Talking tech since 2003

On Friday, the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ which I ordered back in September arrived at my door step, I’ve spent the past few days testing it out and putting together my initial impressions of the device. I plan to have a full review up sometime soon, but being that many of probably going to be shopping soon, I wanted to give you some of my feedback about the device in my use thus far.

The first boot of the device was fairly straight forward, you enter your networks Wi-Fi password, select your time zone, and confirm that your pre-configured Amazon account is correct. I also noticed that my Kindle Fire HD auto-updated its software upon the setup. I’m not sure at this time if all the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ devices are shipping with out of date software or what, but it is something I’ll look into for the complete review. This added a few more minutes to the initial setup of the device.

I thought that the slightly customized welcome message by Jeff Bezos once the device boots up for the first time was a nice touch, too.

The feature of the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ that I was most impressed with in my tests were the speakers powered by Dolby technology. They sound great, I watched Thor and an episode of HBO’s The Newsroom, both sounded phenomenal. I was also really impressed with the display, which has a resolution of 1920×1200.

The integration of Amazon services such as Prime Instant Video are seamless and work very well with the device, I didn’t experience any lag, buffering, or loss of video/audio quality while watching Thor.

The front-facing HD camera looks great, I do wish the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ had a rear-facing camera as well though.

So far, I’ve found the device to be slightly awkward to navigate at times. There have been a few times where I’ve said out loud, “Ugh! How do I get out of this?” which usually happened when I couldn’t get the home or back button to reappear on the screen after opening something.

The last thing I want to mention is something that really bothered me with the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ — it appears that Amazon is trying to up-sell people on their PowerFast Accelerated charger (which isn’t included with the device).

What do I mean by up-sell?

Well, I found that if you plug in the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ into a computer’s USB port whether it be directly into the computer or via a USB hub, the device charges very slowly. And when I say very slowly, I’m not joking. I’m talking about charging only 4% in 3 hours. That’s just painful. Amazon’s solution to this is to have you buy their $20 accelerated charger, which by the way, just allows you to plug in the USB cable into the wall outlet. My solution was to use an Apple USB to wall power outlet adapter (which they give away for free with every iPhone/iPad), and it worked perfectly fine.

Bottom line: if you ever want to be able to charge this device, you need to plug it into the wall, which to me, just seems inconvenient.

Nonetheless, I’ll have my full review up in the near future. Keep an eye out for it!

Update: Check out the full review of the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″


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