Now that I’ve been playing with the Kindle Fire for a few days, here’s my review. We’re going to get to the big bad question… is this good enough to buy? But first, let’s take it from the top.
Kindle Fire Specs
The Kindle Fire is a 7” multi-touch display tablet, with a dual core processor, 8GB of on-board storage and a promised 8 hours of battery life. With 8 gigs of storage, they say you can get 80 apps, plus 10 movies OR 80 apps plus 800 songs, OR just 6,000 songs. And the battery life – 8 hours for reading only. You’re looking at 6-7 hours of real battery life with normal use. It weighs 14.6 ounces – slightly lighter than the Galaxy Tab. It is a bit thicker…though it has no problem fitting in the cases made for the Tab.
Specs wise, it’s a good device. Apps run well on it (Angry Birds is fast) and reading is a good experience. It’s not eInk so you will get the glare you get on any tablet.
Kindle Fire Features
The ONLY button on this thing is the power button. There is NO volume button. Which kind of drives me nuts – if you’re listening to something and need to turn it down real quick, you’ll need to unlock, click settings, then turn it down.
There isn’t a camera. That may come later like it did with the iPad. There is no physical home button. This is Android but a completely revamped version. If you’re a regular Android user, you will have to kind of relearn some things. The homepage is only somewhat customizable. You can add favorite apps to the Shelf, but you can’t remove or change the Previously Used section at the top. And if you love Swype, forget about it! No Swype. It doesn’t have GPS. It’s Wi-Fi only – no 3G or 4G.
Oh…and…I’m about to go on a rant. You’ve been forwarned. NO GOOGLE APPS WHATSOEVER. I understand that Amazon and Google are competitors, but Amazon locking out Google altogether means they have just thrown me into the arms of their other competitors. I mean, for goodness sake! Even Apple allows us to use Google apps!
Is the Kindle Fire a $200 Tablet?
Here’s the deal. It is NOT a tablet. I was excited by the idea of a $200 tablet that might be as good as the Samsung Galaxy Tab. This isn’t it. I really thought I was going to love this thing. But as a tablet, it is unusable. I can’t download a Gmail app, and if you set up Gmail on the native mail app, the capabilities are hindered. You can’t even archive – you can only delete or leave a message in the inbox.
Target Market for the Kindle Fire
The Kindle Fire is good for someone who wants a Kindle and entertainment device. Someone who wants to read some books or watch some movies on Netflix, Hulu Plus or Amazon Instant streaming. The browser is much better than other Kindle devices, but as a whole, it’s not going to provide you with everything you want at all times. Now, that being said, if you haven’t been spoiled by a tablet like the Galaxy Tab, you probably won’t hate the Kindle Fire. It’s probably a pretty cool device. But I also think that even if you haven’t had a Tab or iPad…pay the extra $100 for a full tablet experience and get a Galaxy Tab.
What do YOU think about the Fire?