Upon first glance, there hardly seems to be any difference between the newer 2014 Fire HDX 8.9 (the 4th generation Fire tablet) and the 2013 Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 (the previous 3rd generation Fire tablet) from Amazon. Both are nearly identical in their weight, size, and screen resolution, and the sleek, industrial design of each model is so similar that the two models look remarkably alike.
It should be noted that since Amazon hasn’t released any newer HDX tablets, these two HDX tablets are the most powerful devices among all the tablets that Amazon has ever released—they’re both more powerful than all of the 5th generation Fire tablets Amazon released in the year 2015!
So is there any significant difference between the two? Which one is right for you? Let’s find out!
Difference between Fire HDX 8.9 and Kindle Fire HDX 8.9
Below is a quick comparison of the two devices.
|Specs||Kindle Fire HDX 8.9|
|Fire HDX 8.9
|Storage||16, 32, or 64 GB*||16, 32, or 64 GB*|
|Display||8.9 inches, 339 ppi||8.9 inches, 339 ppi|
|GPU||Adreno 330||Adreno 420|
|Processor||2.2 GHz Quad-core|
|2.5 GHz Quad-core
|Memory||2 GB||2 GB|
|Wi-Fi||Dual band, dual antenna|
|Dual band, dual antenna
|4G||4G (Optional)||4G (Optional)|
|Audio||Dolby Digital Plus||Dolby Atmos|
|Size||9.1" x 6.2" x 0.31"||9.1" x 6.2" x 0.30"|
|Weight||4G: 13.5 oz (384 g)|
Wi-Fi: 13.2 oz (374 g)
|4G: 13.7 oz (389 g)
Wi-Fi: 13.2 oz (375 g)
|Cameras||Rear camera 8MP|
Front camera 720p HD
|Rear camera 8MP
Front camera 720p HD
|USB Port||USB 2.0|
(micro-B connector) port
|SlimPort enabled USB 2.0
(micro-B connector) port
|Battery Life**||Up to 12 hours||Up to 12 hours|
|Release Date||November 7, 2013||October 21, 2014|
**Based on reading, surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, and listening to music. Actual results may vary.
Advantages of Fire HDX 8.9 over Kindle Fire HDX 8.9
CPU & GPU – The central processing unit (CPU) and the graphical processing unit (GPU) of both models come from the same manufacturer.
The difference here is that the Fire HDX 8.9 2014’s CPU uses Snapdragon 805, which is faster and more powerful than the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 2013’s Snapdragon 800. The 2014 model’s Qualcomm Adreno 420 GPU also provides 40% better performance than the 2013 model’s Adreno 330.
The result? The Fire HDX 8.9 2014 lets you open your apps faster, gives you more stunning picture quality for your movies, and render your games with graphics that are closer to the quality offered by a game-console.
Audio – The HDX 8.9 2014 features a Dolby Atmos sound system, which is an upgrade from the HDX 8.9 2013’s Dolby Digital Plus. Dolby Atmos provides 3-dimensional sound and is able to replicate the sound’s direction from where it would normally come when you’re in a theatre.
If you are watching a movie on the Fire HDX 8.9 2014, you will get the feeling that its sounds are coming from different directions. The movie-watching experience is therefore more immersive on the 2014 model. To optimize the effects of this new sound system, however, you’ll need headphones and content that’s Dolby Atmos encoded.
- Light Sensor – Both models have a light sensor. However, the 2014 model has a new function called Dynamic Light Control, which gathers ambient light data surrounding the tablet. Using this data, the tablet automatically fine tunes the LCD display color temperature and color balance which make the screen a closer simulation to the surface of a printed book.
- Wi-Fi – The HDX 8.9 2014 supports the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard while the HDX 8.9 2013 does not. This new 802.11ac standard support allows for up to 3 to 10 times faster Wi-Fi transmission speed. The actual speed gain of the 2014 model will depend on your Wi-Fi router at your home.
