Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 16GB Tablet
Amazon's Kindle Fire was one of the first tablets to pose a legitimate threat to the iPad's market dominance. The original 7-inch tablet did so with a combination of low price, access to tons of content, and superb build quality. Amazon's updates to the Kindle Fire lineup have expanded the choice of devices, but not much has changed otherwise.
The original Kindle Fire came in a single version, with a 7-inch screen and 8GB of built-in storage. This "middle" screen size drew both praise and criticism; users raved about the portability, while others expressed their desire for more screen real estate. The new Kindle Fire HD 8.9" addresses the size issue, with physical dimensions that move it more in line with "standard" tablets. The resolution has been substantially increased as well - whereas the original Kindle Fire offered a 1024x600 pixel screen, the Kindle Fire HD 8.9" lives up to its name by packing in 1920x1200 pixels. This new model can handle 1080p content, making it one of the few tablets on the market that can natively display full HD material.
One of the biggest draws to the Kindle Fire ecosystem is the sheer availability of content, thanks to Amazon's never-ending expansion of their library. According to Amazon, there are over 22 million apps, ebooks, movies, magazines, TV shows, and other entertainment-related media - enough to compete with direct rivals in this industry. The front-facing camera allows video chat over Skype, and finally gives the Kindle Fire the ability to take pictures. Combined with an Amazon Prime subscription, the Kindle Fire HD becomes the perfect entertainment portal. With this much popular content, Kindle Fire HD users have no reason to feel left out.
Although Amazon offers both 7-inch and 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD options, the larger model justifies its higher price with correspondingly higher performance levels. The interface is extremely responsive, and shows no signs of lagginess anywhere. The high-resolution screen is driven effectively by the built-in graphics chip, and has no problems running graphics-intensive games and apps. 1080p video plays smoothly and cleanly, and the Dolby stereo audio provides a much higher-quality experience than competing single-speaker tablets.
Best of all, the Kindle Fire HD 8.9" is downright affordable - at $300, it undercuts Apple's iPad Mini while offering wholly superior specs paired with Amazon's outstanding ecosystem. Even so, our advice is to spend the extra money on the version without "special offers". While most users may not mind the constant ads, they can get annoying after a while.