A Quick Look at the Kindle Fire

25 Nov 2011
November 25, 2011

kindleFireNo, I haven’t bought a Kindle Fire yet. Good grief folks, you know I never rush out and buy first gen things! However, my friend Rich (blog | twitter | G+) recently bought one and offered to let me play with it for a week or so while he’s busy working and writing. I, of course, accepted his kind offer.

I have been using the new Kindle Fire for 5 days now and first impressions are quite positive. I especially dig the size. At 7” it works well for casual and one-handed usage. I initially thought it would be too small but for most purposes it actually works just fine. Especially for book reading.

Granted, a bigger screen would be nice for web browsing… The tabbed browser is nice but the experience isn’t a whole lot improved over browsing on my phone. Certainly serviceable but a lot of zooming and panning.

I’ve read reviews that say the Fire is slow and “jerky” but I haven’t run into any of that yet. Scrolling is always fast and smooth — arguably too fast when scrolling through recently used items on the home screen. I frequently go flying right by the one I want!

I’ve done some Netflix streaming on it and find it is a great way to watch back episodes of shows. Alone. Not great for multiple viewers but that’s not a big concern for me right now. Not going to lie… If I had a Wi-Fi signal at the gym I’d use this on the stationary bikes and ellipticals just to watch shows.

Not having access to the full Android Market is a bummer. Amazon’s market is growing, but the full market has more – and seems to get updates faster too. Some big gaps there that are a bit disappointing. Sure, I’ve read there are “side load” options but should we have to?

Will I buy one for myself? Hard to say… I have multiple laptops and a pretty nice little Android phone. This fits somewhere in between them in a niche I’m not completely sure I need to fill. However, if I was going to break down and buy an electronic book reader, I’d look long and hard that the Fire. Kind of like an “E-Reader with benefits.” Especially if I was also willing to shell out for Netflix and/or Amazon Prime.

It certainly is getting used a lot between myself, the wife and the kids.

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4 replies
  1. Rich G. says:

    You hit the nail on the head for me too.

    It fits right between phone and laptop and I wasn’t sure I needed such a device. It’s why I opted for the e-reader+ rather than going full blown iPad for my tablet purchase. I don’t know if I’d use it much.

    This, I think I’ll use as a way to consume media. I can see myself watching stuff on Netflix with it, and maybe reading with it, but the battery life isn’t what I’m used to in the kindle (weeks of heavy reading is hard to compete with really).

    One thing I was surprised you didn’t comment on was the first thing I thought taking it out of the box, “Damn. That’s heavy.” It’s a dense little thing. It’s not too heavy to use but it’s heavier than I’d have thought just eyeballing it.

    I’ve done a little bit of gaming on it, but I’m not a super huge fan of touch screen games. I like controls. I worry I’ll push my finger/thumb through the screen on those games with virtual buttons mapped onto the screen. I’m old, I like buttons. I’ve never been a fan of Angry Birds but that type of game seems to work OK on it. I just don’t particularly like it.

    Thanks for the review. It’s good to see some traffic on this dusty old thing. BTW: I’ve got too many online links. I think I’m too scattered. I’m working on that. Mostly twitter I only broadcast. I almost never read there. G+ and my blog (You may notice I linked to my blogspot blog here instead of my main blog… seems to indicate a shift in main doesn’t it? Yah. I think that’s happening.)

    • Chris says:

      Thanks for the thoughts, Rich :-)

      Regarding weight: I never thought it seemed heavy. Maybe because I’m sort of comparing it to larger tables (iPad)? It seems OK to me.

      The kids really like it for Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja but since there’s a little short in the screen on yours (which I didn’t want to make part of the review!) they can’t get too aggressive or the screen goes mono-color or shuts off!

  2. Rich G. says:

    Ah, and I was comparing it to the Kindle for weight and it’s like a Sumo-Kindle :)

  3. peter geddes says:

    My last 5 kindles have been great, but for some reason after I travel on a plane they start to die. Do you know if this is a common issue? I like the Kindle fire but this seems to keep happening to me and I don’t want to forking out for one and then have it go wrong a week after a pane trip.


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