Amazon Kindle Fire tablet
A tablet that fails to impress, as either a tablet or as an e-reader
- Easy shopping for Amazon books, music, videos
- Smooth integration of cloud and local storage
- Sluggish performance
- Interface still has some bugs
- Not as flexible and versatile as other tablets
The 7in Android-based Amazon Fire will appeal to those who buy books, videos, and music at Amazon, but it will frustrate those looking for a more versatile slate.
Price$ 199.00 (AUD)
I can't help but wonder how much of what I saw on the Fire was a design decision that sacrificed one thing for another. My streaming and downloaded Amazon Instant Videos always looked soft, and often pixelated. Text was soft, too, in the Newsstand and in books at some font and text combinations. (I liked the Lucida font best, and even then it wasn't as smooth as I've seen on the most-capable Android tablets, including models with similar resolution and screen size.) Even audio playback was wonky: Audio reached a reasonable volume and body for music, but sounded downright anaemic on videos played through the Amazon video player, and via the Hulu Plus app (other apps had fairly low volume, too).
For me, those trade-offs are simply not worthwhile, even to save a few bucks. What's the point of being able to procure video easily, if my videos are going to be soft, have artifacts, and not sound great?
Amazon Kindle Fire: Specs and performance
Tablets are more about usability than specs. That said, the Kindle Fire's skimpy specs clearly reflect the compromises that Amazon made to achieve its US$200 price.
Amazon employs a Texas Instruments OMAP 4 dual-core processor; in use, however, the Fire didn't feel like a dual-core tablet. It lagged on transitions, even simple ones such as turning book pages or rotating orientation; it also produced jerky animations and repeatedly generated pixelated video playback. It's unclear whether all of the blame lies solely with the 512MB of RAM — half what's standard on 7in tablets from companies like Acer and Samsung. Software optimization could also be part of the issue here; after all, Amazon's custom build of the Android 2.3 operating system could have some kinks, too. But in my trials, I became all too familiar with the spinning-ball wait indicator that appeared as something loaded, and I felt as if I paid with my time what I saved in money on the Fire’s modest price.
Some missing elements weren't obvious immediately, though. For example, the Kindle Fire has neither a front-facing camera nor a rear-facing one, and it lacks GPS. None of these felt like onerous omissions on their own, but they are standard amenities in the pricier top-tier competitive set, and their absence here means you're making a choice not to use your tablet for conducting video chat, scanning an image, or navigating your way around town — all of which are practical uses that you may miss having in the long run. At US$200, you’re getting what you pay for.
If you plan to pack this tablet with apps, music, books, and movies, you'll be disappointed: The Fire has only 8GB of storage space, and only 6.54GB is user-accessible. I found that it took little to blast through a couple of gigabytes of space, and even Amazon admits in its specs that the on-board storage can hold only ten movies at a time, for example. And unlike Barnes & Noble's US$200 Nook Colour and US$250 Nook Tablet, the Kindle Fire has no MicroSD card slot, so you can't add more space as needed.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Google Daydream VR headset
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Lexar® Portable SSD
Huawei Mate 9
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Surface Pro 4
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Tablet modules add features but limit functionality
- Apple working on a fix for iPad Pros bricked by iOS 9.3.2
- As tablet sales take a dive, analysts expect smartphone vendors to launch convertibles
- Acer puts liquid cooling in its Switch Alpha 12 tablet
- Display expert: The 9.7-inch iPad Pro's color accuracy is “visually indistinguishable from perfect”
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- TPInsights ManagerWA
- CCTest Automation EngineerVIC
- FTMid-Level Software Engineer x 2 - Positive Vetting, NV2 or NV1 required!!SA
- CCAzure Architect/ConsultantVIC
- CCDesktop Engineer l WollongongNSW
- CCPMO Analyst - Financial ServicesNSW
- CCWicked Front-End DeveloperQLD
- CCIT Operations Centre EngineerQLD
- TPService Desk Analyst - Level 1VIC
- TPOrganisational Change Manager - ICT Services TransformationQLD
- TPFull Stack .NET DeveloperWA
- FTInfrastructure Solution ArchitectSA
- FTDatabase DeveloperACT
- FTInfrastructure Business AnalystNSW
- FTConsultant Business AnalystQLD
- CCData Engineer (SQL/Big Data/Scala)VIC
- FTFull Stack Developer (Front and Back end)QLD
- CCFinance Analyst/ Project SpecialistVIC
- CCSenior Storage System Engineer - Tivoli Storage SpecialistNSW
- FTInfrastructure Architect (Adelaide Based)VIC
- FTDevOps/Senior Sys Admin - eCommerce - Permanent - Sydney Northern BeachesNSW
- CCService ManagerACT
- TPProject Manager to manage two concurrent ProjectsQLD
- CCNetwork ArchitectWA
- FTPresales Solutions ArchitectQLD