Kindle Fire HD 8.9", 8.9" HD display, 16 GB or 32 GB, Wi-Fi or Optional 4G LTE Wireless (Previous Generation - 2nd)
We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock.
- Stunning 1920x1200 HD display with rich color and deep contrast from any viewing angle
- Custom Dolby audio and dual stereo speakers for crisp, booming sound without distortion
- Ultra-fast dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi for 40% faster downloads and streaming
- Over 27 million movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, books, audiobooks, and popular apps and games
8.9” 10 point capacitive touch high definition color display; 1920x1200 resolution at 254 ppi, video playback up to 1080p, with IPS (in-plane switching) technology, advanced polarizing filter, and anti-glare technology
9.4” x 6.4” x 0.35” (240 mm x 164 mm x 8.8 mm)
20 ounces (567 grams)
Kindle Fire HD 8.9” is ready to use right out of the box - no setup, no software to install, no computer required to download content
16GB (12.7GB available to user) or 32GB (27.1GB available to user) of internal storage
Over 10 hours of reading, surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music. Battery life will vary based on device settings, usage, and other factors such as web browsing and downloading content. Actual results may vary
Fully charges in under 5 hours via the Kindle PowerFast charging accessory, or slightly longer with other micro-USB power adapters that you may already have. Charges in under 14 hours from your computer via the included USB charging cable
Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (MIMO) for faster streaming and fewer dropped connections than standard Wi-Fi. Supports public and private Wi-Fi networks or hotspots that use the 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, or 802.11n standard with support for WEP, WPA and WPA2 security using password authentication; does not support connecting to ad-hoc (or peer-to-peer) Wi-Fi networks
USB 2.0 (micro-B connector) port for connection to a PC or Macintosh computer or to connect to the Kindle PowerFast charging accessory. Micro-HDMI (micro-D connector) port for high definition video output to televisions or A/V receivers
3.5 mm stereo jack and integrated stereo speakers with exclusive Dolby audio engine
Content Formats Supported
Kindle (AZW), KF8, TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively, Audible Enhanced format (AAX), DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, Dolby Digital (AC-3), Dolby Digital Plus (E-AC-3), non-DRM AAC, MP3, MIDI, PCM/WAVE, OGG, WAV, MP4, AAC LC/LTP, HE-AACv1, HE-AACv2, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, HTML5, CSS3, MP4, 3GP, VP8(.webm)
Ambient light sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope
Location-based services via Wi-Fi
External volume controls, front-facing HD camera, built-in microphone, built-in Bluetooth with support for A2DP compatible stereo headphones, headsets, and speakers
Voice Guide, Explore by Touch, Text-to-Speech, adjustable font sizes and color, built-in dictionary. Learn more about these features
Warranty and Service
Included in the Box
Kindle Fire HD 8.9” tablet, USB 2.0 cable, and Quick Start Guide. Power adapter sold separately
Reviewed in the United States on February 4, 2013
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Not so much because of the fact that there was anything wrong with my trusty Kindle Fire, mind you. It was just that the new ones packed some amazing features that I knew would enhance my Kindle experience with books, videos, music, audiobooks, games, and apps.
New Kindle Models
The classic Kindle Fire would be dropped to $159, and is a great value at that price if you are looking for a solid, entry level device. It has even been slightly improved since 2011. The new Kindle Fire HD would boast even better screen resolution and a faster processor, more memory, and better Wi-Fi for $199. It was released shortly after being introduced in late September.
I, however, was holding out for the larger, 8.9" Kindle Fire that was set to be released on November 20th. This was a trade-off to be sure, as my old Kindle, at 7 inches, was not much larger than a paperback book and immensely portable for that very reason. Still, I decided that I wanted the larger model at 8.9 inch screen size.
The 8.9 inch kindle Fire HD comes in several flavors. I opted for the basic model that runs $299 and has 16 GB of internal storage. The next model up will run you $70 more at $369, with the only difference being 32 GB of onboard memory. Both of these kindles are Wi-Fi only.
If you want a 4G LTE model, those are available starting at $499 for a 32 GB model and $599 for a 64 GB version. Monthly data plans are available, as well. For occasional use beyond the reach of a Wi-Fi network, you can pay $49 and get 250 MB of data a month for a year. This also includes an extra 20GB of free cloud storage and a $10 credit towards the Amazon app store.
