tablets

Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 Review

A notable size upgrade over the first Kindle Fire HD, the 8.9 inch version falls a bit short.

November 29, 2012
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Science Introduction

Though the software is a chore to use, the hardware is about average.

Screen Performance

Fair contrast and low reflectivity, but the color accuracy isn't great

Given that the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 inch has a 7.625 x 4.75-inch screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1200, we can do the math out to figure that the Kindle Fire HD has a pixel density of 252 pixels per inch (PPI), which is very close to the density often termed "retina" by other tablet manufacturers. If you're going to be holding the tablet at a natural position, you're not going to notice individual pixels if your vision is anything less than perfect.

Despite the acclaim given to this screen, the contrast performance is not very inspiring. While it does net a good contrast ratio by having a good black level of 0.44 cd/m2 and a decently high peak brightness of 343.2 cd/m2, its gamma (how well it transitions from each value along a greyscale) is very poor and inconsistent. Right now you're probably thinking: "whatever, nerd who cares?" Well, if you're a fan of horror flicks, you'll probably be unable to see the monsters lurking in the shadows of your movies, and this may get annoying after a while.

When compared to the rec. 709 standard, the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 inch's color gamut leaves much to be desired. Not only does it undersaturate reds and greens, but it also shifts the deepest blue values towards a more cyan color. You may not notice this unless you demand absolute perfection from your screens as a videophile, but it's something to make a mental note of.

Where the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 inch's screen does shine is in terms of reflectivity, though the idiom is a bit ironic as the screen does not shine much in bright light. As it only reflects 9% of all light shone on the screen back at the user, we've seen far worse tablets in this regard, and you'll be able to use it in brighter lighting conditions no sweat.

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Battery Life

Thoroughly middling battery life

After running the gantlet of our rather unforgiving battery tests, we've come to the conclusion that you can reasonably expect the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 inch to last 5 hours, 52 minutes reading an eBook, and 6 hours, 22 minutes playing a video file. In our tests, we crank the backlight and disable all wireless and additional apps, so deviating from this mode of operation will give you different results.

Other Tests

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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