Customer Review

460 of 489 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Impression...It works well as a tablet too!, November 15, 2011
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This review is from: Kindle Fire (Previous Generation - 1st) (Electronics)
This will be a review that will be updated as I continue to use the Kindle.

SHORT BACKSTORY: I own a 1st gen Kindle, and despite its original design flaws, I have put it to great use. I am a Prime member. When I saw a tablet(ish) device with a modded version of Android, made by Amazon, with a dual core processor and a smaller, more portable form factor than the iPad for sale at the easy on the wallet price of $199, I pre-ordered immediately.

FIRST IMPRESSION: The packaging it comes in is very simple. The Kindle came in a brown cardboard box, which I expected to open and see a Kindle box, but rather opened and saw the Fire itself. Underneath was the Micro USB charger. I immediately plugged it in and fired it up. First thing it asked was to connect to WiFi (it showed every network within at least a 300 ft radius (my office floor is shared with a few others). Connection was hassle free. Then it asked me a few questions, registered quickly with Amazon, and then updated the software. After that 5 minute process, I was free to explore.

OS: Intuitive and easy to navigate. A lot of cool little nav helpers come up to explain the various navigational aspects and preloaded apps. It immediately showed all the books in my library.

TOUCHSCREEN: Seems very responsive. Keyboard typing was easy enough, especially when laid out landscape. I know other Android devices can bring up different keyboards, so I'll be looking into this.

PROCESSING: Haven't opened up anything super intense, but navigating between apps is smooth and doesn't stutter.

INTERNET: Took about 6 seconds to fully load a Reuters news page. I've read Silk gets faster with more use, so I'll expect that, but for now, it's definitely fast enough.

CLOUD CONNECTION: Awesome. I love everything about it. All my content was readily available and I know my usage of this will go up now that I have this device.

MEDIA: I quickly threw on an episode of 24. It looked very crisp and had no trouble whatsoever with streaming. I'll dive into Hulu and Netflix a little later.

That's all I've gotten through at the moment. I put this at 5 stars because it MET MY EXPECTATIONS. I read all about this device before buying it, so I knew exactly what I was getting for $199 dollars. It has met all of my expectations of a small form factor tablet that is intuitive, media friendly, and has great processing capabilities. I did not expect an iPad, so there is no comparison in my mind.

My next update will go a bit more in depth into EMAIL and Document capabilities as well as exploring some apps. I hope you enjoy this as much as I am!

------

UPDATE #1

EMAIL

NICE: Email setup is a breeze for GMAIL (including IMAP) and they present a unified inbox view which is nice. However, they don't thread the emails, but that's not a huge issue.

BUMMER: Native Email app doesn't support MS exchange, had to download an app. Again, it's not a big deal, but would have been nice to get work emails on this.

Sent a PowerPoint Presentation to my personal email and opened it on the Fire. It displayed perfectly in hi res...I am a happy camper at this moment :)

UPDATE #1.5

APPS: This is my first Android(ish) device and as such my first experience with the Amazon appstore. App store is coming up shallow (in variety of apps) esp. in the finance apps department. That is just my initial response and I may not be entering the right search strings (for finance, I tried Bloomberg, finance, finance apps). I'm SURE as more and more Kindle Fire's come online, the developer community will focus on improving and optimizing more apps.

Free APP a day program is very cool and I will be sure to set a reminder to look into this every day.

I would gladly take any suggestions for finance (news, stocks, charts etc.) apps or any others.

UPDATE #2

Loving the Pandora app. And the Cloud player! And just discovered that you can upload UNLIMITED MP3 files to the Cloud just by upgrading to the 20GB plan ($20 annually...). For me, that's over 60GB of music available anywhere + 20GB of anything else. Awesome.

UPDATE #3

Now that I've spent a great amount of time with the Fire, I can honestly say that I'm very happy with the purchase. It functions fantastically as a tablet device. It could rival the iPad due to the plethora of media streaming options, portability, CLOUD capabilities, flash availability, and basic functionality (but don't set your expectation on this, it IS NOT positioned to be an iPad competitor).

I downloaded the TouchDown Exchange app for receiving work emails. The Accuweather app is much more functional than the native Weather Channel app. Thompson Reuters News Pro is a great reader, especially for financial news. Netflix and Hulu + both work very well and I have had no issue in streaming content for both. YouVersion still needs some refining, but it looks great on this tablet.

