Are you trying to decide whether you should buy Amazon’s Fire HDX 8.9 tablet or opt for one of the newer (and cheaper!) 2015 tablet like the Fire HD 8 or Fire HD 10? Do you want to figure out how these tablets differ from each other? You’ve come to the right place!
As of today, the 2014 Fire HDX 8.9 is still Amazon’s most powerful tablet. In September 2015, Amazon released its 5th generation Fire tablets, among them the two highest-end are the Fire HD 10 and Fire HD 8. How good are these 5th generation Kindle Fire tablets compared to the most powerful 4th generation Kindle Fire HDX tablet? Read on.
Amazon Fire HD 10 and Fire HD 8 Portrait
Difference between Amazon Fire HD and Fire HDX 8.9
|Fire HD 8||Fire HD 10||Fire HDX 8.9|
|Colors||Black, Magenta, Blue, Tangerine||Black, White||Black|
|Dimensions||8.4" x 5" x 0.3"||10.3" x 6.3" x 0.3"||9.1" x 6.2" x 0.3"|
|Pixel Density||189 ppi||149 ppi||339 ppi|
|Resolution||1,280 x 800||2,560 x 1,600|
|Processor||Up to 1.5 GHz Quad-Core|
MediaTek MT 8135
|2.5 GHz Quad-Core
Qualcomm Snapdragon 805
|GPU||PowerVR G6200||Adreno 420|
|RAM||1 GB||2 GB|
|Battery*||Up to 8 Hours||Up to 12 hours|
|Internal Storage**||8 GB (4.5 GB)|
16 GB (11.6 GB)
|16 GB (11.6 GB)|
32 GB (26 GB)
|16 GB (9.9 GB)
32 GB (24.3 GB)
64 GB (52.9 GB)
|External Storage||microSD Card (up to 128GB)||No|
|Camera||1MP Front Camera|
5MP Rear Camera
|1MP Front Camera
8MP Rear Camera
|Audio||Dual Stereo Speakers|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi Only||Wi-Fi Only or
Wi-Fi + 4G (Optional)
|Wi-Fi||Dual-band, single antenna|
|Dual-band, dual antenna
802.11ac with MIMO + HT80
|Weight||Wi-Fi: 11 oz (311 g)||Wi-Fi: 15.2 oz (432 g)||Wi-Fi: 13.2 oz (375 g)
4G: 13.7 oz (389 g)
|OS Ver.||Fire OS 5 Belini||Fire OS 4 Sangria|
|Release||September 30, 2015||October 21, 2014|
**The usable storage is stated inside the bracket. Some of the storage options may be out of stock from time to time.
At a closer glance, the Fire HDX 8.9 mostly comes up on top among the three tablets. It comes with a more powerful quad processor and graphic processor, a better and crispier display, more RAM, larger internal storage with more options, better cameras, 4G LTE connectivity option, and a longer-lasting battery.
On the other hand, the Fire HD 8 and HD 10 beat the Fire HDX 8.9 in terms of price (both are much cheaper), color options, a newer version of Amazon’s Fire OS, and microSD card support.
With regard to size and weight, the Fire HD 10 is the biggest and heaviest of the three tablets, follow by the Fire HDX 8.9 and then the Fire HD 8.
Similarities of Amazon Fire HD and Fire HDX 8.9
Here are the most notable similarities among these three tablets:
Thickness – Amazon’s Fire tablets seem to get slimmer and slimmer by generation. The previous generation of Fire HD was 0.4” thick, while the 2015 HD tablets and the 2014 HDX 8.9 is only 0.3” thick. Slimmer tablets are sexier and more comfortable to hold.
Front Camera – A 720p HD front-facing camera is a feature common to these three tablets. 720p is easily good enough for video chat.
Cloud Storage – Amazon provide a free unlimited cloud storage not only for all the content you purchased from Amazon, but also for all the photos you take from these Amazon Fire tablets. This free storage is a great benefit, especially if you’re a photo geek.
Firefly – A technology feature crafted by Amazon, Firefly is designed to scan and identify physical products and use the internet to look for product details on Amazon. Firefly can also be used to identify music, movies, and TV shows.
Audio – All three tablets come with a dual integrated stereo speakers and Dolby Atmos audio technology. When you’re using headphones to listen to Dolby Atmos encoded content, your listening experience is transformed. The multidimensional sound will seem to flow above and around you.
Advantage of Amazon Fire HD over Fire HDX 8.9
For the Fire HD 8
Here, we list the advantages of the Fire HDs over the Fire HDX 8.9.
- MicroSD Card – All of the 2015 Fire tablets support the use of a microSD card of up to 128 GB, which is twice the capacity of the biggest storage model of the Fire HDX 8.9!
