The main thing to remember about the Kindle Fire is that it is not a tablet, not a computer. It is not designed to compete with the iPad, and head to head it wouldn’t stand a chance. And although it may put some of the cheaper and more rudimentary tablets in their place it would struggle against the top brands in terms of capacity and responsiveness. Having said all that this is a very neat piece of kit and compared with its predecessors it is absolutely dripping with extras that make it a thoroughly enjoyable product to own.
Kindle Fire Specs:
At just under $200 it is reasonably priced for what it offers and probably fits fairly neatly into the general budget for a decent Christmas or Birthday gift without the need for breaking the bank. Priced as it is, producers Amazon, claim to be making a loss on the product itself, in the hope that they will redeem the loss on the cost of the item through the sales of apps, video, movies and books from the Amazon website on to the devices. You will need to be prepared to purchase all of the media you want to use through Amazon if you want to use it through the Fire as it is essentially just a media viewer, although a state of the art one, designed to help you access Amazon products.
The 7” screen is multi touch and very responsive, but not quite as intuitive as an iPad in following finger movements on screen. It uses technology called In Plane Switching which does allow for wide angle viewing, useful if you are sharing a movie with a friend, and the 1024 x 600 pixel 169 ppi gives the video display a nice rich effect. The screen itself is made from gorilla glass, superbly tough and you shouldn’t worry about needing screen protectors, as the average set of keys, or other random metallic objects that you might have stowed in the bottom of your bag pose no real threat at all. It does weigh in at a reasonably hefty 413 grams and although this is lighter than the iPad (600grams), if you do find yourself without your stand it is difficult to hold for sustained reading/viewing times.
Like a Computer, but not a Computer:
You have to remind yourself that this is not a computer, but with the combination of the high speed dual core processor, some of the creative apps and the fast internet browsing it does feel like you have a device which is all but in name a PC. Load it up with Office Suite Pro 5, Exchange By TouchDown, (and Facebook, of course!) and you might as well be at your desk. The web browser silk is an innovative feature and something of which Amazon are rightly boastful, although not all websites are sized perfectly on screen, access and flow between web pages is smooth and load time is minimal. Overall if you were looking to replace your tired old laptop, notebook or PC you could probably manage with the Kindle Fire and not suffer to greatly (if at all) as a consequence.
Storage on the device itself is an issue. It comes with 8GB as standard, which for a media playing device, given the current direction in terms of file size in terms of definition and quality, that media is going, 8GB is hopelessly inadequate. You look at the numbers and almost shout, “What were they thinking?” Particularly as it doesn’t come with an SD Card Slot. Especially as included in the 8GB is the 1.5GB OS, leaving you with 6.5GB; enough to hold 1 movie, 20 apps, 200 songs and a couple of hundred books in total. Not really the greatest media catalogue in the world. Amazon were of course thinking, as everyone is, with their heads in the cloud. And the cloud here is an excellent feature, with 5gb of free storage and for a buck a year you can get an extra gigabyte, giving you the storage without the hassles of cluttering the device and worrying about download times.
Overall the Kindle Fire is kit definitely worth having, it will not stand up against and Ultrabook, or iPad, but against a standard notebook, it performs fairly well and as a media viewer it is in a class of its own. Its major plus point lies in its price, which is no fortune and won’t require a large online balance transfer so the Kindle Fire should not be passed by simply because of its shortcomings.