My turn to write a review of the Kindle Fire from Amazon.com. I have read, heard and even tried enough to see if what all the hubba about the Kindle Fire were true. I read that it’s interface is laggy, slow, unresponsive and just plain dumb. I heard that some people is comparing the Kindle Fire to an iPad they own. So I read, and I heard; now it’s my turn to try and find out the truth.
I’ve been a fan of Kindle e-ink, from the 2nd Generation 3G version of Kindle, to Kindle Keyboard 3rd Generation. I skip the 4th Generation Kindle Touch and went straight to Kindle Fire, which is not the next generation of the traditional Kindle that uses e-ink technology. It’s color, it’s not 5 inch, it’s not e-ink, and it’s not as light as Kindle Keyboard or Kindle Touch.
Let’s not compare the Kindle Fire with Kindle e-Ink line, in a matter of fact, don’t compare Kindle Fire to an iPad. Why? Because Amazon has named the Kindle Fire with the name Kindle, which could only means that they want you to consume the device as a media consume device. The e-Ink Kindle is good for reading, and the occasional browsing, which also leads to reading online. The Kindle Fire is an extension to Amazon Store, Amazon eco system, much like the Apple App Store and Amazon MP3 to Apple iTunes. The Kindle Fire is much of an extension to Amazon Digital Stores as much as Apple to it’s App Store and iTunes.
What Amazon don’t have that Apple do? Nothing. Amazon can compete with Apple in terms of its existing eco system. Amazon has Books, Apple has iBooks, Amazon MP3 or Music and Amazon Video is to Apple iTunes. Amazon Apps for Android is to Apple App Store, and the Kindle Fire has Web which allows you to surf the internet in full color and HTML 5 bliss. Apple has the same with Safari. As far as the eco system goes, it’s on par with Apple. But as far as how much bigger of an app, or books or music or device sold is still at an infancy for Amazon. But Apple should be worry about Amazon and it’s capabilities, because after playing around in the Amazon App for Android, it has the games that I usually play on my iPad and it plays well.
The Device, or hardware itself is nice, built solid, with some stickiness to the backing of the device, so it’s not slippery. The weight is perfect, not as heavy as the iPad, especially for one handed operation, such as reading, browsing, lounging on the couch or at a dinner table with a fork on the other hand while munching. The size of the screen don’t bother me as much, but for some people, the screen on the Fire might be too small, or some could say it’s perfect and that the iPad screen size is just too big. It all depends on what you use your Kindle Fire for. If you use it for reading, it’s good enough. For browsing and watch a movie, the iPad is just better at it.
Reading with Kindle Fire is actually pretty legible. The font is perfectly sized where you don’t need to adjust. I’m in the 30′s, so my eyes isn’t so bad yet, maybe to some, a bigger text would be easier to read, but for me, there is no need to tinker with the font settings. But if you do need to adjust the font, it is easily accessible while you are reading on the menu to the bottom.
Accessing the Apps is easy. All you have to do is click on the App menu on the top when you are in the Home Screen Menu. It is organized well, and easy to find the things you need. The Search button is also essential, which you can use to search on the web or your library. The search reminds me of the search function on the Kindle Keyboard.
As for everyday usage, the battery last 6 hours at most at mid level brightness. Although at quarter brightness, I manage to get 7 hours, and even at quarter brightness, it was decent enough to read and watch a movie. I also found charging for 30 minutes takes it up to 90% charge from 10% level. That’s pretty darn fast and I was in a hurry too when I charged it, so it was conveniently fast charging. Even though I only had the Kindle Fire for a few days, I find it conveniently small to pocket inside my jean.
I also manage to test the Cloud Storage by purchasing Christmas song and store it in Cloud. It streams pretty fast, after a second time playing it. But initially, it took a few seconds before it actually plays the music for the first time. The third and fourth time was faster than the first when it comes to buffering. I would prefer to have the music Offline rather than on Cloud since Wi-Fi isn’t available everywhere and it’s inconvenient to tether to my iPhone since it drains my iPhone battery pretty fast.
Silk browsing is something else. It felt it had a good kick when I browse during a slow internet connection, such as at Starbucks or McD’s restaurant. However, when I’m at home, where I get an average of 20Mpbs, I don’t notice the speed increase or the advantage of silk. Same goes when I’m at work where I get 100Mbps, I don’t notice the speed of Silk. Only when I tether the Fire to the iPhone and the connection is a little wonky, then it feels like it’s caching some site and it’s fast. Sometimes I didn’t even know that I’m on the road surfing the internet via tether.
The Kindle has it’s advantage over the other Android, and one of the reason why this is my first official Android Tablet, and I’m glad I got the Kindle. To me, the advantage is the Eco-system surrounding the Amazon Store. With it’s vast Music and Video, I find it up to par with iTunes and App Store. Although I haven’t tried the Prime subscription to stream free videos, I find the media selections for to be satisfying. I find Music to be cheaper than iTunes, and on the occasion of Amazon giving away a free app a day on their Amazon App Store for Android. The trademark for Kindle has been the Personal Documents sent to your Kindle, and this Kindle Fire is no different. Set an email for your Kindle Fire, then set an approved email so you can email Personal Documents to your Kindle Fire. I find this to be more organized when it comes to all my instructions on how to setup my DVD Player, or my TV or my DVR, heck, I even have Instruction Manual for my BMW. I have to occasionally open my Kindle Fire to read up on some instructions to program my keys to the way I want it. I could do the same with the iPad, but it isn’t as easy as Kindle by just sending the file to your Kindle Fire. Sure with the iPad you can just send the PDF via email and open it from iBooks, but with the Kindle Fire, I can send the PDF file to the Kindle Fire and have Amazon convert the file for me in Kindle Fire format (azw) so I can bookmark the page, or highlights and make notes and all that good stuff, which reminds me of Kindle Keyboard. That’s one advantage for Kindle Fire.
That’s my preliminary review, for now that’s all I have for the Kindle Fire. If I find more things to write, I’ll write it here.