Amazon Kindle Fire
CNET Editors' Rating: 3.5 / 5
The good: The Kindle Fire is a 7-inch tablet that links seamlessly with Amazon's impressive collection of digital music, video, magazine, and book services in one easy-to-use package. It boasts a great Web browser, and its curated Android app store includes most of the big must-have apps (such as Netflix, Pandora, and Hulu). The Fire has an ultra-affordable price tag, and the screen quality is exceptional for the price.
The bad: The budget price means no premium features (3G wireless, cameras, microphone, GPS, and location services are absent), but the biggest issues are its paltry storage (only 8GB of storage--with no expansion slot), lack of Bluetooth, and limited parental controls. Screen brightness could be better, and the app selection doesn't match Apple's or Google's (at least for now). Also, you'll need an Amazon Prime subscription to take advantage of some of the more-unique features.
The bottom line: Though it lacks the tech specs found on more-expensive Apple and Android tablets, the $199 Kindle Fire is an outstanding entertainment value that prizes simplicity over techno-wizardry.
Design, Features & Performance (out of 10)
Editors' note (September 6, 2012): The product reviewed here has been discontinued and replaced with updated models (Kindle Fire 2012, Kindle Fire HD) as of September 2012. Read Amazon's new Kindles: Everything you need to know for more information.
Editors' note (November 23, 2011): After additional testing, we have updated the reviews and ratings for the Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet since their original publication. For additional information on which of these closely matched products is best for you, see Kindle Fire vs. Nook Tablet: How to choose.
Since the publication of this review, Amazon has released several free over-the-air software updates for the Kindle Fire, including OS version 6.2.2, released January 18, 2012. These updates provide some general enhancements, allow a degree of parental control, improve the rendering speed, display width and navigation performance of its Web browser, and allow you to selectively hide items in the home screen carousel. We recommend installing these updates.
In the world of tablets, there are great products and there are cheap products, but very few great, cheap products. Fortunately, for those of you unwilling to shell out $500 for an Apple iPad 2, and wary of buying a piece of junk, Amazon's $199 Kindle Fire tablet should be at the top of your wish list.
The Kindle Fire is not the best tablet I've seen this year, but I have to give credit to Amazon for seeing something that no other manufacturer--not even Apple--was able to grasp. When you look at the gap between what tablets are capable of doing, and what people actually use them for, you'll find that most people just want to be entertained.
The Kindle Fire is here to entertain us, and at $199, I suspect many will take Amazon up on the offer. If you need a tablet that can keep up with your jet-setting, spreadsheet-editing, video-chatting lifestyle, I can point you to a few dozen better options. For the rest of you, read on.
Design and features
The Kindle Fire is a tablet with a 7-inch screen, giving it a similar look and feel as the RIM BlackBerry Playbook or Samsung Galaxy Tab 7. It runs a heavily modified version of Google's operating system, includes 8GB of internal memory, and begins shipping to U.S. customers on November 15.
With it, you can read e-books using Amazon's popular Kindle software, download Android apps and games using Amazon's Appstore, purchase music using Amazon's MP3 store, and watch videos using Amazon's video on-demand and download services. The common thread here is that Amazon's digital stores and services are all loaded and ready to go out of the box. In fact, there's no getting around them since they're baked into the home screen navigation.
Many basic features are covered, as well. You can browse the Web (more on that below), e-mail your friends, read common document files (including PDF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and others), view photos, and listen to locally stored music files, without any hiccups. A common Micro-USB connection on the bottom of the Kindle Fire allows you to easily connect to any Mac or PC to transfer any content you want to take along. While you're down there, you'll find a headphone jack and the Kindle's power button. Flip it over and you'll find two adequately powered speakers sitting on the top edge. You'll have a tough time not covering up the speakers with your hand while watching videos in landscape view, but it's not impossible.
Software and services
For software, you're really limited to the Amazon way of doing things. You can download third-party apps, but they come by way of Amazon's app store. The underlying software may be Google's, but key Android features, such as Maps, Gmail, Calendar Navigation, and the Google App Market, are all absent.