It should be noted that all of the Kindle Fire models will display ads when you start up the device. This is no big deal for me, but if you want to remove that feature it will cost you another $15.
Kindle Fire HD 8.9 inch vs. ipad Mini
As I said, I had opted for the $299 Kindle Fire HD 8.9 inch model. But a funny thing happened on the way to the tablet. Apple, sensing that other makers were eating its lunch with smaller, cheaper tablets than the ipad, launched the ipad Mini before I received my new Kindle.
That, I think, makes an excellent segue into an ipad Mini to Kindle Fire comparison. Obviously, at $299, the Kindle HD 8.9 inch will save you a few hundred over the ipad 3. But what about a comparison to the new ipad mini? I had a decision to make when the ipad mini was announced, especially since most of my family is already hooked on Apple and has been bugging me to convert. I had a considerable amount invested in Amazon content, though, which was a consideration. Most of it would be portable to an ipad, but the easy interface to your content that the Fire features would not be the same.
For starters, the ipad Mini would cost me $30 more for a similar 16GB, Wi-Fi only model. Not so much as to make a difference, but then I started to look at the specs. First off was the display, and the Kindle clearly had the advantage over the ipad Mini. The 1920 by 1200 anti-glare display was clearly superior to the ipad's 1024 by 768 display, and of course the Kindle's screen is an inch larger. The Kindle HD also boasts a faster processor and Wi-Fi, and better speakers. The ipad mini seems to have the edge with it's camera.
I decided to stick with my order for the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 inch model.
The Kindle HD Arrives
Earlier I mentioned that my new kindle HD was to ship on November 20th. But as I was checking my Amazon account on the preceding Friday, I noticed that the $299 for the device had already been charged to my account. Sure enough, a quick hop over to Amazon.com indicated that the Kinddle HD had shipped the day before, and was on the UPS truck for delivery.
I was happy to get my kindle HD early, and popped it out of the box posthaste. I was immediately impressed by the larger display and new design. The device did not have the same heft as my own kindle in proportion to its size, and as a result felt less sturdy. Still, it's clear Amazon has learned from some of the mistakes they made with the original Kindle Fire.
First off is the power button, which has been moved from the bottom to the top of the device. This was a major annoyance on my old Kindle Fire, as it had an alarming habit of being depressed when the tablet was held upright and trying to shut the power off.
A volume control button is another welcome change; the first Kindle Fire did not have one at all. There's a new front facing camera and improved speakers on the sides of the device as well. The micro USB connection is joined by a micro HDMI output, too.
One pet peeve that I have is that there is no power adapter included. While you do get a micro USB cable, this is really for connection purposes to a PC; same will not effectively charge your tablet. Actually, it's not really the omission of the power adapter that bugs me. Let's be fair, the kindle Fire HD 8.9 inch is a steal at $299, and you can get an Amazon "Powerfast" adapter for $19.99. It's just the plug really, and connects to the device via the included cable.
My peeve, then, is that I would have liked to have known ahead of time that I needed to buy the power feed. Luckily, my old Kindle charger is compatible, but won't charge the device as quickly as the new one will. Annoyingly, Amazon changed the price to $9.99 on the adapter, but then when I went to buy one the price had changed again to $19.99 again with a $3 MP3 credit. I will hold off, I think, to see if it goes back down.
My Kindle HD arrived fully charged and already configured to my Amazon account. I did need to download a software update which took about 30 minutes to fully configure and delayed my ability to start playing.
While the power adapter omission was mildly irritating, the inability to use a number of the apps I had purchased for my Fire was downright infuriating, such to the point that I called Amazon and obtained an RMA. To be fair, most of my apps work on the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 inch tablet. One in particular, though, that I use almost daily was incompatible when I received my tablet.
The app in question is Comics by Comixology. I use this app almost daily, and have spent a considerable amount on digital comics that I and my sons read. To be unable to access these was intolerable, and I called Amazon Tech Support and e-mailed Comixology about the problem.
I wasn't alone in my dismay; a number of new Kindle Fire HD 8.9 inch tablet owners also posted their displeasure on Amazon and the Comixology Facebook page. It seemed amazing to me that Amazon would not correct this, since they get a cut of every comic sold through the tablet app.
