REVIEW: I Have Fallen in Like With My Kindle Fire

I admittedly love gadgets, but I can usually resist feeding the “I want to have it first” buying frenzy. I waited until the second generation Kindle came out before jumping onto the eReader train; despite my own predictions, I never bought an iPad even when it got a camera and last year, I gladly gave up my iPhone in order to go to an Android system.  This month, with the purchase of Amazon’s latest Kindle, The Fire, I have broken my “Never buy the first generation version” rule.  For some reason, when the pre-order email arrived for the new Kindle Fire, I jumped all over that bad boy . . . all that iPad glittery fun for 1/3 of the price.

Could. Not. Resist.

A week in and, while not quite in LOVE, I am deeply in LIKE with Thunder Bunny 1969.

Ooops, did I just share the name of my Fire out loud? 

Here is a quick review.

Like I said, I don’t own an iPad or a Nook so I can’t really do much in the way of making comparisons. I have used an iPad in the past and some of my best friends have are iPad users, so the obvious differences are that The Fire does not have a 3G option, Blue Tooth capabilities or a camera. When it comes right down to it, though, I just could never get myself to drop the $500-$800 even if it would raise  apple cult street cred. Here are a few more reasons why I took The Fire leap after such a long time of tablet resistance.

  • RELATIVE COST – While $199 plus the cost of a case is nothing to sneeze at, compared to $500-$800 for the iPad, this was a no-brainer. I have been itching to get some kind of tablet and since I am already so tied to the Kindle with my eLibrary, the cost was a huge motivating factor.
  • REALISTIC USE – While I know that some of my friends do use their iPad for productivity and work, I am willing to bet that a vast majority of people use their iPad primarily for entertainment purposes: games, movies, social media and more games. The Kindle Fire does all of that: games, movies, social media . . . and did I mention that it was only $200.
  • PORTABILITY – The Fire is about the size of a regular Kindle. It has a 7″ screen, but and is a little thicker than previous version. The best part is that it fits in most of my jacket pockets so I can take it out and about without looking like I am going to some meeting when in actuality I am going to sit in some cafe and play Words With Friends.

What I can offer are some generally impressions about the Kindle Fire in relation to the previous Kindles.

Differences I like:

  • ANDROID – This is obviously the biggest change, going from a reader only system to an android operating system. This allows for the system to surf the web, download apps, watch videos, etc.
  • COLOR – Unlike previous versions, The Fire has a color screen and is back-lit when reading. I have not decided how the long-term comfort will be with the back-lit screen, but totally digging on the color.
  •  NAVIGATION – The touch screen is easy to use with little to any learning curve in order to being using The Fire. Like the iPad this is a machine that you just pick up and start using.
  • EASE OF SET-UP – What set up? If you ordered it via your Amazon account it shows up charged and registered to your account. Apps that you have on your Android phone that are compatible with The Fire magically show up and all of your books are ready to be downloaded onto The Fire.

Differences I don’t like:

  • FOLDERS - One of the best parts about previous Kindles when the ability to place books into folders. As it stands now, The Fire allows you organize “favorites” on your shelf, but they are still all displayed as individual icons. I would love to put them in a folder of some sort.
  • BATTERY LIFE - I have not really tested the battery life, but it seems like it lasts about 2-3 4-5 hours of actual use. The previous Kindles, again a less robust operating system, lasted for days.
  • BLOG READING - The Fire does not support Blog subscriptions, so I’ll just have to trust that my blog is being published. Yes, you can still get them via the web browser, but it’s not the same.
  • WHISPER SYNC – The best part of the older Kindles was waking up in the morning to see that my paper had already been downloaded and it was ready to read. The Fire requires you to download each edition each day via it’s WiFi-only connectivity.
There is still much to be discovered as I get used to it, but will wait to see ow these shake out and shape up before making any comment. These “wait and see” issues are:
  • More apps for The Fire: Spotify, Google apps, etc.
  • Integration of Amazon’s Cloud Services: music, photos, etc.
  • Use of Fire for productivity and work:
  • Please feel free to ask me any questions if you have ‘em.
So there you have it, a quick review. In a nutshell, if you are like me and have not yet jumped into the tablet world, I would highly suggest going for it with The Kindle Fire. You can buy it HERE.

 

 

16 comments

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  • Wade Halva  

    To be fair, a huge part of the diminished battery life is a result of using an LCD screen instead of e-ink. Where e-ink only uses power to change the image, an LCD is constantly using power to display the image as well.

    • Bruce Reyes-Chow  

      Def. I was not surprised and I think i may actually get 3-4 hours if I am not doing a big number of things at once.

  • Noelle  

    I’m surprised that they don’t have the whisper sync on this one… weird.

    • Bruce Reyes-Chow  

      Yeah, I am sure there is a reason, but more of an inconvenience than anything else.

  • Leslie Rodriguez  

    ooooh ooooh I have a question!! How does it do with PDFs? Can you make the type bigger the same way that you can with an ipad? I HATE the way the regular kindle makes the print bigger for PDFs…it just isn’t practical. 

    • Eric Frisch  

      In my experience it handles them pretty well.  It has the pinch to zoom features that you would expect… I’m assuming that’s what you meant when you mentioned the ipad since I’m not an ipad user myself.  You can get a bunch of different PDF readers in the market, including a version of Adobe Acrobat, but I think the stock viewer is pretty good.  It is only a 7″ screen, so you’ll be doing quite a bit of zooming and scrolling if you’re looking at standard size pages like I was.

      • Leslie Rodriguez  

        Thank you! Yes, the pinch to zoom is what  I meant. Good to know they have that feature! 

    • Bruce Reyes-Chow  

      What @ericfrisch:disqus said.

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  • Eric Frisch  

    Same here. I’ve been craving a tablet for a while now, and this is the first I’ve seen that seemed both solid/reliable & justifiably priced. I’ve already made quite a few modifications to make mine more “androidy” since I wasn’t a kindle user before, but I’m really impressed with the overall experience.

    • Bruce Reyes-Chow  

      Do tell. What androidy things have you done?

      • Eric Frisch  

        Mostly I’ve just been sideloading different apps.  I downloaded an alternate launcher and an application to switch between it and the carousel, so I can get more of a standard android feel on my homescreen, tracked down the standard twitter and facebook apps, installed firefox mobile (although I do like the silk browser) to sync bookmarks, history, etc. with my other devices… those sorts of things.  So far I haven’t tried an app that hasn’t run flawlessly on the fire, so it’s been nice to accumulate the things that aren’t in Amazon’s store.  I’ve only had mine for about 48 hours, and so far I haven’t felt the itch to root it and install the Android Market, but I have a feeling it’s coming :-)

        • Bruce Reyes-Chow  

          Wow. Totally out-geeked me, but thanks for the info. New terrain to explore.

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