My Amazon Kindle Fire thoughts

  • December 5th, 2011
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A few weeks ago I linked to a Kindle Fire review. Now that I’ve had an opportunity to spend some hands-on time with the device, I can share my own thoughts. Without organizing any of these into any specific order:

  • The 7″ screen and overall form factor is great. I can hold the device comfortably in one hand.
  • I’ve lost count of the number of times that I’ve accidentally turned off the screen while typing in portrait mode. Maybe its my typing method, but occasionally my right pinkie sleeps the device.
  • Touch response is not perfect but for the price point I haven’t seen anything better.
  • Strange, jittery and inaccurate scrolling experience. A few times when viewing emails I’ve tried to scroll vertically but the content frame scrolled horizontally.
  • Reading magazines is like taking a physical newsstand issue, tearing out the pages, scanning pages individually then sending them to the Fire for reading. Scroll, pinch and zoom. Repeat. Fortunately each magazine includes an optimized text option for reading (preferred over the default magazine experience).
  • Valuable step without requiring root: Go to Settings > More > Device > Allow Installation of Applications and toggle to On. Then proceed to install the Dropbox.apk manually – use this to install .apk files missing from the Amazon App Market.
  • Definitely nice to have easy access to streaming video content via Amazon Video on Demand (free for Prime members).
  • I was reminded of how competitive Amazon video / music content pricing is compared to Apple’s offerings. Which is great.
  • I doubt the Kindle Fire will ever be a go to device when I travel. Hence my statement earlier that this will probably be better for a family member.
  • Graphics are jittery in games like Peggle or Plants vs. Zombies.
  • I definitely wouldn’t mind handing this to my niece or nephew to play with, drop or do whatever with. It’s smaller, lighter and feels less likely to free-fall thanks to the rubberized back.
  • The Fire strengthens my belief that Flash does not belong on a mobile device. At least not on this device. I found an interesting looking clip from YouTube but the experience was terrible. After the initial buffer, I managed to watch about 20 seconds of unsynchronized audio & video before the video eventually froze while audio continued.
  • I hated the fact that I had purchased certain apps from the official Android Market which I would need to repurchase from the Amazon App Store.

If I hand the Fire to my niece or nephew, they hand it back and ask politely for my iPad. I expected that considering they’ve grown to love certain iPad titles not available in the Android Market. I imagine this would not be the case if the Amazon Kindle Fire had been their first tablet experience.

UPDATE: Here’s an interesting usability study on the Kindle Fire.

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