Fortunately, Amazon and Comixology worked to resolve the incompatibility issues and I was able to download the app the following day. Of course, you may not find my tale of woe all that disheartening, especially if you don't read comics. You should, though, be concerned about the incompatibility of apps, and I should further advise that I do have a number still that won't work. This is not a problem that Apple has had from ipad model to ipad model.
As with the original Fire, you will find navigation is fairly intuitive, and not much has changed in the department. The home screen is where the action is at, and you can always navigate to it from any book, video, or app by tapping the screen at the bottom to retrieve the menu; then hit the home icon. It's that easy. Once there, you will notice key information displayed at the top of the screen: "alerts" about software updates, new e-mail, and even a friend's latest move in "Words With friends"; the time; Wi Fi status; and battery strength.
Gone, though, is the "Gear" icon that brught you to your settings menu in the past. Instead, you need to swipe down from the top center of the screen to get to some options: you can lock and unlock your device, adjust volume, screen brightness, see and choose wireless networks, sync with Amazon, see device information, and much more.
You have several ways to access your content. The home screen is presented as a row of your most recently used books, apps, videos, and websites. This is called the "carousel", and you can scroll through it with the touch of a finger. Any time you access anything in the carousel, it gets bumped to the front of the line. Again, this is much the same as the first Kindle Fire.
Holding your finger on a content pane in the carousel allows you to delete it from rotation, delete it from the device, or add it to your favorites. Favorites, however, are no longer displayed on a lower "shelf" on the home screen. Instead, there's now a favorites icon in the shape of a star beneath the carousel (it's also accessible from most other areas in the device). Tapping it at any time will bring up all the content in your favorites menu.
You can also access content directly by category from a menu above the carousel. In addition to the original Kindle Fire Options of Newsstand, Books, Music, Video, Docs, Apps, and Web, you can also choose from Shop, Games, Audiobooks, Photos, and Offers. From each of these categories, you can see content on the device and in the "cloud", and also access the Amazon store to purchase more. As with the first Fire, there is a search box on the home page and for each content category.
How Much Storage Do I Need?
The amount of storage that's right for you is entirely dependent upon the way you use your Kindle. At 16 GB of memory internally (only 12.8 GB of which is user accessible), I have roughly twice the storage that I had with my old Kindle Fire. Truth be told, I never used all of that, though I came close. Mostly that is because I generally access my content from the cloud. If you are not often in range of Wi-Fi and store more content locally, you may choose to opt for more storage.
Managing your content and the amount of memory it consumes is simpler with the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 inch tablet. From the settings menu, simply choose "Device" and "Storage" and you'll get a detailed analysis of your usage by content type. Tapping any of these categories will bring you to a list of that content; you can delete what you no longer want locally to increase available memory.
The Cloud allows you to store content on Amazon's servers for access through a Wi-Fi or cellular connection with compatible models of the Fire HD. The Fire HD has excellent Wi Fi detection and transfer speed capabilities, indeed even better than the ipad 3 offers thanks to the dual Wi-Fi antennas. This allows you to transfer files to your device in no time.
Amazon gives anyone with an Amazon account 5 GB of storage space for free. You can use it to store documents, videos, and music for your Fire. Any music, magazines, books, and videos you purchase through Amazon do not count towards your limit. Need more space for your stuff? Amazon offers the option to buy more, the cheapest plan being $20 for an upgrade to 20 GB. Best of all, this option includes unlimited music storage. Amazon recently copied Apple's "matching" option; if they have the same music in their library that you are uploading they will automatically upgrade your tracks to 256K or better quality. There is no charge for this with one of the paid cloud plans.
Amazon has the drop on anybody else in the content category. Not even Apple comes close, except perhaps in music, but Amazon offers reduced price songs and albums that I have rarely seen on itunes. In addition, many purchases on Amazon come with promotional MP3 credits, so you can download songs as a bonus. While it's true that you can access this content through other devices, for me the integrated interface with the Kindle Fire makes them much easier to get to.
While it is true that the content is not unique to this device and may seem a curious component of a review of the Kindle Fire HD, I truly believe that it is a very important factor in your decision on whether or not to buy this device or an ipad, Surface, or Nexus tablet.
Amazon offers a number of magazines and newspapers by single issue or by subscription. You can find such favorites as Time, The Economist, Forbes, Us, Popular Science, and much more.
Amazon has a massive library of books to choose from, most of the latest titles and lots of classics, too. Many books are free. I had a large library already from Amazon, so I was good to go with my new Fire HD. I generally keep a few on my device and store the rest in the cloud for later retrieval. As with all e-readers, I love the convenience of being able to download a book the day it is released. No trip to the store required.
