The soon to be launched new tablet from Amazon which was lately declared by Jeff Bezos on 28th September has been creating a big buzz among tech enthusiasts. The Kindle Fire offers the functionality of a tablet and likewise a color e-Book reader, but at a very beautiful low price.
The Fire is designed mainly as a media consumption device which runs on a modified version of the Android OS. Does the Kindle Fire have what it takes to scorch the contest in the tablet world and be the tablet to beat or does it fall short? Read on to find out.
Features of the Kindle Fire
The Kindle Fire bears a strong resemblance to the BlackBerry Playbook in terms of the weight and feel of the device. The design itself is very streamlined, including just a power button on the unit. With it is comparatively little dimensions of 7.5 x 4.7 x 0.45 inches, the Fire is little sufficient to fit in a somewhat sized pocket or be held one-handed.
The 7-inch multi-touch display with IPS (in plane switching) provides a greatest or most complete or best possible solution of 1024 x 600 at 16 million colors. The ISP engineering science applied provides an magnificent range of watching angles, permitting the display to be viewed at 178° and greater.
Despite having a lower solution than the iPad, text on the Fire’s display looks crisp and sharp. The display doesn’t use e-Ink technology even though however, so if you want a Kindle primarily for reading I commend one of the earlier models which feature an e-Ink display to minimize eye strain over extended periods.
The Fire isn’t too strong on the connectivity front. There is support for Wi-Fi, but no help for Bluetooth, 3G or GPS. The headphone jack is very handy for when you want to watch movies or listen to music in private.
Amazon has taken a leaf from Apple’s book and opted for simplicity when designing the Fire. The user-interface is very simple and provides easy navigation thru the touch screen. There is a screen to flip through all your digital content plus an icon tray to store your favourite items.
When all is said and done, the Kindle Fire isn’t an iPad killer, but it sure packs a punch with it is spec and is a outstanding entry for Amazon into the tablet market. The lack of cameras, extra internal storage choices and 3G connectivity will be off-putting to numerous people who are after a full-fledged tablet experience, but for numerous who are after a pure media consumption device, what the Fire delivers will suffice.
The low price point of the Fire and it is media capablenesses are hugely appealing, making it worth severe contemplation for any person mesmerized in enjoying media on the move.
8263 of 8415 people found the following review helpful.
1. Form-factor – Compared to the Kindle 3, this Kindle feels more compact, lighter and easier to hold. My hands wrap around this better than K3. Reading books for a few hours at a stretch will be easier on this device compared to the K3. It is the lightest such device I have used compared to all previous Kindles and other tablets.
2. Screen – I personally like the fact that there are no keys on the device and that keys come up on the screen when you need them. Delivers a better overall reading experience. However, navigating through the on-screen keyboard with the 5-way controller can be taxing if you need to do a lot of searching, and you might miss the full physical keyboard. I hardly search on the Kindle itself, I search for books on my laptop so this is a non-issue.
3. Price! – At $79, you can’t go wrong. Compared to buying paperback or hardcover editions, you will recover the cost of this in a matter of a few months because most Kindle content is priced cheaper than print editions (and you get it instantly, and can access it wherever you are). Not to mention all the free Kindle downloads available in the catalog.
4. Display – almost the same E-ink display at the K3. No glare no reflection. You can sit in bright sunlight and read it just like a book. Page turns seem a lot faster on this compared to the K3. Screen size of the Kindle 3, this new Kindle, and the Touch is exactly the same in size.
5. Wi-Fi – this can be a pro or a con (no 3G) depending on a user’s personal preference. If you travel often and would like to be able to download content anywhere without worrying about getting a wi-fi connection, you’re better off sticking with the K3 or waiting for the Touch/Fire. For me, 3G is not a major issue.
6. Text to Speech and Audiobooks – These two features are lacking in this device. I personally have never used these features on my K3. If you listen to audiobooks or TTS or music on your Kindle, again the K3/Touch/Fire might be better options.
7. Storage – this device can store 2GB which they claim is approximately 1400 books. For me, that’s a massive storage capacity and it will be years before I get close to that capacity. Again, if you download books occasionally and have a moderate Kindle downloaded content on your device, 2GB is plenty. Of course, think ahead and see how much you would expect to download in the coming 2 years (I am assuming the device will be outdated and replaced within this time-frame).
8. Battery life – too early to tell but Kindle battery life tends to be great. Specs state that the battery life of this device is 1 month compared to 2 months for the Touch or K3. 1 month is plenty (Android phones need to be charged every hour!). At least I know that if I’m going on a long flight, this device won’t need charging if I charge it up in advance.