The unspoken deal you're making with Amazon here is that in exchange for an inexpensive tablet, you're agreeing to get your apps, your games, your books, your music, and your videos through its services.
It's a benevolent dictatorship, though, and to be fair Apple runs its tablet the same way. Just like the iPad, Amazon seems open to the idea that offering competing services, such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Rhapsody, Pandora, comiXology, and others. To see what apps are available, just head over to Amazon's online app store and poke around.
The other good news is that Amazon's services don't suck. Their music store is absolutely on par with iTunes in terms of selection, and their prices are cheaper in most cases. Amazon's e-book store is arguably the most popular in the industry and put the Kindle brand on the map. Their freshly unveiled Newsstand offers over 400 full-color magazines and newspapers at launch, which can be purchased as single issues or subscriptions. An overview of their selection can be seen on Amazon's site.
And then there's video. In my view, this is where Amazon's tablet really shines. If you're just looking for an e-reader, a low-cost e-ink reader is arguably a better value than the Kindle Fire. If you just want apps and games on a $199 device, an iPod Touch will deliver more content. But when it comes to watching video, the Kindle Fire's combination of 7-inch IPS screen and a one-click library of TV shows and movies (not to mention Flash-based Web content) is an unmatched proposition.
Under the browser's settings, Amazon includes the ability to force Web pages to either a mobile view or desktop view, which is handy if you abhor mobile-optimized sites, or if you're willing to sacrifice beauty for faster page loads. You'll also find a setting for disabling Amazon's accelerated page-loading technology, if you're creeped out by the idea of Amazon's computers predicting your browsing habits (they promise the collected data isn't linked to your account, but you can never be too safe, I suppose). On that same note, there's no private browsing mode on the Kindle Fire like the one found on both the iPad 2 and Google's Honeycomb browser.
I'm also a little surprised to see that Amazon hasn't included much in the way of parental controls on the Kindle Fire. Users are given a password option for the screen lock, and a password lockout option for the Wi-Fi connection, but there are no detailed controls for limiting playback of locally stored age-restricted material, or mature game content. Apple has done an exceptional job implementing these sorts of controls on its iOS products, and it's the sort of thing that would make the Kindle Fire much easier to recommend for children and teens.
To seal the deal, Amazon includes one free month of all-you-can-stream Instant Videos, including popular TV series such as "Lost" and "24," as well as popular movies, like "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and "Last of the Mohicans." If you're already enrolled in Amazon's $79/year Amazon Prime program, this free instant video content sticks around and you can enjoy other perks such as free two-day shipping and Amazon's Kindle Lending Library. Nonmembers can still pay for content a la carte. TV shows are priced at $1.99 per episode. Movies can be rented for between $2.99 and $3.99, or purchased typically for around $14.99. Free apps for Netflix and Hulu Plus are also available if you want to venture beyond Amazon's offerings.
Amazon's cloud technology adds a key component to the Kindle Fire experience. Like Apple, Amazon will back up any digital media you purchase (e-books, apps, music) and serve it back down to you at your convenience. Being able to have instant access to your archived media content also makes up somewhat for the limited storage on the device (just 8GB). In addition to archiving your purchased content, Amazon's included Cloud Drive service offers another 5GB of storage any additional content you want to access (photos, music, documents, etc.).
Amazon's vast server farms are good for more than just storage. A unique Web browser called Silk is included on the Kindle Fire; it splits the work of loading Web pages between the device and Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) system. The result, in theory, leads to faster page loads, as well as some predictive loading of content and sites you access often. No other tablet on the market has a feature like this--not even Apple.
Unfortunately, no matter how fast a page loads, browsing the Web on a 7-inch tablet is inherently disappointing. It's just not a screen size that lends itself to the Web. When you're not dealing with mobile-optimized sites that read like large-print versions of your smartphone, you're stuck scrolling and zooming around pages designed for screens that are 10 inches or above. It's the curse of the 7-inch tablet, and all the Amazon cloud power in the world can't correct it.
