The Kindle Fire HD 8.9 is the big brother of the 7in version, which is simply called the Kindle Fire HD. See our Kindle Fire HD review.
Both tablets share an identical design, with the 8.9 being larger because of the 8.9-inch screen.
This means the Amazon's latest tablet has all the same ports and buttons in the same places as the 7-inch model.
It's clearly designed to be used landscape rather than portrait, although the orientation sensor work out which way you're holding the Fire HD 8.9 and rotates the image accordingly.
A webcam sits centrally above the screen – like a laptop's – and the speakers are on the left and right on the rear. Depending on how you hold it, your hands either reflect the sound, or muffle it.
On the bottom edge are micro-USB and micro-HDMI ports - it's good that Amazon uses standard connectors rather than a proprietary dock.
The buttons on the right-hand side sit flush with the body, and are hard to locate without looking.
Build quality is impressive, but it weighs almost as much as an iPad 2. With Amazon’s case attached, the Fire HD 8.9 weighs almost 800 grams.
One of the highlights is the excellent full HD screen. The 1920x1080 resolution makes everything nice and sharp.
For the price, it’s a superb screen. Viewing angles are wide, colours are deep and contrast is good. HD video looks wonderful, as do ebooks, which are one of the main reasons to buy a Kindle, of course.
The tablet runs the same software as Amazon's other Kindle Fires. It's slick and very easy to use but although based on Android it’s pretty locked down and you can't access to the Google Play store.
Instead Amazon wants you to buy apps, games, magazines, videos and ebooks from its own store.
That’s understandable but it’s certainly something to bear in mind. You can install third-party apps - If you know what you’re doing - so it’s possible to run Android apps that aren’t available in Amazon’s app store.
Amazon uses Lovefilm Instant for streaming movies and TV shows. You can’t download them for offline viewing, so you’ll need an internet connection. If you’d prefer, you can install the free Netflix app from Amazon’s App Store.
Reading ebooks is a pleasure on the big screen, but if you’re moving from a traditional Kindle, you’ll definitely notice the extra weight.
There are two models of the Fire HD 8.9, one with 16 gig of storage, and one with 32. Choose wisely as you can’t add more since there's no memory card slot. With each model you can choose whether to spend an extra £10 when purchasing to avoid the adverts on the lock screen. There's no charger in the box, so you should budget for one as it will take 14 hours to charge from a PC's USB port.
In terms of performance, the Fire HD 8.9 is fairly zippy, but not as quick as the fastest Android tablets. In our benchmarks, it was on a par with Google's Nexus 7.
Although the browser loads web pages quickly enough, there's a delay when loading content as you scroll up and down a web page.
Another annoyance is the back button in the status bar which sometimes sits to the right of the keyboard. You instinctively tap it to delete something, instead of using the Delete key on the keyboard itself.
Kindle Fire HD 8.9" verdict
The Kindle Fire HD 8.9 is a good-value tablet for those who are happy to be locked into Amazon’s system. For a lot of people, that won’t matter at all as it’s a good system, particularly if you want to use the tablet mainly as an e-reader.
The hardware is hard to fault – excepting the hard-to-find buttons – and the screen is great for the money.
The app store is lacking compared to Google Play, but undemanding users will find almost everything they need.