Kindle Fire Review

I’d been planning on purchasing an iPad by the end of the year, then I started getting interested in the Amazon Kindle Fire after reading about it and seeing it at the Amazon site. The sticking point for me was the screen size. I just didn’t think I’d be happy with the 7” Fire screen vs. the 11” iPad screen. I knew the Kindle had many fewer apps, but I’m not a big app person anyway and if the main ones I use are on (and they are), then I don’t care about games and other time-wasters.

amazon kindle fire tablet
One of the 'splash' screens-swipe to open

My Kindle Fire arrived this week and when I opened it and turned it on, I was rather surprised when it knew who I was and welcomed me by name. I suppose since I’m an Amazon user, that information was put on to the Kindle they sent me. So my music in the clouds was there waiting for me as well as my few Kindle books previously ordered that I’ve never taken the time to read on my phone or my PC (phone too small, and I don’t want to read books sitting at my computer).

Kindle Fire Initial Discoveries

The Fire was a bit heavier than I thought it would be, but it’s still comfortable to hold. The screen is gorgeous, the colors are vibrant and it’s very fast. The button to turn it on is on the bottom and there are no other buttons – just the A/C input and an audio input. The splash screen has a different image every time I’ve turned it on (not sure how many images there are). Then simply swipe to the left to open and you’re greeted to a bookshelf with all the various categories.

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what's on the Kindle

Kindle Fire Reading Experience

It was fun exploring all the categories. I went to books first and opened one up to see how I liked the reading experience. The text was crisp and easy to read and easy on my eyes. Of course there are numerous settings for font size and font type. By tapping around on the bottom of the screen, I discovered how to bookmark and how to highlight and make notes. (There is a user’s guide for complete instructions). I did a little reading and it was nice to not have to hold a 600-page book! It’s also nice to not fight with paperback books and trying to keep them open. It’s pretty cool that Amazon has a book lending program. I haven’t checked that out yet. Earlier this year, Amazon announced that Kindle owners can now borrow library books – can’t beat these two pros of the Kindle.

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TV shows

I played a song from my music collection. Note that you will need to have a wifi connection as whatever you want to listen to has to be downloaded first. The speakers weren’t that great for music, but there’s not a lot of room for speakers in the device.

Kindle Fire Apps

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Apps!

Then I wanted to check out the app store. It’s easy to find and add new apps. As a bonus – Amazon is giving away one free app a day at the app store. They choose the app! So it’s worth it to go to the app store every day and the free app will be right there for you to look at and decide to download or not. There are about 8,500 apps right now and all vetted by Amazon to work and work well on the Kindle.

Next I checked out the Video section and that’s where the Amazon Prime members can go to watch movies & TV shows for free. Of course, there are TV shows and movies for rent or sale too. I played some of a nature documentary and it started right away, no jerks or hesitations and the colors were beautiful. No complaints there.

The Kindle Fire is Wi-Fi only, I’ve heard later on they will probably add 3G, so if you’re on the go, you’ll have to make sure your device is loaded with your content. There’s no additional storage slots, so keep that in mind if you like to store a lot of content on your device. It does have just 8GB of storage, so not a huge amount.

The beauty of the Kindle Fire is how it integrates so well with the Amazon store, their cloud storage and for watching videos. If you’re a big Amazon user, this tablet probably makes more sense for you than the Barnes & Noble Nook. If you’re a big B&N fan, then go with the Nook. Same thing if you’re in the Mac world – all their products are designed to work well together.

For $200, I went with this device over the iPad for all the reasons stated above. I don’t think I’ll regret it either. What are your experiences with the different tablets and why?

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