In 2011, Amazon surprised us with the Kindle Fire, an Android-based 7-inch tablet that made it easier than ever to watch video, read books, and of course buy stuff from Amazon. It came at a time when smaller tablets were not very common or popular, and it provided a way to access Amazon’s content stores when there wasn’t really one before — all at an aggressive price. Two years on, the company has expanded its tablet line to two devices and launched a suite of mobile apps on both iOS and Android.
The new HDX 7 is faster, sleeker, and better than ever. It’s also the best way to access Amazon’s wealth of content on the go, but it doesn’t quite give the iPad mini or the Nexus 7 a run for their money.
Now Amazon is releasing the 7-inch HDX’s bigger brother: an 8.9-inch model with an incredibly high-resolution display and the same signature design features seen on the smaller version. The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 also costs more, starting at $379 for a 16GB Wi-Fi model with Special Offers — but other than that and its physical size, it’s not terribly different.
The smaller HDX has clear competition: it’s priced the same as the Nexus 7, and even can compete with the iPad mini if you’re an Amazon devotee. But the 8.9-inch model is curiously located in the market: it’s smaller than an iPad or 10-inch Android tablet but just large enough that it doesn’t fit in a jacket pocket. It’s also priced in between the typical $500 10-inch tablets and the sub-$250 7-inch models. And even though it’s been just a month since we reviewed the HDX 7, Apple’s already announced the new iPad Air and forthcoming iPad mini with Retina display, the latter of which is priced awfully close to the HDX 8.9.
The original Kindle Fire had an important place in the tablet market of 2011. But with Amazon’s apps available on other platforms and the price divide between great tablets rapidly diminishing, where does the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 fit? With so many choices on the market now, is Amazon’s flagship the best option or even the best Kindle Fire?
Interesting review on the new Amazon Fire.. I’m still not sold on the Fire, I love the actual Kindles but their tablets have been hit or miss so far…