It has been years since I blogged and am trying to break my own record by writing a small review of the new gadget I bought – Amazon’s “Kindle Fire”.
I have always been fond of gadgets be it mobile phones, computers, music players, cameras etc. When it comes to electronic purchases, I take extra caution reading reviews and comparing different products available in the market. Social networking comes to the rescue, where I can ask my twitter, Facebook and Google+ contacts for opinions, initial reviews and then make a prudent decision. This time around, when the amazon Kindle fire tablet was announced, I jumped in joy and ordered one for myself. Trust is the sole reason why I did not wait until the product was completely out and read reviews before ordering it. Trust on both Amazon and Google’s android operating system.
My experience with Amazon’s shopping started in 2009 when I bought a simple backpack to carry along when I go to work. From then on, Amazon has always been my first choice when it comes to online shopping. It is not only no tax policy, the ease of use, one-click buying options, secure shopping experience as a whole built my trust over these years.
Not a day passes in my life without using a Google product. The good thing is that the products keep evolving and gets new dimensions every often. For instance, I used to have primary email account with Yahoo for years and switched over to Google. From then on, there is no turning back or no regret for the switch over.
Amazon Kindle Fire
Why I need a tablet?
I have a macbook pro for personal use, Lenovo Thinkpad laptop for work, Blackberry Torch Smartphone. Do I still need a device which kind of fits in between all these devices? I used to read a lot of books and over the years I kind of kicked the good habit. I use google reader for my daily feed reads and miss the traditional benefit of reading a book which is to expand my imagination and understanding ability. the only time I get to read a book is before bed time and I don’t want to keep lugging a laptop around. After a very long thought process, I decided to buy an e-reader myself and I did try out the traditional kindle from a friend. When I was about to buy it, Amazon announced the Kindle Fire. I would call it good timing.
When I used to read books, I did not have distractions of any sort. Just me and my book. Now, I think I can afford to have a few distractions once in a while like checking emails, peeking at my social feeds while I enjoy reading a book or a magazine. This can also be a test for my discipline and set personal goals to see how fast I can finish a book or a magazine with all the distractions around.
I also pondered on the tablet options available in the market like the Samsung’s Galaxy tabs, Apple’s iPads, Motorola’s Xoom. The thing which kept me away from purchasing one of these was the price point.
Kindle Fire lacks a camera, microphone input for video chats and other applications. Do I really care? No. My wife and I use our macbook pro or her iPhone 4 for video chatting (Facetime, Skype etc) hardly few times a month. So, why spend the extra money for the featrues I won’t use on a daily basis? The idea of holding a 10 inch tablet for reading a book does not suit me. I don’t want my tablet to be more than 8 inches. The Kindle Fire nicely tucks in at 7 inches. I tried putting it in my trouser’s pocket, may sound awkward, it fit in. It is not that heavy to hold in one hand. It has a rubberized back which gives a better grip than the other tabs with metallic backs. As far as the operating system, it runs Amazon flavored version of Android gingerbread operating system. The user interface is simple and neat. The device is tied with my Amazon account and has Amazon app store for Android. Until I root it, options are pouring in, I will not be able to side-load apps or run any Android Market place apps. the News stand neatly organizes my kindle magazines. I subscribed to India Today, men’s health magazines already. The launcher also has books, Apps. Under Apps I have installed NetFlix, Hulu+ for my video streaming needs and the kindle fire comes with a free month of Amazon prime videos. I am not going to use the fire for watching movies or TV shows. I have a dedicated TV and Roku for that purpose. When will I use these video streaming apps? When I need a little distraction and have time for short breaks I can fire up TV shows like Family Guy, American dad etc.
There is an email app which supports most popular emails. I have the kindle fire setup with mine and my wife’s gmail accounts. The setup was fairly simple and easy. I am able to sync my google contacts too. At this time, both twitter and facebook apps are web based apps meaning when you launch them they take you to the web version using the Amazon’s new silk browser. The Silk browser is pretty smooth and can render web pages with flash support which is a bonus. There is a unique email id for my kindle where I can send personal documents and it gets delivered to my kindle. Kindle does not render pdfs that well and there is a Adobe PDF reader app coming to the rescue. I tried loading up a 1500 page pdf. It is not that easy like reading a kindle book. I have to pinch and zoom, move to read. I hope it improves over time.
As far as storage, it packs in 8 gigs out of which only 6.5 gigs are available and Amazon has all the cloud service apps packed in with this. The Amazon Appstore for Android has good apps. I installed a few games and Angry Birds turns out to be the best of all. My wife is hooked on to Bejeweled and heck you get a free app a day. Not bad a deal.
The only drawback, as I see, is the power button being on the bottom of the device. I accidentally hit it a few times already and the devices goes to stand by mode. Kindle books are super great compared to the loaded pdfs. I also like the kindle cloud reader apps where I can start reading in my Kindle fire and continue where I left off from a smart phone or a web browser.
Overall Kindle Fire is a nice tablet for people on a budget.
Update: I had a few problems with the touch screen on the Kindle Fire and returned it to Amazon. Got myself a Apple iPad 2.
You can buy Kindle fire at Amazon. Happy Holiday Shopping!