Also par for the course is the ability to adjust display (meaning font and print size) to your liking, though sadly the text-to-speech option that was present on the very first Kindle is still not available. Here's hoping Amazon brings it back someday.
The Fire is a surprisingly good music player. Although it will never replace my Zune as my preferred music device, I do enjoy streaming music from the cloud while web surfing or playing games. As with the Kindle Fire, the Fire HD boasts an impressive little music player that streams high-quality audio to your headphones from the cloud or local storage.
There are a number of apps available for music lovers as well, most of them free. Pandora, Spotify, and Iheart Radio are all available for the Fire HD.
Still annoying is the inability to play digital copy from my blu ray purchases. That said, there are plenty of options for video with the Fire. The Amazon video store offers a large library to select from, with much content available for rental or purchase. Any purchased content can be accessed from the cloud or the device.
When renting a title, Amazon offers the convenient option of downloading to the device so that it can be accessed when Wi Fi is not available. You have 30 days to start watching; once you do the content will be deleted after a 48-hour window.
Documents can be accessed from the cloud or the device for access as well. Quickoffice is included at no charge with your Fire HD. This comes in handy, though the files are locked for read access (though different apps allow you to alter them).
You can upgrade to the full version of Quickoffice for just $15. I in fact did this shortly after purchasing my first Kindle Fire. This allows easy editing and creation of documents.
Amazon is not even close to offering the app content that Apple does, and likely never will. While the library of Android apps available for the Kindle has grown, it is still only a subset of those available on most dedicated Android devices (such as my cell phone). Bottom line for me, though, is that the apps catalog on Amazon suits my needs, and while I may not always be able to get an app I want, I can usually find the app I need.
A large library of audiobooks is available through Audible.com, an Amazon company. These are my constant companions on the way to and from work, and help me to endure the traffic.
The Fire HD uses the Amazon Silk browser. It's intuitive, learns from the sites you visit most frequently, and starts loading them in advance on its servers when you start surfing (you can shut this off if you prefer). You can bookmark favorites, and websites look good when displayed in either mobile or normal formats. Overall, though, it's not all that different than most of the popular browsers out there.
As with the Kindle Fire, Performance of the Kindle Fire HD has pleased me overall. Using the performance of my old Kindle Fire as a baseline, it's easy to see the improved performance on this model.
Web pages load more quickly than in the past with the improved Wi-Fi connectivity. Video and music stream flawlessly with a strong source as well. All the better to access your content from the cloud.
The display is perhaps the most impressive new aspect of the Kindle Fire HD. Video is crisp and clear, and HD movies look better than ever. Apps and games are most impressive, with some HD Apps like "Angry Birds Star Wars" appearing in glorious, sharp detail and amazingly rich, vibrant colors. Digital comics from the Comixology app truly dazzle.
Books, also, are easier to read, at least for me. One of the disadvantages of the Fire line is that it lacks the e-ink of the original Kindle. That device was much like reading a conventional book with e-ink. The Fire's display was prone to impart eye fatigue for this reviewer much more quickly. Happily, with the higher resolution and improved display, this does not seem so much a problem with the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 inch tablet.
On Screen Keyboard
Certainly, the larger display of the Fire HD 8.9 inch tablet allows facilitates the use of the keyboard for e-mail and word processing much more easily. Quite simply, it's much easier to type on the screen keys with the larger display. Often, I found myself making numerous typos on my old Kindle Fire because the keys were just too small; tilting is sideways to increase size reduced my content space. Not as much of an issue with the larger Fire HD.
So far, I haven't noticed any benefit from the faster processor. All my games and apps run pretty much as smoothly as they did on the original Kindle Fire. Perhaps that's a compliment to that device.
Another of the features that Amazon touts as much improved are the speakers. "Exclusive Dolby audio and dual stereo speakers for crisp, booming sound without distortion" are promised. From my standpoint? Not so much. While it's true they are slightly louder, a welcome improvement, and have a marked increase in stereo separation, they have little bass at all. I'm not really disappointed about this in such a small chassis to be fair, just don't expect to replace your boom box with the Kindle Fire HD for audio playback.
