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The Fire Max 11 is Amazon’s biggest, most powerful tablet with an 11 inch FHD+ display, a MediaTek MT8188J processor, 4GB of RAM, and at least 64GB of storage.

It’s also Amazon’s most expensive Fire tablet, with prices starting at $230. But it’s very competitively priced with other tablets in this size category… especially if you add the optional keyboard and USI 2.0 stylus, which brings the starting price to $330. First unveiled in May, the Fire Max 11 is now available for purchase. Whether it’s worth buying may be up for debate though.

The good news is that Amazon says the Fire Max 11 has 50% more processing power than the latest Fire HD 10 and early reviews seem to indicate that you can feel it: the tablet is said to be more responsive than the company’s other products, which can sometimes feel sluggish.

The bad news is that Amazon positions this bigger, faster tablet as a productivity device and for many users it probably… isn’t that.

While it can be bundled with a keyboard for quicker text input and a pen for handwritten notes and drawings, the Fire Max 11 ships with the same Fire OS 8 software that’s available for the company’s other recent tablets. It’s a fork of Google’s Android operating system that puts Amazon’s apps and services front and center… and leaves out Google’s.

That means instead of the Chrome web browser you get Amazon’s Silk browser. Instead of the Google Play Store you get the Amazon Appstore (with far, far fewer apps). Instead of Gmail you get a pretty basic email client. And there’s no real replacement for Google Drive, Google Docs, or Google Meet, although you can run Microsoft’s Office mobile apps on the tablet, so it might be an okay fit for people who use those apps. Customers who buy the Fire Max 11 can also get a 3-month free trial to Microsoft 365 Personal.

You can sideload the Google Play Store on most Amazon tablets, but it’s not the most user-friendly thing to do and since Amazon Fire devices aren’t designed to support Google services, some apps or features may not work properly. And the operating system is still very much Amazon’s, not Google’s.

For the most part Amazon’s Fire OS is designed more for consuming content than creating it. The home screen puts your Amazon eBook, music, and video libraries front and center. And there’s limited support for multitasking beyond a basic split-screen mode that lets you view two apps side-by-side.

In other words, if you’re looking for a cheap tablet for reading eBooks or watching movies and TV shows, Amazon’s Fire tablets are pretty good for that. But if that’s all you plan to do, you could probably save some money and pick up an Amazon Fire HD 10 or Fire HD 8.

If you’re looking for a 2-in-1 productivity tablet, you’ll probably have to spend more money on a Samsung Galaxy, Microsoft Surface, or Apple iPad device. But if you do that you’re more likely to get software that can keep up with the hardware.

Still, I suppose it’s nice to see Amazon expanding its tablet lineup into new territory. Maybe if enough people buy devices like the Fire Max 11 expecting them to be useful productivity devices, we’ll see more Android developers submit their apps and games to Amazon’s Appstore. I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for Amazon to dramatically improve the native Fire OS experience though.

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  1. I think the main appeal is that it is a limited model lineup product. In that sense it trumps all other Android tablets, where model confusion is supreme. It is essentially akin to the iPad in that sense. Limited lineup, ecosystem, Amazon backing.

  2. I’m tempted to get one to replace my previous-gen HD 10… nothing wrong with that older tablet, but an 11-inch screen would be great for reading comics.

    I hate floppy you-need-a-tabletop kickstand keyboards though. If Fintie makes a clamshell case for the 11 like they do the current-gen 10, I will pick one up.

    1. Looks like a classic MediaTek chipset, it’s not their new lineup of products (Dimensity).

      So it likely will have some security holes and known exploits. It just won’t have documented software, kernel, or source-code. So it will take time to get something stable. Best they’ll do is hack update software, or reverse engineer the firmware, and build upon that (aka Kang).

      With that said, it’s hard to get excited about these releases when they’re only available in Mainland USA. There’s lots of viable alternates from China, or there’s older/discounted units from the established companies and the used market for those looking for a Tablet on a Budget. And then the iPad which just remains a better value product (I say that as a fanboy for Android).

  3. I’ve owned Amazon Fire’s over the last 3 or 4 generations and think they are well worth their price, especially on Black Friday or at other sale where they are as low as 50% off list. Given that they have healthy sales many times each year, I’d never buy one at full retail.

    While there are many apps that don’t have an Amazon version, my experience is that almost all of the Android apps I need and regularly use work fine on a modified Fire. I don’t play many games, so I can’t vouch for graphic games working.

    I modify every Fire that I buy to be as stock Android as possible. Fire Toolbox is wonderful for doing that. I hope they can update the Toolbox for the Fire 11 by November. My Samsung Tab S5e is getting a little long on the tooth and I’d like something new.