You can't make a $199 tablet without cutting some corners--and Amazon cut plenty of them. Fortunately, the company used a scalpel instead of a chainsaw. The visual makeover is so complete that you never really glimpse the disfigured Android Oz behind the curtain.
Some omissions are obvious. There's no GPS, no maps, no Bluetooth audio or keyboard support, no cameras, no microphone, no killer gaming graphics engine, no video output, no compass, no gyro sensor, no chatting, no calendar, and no card slot for extra memory. If there's a deal breaker in there, so be it. There are dozens of qualified tablets out there looking for a good home.
But there is a silver lining to all of these feature sacrifices. It turns out that when you throw out the GPS, the 3G connection, the Google Mobile apps and Market, you also throw out annoyances like clicking through Terms of Service agreements or Privacy Statements. Having tested a few dozen Android tablets over the past two years, I can say without reservation that the Kindle Fire has the most hassle-free setup I've experienced. In fact, if you order the tablet from Amazon, connecting to a Wi-Fi network and setting up your e-mail are really on the only hassles you'll encounter after taking it out of the box. Just like any other Kindle, your Amazon account info and previously purchased digital content will be setup right out of the gate.
One surprising omission on Amazon's part the lack of a Cloud Drive app. Amazon's Cloud Drive service offers 5GB of free storage for your documents, photos, and videos, but the only way to access this content on the Kindle Fire is through its Web browser. I still managed to upload a 1GB video from my home computer and download it back to the Kindle Fire using the Cloud Drive site, but it sure would have been easier to have a dedicated app. The fact that the Docs section of the Kindle Fire doesn't link up to your Cloud drive account also seems like a missed opportunity.
Buy it, or skip it?
The Kindle Fire doesn't exist in a vacuum. In my view, its two closest competitors are the Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet ($249) and the Apple iPod Touch ($199). You can find a detailed spec-by-spec comparison of the Nook Tablet and Kindle Fire here on CNET, but in the final tally, the Nook simply costs more and offers less in the way of apps and multimedia.
The iPod Touch is a superior device in every way except one: its screen. It offers more features and more games but its 3.5-inch screen offers nearly one-third the real estate of the Kindle Fire, making it a poor choice for reading, browsing the Web, or watching videos.
Also bear in mind that Amazon is rumored to be working on a version of the Kindle Fire with a larger screen. That's a tempting proposition, but it's unlikely to arrive ahead of the 2011 holiday season, and there's practically no chance it will be offered at this same price.
Will there be a better version of this 7-inch Kindle Fire down the road? No doubt. The current design is relatively clunky, and the included features are meager even by 2010 standards. Knowing that, is it still worth the $199 gamble? In my eyes, yes. It's Amazon's services--not the hardware--that make this device so appealing.
The Kindle Fire includes a dual-core processor, a Micro-USB 2.0 port, and an estimated 8 hours of battery life. It's also worth noting that unlike the iPad 2, the Kindle Fire supports Adobe Flash Web content. I'll update this review with battery tests from CNET Labs once results are finalized.
|Tested specs||Kindle Fire||iPad 2||Samsung Galaxy Tab 7|
|Maximum brightness (in cd/m2)||424||432||364|
|Default brightness (in cd/m2)||147||176||123|
|Maximum black level||0.44||0.46||0.35|
|Default black level||0.15||0.19||0.17|
|Default contrast ratio||980:1||926:1||1,040:1|
|Contrast ratio (max brightness)||963:1||939:1||724:1|
Finally, there's the screen. In my experience, the telltale sign of any sub-$300 tablet is poor screen quality. On paper, Amazon's tablet seems to buck this trend. The Kindle Fire offers a 1,024x600-pixel resolution display using the same wide-angle IPS screen technology as in the iPad. Unfortunately, the screen's brightness doesn't live up to the iPad's, but it's in the same ballpark and is bright enough to look great indoors. If you want something that will look great in direct sunlight, I'm sure Amazon would be happy to add an e-ink Kindle to your order.
