My Kindle Fire is Here – Review Attached

The following is the review I just posted on the Kindle Fire’s web page on the Amazon web page – if you think this review is helpful (or not), I would appreciate a “Yes” or “No” vote on the helpfulness of the review on the Amazon website.  You can see the review if you click here or type in http://amzn.to/firereview into your computer’s web browser, and the voting buttons are at the bottom of the review.

I’ve had a chance to play with the Kindle Fire for a few hours now, and overall I think it is a great tool /toy when you factor in the cost of ownership and what you get.  Compared to $500 minimum for the introductory price of the bottom of the line iPad2 (WiFi only), at $199 this is a great buy.

Using a Wifi connection at two different locations, the speed was pretty fast connecting to the Amazon server as well as to a couple of Internet sites.  I had fast connectivity and display on Fox News, CNN, my personalized Yahoo page, and the website of the International Association of Penturners (hey, I do have hobbies!).  I had slow connectivity at both Wifi locations with Google, ESPN, MSNBC, the Houston Chronicle, and the Weather Channel – I hope the unique app for ESPN and the Weather Channel are a lot faster, but I haven’t loaded them onto the Fire yet.  I will point out with the exception of the Google website, those other sites listed as slow are usually slow on my other handheld devices such as my Droid phone and my work iPad2 (yes, the Kindle guy owns and uses an iPad for work purposes).  The web browser is called Silk, and it is nice and user-friendly.

Let’s talk about what I see as the benefits first:

The screen size to me is just right for what I will be using it for – I have used an iPad and the screen is larger – but I did watch about 15 minutes of an episode of season 3 of 24 on the Fire and I didn’t have screen envy or felt like I was missing anything.  The sound quality was good, but I listened to it mainly with a set of headphones so I wouldn’t wake my kids.

Concerning size of the overall unit – not too heavy or bulky and it fits nice in your hand.  I have it in one of the Marware covers (click here or type in http://amzn.to/tPerFN into your computer’s web browser to see the one I purchased) and it just “feels” right: that’s not a firm statement for a review, I know, but what else can I say?  Holding the iPad feels a little bulky at times but the Fire is just a little bit larger than my Kindle keypad, so I was pretty much conditioned to this size over the past few years.  Compared to the iPad, the Fire doesn’t generate near as much heat.

Speed of the apps as well as reading a book is VERY fast and responsive.  I haven’t tried a challenging spreadsheet or Word document with the Open Office app yet, but then again I can’t think of too many times where (based on my guesstimated usage) I will be doing those kind of tasks on my Fire: I like to keep my work separate from play.  Maybe the time will come when business applications will become more prevalent with the Fire, but that’s a story for another day.

Back to the pricing – $199 is an absolute steal for a unit with this many features.  Compare that to an iPad2 at more than twice the price for a few more inches of screen space.  Some people really want that, but it doesn’t bother me.  You will also receive a month free of Prime membership and I highly recommend you try out the benefits, which are more than free two-day shipping.  You get full access to thousands of movies and tv shows for free.  You can give them a test drive on your Fire and see if it is for you or not.  I already rent a lot of movies to my Tivo via Amazon, and I can see the functionality of the free movies combined with the for rent options being able to be played on this device as very compelling for when I go on business trips.

And, for those of you I’ve been playing Words with Friends with, this morning’s moves were made on the Fire – the touchscreen worked flawlessly.

I transferred some music to the Fire and it works like a charm.  I haven’t had enough time to really dive deep into this feature yet and come up with a playlist or jukebox list, but the sounds quality was nice: not too loud and not too soft. 

Here are some potential negatives:

I don’t think I will be reading too much on this device.  Who knows, that opinion may change, but I REALLY like the Kindle for reading with its eInk screen.  I read a lot outside or in bright light, and based upon my experiences with reading on an iPad the eInk is better than the full color for reading outside. However, my youngest child really likes the full color resolution as the books he likes to read has a lot of pictures in it (he’s in elementary school).  So, to each their own.  I didn’t purchase the Fire for reading, but more for entertainment.

As mentioned above, the screen is smaller than an iPad.  That doesn’t bother me (see comments above), but it may bother some people where size matters or they have to have the “biggest” of this and that.

I really wish they would have shipped this thing with a micro USB cord: if there is one in the packaging I missed it.  Luckily, I have a few of them in the house, so I wasn’t too put out.  I imagine they did that to keep the overall cost at $199.

There are lots of apps available for the Fire because it uses the DROID platform, but Apple lovers will pound their chest and say “but we have over a million apps” blah blah blah.  I think you should look at the QUALITY of the app vs. the quantity, as there is certainly a lot of junk in the iPad app store (as there is the DROID store), but your basic functionality for the apps I want / need are there.

Overall, at $199 this is an extremely great value to me and well worth it: Amazon has hit a home run with this one.  If you haven’t grabbed one now, get one before they run out before Christmas!

Now, off to write the review for the new Kindle Touch!

EDIT TO ADD:

Okay, I’ve tried to add this twice and it bombed, so hopefully the third time is the charm. Email setup was very easy – it took about a minute to setup my main Google account, and I was able to send a test message to another account as well as receive and reply to other emails. I sent a picture via email to the Fire and it showed crisp and clear.

Michael

Want to have this blog sent wirelessly to your Kindle vs. reading it on your computer? Try out the free two-week subscription!  Click here for the Amazon page for Free Kindle Books Plus a Few Other Tips.

Looking for more or a reliable source of free books for your Kindle?  Click here for my “Free Kindle Books and How to Find Them book (updated November 2011 for the release of the Kindle Fire!).

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11 Comments

Filed under Kindle Tips, Misc. and Random Stuff

11 responses to “My Kindle Fire is Here – Review Attached

  1. Steph

    I had such trouble with the two droid phones I had in the past! Makes me a little nervous to know that the Fire has the droid operating system. Give us an update on how it’s working in a few months. That’s usually how long it took for my phones to go south!

    • Michael Gallagher

      Will do!

      By the way, my Motorola Droid phone is 2 years old and is working great. My wife had an HTC Droid and it was pure garbage and just switched to an iPhone.

  2. So how do you like the case you got? I want to get the Microshell one by Marware but the reviews so far are pretty bad. I love the leather one for my Kindle 3G. It might be worth the extra $5 if the leather one for the Fire is better.

  3. Excellent review btw. Mine is out for delivery now and I can hardly wait for this workday to be over.

  4. Thank you, Michael! I just ordered a Fire and will use my Kindle Keyboard and Fire for different purposes, as Michael detailed (the Kindle might turn out to be the better reader)—–plus I can always loan one to family when they’re traveling or confined by illness. I read your blog every day. Though I don’t read much fiction, I download them for my family. Our daughter’s traveling to India in December and will go with our blessings and my Kindle. This way, she won’t have the weight of books in her luggage.

    Thanks again!

  5. Steph

    I had the original droid with the pull out keyboard, then got the Samsung fascinate. No luck with either. I too switched to iPhone and have had zero issues. My husband wants to buy me a Fire for Christmas but the whole droid thing makes me nervous!

  6. Elinore Lyon

    How long does a full charge really last when connected?

  7. Phyllis

    I just received my Fire and I love it. Would love to be able to read this blog on the Fire…..When do you thinke it will be available?

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