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282 of 320 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2011
I'm disappointed in the Fire. I'm an avid Kindle user and there are several capabilities other Kindle models have that this one doesn't.
1. I can't categorize my books. I've accumulated over 800 books in my archive. It's a pain to try to search for one if you can't remember the author or title, without being able to group your books.
2. I don't like the lack of privacy of what's in the cloud or on the device. I won't show people my Fire, because I don't want them to see all the stuff I have on it. Nothing is outrageous--I just don't like having my whole book list out there.
3. It has no text to speech capability. I use that function all the time when I'm on long road trips and it's very bothersome the Fire doesn't have it.
4. I can't delete a few pre-populated app icons on the carousel. I find that annoying because I'm adding a lot of things and I don't like having to sort through stuff I don't want on there.

I also have an iPad. Fire offers three benefits over the iPad: it's much lighter, it's less expensive, and you can watch Adobe files on it. On the downside, Fire only has wireless connectivity, so if you're on a road trip, you can't shop or get to the web on a Fire as I can with my 3G hookup with iPad. It also has fewer application options and the smaller key board makes typing more difficutlt.

The bottom line is, I'll use my Fire occasionally, but plan on sticking with my older Kindle for reading and iPad web surfing and writing for the most part unless Fire software is upgraded to address my issues. I wouldn't buy another one unless they fix these things.
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87 of 100 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2011
Have used the Fire for about an hour after initial set-up. First off, I've been thinking that instead of comparing the Fire to an IPAD, it should be compared to the IPOD touch -- (a) it is in the same price range as the IPOD touch, and (b) it will be a gift for my daughter, and I can see this product replacing her IPOD touch. From that perspective, it is an 5-star device, that easily outperforms it's competition.

But, evaluating it on its own merits, I've quickly discovered one, non-major issue: The carousel: Really don't want my entire library on the carousel. Amazon needs to quickly update this UI, and allow users to remove items from the carousel.

Will update this review after spending more time with the device.

11/17/11 Review Update.

Have removed a star from the review for an important reason: Amazon Cloud, which allows a person to store files (documents, photos, home videos, etc.) for use anywhere (which is its reason to be), isn't usefully supported on the Kindle Fire. Music works well, but any other file type which you'd like to store in the cloud, then download to your Fire...you're out of luck....Dropbox could feasibly work (but Amazon market doesn't support Dropbox). I was prepared to upgrade my Amazon Cloud service, but given its limited usefulness on the Fire, I won't be making the upgrade purchase at this time.

Also --- the "official" Youtube app isn't preloaded on the Fire, and isn't supported on the Amazon market.
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319 of 379 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2011
It is very possible that this will be the perfect tablet for you, but I was very disappointed. To begin, the wireless strength is subpar, and I was woefully saddened that I could not watch the digital versions of Blu-Rays on it. It very much is an Amazon content delivery system, which is fine if that is what you want, but I was hoping for something a wee bit different.
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2011
I picked up a Kindle fire in the states and am now back in Cayman where I live. The fire seems like a reasonable piece of kit, but if you live anywhere other than the US, or if you happen top travel a lot outside of those shores, you'll find the baked in Amazon version of Android very limited. I have an android phone and I can use the app store etc. On the fire I have no option but the amazon app store (which I would love to have work) but that just gives me an error that I can't download anything as I am not in the USA. Even free stuff can't be downloaded. I wanted to add a simple note taking device, but nope, can't be done.

Basically a neat bit of hardware. I am a developer and really highly rate the Amazon Web Services, which I can use quite comfortably from Cayman, but I'm really disappointed with the fire. I can't even enter a proxy server, so I can't use it at work. Huge let down.
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105 of 123 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2011
First off, I had no expectations that this device would be on par with an iPad. My main motivation for buying it was to have a native player for the Instant Prime movies, and to use to read PDFs. I also had a lot of android apps that I'd purchased over the last year for my EVO.

This was my first kindle - I was very excited, until I got it. My specific complaints:

1) I do not like the Carousel interface, at all. There is no way to turn it off.
2) No physical volume controls. Really? Apple learned from that mistake early on, for their phones and tablets. Lots of the Amazon apps force you to go through the settings to adjust volume (though the Cloud music player does not).
3) Silk = S...L...O..........W browsing, especially on pages with more dynamic content.

