Kindle Fire Review
Should I buy the Kindle Fire or an iPad? I just found out that Amazon is releasing a new tablet, which is Android-based. I love my Android smartphone, but have always wanted an iPad. Now apparently there's some worthy competition. What do you recommend?
Should You Buy a Kindle Fire?
Amazon.com's Kindle Fire tablet will undoubtedly be one of the hottest gadgets during the upcoming holiday gift giving season. I don't see it as competing directly with Apple's iPad, but it will offer a budget alternative to the king of tablets. The Fire lacks many of the iPad's features, but then it also "lacks" 60 per cent of the iPad's base price. What's in the Kindle Fire, and who might prefer it to an iPad? Let's take a look.
At only $199, the Kindle Fire is a full $300 cheaper than the lowest-priced version of the iPad. That's bound to appeal to a relatively untapped market of cost-conscious customers. Although the Fire is a tablet, it's a Kindle at heart. Its primary function is an ebook reader, but it will also serve as a multimedia device for magazines, movies, apps, games, and music. Fire will offer free cloud storage for all your Amazon content, similar to the iOS Cloud offering from Apple.
The Amazon Silk browser promises "ultra-fast web browsing" and an email app is included. It will have the ability to read Word, PDF and other document types. Parents whose offspring have been clamoring for an iPad may spring for a Fire instead. But will the kids use it?
The Kindle Fire has a 7 inch display, versus the iPad's 9.7 inch screen. This is probably a big reason for the price difference, as touchscreens are pretty expensive. The smaller screen has its advantages - you can hold the Fire in one hand more easily, and it weighs 50 per cent less than an iPad. But if you like to watch movies or play games on a tablet, a bigger screen is generally better.
Less is More?
The Fire lacks several features found in the iPad. There is no camera, for instance. That may not matter to users who take pics with smartphones or digital cameras. But the lack of a cam also means no Skype or other video chat services on the Kindle Fire. Also, there's no microphone on the Fire.
The Fire is WiFi-only, so you will have to find a hotspot to use it. The iPad comes in 3G models, giving it a degree of mobility that the Fire lacks. On the other hand, 3G adds about $169 to the price of an iPad, and who really wants to pay hundreds per year for a data plan?
The Kindle Fire has only 8 GB of internal storage, versus a minimum of 16 GB in an iPad. However, the Fire includes unlimited free storage on Amazon's cloud servers.
About 10,000 apps are currently available for the Kindle Fire, from the Amazon Appstore for Android. (Yes, Angry Birds is there!) That may seem like plenty until you compare it to the 425,000+ apps available from Apple. But since this is an Android device, I'm willing to bet there will be some way to tap into the larger Android Marketplace, which has another 200,000 apps on tap. And of course, many will "root" this device and turn it into a generic Android tablet. Very tempting, at $199.
The Fire comes with a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime, which combines a library of 11,000 streaming movies and TV shows with free 2-day shipping on Amazon purchases. The Kindle Fire is optimized for Amazon's content and product offerings. General purpose computing and entertainment are more or less secondary, and less powerful on the Fire than on the iPad. But for users who mainly want to read and shop, the inexpensive Fire is a good way to sample the joys of tablet computing.
Kindle Fire will be released by Amazon on November 15, 2011. If you want one, get in line, as orders will be shipped on a first come, first served basis.
Do you plan to buy a Kindle Fire? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 20 Oct 2011
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Kindle Fire Review (Posted: 20 Oct 2011)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved