23 November 2011 ~ 2 Comments

Kindle Fire, Full Color 7″ Multi-touch Display, Wi-Fi

At the time of this writing, I’ve had a day and a half to play with the new Kindle Fire so I thought I’d take some time to leave my impressions… the good and the bad.

The set up was pretty easy, upon arrival and opening they were already attached to our Amazon accounts so there wasn’t any registering to be done. My content was already showing as available, we just had to download the apps, books, etc that we wanted to have available.

At first glance, I was really surprised by how thick and meaty the Fire is. After playing with e-ink kindles for so long, it felt heavy, but sturdy enough that I didn’t worry about dropping it and shattering it into a million pieces. We turned on the switch and up it lit – super pretty display. It’s crisp and clear and we have nothing but good to say.

The software is pretty self explanatory. It didn’t take me long to figure out where to tap, move, hold, etc. This is not complicated. Amazon really went all out on the KISS factor (keep it simple, silly). I like that. It means that I can give it to my kid and they can’t screw it up too much like they do with my cell phone. It also means that, beyond the favorites area, it’s not really customizable. You kind of get what you get.

The screen is super responsive. I have yet to have a problem getting it to open or move anything I wanted. It scrolls pretty smoothly, with a few stutters if you really push it too much.

Reading books is basically out for me on this device. I’m keeping my e-ink kindles, the backlit just kills my eyes and ruins the reading experience for me. Having said that, I’ve heard that others don’t have this issue, so it might be a non issue for some. I just really am in love with e-ink for long form reading.

Watching movies and shows using Amazon, Netflix and Hulu is really great. Turn it sideways and it’s actually perfect for viewing on the go. The video is super smooth. I tried it with and without headphones and it was absolutely fine.

Listening to music is easy and the cloud service is fantastic. I can see me taking this device on a plane, listening to some tunes while reading a magazine or something. BUT you really need headphones. The speakers aren’t bad, not overly tinny, but they also aren’t fabulous. I must admit that I was actually pleasantly surprised. This is not some expensive device and the speakers are better than I expected.

The really bad for me is that there’s no Google apps, there’s no native app or anything for Gmail or Google Calendar. Because so many rely heavily on Google, I think this is probably a big negative for the Fire. It’s kind of annoying because the thing is built on top of Android. So, either you work around it (the built in email is okay with Gmail, but I need the powerful features) or you figure out a way to hack or side load it. Not having the calendar on there at all right now is just REALLY annoying. Nevermind Google Docs (which my company uses a lot!) and Google Reader (which I was REALLY looking forward to – using my Fire to catch up on my feeds). I hope Amazon rethinks this.

Speaking of apps, right now there is a limited selection available for the fire. Amazon is vetting each app separately to be included in the Amazon Appstore. Hopefully they’ll get on the ball and get some more in there. Business and productivity apps are really limited.

Hardware wise, the power button is a little awkward. I have hit it a couple of times. I just turn it upside down so I don’t hit it when I’m resting it on my leg or whatever. I do wish it had bluetooth. I would have been willing to pay a little extra. I have a wireless stereo headset that I’ve come to adore, no wires to worry about, and I would really like to be able to use it with this device.

I keep hearing people compare this to an iPad. I don’t think that’s exactly fair. This is a nice toy. It’s mainly for personal use, if I’m being honest. Then again, I think the iPad is just a fancy iPhone and I’m not a fan, so there you go. I do believe that as we see more apps coming into the Amazon Appstore, we’ll see more business applications. Painfully absent are things like Dropbox that many of us mobile folks have become to rely on.

Bottom line? It’s a small form tablet. It’s $200. It’s a great toy and I have enjoyed laying in bed and tweeting and playing around on it. I’m not sure it’s quite there yet for business users but I’m hopeful that that piece will come – perhaps along with a larger 10″ screen version. I don’t regret the purchase at all, it’s a great tablet at a great price.

Description:
Movies, apps, games, music, reading and more, plus Amazon’s revolutionary, cloud-accelerated web browser

  • 18 million movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, and books
  • Thousands of popular apps and games, including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, and more
  • Ultra-fast web browsing – Amazon Silk
  • Free cloud storage for all your Amazon content
  • Vibrant color touchscreen with extra-wide viewing angle – same as an iPad
  • Fast, powerful dual-core processor
  • Favorite children’s books, graphic novels, and magazines in rich color

Rating: ★★★★☆

2 Responses to “Kindle Fire, Full Color 7″ Multi-touch Display, Wi-Fi”

  1. Shaunesay 23 November 2011 at 11:17 pm Permalink

    Sounds like it might be a good one for people just getting into the world of tablets (like my Mom) but maybe not enough for power users like yourself! Thanks for the review!
    Shaunesay┬┤s last blog post ..Wrapping Up 2011 Read-a-thon

  2. Albert Eiseman 29 November 2011 at 4:09 pm Permalink

    The Kindle Fire has a great look to it. Really lite to take anywhere when you are on the go. Mostof us have a tight budget and we need to stretch our paychecks. Thumbs up for this product!! I really like the price of this product. If you looked at Ipad2 and the Kindle they are real similar. If you don’t want to carry around a old fashion book with you this is the answer to your prayers.


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