Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 tablet is slimmer, faster, and sharper; pricing starts at $379, ships November 7 (hands-on)

The 8.9-inch tablet weighs less than 1 pound and receives an impressive upgrade with a 2,560x1,600-pixel-resolution screen and a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor.

Xiomara Blanco David Carnoy

Xiomara Blanco

Associate Editor / Reviews - Tablets and monitors

Xiomara Blanco is an associate editor for CNET Reviews. She's a Bay Area native with a knack for tech that makes life easier and more enjoyable. So, don't expect her to review printers anytime soon.

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David Carnoy

Executive Editor / Reviews

Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.

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Amazon continues to bring the heat with the upgraded Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 tablet. Starting at $379 (for the 16GB model), the 8.9-inch reboot features a super-high-resolution screen, speedier internals, and one of the lightest designs for a tablet its size.

The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is now available for preorder and will ship starting November 7. The 4G model, priced at $479, is also available for preorder and will start shipping December 10.

Amazon shows off new Kindles

The HDX 8.9 is the largest of Amazon's three new tablets for 2013. The etailing giant is also bowing two 7-inch models, the Kindle Fire HDX (starting at $229), and the revamped Kindle Fire HD, which essentially wraps the 2012 model in an updated housing -- and adds a rock-bottom $139 price tag.

The new 8.9-inch slate houses a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM, a quad-core Adreno 330 GPU, and will come with your choice of 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB of internal storage.

Amazon's new Kindle Fire tablets (pictures)

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Its 2,560x1,600-pixel-resolution screen rocks an impressive pixel density at 339 ppi (pixels per inch), matching the 2012 Google Nexus 10, and -- according to Amazon -- it boasts 100 percent sRGB color accuracy.

Weighing a mere 0.82 pound, the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is one of the lightest large tablets available. In addition to the front-facing HD camera, the spiffy 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, electronic image stabilization, and wide aperture lens -- for better low-light photos -- is another significant upgrade to the largest slate in the Kindle Fire lineup.

The tablet is 34 percent lighter than the previous model and features a completely redesigned back panel.

The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 ships with the latest Fire OS 3.0, dubbed "Mojito," and its battery life lasts a purported 11 hours of mixed use and 17 hours of reading. However, not all is new on the 8.9-inch tablet; making a welcome return are the impressively clear-sounding dual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus audio.

Although the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 has slimmed down in size, it hasn't cut back on features. All of the Kindle Fire tablets include a bevy of fresh perks, including the Mayday button, a new feature that provides free tech support on the device, and the ability to download Amazon Prime Instant Video content for offline viewing.

The 8-megapixel rear camera features an LED flash, image stabilization, and a wide aperture for better low-light photography.

CNET's David Carnoy got a chance to spend some time with all three new Amazon tablets. Among his first impressions:

Read CNET's coverage of the Kindle Fire HDX 7 and the 2013 Kindle Fire HD for additional hands-on details of Amazon's other new tablets.

The new 8.9-inch Kindle Fire is refreshingly revamped from last year's model.

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