This isn’t going to be the most conclusive, comprehensive review you’ll read about the Kindle Fire. I have specific uses for it and it’s actually more useful to me as a media streamer than as an e-reader. My review is more so a comparison for my use cases between the Kindle Fire and the iPad.
I’m of the opinion that there is no true end-all, be-all gadget, tablet, device, or whatever you’d like to call it. All have specific strengths and specific weaknesses. All are built toward a specific price with some adding features that may not be all that helpful, but are necessary to reach the luxury price. And also the likewise, such as the Amazon Kindle Fire, which is a great gadget that is missing some features, but also comes at a great price.
My son has a first generation iPad so I have something to compare my Kindle Fire to. My son’s iPad is slick, gorgeous, and comes with all of the fantastic Mac-specific features that all their products come with. And we’re a Mac family, so it fits right in with all of our other products. Thus, when I decided to get a Kindle Fire, there was a bit of apprehension because I’m used to Mac products.
But it was absolutely a strong buy. I was in the market for an iPad or Kindle Fire and really, price point was my main concern. Had there been an iPad product with a similar price point as the Kindle Fire, I would’ve probably gone with that instead, but since there isn’t, it wasn’t a hard decision to make.
I imagine reasons for choosing the Kindle Fire over the iPad are either weighted by price like mine, or some people simply just don’t want to support Apple. Rather than list out every spec, I’m going to list out what I believe are the strengths and weaknesses of the Kindle Fire.
Price: As I said before, the price was the major selling point for me. At just $200, it’s a steal if you’re looking this type of gadget. When you’re more than half the cost of your largest competitor, it becomes a nice little market that you can own, well, that is until the iPad decides to create something similar. But hey, they may not.
Size: In this case, smaller is better. The reason why I didn’t mind the Kindle Fire’s smaller screen is because of the way I use it. The screen is only 7 inches compared the iPad’s 9.5 inch screen. However, I use my Kindle Fire when at the gym and doing cardio. In this case, the smaller screen works to my benefit because it’s much easier to place on a machine. Also, I use my Kindle Fire to watch video before bed and the smaller size makes it easier to handle. At times, I’ve felt the iPad is on the heavier side and maybe even too large to read from.
Durability: The iPad (and iPhone) seem so fragile. They are beautiful pieces of small machinery for sure, and I’m always worried about ruining it. I don’t feel that way with the Kindle Fire. It’s simply built to be more durable and less pretty. And I’m totally fine with that. I carry it around a lot and I’d worry more so if I had to be so careful with it. And not to say that I can simply be clumsy with it, but I just don’t feel like I have to worry about being so careful with it at all times.
Browsing: The browsing experience in an iPad is awesome. It’s almost like Internet browsing was meant to be experienced on the iPad. It’s not like that at all on the Kindle Fire. Amazon tauts it’s Silk browsing experience which uses the cloud to make the experience faster. Yet, I’m not all that bothered by the speed. That’s fine. But it is just not as simple to browse with the Kindle Fire. If you use the iPad and them move over to the Fire, it’s very noticeable that the experience is lesser.
Apps: Thankfully, I’m not a heavy user of applications, because if I was, I’d probably not be as happy with the Kindle Fire as I am. It’s simply not as intuitive to download apps and use them on the Fire as it is on the iPad. Most of the popular ones are there, but they don’t work as well (such as Twitter and Facebook) and they don’t seem as well manicured for the experience. The apps are most definitely less slick and much harder to use.
Battery life: If you think the iPad doesn’t get much battery life, the Kindle Fire is even worse, though not by a ton. I feel like I’m charging my Fire more so than my kid charges his iPad, but it’s probably only by about 20%. Kindle users will be dismayed to know that this version of the Kindle won’t go on for days and days like other Kindles. But that’s expected with the new features.
I think iPad lovers will dismiss the Kindle Fire because it’s a very buttoned down version of the iPad, but those who have specific needs for their tablet device may really enjoy the Kindle Fire. For me, it’s nearly perfect, but it won’t be perfect for everyone.
My specific use other than reading books on it is to watch Netflix streaming. And while it may be a little slower to start-up than on the iPad, it works just as well.
If you’re into aesthetics and beauty in your gadgets, this isn’t going to be for you. But if you just want something that works and isn’t going to cost you an arm and the leg, give the Amazing Kindle Fire a looksy. I’m enjoying mine.