One other thing to note on the screen is that the Kindle's multitouch doesn't register more than two fingers at a time. I didn't notice the deficiency until I booted up the game Fruit Ninja and tried clawing at flying fruit with three fingers. Nothing happened. In terms of typing, scrolling, and flipping through pages, the multitouch limitation doesn't come into play, but it is a limitation nonetheless.
I also have to give a nod to the Kindle Fire's audio quality. Amazon doesn't include any headphones with the Kindle Fire, so you might not trip across the Kindle's audio quality right away. Most budget-priced Android tablets (and a surprising number of high-end models) are plagued with a noisy headphone amp stage. The Kindle doesn't offer any high-tech sound enhancements or EQ settings, but the fact that they managed to pull off a clean, quiet headphone output is a rare accomplishment at this price. Here are our official CNET Labs-tested battery life results. More tablet testing results can be found here.
|Video battery life, Wi-Fi off (in hours)||Amazon Prime video streaming battery life (in hours)|
The Kindle Fire marks an important milestone in the history of tablets. While the industry has been competing with Apple for the claim of the fastest, thinnest, or most feature-packed tablet, Amazon started in on its own slow race to make the first "good enough" tablet at a game-changing price. If you remember what Netbooks did to the laptop industry, this probably feels like deja vu.
But Amazon's triumph isn't just about making cheap hardware. The Kindle Fire is a product that stands on Amazon's years of hard work building out its e-book and digital media offerings, its app store, and its Cloud storage and processing technologies.
But as much as I like this tablet, the Kindle Fire isn't getting our best rating or an Editors' Choice. There's no doubt that I would choose an iPad 2 over a Kindle Fire in a heartbeat. In fact, I'd take an original iPad over a Kindle Fire.
But I don't live in a fantasy world where people are offering me free iPads. I live in a world where even $199 sounds like a lot of money. In that world, I applaud Amazon for making the best tablet value on the market.
|Built-in devices||Display, Touchscreen, Speaker(s)|
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||4.7 in x 0.45 in x 7.5 in|
|Flash memory form factor||Integrated|
|Input device type||Touch-screen|
|Display type||7 in, TFT active matrix|
|Wireless connectivity||IEEE 802.11n, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g|
Average User Rating: 3.5 / 5
User Rating Breakdown
5 Star: 59
4 Star: 38
3 Star: 19
2 Star: 13
1 Star: 15
Kindle Fire is a Good Alternative to Tablets
Rating: 5 / 5
on February 19, 2012
32 out of 34 users found this review helpful
Pros: 1. Device feels solid and I don't worry about breaking anything on it
2. Display brightness and colors are nice, videos look fine.
3. Easy to transfer files to it from a computer
4. Excellent price for this type of device
Cons: 1. The speakers suck. I mean real bad. I had to put the volume to about 70% just to hear something.
2. It's a bit heavy. Compared to the iPad2
Summary: A month ago, I went out an bought the Kindle Fire. I had been debating between the older, e-ink Kindle or saving up for a tablet computer, such as the iPad. I wanted something I could easily read books on, which favors the Kindle, but also wanted something versatile enough to run some of the apps I really like, which favors the iPad.
Then, Amazon announced the Kindle Fire, which retails for $199. This intrigued me, as it apparently did many other people who couldn't afford the $500-$800 price tag for a true tablet computer. After much consideration, and just enough Christmas gift money to cover the cost, I jumped for the Fire.
The Kindle came with a nearly-full battery charge, which was great, since I didn't need to leave it plugged in for several hours before using it. (By the way, the power adapter that came with it is pretty powerful, and will charge quickly. But, it's constructed kind of poorly, feels flimsy, and I have doubts that it will survive with a ton of use.)
My first reaction to the Fire was that it is sleek looking, but heavy. The device in it's black cover is attractive. However, having used the e-ink Kindles, I did not expect the Fire to be that heavy (14.6 ounces). Nearly one pound doesn't sound like much, but it can get weighty when holding in your hand. Eventually, though, a user can get used to the weight.
