Today I am going to check out the Kindle Fire tablet. This tablet is the new offering from Amazon that has been making so much news. I have already given my initial impressions of the device. Read on for my full impressions of the Kindle Fire.
The Kindle Fire has a 7-inch screen with a resolution of 1024 x 600. The tablet measures 7.5" x 4.7" and 0.45" and weighs in at 14.6 ounces. It has 8GB of internal storage and free cloud storage for all the content you get from Amazon like books and apps. The tablet has WiFi, a 3.5mm audio port, and a USB port for charging. It works with all Kindle content. You can order one right now for $199.
I have been playing with the Kindle Fire tablet for a while now. This is a nice little tablet at a low price that I think most people will be able to use with no issues. I would hesitate to say this tablet is as capable as the iPad that I already have. I can do a lot more on the iPad work wise than I can on the Kindle Fire.
If I want to, I can use a Bluetooth keyboard with my iPad for instance and then type documents and email with a real keyboard rather than taking a notebook or netbook on the road. The Kindle Fire lacks Bluetooth so there is no getting a keyboard unless Amazon comes out with some trickery. I previously mentioned the fact that my tablet came to me registered to the person that bought it, allowing me to see all their content too. Keep that in mind if you are gifting one of these for Christmas.
The Kindle Fire screen is very bright and has decent resolution. It’s not as large as the iPad screen, but I am certainly willing to give up some screen space for a more compact size in some instances. The Kindle Fire is much easier to use on the go than the larger iPad in my opinion. There are times when I wish for a larger screen, but that's relatively rare.
Another thing that might bother some about the Kindle Fire is that there is no baked in email support. I can hit my Gmail account online or via apps, but as far as entering in your normal emails natively that won’t happen. I never check email on my iPad or the Fire so that is the least of my worries, I would bet few use email on the Fire either.
The screen has plenty of contrast and even if the text is small on webpages and reading materials, you can easily read. The screen will rotate from portrait to landscape modes for you automatically. One thing that does bother me is that the lock screen where you need to swipe to unlock the device doesn't automatically rotate. That means if you pick the tablet up sideways or upside down you have to swipe the correct direction.
The integrated browser that Amazon offers is quite good. I have no issues at all using it. The only minor quibble I have about the browser is that you need to hit the tab at the top if you are at the bottom of the page to get the address bar so you can refresh a page. It would be nice to have an address bar at the top and bottom.
You can access all sorts of content from Amazon on the tablet including video. The Kindle Fire works well for video playback. Amazon Instant video loads quickly and I actually enjoyed the 30 day trial of the Amazon Prime service. The screen has nice contrast and black levels, close to par with my original iPad. The video plays smoothly if your WiFi connection is up to it and has no skipping, ghosting, or stuttering. The one gripe I do have is that the onboard speakers don’t have a lot of volume. You will want some headphones.
I really have nothing horrible to say about the Kindle Fire. It’s a solid little tablet with no big standout features other than the price. I have tried a few tablets that are cheap and sell in this price range and the Kindle Fire is clearly better than those offerings. The tablet might have no big stand out features, but it has no big downsides either. All the things I mentioned are minor in my book and not a deal breaker. This is an excellent tablet for those that want to read and get in on the tablet action at a low price.
- Great price
- Does what the average user expects and does it well
- Lacks volume from onboard speakers
- No Bluetooth
- No 3G capability
If you can live with modest connectivity and being solidly tied to Amazon for reading and other content the Kindle Fire is a nice little tablet. The average user will be well served with this and it will make a great first tablet for users of all types. You can buy the Kindle Fire now on Amazon for $199.
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