Review: Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 strong challenger to Apple iPad Air in looks, challenges on price

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Amazon.com Inc begins shipping Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 on Thursday, starting at $379, which is cheaper than the new $399 iPad Mini. Amazon.com Inc begins shipping Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 on Thursday, starting at $379, which is cheaper than the new $399 iPad Mini.
SummaryAmazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 weighs less than Apple Inc's iPad yet it sports sharper display, lower price tag.

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9: On the heels of Apple Inc's new, lighter iPad Air, Amazon has come out with a full-size tablet that weighs even less yet sports a sharper display and a lower price tag. Although Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 hasn't received as much attention as the iPad Air, it is emerging as the strongest challenger yet to Apple's device.

The new Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 shares many of the features found in a smaller version that came out Oct. 18.

A row of tablets at the top of the screen gives you quick access to Amazon services such as e-books, music, video and shopping. Recently used apps and content appear in the middle so you can return to them quickly. The bottom row has icons for frequently used apps such as email and the camera.

Need help? Just hit the "Mayday" button. You'll be connected within seconds to a live customer-service representative, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You see the representatives in a video box, but they can only hear you and see what's on your screen. They can also help guide you by placing orange markers on your screen or taking control of your device completely.

I found all the reps to be patient as they walked me through attempts to locate a missing book, play a podcast and download items from the Dropbox storage service. In one case, the representative called my cellphone as promised an hour later to follow up. We never found a solution on Dropbox, though - but more on that later.

The best part of the new Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is its price. Amazon.com Inc. begins shipping it on Thursday, starting at $379. That's cheaper than the new $399 iPad Mini, which has a display that measures 7.9 inches diagonally. The full-size Kindle Fire HDX has an 8.9-inch screen, just short of the iPad Air's 9.7 inches. Even cheaper is the 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX, which costs $229.

If you can afford a $499 tablet and aren't a heavy user of Amazon services, you might still consider the iPad Air.

Yes, the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is lighter, at about 0.83 pound, or 17 per cent less than the Air. But I couldn't really tell the difference holding the two side by side.

And yes, the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 has a sharper screen, with a resolution of 339 pixels

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