Kindle Fire: First Impressions
I am a Mac user. Â I have been ever since that day with Mac OS X when I opened the Terminal app and found the command line. Â I like the fact that I don't have to configure and compile every little thing to get it to work, and worry that it may break something else. Â That being said, I like several different platforms for their individual strengths. Â So when Amazon announced a sub-$200 Kindle tablet with a version of Android, I was intrigued.
I don't have the funds to purchase every tablet out there, and unlike major news organizations I don't have the luxury of companies sending me products for review (but I wouldn't be adverse to it!). Â So when a search for a toner cartridge for a Xerox Phazer 3250 (quite an odyssey in itself) took me to my local Staples, I had to try it out. Here were my impressions:
- Reading: Â The Kindle Fire may be a tablet, but it should be first and foremost an eBook reader. Â I've read reviews of some people do did not like it, but on the demo, books looked great. Â It was comparable to reading on my iPad in performance and clarity, though the words were crisper on my iPhone 4 (may be because of the Retina display). Â Still, it worked well, and I was impressed.
- Magazines: Â Reading books with no pictures is one thing, but magazines are another story completely. Â The magazine experience was frustrating, as it was pretty much like reading a PDF on a very small screen: Â nothing was readable unless you blew it up. Â It didn't flow well, and that's a problem.
- The Interface: Â I liked the interface, as it was similar to Coverflow on the Mac. Â I'm not sure how it would perform with more than a few apps on it, as it would be easy to get lost in the icons you have in the coverflow view. Â But for the few apps there, it worked well. Â When you get to the eReader app, it would blow up to show the books available in a grid, much like iBooks or Kindle for Mac/Blackberry/Android/iPhone, etc. Â You get the idea.
- Web: Â I was very disappointed here, as I couldn't test the web capabilities on the demo. Â Instead I got a demo video, which I do not trust. Â Other reviews I have read were not impressed with the performance of the Silk browser, but until I can test it for myself I can't give an opinion. Â Instead, I can give you a rather frustrated opinion of the video: Â I was not happy with it.
I didn't test any of the other apps, beacuse at that point it's pretty much like any other tablet. Â So my overall impression? Â As a low-cost tablet, it could function, but it doesn't really excel at anything. Â But without testing the web capabilities directly, I couldn't recommend it as your only computing device. Â A larger device that can allow for content creation (like documents) would definitely be a good move if you are looking for a Tablet. Â If you are only looking for an eReader with touch capabilities, then purchasing the Kindle Touch would be a cheaper and excellent solution. Â The Kindle Fire works well if you are carrying your Kindle with a laptop.
And, interestingly, I don't need a laptop with my iPad.