Amazon is beefing up its Fire tablet line.
The company announced Tuesday the new Fire 11 Max(opens in a new tab), an 11-inch, Alexa-enabled device with a premium design that supports a new full-size detachable Keyboard Case(opens in a new tab) ($89.99) and Made for Amazon Stylus Pen(opens in a new tab) ($34.99). Billed as an “entertainment powerhouse,” it’s Amazon’s biggest, brightest, and most capable tablet to date.
The Fire 11 Max is now available for preorder as a standalone device starting at $229.99 and as part of a Productivity Bundle(opens in a new tab) with its keyboard case and stylus starting at $329.99. (That saves you almost $25 versus purchasing the accessories individually, and includes a free three-month trial of Microsoft 365 Personal worth about $21.) Both ship on June 14.
You can write or draw on the Fire 11 Max with the new battery-powered Made for Amazon Stylus Pen, with no pairing required.
“The team has packed in an amazing number of premium features…all at an incredible value,” Kevin Keith, vice president of Amazon Devices, said in a statement. “The new Fire Max 11 is proof you can get everything you need from a tablet without paying premium prices.”
Amazon still has a ways to go if it wants to make a tablet that competes directly with the likes of an Apple iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab, to be clear. But this seems like a bigger step in that direction compared to previous Fire tablets, which have been falling squarely within the “budget” category for years.
For starters, the Fire 11 Max ditches its predecessors’ colorful plastic build for more grown-up gray aluminum with slim bezels and strengthened alumino-silicate glass. Amazon says it’s three times as durable as the $449 10th-generation iPad from October 2022, but drop-test at your own risk.
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The screen itself has a 2,000 x 1,200 resolution at 213 pixels per inch (ppi) with 410 nits of brightness. It should look sharp and vibrant but go easy on your eyeballs, having been certified for low blue light, which makes the Fire 11 Max promising for streaming and gaming. Like Amazon’s other tablets, it also comes with a built-in Alexa assistant and a “Show Mode” that turns it into a de facto smart home hub.
You can boot up the Fire 11 Max just by touching the integrated fingerprint sensor on its power button, which is a first for an Amazon tablet. It runs on a 2.2Ghz octa-core processor with 4GB of RAM and WiFi 6 connectivity, which supposedly makes it almost 50 percent faster than the $179.99 Fire HD 10 Plus(opens in a new tab) from 2021; that one has a 2.0Ghz octa-core processor and the same amount of memory.
The Fire 11 Max comes in gray. Just gray.
Amazon has also given the Fire 11 Max new storage options of 64 or 128GB (both expandable by up to 1TB via microSD card) and bumped its battery life to up to 14 hours per charge (or two hours longer than the Fire HD 10 Plus). However, it does not come with wireless charging — that’s still a Fire HD 10 Plus exclusive.
The other notable Fire 11 Max upgrades went to its cameras: There’s an 8MP front-facing lens and an 8MP rear one with auto-focus and 1080p HD video recording. The Fire HD 10 Plus had 2MP front-facing and 5MP rear-facing cameras with 720p HD video recording, for comparison’s sake.
The Fire 11 Max turns into a 2-in-1 device with the new Keyboard Case, which features two customizable shortcut keys, 15 pre-programmed shortcut keys, and trackpad gestures for speedy navigation. It attaches to the tablet magnetically, so there’s no setup or Bluetooth connecting required (though the Fire 11 Max does support it if you want to use a third-party keyboard). The same goes for the new Made for Amazon Stylus Pen, which offers up to six months of use on a single AAAA battery.
There’s no kid version of the Fire 11 Max, like there is with the Fire 7(opens in a new tab), HD 8(opens in a new tab), and HD 10(opens in a new tab), though it supports up to four child profiles (in addition to two adult profiles), and you can enable parental controls from there.