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)
All prices in this review are in US Dollars. Weights and measurements have been amended with metric system equivalents (far superior, we think).
All eyes are on the Amazon Kindle Fire to provide fresh competition for Apple's iPad 2, today's dominant tablet. Not so fast: Beneath the Kindle Fire's slick veneer and unparalleled shopping integration lies a tablet that fails to impress as either a tablet or as an e-reader. The Kindle Fire (US$200 as of November 15, 2011) is best considered a relatively inexpensive, hassle-free but flawed way to consume books, music, and videos purchased at Amazon. As a tablet, though, the Fire can't hold a candle to the best tablets available today: It has sub-par specs, a limited interface, and a surprisingly messy app store.
When the Fire was introduced, I immediately wondered where it would fit into the overall tablet universe. It runs a custom operating system based on Android 2.3, it limits you to buying apps solely via the Amazon Appstore, and it has just 8GB of storage: all red flags that made this tablet stand out as a curiosity amidst the Android crowd. But at US$200, and with the colossal weight of Amazon behind it, the Fire automatically became worth talking about.
The Fire's integration with Amazon's media storefronts is, bar none, the best thing about this tablet. Rather than giving you one place to shop and another to use your digital media, Amazon consolidates those experiences into one. The Newsstand, Books, Music, and Apps tabs all take you to your personal library first, and then offer a prominent but not offensive option to go to the store for that category. (The exception to this arrangement is the Video tab, which deposits you in the video storefront first, and then lets you hopscotch into your personal library.) The seamless interface makes acquiring content of any kind — be it for ownership, or, in the case of movies and TV shows, streaming or rental — the best media experience of any I've tried on a tablet.
In most other respects, though, the Kindle Fire left a tepid impression at best. Let's walk through the device step-by-step to see which marks it hits and which ones it misses.
Amazon Kindle Fire: Design
Physically, the Kindle Fire does little to distinguish itself. Contrary to some reports, it really doesn't resemble black tablets like the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook, which was rumored to to be Amazon's starting point for the Kindle Fire. In fact, the Fire is smaller than the PlayBook, measuring 7.5 by 4.7 by 0.45 inches (19.05cm by 11.94cm by 1.14cm), and weighing 0.91 pound (413 grams). That's a hair heavier than the Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet and T-Mobile SpringBoard (each of which weighs 0.88 pound (399 grams)), and noticeably heavier than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, which weighs 0.77 pound (349 grams).
While the Fire didn't feel especially heavy or tiresome to hold in one hand while I was reading, its weight is still less than ideal. In fact, my survey of five colleagues saw a clear preference for the weight and balance of the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus. All preferred the Fire's velvety back, which has a smooth, rubberized texture that makes it easy to hold.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 2 LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 3 Tag Heuer Connected Smartwatch and Android Wear 2 review
- 4 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 5 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Tech Timeline: The iPad first goes on sale
- New 9.7-inch iPad teardown reveals it's basically an original iPad Air with minor tweaks
- More iPad screen sizes unlikely to stop slump
- Samsung's Galaxy Tab S3 is like a giant Note7
- Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Tablet modules add features but limit functionality
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
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.
- Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- MSI GE72 7RE Apache Pro gaming laptop review
- LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 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
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- CCChange AnalystQLD
- FTSolution Architect - NetworksNSW
- TPChange Management - Multi-stream people change program**NSW
- FTSolution ArchitectNSW
- CCPMO CoordinatorNSW
- TPBusiness Analyst / Test CoordinatorQLD
- CCSenior Systems Engineer - WintelNSW
- TPFront End .NET DeveloperQLD
- CCProgram ManagerVIC
- TPBI DeveloperNSW
- CCMaster Data Officer - SAPNSW
- FTChange Manager, Agile Environment, Financial ServicesNSW
- CCSenior Teradata Developer/Analyst ProgrammerNSW
- CCSalesforce DeveloperNSW
- CCImplementation Manager/PlannerVIC
- FTAutomation Tester | C# & Selenium | Leading SaaS FintechNSW
- FTProcurement OfficerACT
- FTBusiness Development Manager IT Software & Primary HealthcareQLD
- FTSenior Solution Designer/ ConsultantVIC
- FTSAP ISU Billing Consultant - FunctionalVIC
- FTLead Drupal DeveloperQLD
- FTBusiness Intelligence / Datawarehouse DeveloperSA
- FTCustomer Support Team LeadNSW
- FTSenior Systems AnalystSA