The way I see it, I've got 30 days to see how Amazon reacts to the list of complaints. Some of the hardware related items obviously can't be addressed via a software update. I'm on the fence on whether or not to return it and either wait for the next iteration, or just pay more the iPad.
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104 of 122 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2011
When I broke my Kindle 3G and Square Trade reimbursed me the full purchase price I decided to go ahead and get the new Kindle Fire even though my plans were to wait a year or so before actually purchasing it. I really wanted to like this device but I just don't. Most of the features that I loved about my Kindle 3G were not there. There is no privacy settings so everything you have ever opened, i.e. books, web pages, apps, etc is there for viewing on the carousel and you can't delete them...I don't have kids but for people who do that can't be a good thing. Here are some other issues I have with the Fire:
1) sometimes the touch screen feels like I almost have to punch my finger through the screen for it to actually open what I want it to;
2) you can't create collections so you can't sort your books the way you want;
3) text-to-speech is not available for the books that do have that option;
4) Unlike the 3G and probably other previous Kindle devices I have to buy a separate USB connector instead of just removing the electrical outlet connector if I want to connect to my computer and;
5) the length of the adapter is a joke...guess that was my first indication that there would be problems...with my 3G when I was reading in bed and needed to recharge I could plug it in and continue reading because the cord was long enough or I could just remove the electrical outlet connector and plug it into my laptop on my bed...neither is an option with the Fire (check reasons 3 & 4)

The bottom line is it's just not the Kindle I have come to know and absolutely loooooove...I soooo wanted to love the Fire but was just disappointed and became more and more so as I kept using it...printed out the return label already...I ordered the Kindle Touch for my mom for Christmas so I'm going to see what it's like (hopefully it's exactly like my old Kindle Keyboard 3G except with a touch keyboard instead of the physical one) and if I like it then I will order the Touch 3G for myself. If it is also a disappointment then I'll go back to the Kindle Keyboard 3G. Rarely ever disappointed with an Amazon purchase but seriously so with the Kindle Fire. :-(
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72 of 84 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2011
The Kindle Fire is an interesting little toy, but as it stands, it's about half as useful as my phone, even if my phone couldn't make calls. As a portal into content sold by Amazon, it's absolutely excellent. As an Android device, I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that my G1, the very first Android device, was better.

Something that was praised in an early review of the Kindle Fire was that, unlike other Android tablets, it told you what it was for. There was no staring blankly at a desktop, trying to determine for yourself what exactly you wanted the tablet for--something that's been a problem for other Android devices. Instead, you've got a friendly menu at boot: Newsstand, Books, Music, Video, Docs, Apps, Web. There's a carousel of recently used things below that, and a row of favorite apps at the bottom. So, what's it for? News, books, music, videos, docs, apps, and the web, of course! With Amazon ensuring you always have options for the first four of these, it's easy to see what you bought that Kindle Fire for.

Unless, of course, that's not what you bought that Kindle Fire for. If your notion was that you'd get a nice, cheap Android tablet for general use, you're going to have some problems. In ensuring that they could provide content to users with zero fuss, Amazon locked much of what Android users think of as "Android" out of the Kindle Fire. Android phones, during setup, integrate tightly with your Google account, and a wealth of Google oriented applications are all ready to go with your phone when you turn it on. That's not so with the Fire, and it's not just a matter of extra setup--the thing is locked down. This means no Youtube app, Google+ app, no Google Maps app, no official Gmail (Fire's mail client can read Gmail, but it's not very impressive), no ANYTHING that Google brought to the table for Android, unless you muddle through the web interface, which is really irritating when there's a perfectly good Android app for that.

If you don't like their browser (Silk), you can't use a different one. This has already presented a problem for me in the way of trying to use JManga, a portal for manga that's run by Japanese manga publishers directly. This isn't an "oh, it doesn't work on mobile," thing: it doesn't work on Silk. Dolphin, one of the best browsers for Android, handled it fine, but isn't available for the Fire, because Amazon said so. Dolphin is in the Amazon Appstore, and they're perfectly happy to let you have it--but only for your Android phones. It's explicitly blocked from the Fire (and so is every other web browser). You can't go to the official Android Market website to get it either. Try, and Silk will kick you back to Amazon's Appstore.

Using Silk to watch videos from sources like YouTube has proven a bit spotty, but doable. When running in the desktop style, framerate problems abounded. Switching to the mobile web based version of YouTube fixed that, but it's awfully stripped down. Again, if Amazon weren't so determined to lock customers out of apps provided by anyone but themselves, this would be a non-issue, as I could just use the YouTube app and have it work fine.

So far, I HAVE found an option in the Fire's OS settings to allow installation of third party applications (which is how the Amazon Appstore works on "normal" Android devices), but I have yet to find a way of doing so, now that I'm allowed.