Initial start up is very smooth, especially if you already have a Kindle account with Amazon. (I did, since I also use the Kindle app for my Android phone.) Once my account information was entered into the Fire, it automatically listed all the books I had purchased with my Kindle account. All I had to do was download them to the device, and they were ready in just a minute or so.
One of the reasons I went with the Fire over the slightly more expensive Nook was that many of the pre-1923 books are free. Amazon says there are two-million of them. That's pretty incredible. The 6 GB of space mean you can squeeze in about 6,000 books (minus all the apps). That's pretty impressive.
On top of that, buying in the Amazon marketplace is extremely easy, and probably the finest example of how to construct an online market.
I encountered a similar situation with the Amazon app market. I have it installed on my Android phone, and anything I had purchased on the phone was available for the Fire, provided the app had a Fire version available.
And that brings me to my first complaint about the Fire. I can appreciate that Amazon wants to ensure the app experience on the Fire is a good one, but they have blocked third party markets and non-approved apps, even though there is the option in the Fire's settings to install such apps. As a result, the user cannot access any of the apps from Google's original Android Market. This is disappointing, because there are some apps that are only available on the Android Market. Hopefully, Amazon will free up this ability soon.
I assume there are two main reasons for the third party app issues. 1) With Amazon approving apps for the Fire (much like Apple does for its devices), Amazon can guarantee the apps will work. 2) Amazon also prevents users from using competing software, such as the Nook app. That's just business, and I don't blame Amazon in keeping users of its device from going elsewhere to buy books.
To get around these restrictions, some people have rooted their Kindle Fire's to install a clean OS and drop the restrictions Amazon has placed on the device. I have chosen not to go that route, because at this point I am pretty happy with the Fire as it is. And, the issues I have with the Fire aren't great enough to warrant the time I would put into rooting...at least not until I replace it some time down the road.
I give the Fire high marks. The screen and resolution are very good quality, and respond properly to touch. The dual core processor really shows itself on some of the more demanding apps. Object flow is smooth within apps, and appearance is above my expectations.
The screen is big enough to easily view video for a single user or a couple of users sitting side-by-side. However, the 7-inch screen is not big enough to view well from a few feet away. Someday, I imagine Amazon will release a bigger version to accommodate parents who load their kids up in the van, and want to use a video to keep them calm.
One thing I didn't expect, but was pleased to find was the built-in speaker. It isn't the greatest quality, but it is what you would expect from such a device. A headphone jack allows you to get top quality if you need it. But, since Amazon went to the trouble to include speakers, I had hoped there would be a microphone. I was disappointed to find there wasn't one.
The speakers come in very handy when running apps or using an audio book. And that brings me back to books. One thing the Fire has that the e-ink Kindles do not is the ability to show color. My kids have really loved the picture books we have downloaded to the Fire. Plus, if you're able to find some books that have interactive parts, the Fire makes the experience even better.
For standard reading, the Kindle is wonderful. Flipping through pages is easy, and can be done in two ways: either a finger swipe in the direction you want to turn, or a tap at the right or left edge of the device's screen. The ability to highlight and bookmark are things you would expect, and the Fire does them well.
The home screen of the Fire when you first get it has a carousel at the top that shows all of your recently used books, apps and websites. A finger swipe allows you to scroll through these easily. Below that is a bookshelf with all your favorite apps, documents, books, etc. I'm not really a fan of the carousel. It is a bit too sensitive on the scroll, and simply looks better than it actually is.
Each section of the Fire has a bookshelf where all the different items are organized. Apps, Books, Documents, Web and others are all in their separate categories. This makes organization very nice and neat.
The favorites bookshelf is set up similarly, but not as easy to manage.
The Fire uses only WiFi, and has no other networking capabilities. This is a deviation from some of the e-ink Kindle models that provide free 3G service. I assume 3G is not included on the Fire, because data usage would be through the roof. Even still, Amazon should've made it available as either an add-on or a subscription service. I assume that 3G will be on future models with a data plan.