Battery Life and Charging
Battery life has averaged about ten hours of assorted use (apps, books, music, videos) from a full charge. Your mileage may vary with your usage mix; apps and games devour power the most quickly. The device does take a long time to charge with my old Kindle Fire adapter (similar AC adapters can also be used).
An hour's charge brought me from 5% to 40% charged; it took another two hours to fully charge my tablet.
A Few New Features
Worth mentioning is Bluetooth capability, not present on the original Kindle Fire. So far, I have been unable use it to play audiobooks and music through my car's speakers, though I was able to successfully pair my new Kindle to the car.
A front-facing HD camera is another new feature on the Kindle HD. While there is no native app for it, it does work with Skype for video calls. You can also use it with facebook to record photos and videos; there are several apps for the camera available for purchase. Picture quality and sound recording are very good, indeed, though I find that the front-facing aspect makes it difficult to take photos of things other than yourself.
In addition to the second-day shipping upgrades Amazon prime offers, you can also access a large library of movies and TV shows with your Kindle Fire HD as a member. In addition, there is a large library of books that are not otherwise free available for borrowing, one per month. Prime is, it should be noted, an additional $79 a year, and you are under no obligation to purchase it.
Although I still have major concerns about the incompatibility of apps, I am nonetheless very happy with my new Kindle Fire HD 8.9 inch tablet. Concerns remain that content I purchase now may not be available for future models. Amazon uses the perpetual access of your purchased content from the cloud as a selling point, so I would expect to be able to use it in the future.
Still, the Kindle Fire HD shines in so many other areas that I can overlook this. The brilliant display, increased size, faster Wi-Fi, camera, Bluetooth, slightly better sound, all make this a truly useful one-stop entertainment device. The $299 price seals the deal.
The Kindle Fire HD 8.9 inch device truly completes the evolution of the Kindle from dedicated e-reader to multi-purpose tablet.
Since this review is about the Kindle Fire HD 8.9", I'll just refer to the others where it's relevant.
Bear in mind that I'm 72, and I'm Australian (with an Australian billing address), and I'm currently in South Korea (where I'll be for a while). Those three pieces of information are relevant to what I have to say.
KINDLE FIRE HD 8.9"
When I bought my Kindle Fire HD, I was actually on a trip to America. Naively, I thought that - having bought the Kindle Fire HD in America (although using my Australian billing address), I'd be able to download movies, for watching while I'm traveling around (which I do a lot). Moreover, I thought I would be able to join Amazon Prime, and have access to all the thousands of movies, and TV programs, that Prime members can download - just for their $79-per-year subscription. Also, I expected that I'd be able to get access to individual songs, as MP3 downloads.
However, despite the fact that, as soon as I got my Kindle Fire HD, I was sent an e-mail from Amazon, telling me all the wonderful things I'd get as a Prime subscriber (including free 2-day shipping) - and giving me a one-month trial to boot - I could not, in fact, be a Prime member. As soon as I tried to activate Prime, I was told that I was geographically restricted - couldn't even get one-track MP3 downloads. It seems that - to get into the Prime deal - one must have a US billing address, and a US home address.
So that was a big disappointment. I was initially so miffed that I thought I'd return the Kindle Fire HD to Amazon, especially since I was still in the US at the time I found I would be subject to geographic restriction. But I kept the Kindle Fire HD because I realized that it was better for a few other functions, than either the Kindle Keyboard, or the Paperwhite.
PLUS FACTORS for the Kindle Fire HD 8.9"
It seems that audiobooks don't have geographic restrictions, as movies, TV programs, and music have. So I've bought several audiobooks and, although the speakers aren't really powerful, they are powerful enough, if you are sitting in a quiet room, to hear the book reading very clearly. In addition, it's possible to use a bluetooth speaker, to get louder sound if it's wanted. Since I majored in English Literature - many years ago! - I'm on a mission to listen my way through all of the classics of the English language (which is so much more relaxing, via listening, than doing all that eye-wearing reading, with a hard-to-hold paperback that won't stay open at the pages you want it to). For example, I've just finished listening to "The Great Gatsby" and that was easy listening - except that the reader, Jake Gyllenhaal, wasn't able to project any sort of vocal personality for the all-important females - Daisy in particular. Just listening to Jake Gyllanhaal's effort to "find" a voice for Daisy (unsuccessfully) left me feeling there'd be no way that a listener/reader (who didn't already know the book well) could believe in Gatsby's obsession with a Daisy that the wish-washy unnoticeable voice personality that Jake Gyllenhaal's narration assigned to her.
