Kindle Fire Review

Category: Gadgets

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.
Amazon Kindle Fire review

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...

 
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Most recent comments on "Kindle Fire Review"

Posted by:

Alex
20 Oct 2011

Is the Fire's screen unlit colour e-ink, requiring an external light source, or is it a backlit LCD like the iPad's?


Posted by:

Peter Ballantyne
20 Oct 2011

Thanks for the comments on the Kindle Fire Bob, which I am watching with great interest from little old New Zealand. My first Kindle ereader had to come from the States as they have only recently become available as a retail item here. If the Fire follows the pattern it will be a year or two before we can buy them across the counter here. But when they get here I will buy! In the meantime it's back to the Kindle ereader browser for my email - SIGH!


Posted by:

Chuck Johnson
20 Oct 2011

Yes, I have already ordered one. I resisted the Kindle in the past due to its lack of color, but now, it seems to be everything I was interested in. I can't wait to take delivery!


Posted by:

Barbara Freeman
20 Oct 2011

I missed the $99 HP Tablet closeout; So, when I saw the FIRE advertised, I quickly jumped on their bandwagon for $199. How can you go wrong for that price! Hope it's true...


Posted by:

Glenn P.
20 Oct 2011

I have long wanted a Kindle, because they have built-in cellular access (read: download books anywhere!), but avoided it because the Kindle used e-ink (read: B&W only, no color).

When Kindle Fire came out, I rejoiced! "Kindle Color" has arrived, I thought!

Thank you  for the warning, therefore, that the Kindle Fire is WiFi Only! Ouch! Our computer isn't set up for WiFi at all. It seems that we might not be getting a Kindle Fire this year, after all...!


Posted by:

Steve B.
20 Oct 2011

Never really wanted an iPad, too much dough for mostly a lot of show. But I love my Kindle. I am surprised the Fire does not have 3G, since my Kindle eReader does (!). I really don't give a rats blast if it doesn't have a camera or mic. I will probably wait til Fire2, when it will have the 3G, a larger screen, and probably be about the same $$ as today. Of course, if my wife purchases one for me for Christmas, I won't chuck it back at her ;)


Posted by:

Margaret
20 Oct 2011

Comparing Kindle Fire and IPad is like comparing oranges and grapefruit. I would really welcome a comparison between Kindle Fire and B&N colour Nook.
Kobo Vox Colour is another product you could look at.
thanks
Margaret


Posted by:

Catherine
21 Oct 2011

I am so confused! I wasn't thinking ipad at all but rather an android tablet. I know the price for the Kindle Fire is much lower but I really want it for a newspaper subscription and I think a bigger screen would be better for that. I guess I'll keep looking, but thank you for the review.


Posted by:

Fred H.
21 Oct 2011

I have a Kindle Fire on order too. I'm a techie.... I have lots of "toys". My main motivaton was for reading and travel. Currently I need to travel with two laptops. One for business needs and one for personal use. The FIRE will allow me to eliminate the need to have the personal laptop travel with me and eliminate the hassel going through security. I can see a lot of buisness travelers getting this for weekly trips since it offers a lot of diverse options for entertainment.


Posted by:

Harry Harper
21 Oct 2011

I'm very close to putting my name on the Fire buyers list for the same reason as Barbara mentioned in her earlier post. I have a desktop, a laptop and a wireless router so the WiFi only isn't a problem for me. I don't really have a smart phone but my Nokia 2720-fold does allow me to access the web. Clicking and waiting for everything to load is such a pain that I don't use it. The Fire will give me more freedom in where I can access the web on a spur of the moment without breaking the bank.


Posted by:

Bob Deloyd
21 Oct 2011

I really wanted a Kindle Fire but the lack of a microphone nixed the idea for me. I bought a Lenovo A1 tablet for $199 instead and it should ship on the 28th. You can't order it right now because they took it down from their site. I heard that Lenovo is going to rise it to from $199 to $226 for the entry level one. Still at $226 it's a better deal than the Fire! It has front and back cameras, GPS always on nav, and a dang microphone so I can make calls using Skype when I'm not at home!


Posted by:

MmeMoxie
21 Oct 2011

Bob, you are tempting me. LOL Honestly, I have been looking at the Kindle for several years, now. Not for all the apps, but, mainly for reading books.

What I want, is the largest Kindle. It's is getting so hard to read the fine print on the paperbacks, when your eyes are 68 years old. B&W is fine, since, that's how books are printed, except for the covers. I am strictly, talking about romance, sci-fi and fantasy novels. I am talking about my 'escape' novels, not those big, fancy books that are on coffee tables. }:O)

So, I guess, I must drool a bit longer for my large Kindle.


Posted by:

K. Rhodes
21 Oct 2011

I am not going to buy a Fire, but my husband has one on order. I have the $139 Kindle, and that is enough for me right now. Color would be nice but as a college student (history major), I am more concerned with words than with pictures, for the most part. I do wish Kindle generally used some sort of scanning for their presentation of the material, because the typos and other errors from their not-so-careful transcribers drive me up the wall. I also wish that PDF files did not come up with teeny tiny print and fonts other than Times New Roman.


Posted by:

Mike
21 Oct 2011

Bob, I visited Barnes & Noble the other day, and as intrigued as I am by Amazon's Kindle Fire, I'd really like to know more about B&N's Nook Color. Maybe a comparison of the two tablets. Thanks.


Posted by:

Herman Silbiger
21 Oct 2011

I'll wait for Kindle Fire 2.0. At $250 it will have wireless access.


Posted by:

Linda Maloney
21 Oct 2011

Small correction: Eith the iPad you don't have to "shell out hundreds for a data plan." You can buy data access by the month. So when I know I'm going to be traveling or otherwise cut off from Wi-Fi, I buy a $15 monthly plan, and if I'm careful and remember not to let it renew automatically, I'm off the hook (in both senses!) for months at a time. So my annual bill is more like $60 at most, rather than hundreds.


Posted by:

Rick
22 Oct 2011

MMeMoxie - you need to try a Kindle. It's ideal for people with vision difficulties because you can increase font sizes from very small to huge to suit your needs and the page instantly reformats as though it were printed in your chosen font size. I have the large screen most expensive Kindle; my wife chose the smallest and cheapest. I find hers much more convenient to use because I can hold it in one hand like a paperback and read it perfectly with or without glasses by choosing font size. I presume the same magnification feature applies to other e-readers including the Kindle Fire.


Posted by:

Linda
22 Oct 2011

No problem for me. I 'm buying an iPad. I like to read
my books, and I wouldn't want to take an iPad to the beach
and get all that sand in/on it. I can do so many more with
the iPad.


Posted by:

chris
23 Oct 2011

I was reading from a blogger, that you can't change the battery on the Nook Color. Is this true of both the Nook Color and the Kindle Fire?


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