This is not what it could, or should have been, and the fault lies entirely with Amazon taking a page from Apple's playbook, and trying to maintain an iron fist on the device.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2011
I like to think of myself as a reasonable fair-minded person. In this case I must give a decided "thumbs down" on my new Kindle Fire. I really WANTED to like it, really I did. In fact, I was all ready to take back the Vizio 7" tablet I had bought from Costco 2 months ago but ...

While this product has great promise and while I applaud what Amazon is trying to do, I think they rushed this product out for the holidays without having done proper testing. The touch screen experience is downright horrendous. I swear that I must hit something 4 or 5 times before it registers. (The no-privacy carousel has the opposite problem - it's overly sensitive.)

The positives:
The minimalistic design is nice. Although I really miss volume buttons.
In other ways the hardware is great (screen has good strong viewing angles etc.)
Streaming seems to work well
Brain dead simple set up
Great Amazon consumption device

The negatives:
The terrible touchscreen
The terrible non-changeable keyboard (I'm even writing this review from my iPhone 4S - doing it from the Kindle would have been pure masochism)
The lack of volume buttons
The lack of privacy with the carousel
The location of the power button and headset jack

I've even side-loaded many Google Market Apps I'd purchased for my other Android Tablet and though they work and make this device more like a true tablet (including real Gmail email), it doesn't save this device at all.

Wait for new firmware or a complete new version (i.e. Kindle Fire 2). The new Fire will be more of an Android tablet killer (and who know, maybe it will even have a run at the iPad).
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42 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2011
In 2009 I purchased the Kindle 2. I fell in love. In 2010 I purchased the Kindle 3. My love affair continued. In 2011 I purchased the Kindle Fire. I fell out of love. I consume vast amounts of books and am always mobile. So ability to hold this device in one hand is essential when I am standing on the train. Unfortunately, after getting used to the Kindle 3's weight, the weight of the Kindle Fire came as a shock. The Amazon description of the weight is accurate, but the expectation that an additional 7oz or so would not be much was met with a hard reality. Holding this in one hand - as the picture shows - is problematic. The wrist begins to hurt after a few minutes. But that is not Amazon's fault. It is a beautiful device, if sort of sluggish in response. I give it two stars because two stars means that I don't like it. And I don't like it because I have been spoiled by Amazon. Back to the Kindle 3 I go. For anyone who is maybe not so mobile as I am, I recommend this. But if you're on the go and do end up holding this Kindle with one hand because you're used to holding your previous Kindles with one hand, then be warned, the weight is substantial enough that you will notice and it will be uncomfortable.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2011
I was looking forward to the release of the Kindle fire for quite some time. As a long time fan of the Kindle, I was on the lookout for the next generation of the e-reader that's changed my life so much. When I started to read the marketing hype about Amazon Silk browser, I was intrigued. I liked the idea of a portable web appliance for my home and office. A 7 inch screen was just the right size for that round-the-house browsing my family would enjoy. For example, I liked the idea of ordering takeout through a restaurant's website on a portable device, then handing the device to my wife and kids so they could order what they want. I had considered buying an iPad in the past for that purpose, but at $500+ that seemed pricey, especially for a device that wouldn't support Flash. For $199, I was now going to be granted two wishes at once: I'd be getting the next generation e-reader, as well as full-featured a portable web browser.

My enthusiasm was quickly diminished. The device is VERY frustrating to use. Touches don't register very easily. Unlike my other touch devices (which, for the record, are not only iPhones and iPads, but other Android and even Microsoft devices as well), the movement of images and forms on the screen is slow and sticky. Simple tasks such as selecting a book or recently-used app from my home screen are tedious, requiring multiple touches to register the selection. The browser is a horrible HORRIBLE disappointment. The pages are slow to load, and difficult to move around. I am unable to scroll a webpage while it is still loading, and it's difficult to tell when a page is fully loaded. That gives the impression of a frozen web page a lot of the time. Normally I wouldn't complain about that. If a page is still loading, then I should wait for the content to complete, right? However I found that most of the time the page content loaded just fine, but then I was stuck waiting for the Flash ads to load. What's worse, the page isn't disabled while it's loading. Instead, it registered your actions, and then executes them all at the end of the load, leaving you lost in a link, out of focus, and annoyed with the experience.