New Fire OS – The 2 Fire HDs come pre-installed with Amazon’s latest operating system which is called Fire OS 5 “Bellini”. Bellini is a custom OS that’s based upon the Android OS 5 (Lollipop). Fire OS 5 offers a new user interface that gives you content pages dedicated to your books, games, music, videos, apps, magazines, and audiobooks; it also offers a few other enhancements.
Price – If you are looking for an affordable tablet and you’re not a performance geek, you’ll find that the HD 8 will do the job nicely. The HD 8 is a solid tablet that’s much cheaper than the Fire HDX 8.9.
Size and Weight – The Fire HD 8 is 26% smaller and 17% lighter than the HDX 8.9, which makes this tablet more portable for travelers.
Color Options – The Fire HD 8 comes in 4 different colors (black, magenta, blue, and tangerine) while the Fire HDX 8.9 only comes in black.
What about the Fire HD 10?
The one outstanding feature of the Fire HD 10 is its 10.1” screen which is much bigger than that of the Fire HD 8 (60% bigger) and that of the HDX 8.9 (29% bigger). Given its additional viewing size, the Fire HD 10 is a much better tablet for watching movies.
The tablets also differ in the following areas:
Screen pixel density – The Fire HD 10 has the lowest pixel density while the Fire HDX 8.9 has the highest.
Size and weight – The Fire HD 10 is 55% bigger in size and 39% heavier in weight than the HD 8; 15% bigger in size and about 15% heavier in weight than the Fire HDX 8.9.
Color choices – The Fire HD 10 has two while the Fire HD 8 has four and the Fire HDX 8.9 has only one.
Price – The Fire HD 10 is more expensive than the Fire HD 8 but a lot cheaper than the Fire HDX 8.9.
Beyond the above, the Fire HD 10 essentially offers the same things (e.g. microSD card, Fire OS 5, etc.) that the Fire HD 8 does.
Advantage of Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 over Fire HD
Performance – Performance is where the HDX 8.9 really shines, as it comes with a more powerful quad-core processor and graphics processor (the Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 (APQ8084) and the Adreno 420, respectively).
The table below proves that the Fire HDX 8.9 beats both the Fire HD 8 and HD 10 in terms of raw performance (the higher the score, the better the performance).
|3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited|
|Fire HDX 8.9||19,053|
|Fire HD 8||10,090|
|Fire HD 10||10,097|
RAM – The Fire HDX 8.9 has twice the RAM of the Fire HD tablets. You can run more apps at the same time with HDX 8.9’s 2GB of RAM.
Display Quality – With a higher resolution (2,560 x 1,600) and a higher pixel density of 339 pixel per inch (PPI), the Fire HDX 8.9 has the best display quality of the three tablets, which makes it preferable for viewing pictures, reading with small fonts, as well as for watching TV shows and movies of HD 1080p quality.
Battery Life – The Fire HDX 8.9 has a 6,000 mAh Li-Polymer battery which can last up to 12 hours of use, while the Fire HD tablets only have 8 hours of battery life.
Photo Quality – The Fire HDX 8.9 has a 8-megapixel rear camera capable of producing larger and sharper images than those taken with the 5-megapixel camera of the Fire HD tablets.
Furthermore, the Fire HDX 8.9 comes with its own digital image stabilizer, which reduces the camera shakiness that can occur whenever you hold the camera in your hand. This digital image stabilizer is a huge help when you want to capture some important moments as clearly as possible.
Internal Storage – The largest internal storage option of the Fire HDX 8.9 is 64 GB, which is double and quadruple the internal storage of the HD 10 and the HD 8 respectively. The HDX 8.9’s 64 GB of internal storage will make it difficult for you to run out of room.
Connectivity – The Fire HDX 8.9 is the only tablet among these three that has the option of supporting 4G cellular connectivity. This makes the Fire HDX 8.9 4G model a great companion for travelers.
In terms of Wi-Fi connectivity, the HDX 8.9 is more advanced. Its dual-antenna and MIMO (Multiple Input and Multiple Output) features allow the tablet to simultaneously receive and transmit data, and enhances data throughput, speed, and range.
Mayday – All three tablets have on-device tech support that allows an Amazon customer service tech support to act as a sort of co-pilot for the tablet user by accessing the device to provide assistance. Only the Fire HDX device, however, has a Mayday button on its screen. All you have to do is to press this button to connect your HDX to Amazon. A tech support will show up in a window right on your screen. You can see them, but they cannot see you.
While the Fire HD tablets do have similar support (it’s called Screen Sharing), they do not have a Mayday button, and there is no option to video chat. In order for a tech agent to remotely access your device, you have to call Amazon by phone and permit them to do so. Obviously, the Fire HDX’s Mayday button is much more user-friendly than the Fire HDs’.
