Amazon Kindle Fire Review Round Up
November 14, 2011 9:17 AM
Amazon Kindle Fire
So how does Amazon's Kindle Fire stack up to the competition
Amazon's Kindle Fire
will officially be
released to the public on Tuesday
, but reviews are already in for the 7" media tablet. For those that aren't "in the know", the Kindle Fire uses the
reference design; hence its dimensions and specs stick pretty close to that tablet.
That means that the Kindle Fire has a 7" display with a resolution of 1024x600, measures 7.5" x 4.7" x 0.45", and weighs 14.6 ounces. The tablet comes equipped with a 1GHz dual-core processor, 8GB of internal storage (6GB available to the user), Wi-Fi, stereo speakers, and runs Android 2.3 with Amazon's own custom skin running on top.
The Kindle Fire is priced at a low $199.
The Kindle Fire is quite an achievement at $200. It's a perfectly usable tablet that feels good in the hand and has a respectably good looking display up front. Yes, power users will find themselves a little frustrated with what they can and can't do on the thing without access to the Android Market but, in these carefree days of cloud-based apps ruling the world, increasingly all you need is a good browser. That the Fire has.
When stacked up against other popular tablets, the Fire can't compete. Its performance is a occasionally sluggish, its interface often clunky, its storage too slight, its functionality a bit restricted and its 7-inch screen too limiting if you were hoping to convert all your paper magazine subscriptions into the digital ones. Other, bigger tablets do it better -- usually at two or three times the cost.
If you're thinking about getting the Fire, you have to decide not just whether you want a tablet, but what kind of tablet you want. This isn't an iPad-killer. It has the potential to do lots of things, but there are many things I have yet to see it do, and I wonder if it will get there given the lean software support. It's my impression that Amazon believes that the Fire will be so popular that developers will choose to work on its platform rather than on Google's main trunk of Android, but that's just a theory right now.
Still, there's no question that the Fire is a really terrific tablet for its price. The amount of content you have access to — and the ease of getting to that content — is notable to say the least. The device is decently designed, and the software — while lacking some polish — is still excellent compared to pretty much anything in this range (and that includes the Nook Color).
If you like what Amazon Prime has going on in the kitchen, the Fire is a terrific seat. It's not as powerful or capable as an iPad, but it's also a sliver of the price—and that $200 will let you jack into the Prime catalog (and the rest of your media collection) easily and comfortably. Simply, the Fire is a wonderful IRL compliment to Amazon's digital abundance. It's a terrific, compact little friend, and—is this even saying anything?—the best Android tablet to date.
It's hard to make the Kindle/Nook decision without reviewing the Nook, but here goes. The Kindle has enough storage—especially with Amazon's Cloud Drive and focus on video streaming—along with better app and media stores and a lower price. I feel safe awarding it our Editors' Choice for small tablets. If the Nook lives up to its promise, it will also be a great tablet, and may get the same rating. But the Kindle Fire will still be a winner, if not the only winner, for this holiday season.
"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein
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