The Flash support is a joke. Almost every Flash-enabled site I visited made my browser crash! Some pages, such as Speakeasy.net's broadband speed test tool (Speakeasy.net/speedtest), seemed to work at first, but then returned consistent script errors when halfway through the test. The Flash that DID work was limited to those horrible advertisements that slow down page loading. Now I have all of the hassle of those horrible animations and little or none of the benefit of the more powerful plugin-enhanced experiences. Some sites worked, but the experience was insufferable. Hulu.com rejected my web request due to the Android platform on which the Fire's OS is built. That was disappointment #1, but at least Hulu was honest about their lack of support. I went instead to Crackle.com, another online streaming content site powered by a LOT of Flash. It took me about 10 minutes and multiple tries before I got the movie "Step Brothers" to play in the web page. The crashes and errors I received seem to come from Crackle's Flash-based age validating tool. "Step Brothers", a rated R picture, could not be viewed on Crackle without entering my month, day, and year of birth on what appeared to be a Flash-scripted user interface. Bad news. My touches weren't always picked up. When they were, the screen had shifted and I inadvertently selected the wrong date or year. As the fields expanded and collapsed, the content shifted back and forth, causing me to constantly loose my place. The movie did eventually load, and seemed to play for a while with no further issues.

In addition to the software, there are frustrating elements of the physical design. The lack of a home button is just ill conceived. I can't easily discern which way the device should be held to hold it right side-up. When I'm caught in one of those page loading freezes (no doubt waiting for some messy Flash turd of an advertisement to load up) I can't just hit that escape button to go back to the home page. Instead, you tap on the screen towards the bottom of the panel to get the Home page icon to show. Obviously if the device is not responding to your touches, you can't easily escape. Also, the on-off switch is very easy to accidentally hit. I sat with the Fire on my lap to read a magazine I downloaded and my belt kept pushing the power button., I didn't realize what was happening the first few times. I thought the device was crashing. Thankfully it was just my clumsy movements. Still, to be fair, I never had that problem on my other Kindles, or on other mobile devices for that matter. I do like the size and shape of the Fire. Unlike the iPad, it is a perfect design for a portable web surfing appliance. In fact, I went out to a doctor's visit and took the fire with me, and it easily slipped into my [admittedly spacious] inside jacket pocket. Ipads aren't meant for that kind of portability, but e-readers are.

On a personal note, I think Amazon went a bit overboard with the Cloud integration. We all like the idea of storing our content safely, and flexibly on Amazon's massive server network. Yet when buying videos, books, and music I now have a two-step process to get my purchases on my device. This is no doubt designed to mitigate the seemingly paltry lack of local drive space. Nevertheless, when you are unable to connect to a 3G network you need to be 100% sure that you have all that you need ON THE DEVICE before you leave the WIFI hotspot. That wasn't very clear to me when I downloaded my first video. Excited to view some purchased content from Amazon's vast array of TV and movie media, I downloaded an episode of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia". I purchased it through my Fire and ran out to meet some friends in the bar for a beer. When I tried to play the video I just bought I was peeved to realize my purchased content was still floating in the cloud. I never took the extra step to download it to the device. Yes, it's easily fixable, and the cloud does have a lot of advantages. Still, I would hate to buy $25 worth of magazines for a plane trip and find out IN the clouds that I left my content ON the cloud. The irony of that pun would be eclipsed by my teeth grinding frustration.

As far as connectivity goes, I'm ok with WIFI, even though it departs from Kindle's otherwise well-conceived purchase model. Remember, I am a die-hard fan of the original Kindle. One of the greatest, most brag-worthy features of the regular Kindle is the 3G-connected Kindle store. I can buy books, magazines, and other e-reader content from anywhere with a 3G signal without an account with a cellular provider. The purchase goes directly against my Amazon.com account. The Kindle Fire has no such cool 3G option. It would have been terrific if Amazon enabled 3G for purchases only, however one can easily understand the difference between downloading an e-book, versus downloading movies, songs, and surfing the web.

Bottom line: I feel this first version of the Kindle Fire is a let down. At $199 I never expected it to do all of the wild thing an iPad does. What I did expect was that the tools it did deliver worked as well or better than those same tools on competing products. Do I judge the Fire for not have an accelerometer, compass, or even a camera? Not at all. However do I expect the well-hyped Amazon Silk browser to work as well than, say, Safari on iOs? You freakin' bet I do. Unlike so many reviews that are forgiving of Amazon's many misses because of the low price tag, I feel the need to chastise. The folks at Amazon need to focus on what they DID deliver, and make those tools work well. Instead, it almost feels as if Mr. Bezos and the gang bought into the it's-cheaper-so-it-doesn't-have-to-be-perfect attitude a little too much.
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