SlimPort – The Fire HDX 8.9 boasts a SlimPort enabled USB port that you can use for connecting the device to an HDTV or VGA monitor (check this Amazon customer review for details). The Fire HDs do not support this feature, but all 3 tablets support the use of an OTG USB Thumb Drive.
Accessories – The Fire HDX 8.9 comes with a 9W power charger which provide a higher charging current than the Fire HDs’ bundled 5W power charger.
This 9W power charger is quite exceptional when you consider the fact that Amazon only includes a 5W power charger with all of the other Fire tablets they currently sell. A 9W power charger will charge your other Fire tablets and Kindle e-readers faster.
All in all, the Fire HDX 8.9 comes on top, beating the two Fire HD tablets in terms of raw performance. However, not everyone needs this kind of tablet nor can everyone afford, hence the existence of the Fire HD tablets that are designed to be nice tablets available at an affordable price. To put it simply, each of these tablets has been designed to cater to a slightly different type of person. Here’s what we think…
Who Should Get the Kindle Fire HD Tablets?
The Amazon Fire HD 8 is…
For those who have a budget to consider. The Fire HD 8 is cheaper and can more or less provide you with the same entertainment value that you could get from the other two tablets.
For those who value portability. The Fire HD 8 is the smallest and lightest of the three. It is handy and portable enough to easily fit in your bag.
For those who store a lot of digital content to their devices, such as pictures, videos, movies, etc. With the support of a microSD card, you can expand the storage to as much as 128 GB. That’s twice the amount of internal storage offered by the Fire HDX 8.9 and for a lower price too.
Here is a short sharing on Amazon from an HDX 8.9 owner telling you how he felt after buying a HD 8 and why he plans to buy one more for his wife.
For the Amazon Fire HD 10…
The Fire HD 10, as previously mentioned, offers more or less the same things as the Fire HD 8, such as the support of microSD card and a relatively low price. The major difference is portability—the HD 10 is the biggest tablet of the three. If you want a tablet like the Fire HD 8 but with a bigger screen and you don’t mind losing a little bit of display quality (from 189 PPI to 149 PPI) then the Fire HD 10 is for you.
Here is a short review from an Amazon customer telling you why he prefers Fire HD 10 over the Fire HDX 8.9.
You may also be interested in checking out our comparison of Fire HD 10 and Fire HD 8, in case you’re still struggling to decide between the two devices.
Who Should Get the Fire HDX 8.9?
Those who want a powerful tablet that can really perform well. As mentioned above, the Fire HDX 8.9 is Amazon’s most powerful tablet. If you are a performance geek or if you want a tablet that can handle more demanding games and works, then the Fire HDX 8.9 is for you.
Those who wants a tablet with cellular connectivity option. The Fire HDX 8.9 is the only tablet of the three that has a Wi-Fi and 4G LTE model.
Those who value a long battery life. The Fire HDX 8.9 has a battery life that can last up to 12 hours—50% longer than the 8 hours of battery life offered by the Fire HD tablets.
Those who values internal storage over external. Sometimes, internal storage is more important than external storage, since some apps can only be installed in the device’s internal storage.
Furthermore, microSD cards on Fire tablets have limitations (Amazon help page). The microSD cards can be used to store videos, photos, games and apps. Books, audiobooks, browser downloads, and emails may only be stored to the tablet’s internal storage.
Those who wants the best display quality from their tablet. The Fire HDX 8.9 offers the best image quality among the three, which makes it an ideal tablet for those who use their tablet to watch a lot of videos, movies, or TV shows. The higher display quality even benefits avid readers, as small fonts will look clearer and crispier.
Those who wants the best camera from their tablet. All three tablets can produce nice images, but the photos or videos taken with the Fire HDX 8.9 will be sharper and show more detail thanks to the tablet’s 8 megapixel rear camera, digital image stabilizer and high-resolution screen. The HDX 8.9 also has an LED flash you can use to take pictures even in the dark.
Here is a brief note on Amazon from a 30 year IT veteran about why he loves the Fire HDX 8.9 so much.
If you like the HDX 8.9 but find it too expensive, you might consider purchasing a certified refurbished 3rd generation Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 on Amazon—a previous generation of the Fire HDX 8.9—which is much cheaper. You can also take a look at our comparison review of these two tablets.
Want to know more about these Fire tablets or other Amazon tablets? Check out our articles below.
- Protection Plan for Amazon Fire and Fire HD 5th generation?
- Amazon Fire HD 10 vs Fire HD 8 Comparison
Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 review: A high-end tablet for the whole family – Xiomara Blanco, CNET, October 30, 2014
Amazon Fire HD 8 review: An affordable and family-friendly media consumption tablet for Amazon Prime members – Xiomara Blanco, CNET, October 15, 2015