Given that it would surely not be easy for a man to render the voice of a young, upper-class, beautiful temptress, with any subtlety or authenticity, I think Audible should use cheaper unknown actors, so the budget could stretch to both a male and female narrator. What Audible seems to be doing is trying to tempt buyers by hiring big-name actors to do the narration. If Jake Gyllenhaal's no-impact rendition of Daisy is an example of the worth of using famous actors, it's a strategy that could backfire.
2) MUSIC VIA THE AMAZON CLOUD
Although I can't get single-track MP3 downloads, I can get instant music to the Kindle Fire HD, if I buy CDs (with AutoRip). As soon as you pay for those CDs - to be delivered to somewhere (anywhere for CDs - expensive shipping to Korea or Australia, but cheap to a friend in America, especially with free shipping for an order over $25), all of the songs are automatically delivered to your Kindle Fire HD (as well as to your PC, Kindle App, etc.) So I'm very happy with that - I've now got about 17 albums loaded up: everything from Vera Lynn and Frank Sinatra to Jackie Evancho and Josh Groban. As I write now, on my PC, I have "David Foster: Hit Man and Friends" playing in the background (on the Kindle Fire) - a bit away from me, rather than blasting out of the PC in front of me, to distract me.
3) GADGET/SOFTWARE INSTRUCTION BOOKS (IN KINDLE FORMAT)
Amazon has zillions of instruction books for IT gadgets and software programs: Kindle Fire HD itself, iPad, Android, Dropbox, Evernote, etc. For those sorts of instruction books - which have colored pictures, and screenshots, it's useless trying to learn from them, on a Kindle Keyboard, or Kindle Paperwhite: the pictures, tables, and screenshots don't translate well into black and white format, and the screens are too small to be able to get "pageful" of text and graphics at the same time. I've never used a Kindle Fire 7", but I'd expect that Kindle to also have a screen which is be too small for these kinds of instructions book. But the screen size of the Kindle Fire HD is perfect for showing pretty much the information (plus graphics) that would fit on the page of a real book - or on the iPad screen.
A second advantage of having those gadget/software instruction books on the Kindle Fire HD is that you can keep the "pages" open on the Kindle Fire while you are trying out operations and techniques on, for example, the Kindle App on the iPad, or on the iPad itself. So it's really like having a book beside you.
A third advantage is that, if you had those instruction books on an iPad, (for using as a reference book "beside" you, while you learn on another gadget), too much of the iPad charge is being used up to keep the books "open" for long periods of time. (It seems that the iPad gobbles up power a lot faster than the Kindle Fire HD does.) So, if you keep the iPad on its default auto-off setting (2 mins), to save the charge, it keeps turning itself off - unless you are actually touching the screen. The Kindle Fire HD stays "on" better, because there's not such a risk of running out of power too soon, if you leave it set at a higher time period for auto-off (such as 30 mins). Of course, it's possible to set both gadgets to "Never" to keep them on all the time you want that "reference book" open beside you - and I did that once, with the iPad. But I forgot to put it back to "2 mins" when I'd finished. So the iPad stayed on "forever" - presumably keeping a sensor fully employed, checking for Wifi hotspots wherever I went (even though it wouldn't have found many that I could connect to, since I don't have a cell-phone with a Wifi hotspot). The result was that, the next time I went to use the iPad - thinking it was still well charged - it was stone dead! Well, the Kindle Fire HD doesn't run out of charge as fast as the iPad, so it seems safe to leave it set on something like 30 minutes (auto-off) all the time - although it would probably be a good idea to set it back to 5 minutes, when finished using it.
4)GOOD FONT/BACKGROUND COLOR OPTION FOR GLARE-SENSITIVE EYES
I have eyes that are very sensitive to glare - white glare from screens, and glossy surfaces. The Kindle Fire HD, unfortunately, has a very glossy screen (compared to the Kindle Keyboard, and Kindle Paperwhite). But I've found a very good way to deal with that glare, such that I can comfortably read from the Kindle Fire HD screen. You can choose your default screen colours - with three options: black font on white background; black font on off-white (sort of like the Kindle Keyboard buff color), and white font on black background. I find that, even with the Kindle Fire HD's glossy screen, I can read very comfortably with that white lettering on a black background. It's a great way to reduce all the glare we get from white screens.