For what its worth, many smartphones today come with the ability to be a wifi access point. If you have that service enabled on your smartphone, then your 3G problem is somewhat solved.
The Silk web browser is okay. It gets the job done almost as good as the default Android browser. Again, this goes back to the third-party app issue. I would rather use a different brand of browser, but the ones I trust aren't available yet. The Fire's browser has a few minor issues that I don't really care for, but overall it will get the job done.
My other apps that use the network seemingly have little problems from the device's perspective. Any lag or other problem is either due to an app programming issue or heavy wifi traffic.
I do notice on my Fire that the device will turn off wifi when not being used. I haven't checked to see if this can be modified. Regardless, I like this feature, as it preserves battery life, and ensures an app on the device isn't eating up bandwidth when you aren't using it.
For all the chatter that the Kindle Fire is not a tablet computer, you can't tell it by some of its functions. One of my favorites is the ability to use the device while giving presentations.
When you register your Fire, Amazon gives you a kindle.com email address that is unique to your device. This is handy when you want to send a document to the Fire. Simply attach it to an empty email, and send to the Fire's email address. The Fire will download and save the file to it's internal memory.
I have used the Fire and this method to do a couple of presentations when I have spoken this past month. By eliminating paper and books, the Fire made it easy to do these presentations.
I really like the Kindle Fire. I'm sure that I would really like it if I rooted and did other things to it to make it more tablet-like. But, those things are not in my plans.
The Fire has room to be improved, and future versions will hopefully address some of the more minor issues.
All-in-all, I think it is a great product.
For reference, I am only reviewing the Fire and my expectations for the device. I am not comparing it to any other device unless that device is of similar build, price and capabilities. Hence, the rating above is an opinion based on my expectations.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
You can view more reviews and thoughts or check for best deal at my blog: Tabletpcreviews21.wordpress.com/kindle-fire/
The Fire is an all-around excellent device. A+++++++
Rating: 4.5 / 5
on November 17, 2011
26 out of 33 users found this review helpful
Pros: Speed ! Size ( For Travel ) !! Content !!! Price/Value !!!!
Cons: I wish it had more storage on board !! But the cloud storage works Great !!!
Summary: I have an iPad and an Original Nook, but the Fire has quickly turned into my favorite tablet / eReader for entertainment activities. The reasons are simple - it makes it incredibly easy to access movies, TV shows, books and magazines from Amazon, many of which are free under Prime. I can hold it for hours without it getting uncomfortable, the screen is great, and the overall look and feel of the operating system is intuitive. Storing and accessing content on the Amazon Cloud is also a seamless, simple process.
I was concerned about the screen size since I've become used to the larger tablet screen sizes of the iPad. I'm finding that the benefits of a smaller screen size (easier to hold in one hand and light weight) outweigh most of the disadvantages. I miss a larger screen the most when I'm reading a magazine or a newspaper, but the copy remains highly readable even on the smaller screen.
Sound quality is decent with the onboard speakers. Nothing spectacular but workable. I find a decent set of headphones/ear buds to be a worthwhile addition.
Is it an "iPad killer" or an "Android tablet killer"? No. But why is that even an issue? I wanted an easy way to avail myself of the benefits of Prime membership (most notably being able to stream shows and movies for free) and the Fire accomplishes this very well. It comes at a price that's a lot easier to handle than the iPad, and a level of ease of use/functionality that's easier to handle than Android tablets.
None of the so-called limitations of the Fire detract from my using it. Yes it has limited onboard storage but with the way the Cloud is integrated, I've not had any difficulty using that as a way of storing content. Plus, when Amazon stores it, they deal with the issue of backup. I also don't miss the 3G connectivity. Sure, I'd love to be able to connect anywhere, but I will not pay the prices charged for data connectivity. I never use the 3G on my iPad for the same reason - just costs too much!
