, users would definitely appreciate that the tablet "has zippier navigation than its 7-inch counterpart, a beautiful high-definition screen, incredibly fast 4G LTE speeds, seamless streaming performance, and access to one of the best media eco systems available," CNET said.

But bottom line is "people looking for something more utilitarian ... will want to look elsewhere," as the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 is essentially anchored on "a pure media consumption experience."

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