NEGATIVE FACTORS for the Kindle Fire HD 8.9"
1. GEOGRAPHIC RESTRICTION FOR MOVIES, TV PROGRAMS, MP3 MUSIC DOWNLOADS, AND PRIME
One big negative, for me, was outlined above: with an Australian bill-paying account, I can't download movies, TV programs, or MP3 music tracks - or be a member of Amazon Prime (although on my account screen, I keep getting messages that inform me I should join Prime, to reduce the shipping charges that I'm incurring - to Korea,mostly, and that's definitely not a free 2-day deal).
2. KINDLE KEYBOARD AND KINDLE PAPERWHITE BETTER FOR READING LONG BOOKS
Despite being able to set the screen for white lettering on a black background, it's nowhere near as comfortable to read lengthy books (such as novels) on the glossy KINDLE FIRE HD screen - and it's quite a bit heavier to hold up. For general book reading, I actually prefer the Kindle Keyboard best of all - with the e-ink off-white background that's not so glary, although it's handy to have back-lighting on the Paperwhite for reading at night, on airplanes.
3. CAN'T PLACE YOUR ITEM ICONS WHERE YOU WANT TO PUT THEM, AND MAKE THEM STAY THERE!
If you've got a lot of books loaded on to the Kindle Fire HD (and this is also relevant for the iPad Kindle App), you can't make them stay on the Home screen, in some order that suits you. It always happens that, as soon as you access one book, it comes to the top of the heap (so to speak), and so you've lost your grouping of similar kinds of books. In my case, I've got a bunch of RV books, many Instruction books for gadgets, various Travel guides, and Novels, etc. So it annoys the hell out of me when I've gone to the trouble to have all similar books "sitting" arranged beside each other, on the Home screen display. Then, as soon as I access one book, that book comes to the top of the display (or the beginning of the display), and will then end up mixed up with other books that are not in a similar category.
Now, compare this with iBooks, on the iPad - which is excellent from this point of view.
When you save a book for reading in iBooks, you can hold your finger on the book (or pdf) icon, and then move the icon to wherever you want it to be, in your collection. Subsequently, having placed each icon where you want it to be, it stays there - such that, every time you access that book (or pdf), or any other, the items go back "to bed" at the place on the "bookrack" where you put them. Not only does that allow you to keep all your collections grouped together, but it also facilitates developing a visual memory of where particular books or pdf files are, on the bookshelf - very useful if you've got a large collection of pdf files, and they all look pretty much alike, until you bring them up on to the reading screen where you can read the "cover" print more easily.
This feature (or non-feature) is particularly a pain (on the Kindle iPad app), with Lonely Planet pdf files of their guidebooks. Lonely Planet has a few guidebooks as single-file pdf files. But, mostly, they supply the books as a bunch of separate chapters (like mini-books)- without an overall single-file pdf for the books that you've bought. So, just imagine what a mess you can get into with all those individual chapters - especially since the topics of the individual chapters can't easily be read until you bring them up fully on the screen. In addition, for almost all of the guidebooks that come in chapter bundles, the background colors are the same. Each country group of chapters has a unique picture on the cover of every chapter in the collection, but the pictures are small and you can't really see them until you bring a book (a chapter mini-book) up for reading.
Consequently, you get a really messy situation because of Kindles (for the iPad app, or stand-alone Kindles)not allowing you to place your books, in the display, where you want them - and where they will return to after use. For instance, if I bring up a chapter of "Nicaragua" (out of perhaps 13 chapters), and then I bring up a chapter of "Columbia", and then one of "Bolivia" and also "Peru" - all of which I've got on my iPad (saved in both the Kindle App, and iBooks) - I end up with all of the chapters totally scrambled in the filing system; that occurs because no one chapter goes back to "its place" among the other chapters for the guidebook that it belongs to.
So I have to use up more of my iPad's memory than I'd like, by saving all those chapter pdf files into both places: in iBooks, to keep the chapters where I want them to be "filed"; in the Kindle App, so I can access the contents page, touch on a topic in the contents, and get taken immediately wherever I choose to go. (With iBooks, for the same LP guide books, you can't access the contents page as a list, touch on a topic you want to go to, and be routed instantly to that topic - a very helpful feature of the Kindle App.)