I'll certainly keep and continue to use my iPad since I use that a lot for work. But when I'm done with work and want to have fun, the Fire will be in hand. It's cheap, works well, and provides access to virtually unlimited video and print entertainment. For me it's a perfect fit.
Awesome if you love Amazon & hate Apple.
Rating: 4 / 5
on November 18, 2011
24 out of 31 users found this review helpful
Pros: Amazon integration, Games, Entertainment, Price, And the fact that it is a Kindle!
Cons: Lack of 3G is my only complaint, for shopping or streaming on the go.
Summary: This tablet is made for a specific type of customer, and I am that customer. I buy TV on Amazon Instant video. I purchase music from Amazon mp3, and I read Kindle books. I didn't want this tablet for computing. I have a real computer for that. I wouldn't pay hundreds of dollars for an iPad, as I didn't want something too big (people clutching their $800 iPad on public transportation hoping they don't get mugged while they read is amusing) or too expensive. And I don't like Apple anything. The Kindle Fire gives me access to everything in my cloud (stream at home, download before going out) at an affordable price and it fits in my purse. Some people don't like the lack of Bluetooth and GPS, but I like that for three reasons. One, I have an Android phone for maps. Two, I have no reason to need Bluetooth on it. And three, I like that it is just for entertainment. I don't need to video chat or tweet from yet another device. My Kindle Fire is for my Amazon content and playing silly games. I am quite happy with it so far.
Amazon's Kindle Fire is on Fire!
Rating: 5 / 5
on November 17, 2011
16 out of 19 users found this review helpful
Pros: User Interface, digital content (video, books, music) integration, seamless eCommerce, lightening fast web browsing, organized landing page, tons of applications via Amazon's Android store...and finally, unbelievably priced.
Cons: Web browsing takes a while to 'warm up' (get speedy response) - due to cloud-based technology, probably not great for outdoor reading, lacks bluetooth (I like to use wireless (bluetooth) speakers for audio.
Summary: My Kindle Fire arrived yesterday...in a word, WOW! Unbelievable interface, access to massive video library for free, super fast browser, and unparalleled eCommerce via Amazon at the tips of my fingers!
In full disclosure, I currently own an iPad and a Galaxy Tab. After an evening with the Fire, I truly believe the Fire will be a "game changer" and will define a new category of hand held devices. The seamless integration to amazon.com is really incredible - the device comes pre-registered so there is nothing to do in terms of registration or credit card entry as it already knows who you are. Within minutes of opening the box, I purchased a carrying case and a skin for my new Fire - and, because "Prime" is included for 30 days at no charge (although I've been a member of Prime for years), 2-day delivery is free!
If you don't already have yours on order, would do so now - I can't imagine they'll keep up with supply in the near term.
Does what it does quite well, room for improvement
Rating: 4 / 5
on November 15, 2011
12 out of 12 users found this review helpful
Pros: Video playback is snappy and clear, well-integrated with amazon, hulu and netflix work well. Obviously, price.
Cons: Speaker's not great at high volumes. Battery life is nothing special. No download of Prime Free videos.
Summary: I've had this thing for a day, and here's the take:
* It is well integrated with Amazon, but it's not locked to it. Hulu and Netflix work just fine. And the integration to Amazon is scarily simple and effective. Hooooooly conversion rate.
* Overall performance is quite snappy. I hate touchscreens, but this one seems fine.
* Video performance is really nice.
* Network performance is also quite nice.
* Audio's not so hot, mostly because of the speaker. Headphones or a dock and it's fine, but I really would have hoped for better. Clock-radio-y.
* Apps do what apps do -- I really wish there was a Sim City for it, because, you know, I'd like my wife to divorce me for ignoring her. So maybe it's better that there's not. Anyway.
* Email and browsing are entirely adequate.
In closing: it's a media-consumption device, and a really great one, for cheap. It doesn't do what the iPad does, but if you're like me and don't think that a touchscreen keyboard actually is a keyboard, you don't like doing that stuff on a tablet, anyway. Speaker not really impressive. But otherwise, it does what it does really well, and the price is right.