I am starting to realize that the lack of 3g will be a bummer moving forward, but it is not a blocker yet. If the developer community picks up the popularity of the Fire, I will be excited to see a plethora of new apps coming online.

Again, overall, I am pleased at how functional this is as a tablet.

FINAL UPDATE

No issues so far (3rd day of ownership). This thing doesn't leave my side (at home or the office). Amazon's free app a day program is awesome; today downloaded an email app that is normally $10 for my favorite price...free99. My biggest gripe at the moment is that they don't have multiple keyboard options (outside of landscape or portrait). This was available on other tablet devices with Android OS and would make typing a bit easier. But please...for $200, this thing kicks ass.

UPDATE (as of DEC. 19th)

The FIRE is working great. I stand by my initial 5 star rating.

Not thrilled with Amazon's app store, but like I said before, it will get better as more developers come on line. All of my previous comments still stand. Amazon's free app a day program should not be overlooked as its utility has been fantastic. The BEST thing about this is its form factor. I didn't realize how important this was until I found myself carrying my Fire with me everywhere. With the amount I use it, I'm happy that it is light and almost pocket sized. Battery life seems to be about 5 hours with heavy use, 7.5 with reading. I charge this thing every night along side my iPhone, so it's not a burden. This makes a great gift for any electronics fan looking for a reader and mobile media player.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 22 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 15, 2011 3:57:16 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 15, 2011 4:03:16 PM PST
jniles says:
Nice information. The PPP info is really nice to know. I must wait for my daughters to buy this thing for me for Christmas, as they have spoken.

I am anxious to learn if and when anyone finally connects the USB port to SD media by use of adapters similar to this one on Amazon and SD or other card readers:

SANOXY USB 2.0 Female to Micro USB Male OTG On-The-Go Cable Adapter for Samsung Galaxy s2 i9100

So I am relegated at present to keep up and continue to learn indirectly from the good reviews like yours. Will look forward to your updates and thanks for your time.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2011 4:51:39 PM PST
DubStep says:
Thanks for the kind words. I just sent an xls file and viewed it as well. Very clean, shows formula's well. I'll do my best to continue to update.

Posted on Nov 16, 2011 4:57:24 AM PST
I have a question. In almost every one of the reviews I have read, the reviewer states that they are an Amazon Prime member. My question is, would you still recommend this product to someone who is not. I do use Amazon to buy a multitude of different products but can't justify the price of the Prime membership at the moment. Thoughts?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2011 9:01:04 AM PST
DubStep says:
That's a great question. I would say that it would be a bit more difficult for me to want to purchase the Fire for the media features if I wasn't a Prime member. With Prime membership, you get the ability to stream heaps of TV and Movies to your Fire for free. The selection is pretty good (relative to Netflix Streaming and Hulu +). You also get the 5gb of free storage in the cloud.

To answer your question fully, IMHO, for the cost, this functions really well as a basic tablet. So to that avail, this is a great buy. However, if you want to use it primarily as a media streaming device, without Prime, Netflix, or Hulu +, it may be a bit more difficult to justify the expense.

Hope that helps!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2011 10:53:05 AM PST
jniles says:
The Prime membership is a no brainer if in fact you purchase at least an item a month. The only reason I have Prime is because of the savings in shipping. Almost all shipments cost $6-$7 or more but with Prime they are free on qualified items. So Prime pays for itself when you purchase 10 or more items and that is not counting the probable savings on item price or fuel and time to go shopping. And Amazon is constantly providing more and more services through Prime without any additional cost. Prime may be the best kept secret Amazon has. The prices of the items themselves are always competitive and usually less than purchased locally. The entertainment value is just gravy

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 17, 2011 6:00:44 AM PST
I have the Fire and it is going back. The ONLY reason to keep it would be Amazon Prime. Without that you would have to be totally clueless to want the FIRE.

By the time you finish around with dinking around with Amazon, buying enough Android phone apps stretched to fit this screen only to discover you have no more room in memory many will realize would have been better off buying the iPad 2 16GB for $449.