9. Power adapter – this Kindle does not come with a power adapter, only a USB charging cable. You can either buy it separately for $8-10, or use your existing USB power adapter. Any USB adapter would work with the charging cable (previous Kindle versions, Apple’s portable devices, and most HTC phones, come with a standard USB power adapter that would work for this device). There are also plenty of $2-3 adapters available here if you search for USB chargers.
Bottom line – the choice between this basic Kindle, the K3 Keyboard, the Touch, and the Fire is really a personal preference. This device itself is meant for the minimalist Kindle user who, like me, reads say a 2-3 books a month, wants a device comfortable to hold, and doesn’t need any fancy bells and whistles on the device. I guess it depends on what you use your Kindle for. If it’s just the basics, this is the perfect device to get.
In my humble opinion, the choices:
(i) If you have a DX or an old Kindle version, or if you don’t have a Kindle yet and are an average book-reader, this is definitely the one to get – baseline model that is affordable and is a pure e-reader.
(ii) If you have Kindle 3 and don’t really need an upgrade, I recommend sticking with the K3, it’s a better device than this one in terms of features. If you do need to upgrade, the Touch is probably a better option because of all the additional features, at a small incremental cost.
(iii) If you’re looking for the loaded full-on Amazon content experience with access to all the apps, streaming audio and video, and playing the “strangely therapeutic” Fruit Ninja, wait for the Fire!
I sincerely hope this review helps you decide whether this Kindle is right for you. If you are still unable to make a decision, it may be worthwhile to wait for the Touch and Fire to be released, and see the reviews on those devices before making a final decision.
3293 of 3384 people found the following review helpful.
There are a few things to know about this particular Kindle that can help you decide if it’s right for you…
Here is a list of things to know about this Kindle.
1. You’ll be using an onscreen keyboard with the 5-Way Controller. This is not a problem for setting up WiFi and a little writing but if you are an avid note-taker or do a lot of writing with your Kindle, you might want to opt for the Kindle Keyboard.
As for reading, and as a pure reading device. It is awesome… in fact, without the keyboard, audio, and other features I don’t need. This is actually the best one for someone like me who just wants to read.
I’ve already successfully transferred my library, downloaded books over WiFi, and borrowed library books through the Overdrive Library eBooks System. My only small point of dissatisfaction is that there are so few good covers and accessories right now (though there ARE some available that look pretty good).
All in all, I believe this is the BEST of all the Kindles currently available. Only consider others if you:
Hope this helps someone make a good decision!
(Brief update: I love this Kindle, but right now the scarcity of good, inexpensive covers for it is a little troubling. The Amazon made leather one with light won’t be available until November or so and there are currently no inexpensive ones to use in the interim. I’ll just have to use it gently for a month or so.)
Update on cases:
Checking the specifications for the Kindle, Nook Touch, and Kobo:
It looks like the Kobo is about exactly the same size and the Nook Touch is slightly longer. If you need a case but can’t find one that you like yet, it may be worth a little hunting to see if a nook or kobo case or cover might fit the bill.
1583 of 1676 people found the following review helpful.
If you are a little perplexed with all the various Kindle models and are wondering if this Is the Kindle for you, here are a few questions for you to consider…
1. Do you need text to speech capability or have the desire to listen to mp3′s on your Kindle? If you can live without that, then proceed. This Kindle does not have a speaker thus is not capable of text to speech or playing sounds of any kind including mp3′s.
2. Is color important to you? This is not a color Kindle, it is gray-scale. If you are mostly wanting to read books then this will work for you exceedingly well. The e-ink screen is gorgeous, sharp and provides the ability to change font size, font face and line spacing. It even displays photos quite nicely, but in gray-scale. And you can even zoom in on images.
3. Is a physical keyboard a necessity for you? If you like to make notes and annotations while reading, you may want to look at another model Kindle that has a physical keyboard. Although this Kindle has a screen-based keyboard, it is tedious to type more than a few words or URL’s. It works very well for minimal typing but it’s not for you if you need more than that.
4. Is compact size important for you? Then this is the one to get. It’s thin, light and diminutive in size. Slips easily into a purse, pocket or inside pocket. It is so light which makes holding and reading with one hand for longer periods of time very easy.
5. Do you want to be able to occasionally use a web browser to access a web site? Well surprise surprise, you can do that on this Kindle. It’s an “experimental” feature but it works quite well. It’s been experimental for years, so I’m not quite sure why it’s still labeled experimental. But in any case you can visit websites, save bookmarks and it works.