4. CAN'T USE THE AMAZON CLOUD TO COPY PDF FILES)FROM THE iPAD KINDLE APP TO THE KINDLE FIRE HD.
When I buy those pdf files of guidebooks, from Lonely Planet (and they are not the same as buying Kindle-ized books of LP guidebooks - which are usually awful, with unreadable maps), I can save those pdf files to the Kindle App on the iPad, and that's fine - except for the mini-book chapters not staying where I want them to stay! However, the Amazon Cloud doesn't seem to allow me to then copy those pdf files on to the Kindle Fire HD - where I'd really like to have them.
Imagine wandering around the back streets of just about any Latin American city (where I intend to be for some months of next year), with your iPad in your hand for consulting your off-Wifi guidebook. If you're foolish enough to be doing that - particularly an old woman like me - there's a pretty good chance some local desperado will grab the iPad and run. On the other hand, a Kindle Fire HD 8.9" would be a way less attractive trophy for a street-roaming snatcher (one who can tell an iPad from a Kindle Fire HD!); the Kindle Fire HD would also be much lighter for carrying around all day, and consulting; plus, even if the Kindle Fire HD does get grabbed, it's a whole lot cheaper to replace than an iPad.
So I'd really like the Amazon Cloud to allow copying of pdf files from my iPad Kindle App, to my Kindle Fire HD. It's probably possible but I can't figure out how to do it. The Amazon Cloud doesn't seem to want to talk to anything not directly bought from Amazon, even if the pdf files are now "in the Amazon system" by virtue of being saved into the Kindle App on the iPad. .
Now, here's the point of this for Amazon's bottom line. The Kindle Fire HD, as we all know, was designed to make it easy for all of us to buy Amazon books, audiobooks, movies, etc - although I, with an Australian billing address, can't manage to buy movies, TV programs, MP3 downloads (or join Amazon Prime). We know, and accept, that this gadget was definitely not dreamed up by Amazon, to facilitate open-sourced buying. But you would think that a Kindle App on an iPad would be able to talk to a stand-alone Kindle, via the Amazon Cloud. Seems not - friends only if Apple is the friendship broker.
Nevertheless, it seems to me that Amazon could benefit from allowing Lonely Planet pdf files to be transferred, via the Amazon Cloud, to a Kindle Fire HD. Why? Well, as most people have probably discovered, it's nice to do all the travel research on an electronic gadget. But, when it comes to the boots-on-the-ground traveling, nothing beats having an actual dead-tree guidebook - extensively thumbed, and defaced with with notes, stickers on pages, and highlighted text. It's very difficult to have those user-friendly possibilities if you are interacting with any kind of tablet, except for trivialities - such as the best places to sleep or eat.
Therefore, allowing Lonely Planet's pdf files to be uploaded on to one's Kindle Fire HD, from an iPad Kindle app, would probably produce sales, from Amazon, of the real books when the travel time comes. Why again? It's way cheaper to buy the actual LP books from Amazon than from Lonely Planet, even if you live in Lonely Planet's country: Australia. For me, the price of buying an LP guidebook, in Australia, is about twice the price that I'd pay from Amazon (with no shipping charge, if I was passing through America, on my way to all those Latin American countries, and had the books delivered to my USA-transit accommodation, before my arrival in America).
For example, I made a trip just to San Francisco about three months ago and, despite having some LP chapters, for San Francisco, on my iPad (as pdf files - before my arrival), I still bought two other SF guidebooks, from Amazon, and had them delivered to the place I intended staying at, in SF. Plus, also from Amazon on that SF trip, I bought several real guidebooks for Japan: Tokyo, Kyoto, Walking in Japan, etc.
So if Amazon allows the uploading of LP pdf files on to a Kindle Fire HP - as Amazon Cloud transfers from an iPad Kindle Fire app, it doesn't mean that Amazon will go broke supporting non-Amazon booksellers. In fact, by allowing such transfers, it just builds greater customer loyalty to Amazon, and its Kindles - AND it's pretty good advertising if little old ladies, like me, are wandering around Nicaragua, Columbia, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, and Costa Rica - and Japan - with their Kindle Fire HD's constantly on show. Amazon couldn't get that kind of advertising if the company paid for it!
Therefore, I think there is a good reason for Amazon not to block pdf files from other publishers - especially from guidebook publishers, such as Lonely Planet, and especially if the pdf files are already in the Amazon system, saved into a Kindle App on an iPad.