Like its smaller brother, the HDX 7, the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 shoots toward the top of the tablet hierarchy thanks to three notable features: excellent pricing that's competitive with -- or lower than -- the best large premium tablets on the market; an awesome content ecosystem (especially for Amazon Prime members) that goes toe-to-toe with iTunes; and real-time customer service with the new Mayday button, which brings a live Amazon rep on a video screen within seconds -- for free.
The HDX 8.9 offers all of that and improves on the 7-incher by including an 8-megapixel back camera and a sharper, more color-accurate screen. It's also the lightest large tablet currently on the market.
Unfortunately, not ready at launch are the video sling feature -- you can "kick" videos from your HDX to a compatible device or Smart TV -- nor Goodreads integration. Also, 16GB is fast becoming too small to store HD content, and without access to the Google Play store, HDX owners are still missing out on plenty of Android apps.
Still, as a pure media consumption device there is none better. While the iPad Air is home to the most and best apps of any tablet, the HDX 8.9 starts at $379; that's $120 less than the starting price for the iPad Air and even undercuts the upcoming -- and smaller -- iPad Mini Retina by about $20.