Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 Review

Interface and Functionality

In tradition, the Fire OS 4 “Sangria” experience has deep ties to all of Amazon’s services.

Love it or hate it, the biggest argument from critics and consumers regarding Amazon’s tablets is the software they’re running. Here with the Amazon Fire HDX 8.9, it’s powered by the company’s new Fire OS 4 “Sangria,” which is based on Android 4.4 KitKat. Now, if you’re the kind of person who’s in love with Amazon’s services, like Amazon Prime Instant Video, there’s no doubt that the experience is surely going to be a good one – more so when it has deep ties to all of Amazon’s services.

Superficially, there’s not much of a difference in the look and operation of the platform, as the homescreen is still comprised of the same recent apps carousel, and that “multi-tasking” is still accomplished by swiping in appropriately from its sides. Although the experience is simple and straight to the point, it lacks the modern appeal and expansive features we get from real Android – and even iOS 8 over on the iPad.

Despite that, the updated experience brings forth some useful features – like profiles for separate users, a family library that allows you to share you Amazon account with another “adult”, the same ASAP (Advanced Streaming and Prediction) feature introduced by the Amazon Fire TV, and the same Firefly all-in-one capture tool we first saw with the Amazon Fire Phone. In the greater scheme, however, they don’t greatly enhance the experience to match the same level of typical Android, but nevertheless, it’s no doubt made plainly obvious that they adhere closely to Amazon’s ecosystem.

Processor and Memory

Don’t worry, this is powered by the latest chip from Qualcomm.

It’s rather tough to imagine that people would choose to go with the Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 for their gaming needs, but don’t think for a moment it’s an underpowered thing – that’s because it’s packing a quad-core 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 chip under the hood, accompanied with 2GB of RAM and the Adreno 420 GPU. The hardware, not surprisingly, gives the tablet a fair amount of snappiness with all sorts of operations – plus, it’s mighty enough to handle some extreme gaming as well.

Available in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacities, there’s enough variety to choose what fits you the best – albeit, you’ll want to be conscious as to which one to stick with if you’re heavy into multimedia content.

AnTuTu Higher is better
Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 45408
Google Nexus 9 56836
Apple iPad Air 2 62856
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 42089.67
Vellamo Browser Higher is better
Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 1568
Google Nexus 9 6103
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 2942.67
Sunspider Lower is better
Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 749.4
Google Nexus 9 956.8
Apple iPad Air 2 303.3
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 970.5
Basemark OS II Higher is better
Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 1157
Google Nexus 9 1929
Apple iPad Air 2 1880
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 1125.33
Geekbench 3 single-core Higher is better
Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 1043
Google Nexus 9 1903
Apple iPad Air 2 1811
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 976
Geekbench 3 multi-core Higher is better
Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 3039
Google Nexus 9 3166
Apple iPad Air 2 4488
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 2743.33

Internet and Connectivity

The Silk web browser has never been as versatile as the all-encompassing experience of something like Google’s Chrome, but it’s nonetheless still effective for surfing the web. With this year’s updated version, Silk receives support for printing and a private browsing mode. Throw in its super sharp screen and buttery smooth performance, we can’t complain about the experience whatsoever.

For those who require it, Amazon has an LTE-enabled model for those who need more connectivity reach on the road. Its Wi-Fi radio has been improved, which now boasts 802.11 ac and can achieve theoretical speeds of up to 600Mbps. Beyond that, it has the same set of secondary connectivity features – such as aGPS and Bluetooth 4.1.

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