USB Port– The HDX 2014 boasts a SlimPort enabled USB port. While the USB port of the HDX 2013 can only be used for charging the tablet and connecting it to a computer, the SlimPort enabled USB port of the 2014 model can—with a proper adapter—also be used for connecting the device to an HDTV or VGA monitor, or even a thumb drive.
Operating System – Compared to the Fire OS 3 (Mojito) that comes default on the 2013 model, the 2014 model’s Fire OS 4 (Sangria) has a few notable upgrades.
Sangria allows users to create multiple profiles for both adults and children. Creating a separate profile for your child eliminates the need to tweak your tablet’s settings every time your child uses it. Now, you can simply switch to your child’s profile. Sangria also offers more efficient power saving, so that you can enjoy a longer battery life.
It should be noted that upon receiving the HDX 8.9 2013, which ships with the Mojito OS, all you need to do is to connect the device to Wi-Fi and press the “sync” button. If you permit the update, your device will automatically download and install the new Sangria OS. Thus, the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 2013 can run the same OS that comes pre-installed on the Fire HDX 8.9 2014.
Advantages of Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 over Fire HDX 8.9
- Price– The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 2013 is cheaper than the new Fire HDX 8.9 (but it depends on the availability of models with different storage). If you’re looking for the most budget-friendly option, know that you can get the Fire HDX 8.9 2014’s memory, battery life, and HDX display with similar hardware at a cheaper price.
Who should buy the previous Kindle Fire HDX 8.9?
The budget conscious – For individuals who don’t mind making minor sacrifices in performance in order to save some money (comparing the 3rd generation to the 4th generation, and depending on availability of their models with different storage), the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is a great choice.
New-comers to the world of tablets – The previous HDX 8.9 has everything you could hope to expect from a basic tablet. It’s a great start for someone who’s never purchased a tablet before. In fact, the 3rd generation model’s performance can even be compare to the performance of the iPad Air, but the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 3rd generation is cheaper than the iPad Air.
Causal users – If you’re not too meticulous when it comes to your demands for performance and features, you won’t find the previous HDX 8.9 to be much different from its 4th generation successor.
The following user comment should help you make a final decision:
Who should buy the newer Fire HDX 8.9?
Movie lovers – Movie fans will love the Fire HDX 8.9’s Dolby Atmos sound system. The 4th generation HDX makes theater-quality sound available at any time, as long as you’re equipped with headphones and Dolby Atmos encoded content.
With the new model, you also have the option of watching your movie on your HDTV through a HDMI cable (using an HDMI adapter). Alternatively, you can watch your 2013 model’s content on Miracast-enabled HDTVs according to Amazon.
Gamers – The GPU Adreno 420 on the Fire HDX 8.9 provides a more realistic gaming experience by rendering graphics more quickly than the GPU of the 2013 model. Gamers, especially those who love playing graphic-intensive games, will find the 2014 model much more appealing than the 2013 model.
The productivity guys – For individuals who prefer to use a single device for both work and play, the current 4th generation Fire HDX 8.9 is a better device. The new model comes with WPS Office pre-installed, as well as faster and more powerful processors for enhanced multi-tasking. With the new model’s SlimPort enabled USB port, you can easily transfer files to and from your thumb drive. Working men will find that the features of the new model suit their needs markedly better than those of the previous generation model.
The following opinion from someone who owns both the Fire Tablet and the iPad should help you make your final decision:
- Fire HDX 8.9 vs Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10
- Should You get Extended Warranty & Accident Protection Plans for Fire HDX?
- Kindle Fire HDX 7 vs Fire HD 6 and HD 7
Review on Kindle Fire 8.9 2013
- Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 review – Evan Kypreos, trustedreviews.com, November 27, 2013
- Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 in review (2013) – Jonathan Bray, alphr.com, October 04, 2014
Review on Fire HDX 8.9 2014
- Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 (2014) – gadgets.ndtv.com
- Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 (2014) Tablet Review –Paul Lilly, hothardware.com, December 11, 2014