I also own the original Kindle with the SD card slot. Compared to the original Kindle, this new one is svelte. Thinner, lighter and notably, the e-ink on this new Kindle is vastly improved. In low interior lighting with gray overcast lighting outside, I’m able to easily read the Kindle. It is amazing how the screen almost glows, as if it were backlit. Of course it is not backlit and in fact will not work in the dark. But if you have a small reading light, that solves that problem. Otherwise in most other situations you will pleased with the excellent sharpness and clarity of the Kindle text.
Page “turning” was very snappy to me especially when compared to my old Kindle. The black page flash that occurs on every page turn on the old Kindle does not occur nearly as frequently with the new Kindle. It now occurs after every 5 page turns.
The fact that there is no physical keyboard means that this Kindle is absolutely the easiest to carry Kindle ever. Fits nicely in the hand and the slightly grippy surface makes you feel secure in holding it… it will not easily slip out of your hand.
Setup was a breeze. The Kindle immediately identified my Wi-Fi network and as soon as I entered my password using the onscreen keyboard, I was good to go. Signal strength indicated very high on the Kindle and I did not notice any degradation in signal no matter how I handled it.
As concerns the onscreen keyboard, it was easy and intuitive to use. I don’t expect to have to use it very often and for me I’d rather have no physical keyboard because that makes the Kindle smaller and easier to pack and go.
You still get the typical Kindle tools, such as Highlighting, Notes, Annotations, Public Notes and a few others. You can upload PDF and TXT files and view them. You can easily transfer prior Kindle purchases to your new Kindle. You have the ability to create “collections” Once you’ve created a collection, you add items to it and this is a great way to organize many books.
I have not had this model long enough to comment on battery life, but I’m sure that based on my previous Kindle and the specifications that it will excel. I believe that reading 1/2 hour a day will let you go a month before needing a charge if Wi-Fi is off. That’s pretty awesome. It is charged via the included USB cable and that can be from your computer or via an AC to USB power adapter, or in-car power port USB adapter.
And don’t worry that the memory has decreased in this Kindle. There is still more than enough memory to hold well over 1000 books. And you archive books too which means they are just a click and a few seconds away from being downloaded back to your Kindle from the Amazon Cloud.
Regarding the ads… they are not objectionable. In fact (don’t tell this to the advertisers) I didn’t even notice that there was an advertisement on the home screen until I deliberately looked for it. It takes up just a small portion of the bottom of the screen and is no taller than an inch in height. I don’t know for sure whether all ads are the same size but the one I’m looking at is very unobtrusive. The screensaver ads are full page and don’t bother me at all. And of course, you may just end up getting a good deal on something. I LIKE the ads. Just today I got a couple from an ad that saves me $5 on a $10 Amazon purchase in addition to my choice of a selected list of Mystery/Thriller books for only $1. Love the deals!
I think Amazon has another winner on its hands with this ad-supported Kindle. You just can’t beat it for reading and I’m so glad I got it.
If you have any questions please leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer them.
UPDATE: 10/16/2011 – I had the opportunity to compare the display of my new Kindle with that of a friends who had a Kindle with keyboard. I’m not sure how old his is, but his display actually had a somewhat lighter colored background which made the legibility slightly better in my opinion. I was quite happy with the clarity, sharpness and contrast of my new Kindle until I compared with him. Now I’m a little conflicted. It’s still great, don’t get me wrong, But it’s not an improvement necessarily over the previous generation as far as I can tell. It’s also possible that there are variations in the e-ink display depending on the luck of the draw. I may question Amazon about this and will report back here if I do. I’d still get this in a heartbeat, but just wanted to let you know about the contrast issue.
UPDATE: 10/17/2011 – There is a new firmware update for the Kindle that addresses the page refresh issue. The new version is 4.0.1 If installed, you will see an additional option in the Settings panel on page 3 called “Page Refresh.” This allows you to have the Kindle refresh the page at each page turn (the screen flashes black briefly.) Otherwise the Kindle will not refresh the page until after each 5 page turns.
UPDATE: 10/19/2011 – I called Amazon Kindle Support to discuss the screen darkness issue I mentioned above. They said they’d send a replacement which I’ve just received. I’m happy to say that the screen background is in fact -slightly- lighter in color on the new Kindle I just received. I’m happy and probably would have still been happy had I not replaced it. But at least I am psychologically satisfied now. The difference in background color was extremely subtle so I wouldn’t worry at all about it if you are happy with your newly purchased $79 Kindle. However there do seem to be some circulating that are more obviously darker and if yours is one of those, then contact Amazon.
UPDATE: 12/6/2011 – Wow, the way these specials offers are going, this Kindle is going to end up being free. I just got another $10 Amazon gift card for $5 the other day. Plus a free Audible Audiobook and 50% off a Kindle cover. Loving the special offers.