I downloaded exactly two apps and a few data items using the web browser and have only 5.80 GB left. If you do not have Wi-Fi access in the car or where ever you are this thing becomes basically a $80 Kindle, good for only reading a few stored books.

My wife a big fan of Amazon Prime streaming video will not touch it, she likes the bigger screens we send that to here at the house using a Mac Book Pro. I tried using it to watch an hour long video and simply could not get immersed in it. It took me hours of starting and stopping it before I reached the conclusion videos on tiny cell phones and 7" tablets are not going to take over the world.

I wanted to suggest a Fire to my sister but without 3G plus Wi-Fi it simply doesn't make any sense with such limited ram.

And yes there were plenty of flaws in the display but I attribute that to Android OS not the hardware Amazon sells you.

You can root the Fire and put another version of Android on there and all the free pirated apps you can find but you are still limited to only 6.54 GB to work with.

I wouldn't waste my time using the Fire as a toy to play with Android, there are better hardware options out there, there is just too much missing in this cheap package.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 17, 2011 11:17:45 AM PST
DubStep says:
I totally agree, I was a Prime member before the Fire and just having it increased the . The video streaming is totally gravy on an already awesome program.

Prime + Fire means you can have your cake and eat it too...with a side of gravy.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 17, 2011 11:32:37 AM PST
DubStep says:
Victor,

You have to understand that the Amazon app store (with Fire optimized apps) will grow as more and more developers realize the growing population of users. And as for the storage issue...Amazon WANTS you to switch to using the cloud! The whole purpose of this WiFi enabled device with limited memory is so that you keep all of your digital items (media, documents, AND APPS) stored in the cloud. 3G would DEFINITELY be a nice touch, but you can't whine about it AFTER you purchase it, you should know that going in.

Also, you can't compare this to the iPad. At all. They're two separate machines with two different purposes (some overlapping).

The Fire is 90% for personal use as an eReader, media player, and web browser with awesome access to cloud storage. The other 10% capabilities (including access to heaps of optimized apps) are a bonus. That was my expectation going in and the Fire has met and exceeded that. If your expectation was for this to be an iPad competitor (which is more than likely due to the media), then I can definitely understand your disappointment.

For anyone expecting this to be an iPad competitor (as far as some of the more productive elements AND access to 400k+ optimized apps), re-align your expectations. Not negatively, just realize what the Fire's intended purpose is. And what it will be. Amazon has sold a crapload of these, which means there is a lot of opportunity for apps developers. PREDICTION: The app store will grow VERY quickly over the next 10 months.

Posted on Nov 18, 2011 1:08:58 AM PST
Thank you for your honest answer. I have a few things holding me back from getting a Fire, the fact that I am not a Prime member being number 1. If I can magically convince someone to buy me either the Fire or the Prime membership, I'm in! :)

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 18, 2011 3:59:42 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 18, 2011 4:03:17 AM PST
Well I am a heavy user of the more expensive apps. I was stunned to look for several apps that served a good purpose on the iPad only to look more closely to see that they were not compatible with the Fire. Amazon indicates this by placing a red x under the buy now caption.

It seems a bunch of the Android apps will not run without crashing due to calling hardware features not found in the fire. I am not paying $7 to $30 for apps that Amazon will not guarantee to run on the Fire due to its known limitations.

Just because you can find an app in the Amazon Android App Store doesn't mean it will work on the Fire.
You need to pay attention to the details or this will be the most expensive toy you ever purchased.

And yes I meant toy. No sane man is going to sit in a meeting relying on the Fire if the app isn't guaranteed not to crash or take down the Android Fire.

He isn't going to enjoy using the Fire during a taxicab ride since the free streaming video requires WiFi. He can look at DVD after DVD as he can by loading them on an iPad while flying unless he kicks in ten dollars for his plane trip for video streaming. Take a lot of plane trips and you could easily had bought a real iPad with the money you spend during the year.

Most likely you will be stuck without video streaming while visiting health care facilities. So those long boring waits are still long boring waits

The Fire doesn't even come close to the benefits of the new Nook which is only $50 more with twice the memory and the ability to store videos.

The FIRE = EXPENSIVE FAIL when you realistically look at it.
It is a toy that allows you to avoid booting an slower windows computer at the house to check TV listings or read email.
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