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Customer Review

7,749 of 8,100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great device, you will enjoy it, November 15, 2011
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This review is from: Kindle Fire (Previous Generation - 1st) (Electronics)
Update: 12/14/2012

If you're interested I just purchased a new second generation Kindle Fire for my grandson and I have done a review on it discussing how it compares to this model and how to set it up right out of the box with a video to help you. I also discuss the new version's pros and cons. It may be listed a few pages back from the top but you can find it posted with the product link shown below:

Kindle Fire 7", LCD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB - Includes Special Offers


I picked mine up today at Best Buy. At home I plugged it in and set up the WIFI and my Amazon account and it immediately told me that an update was downloading. After about 10 to 12 minutes it rebooted and started working. I own an iPhone, iPad 2, HP Touchpad and a Kindle Keyboard version. This device compares with the Ipad. The reviews that blast the Kindle Fire as being no good are just not true. I am a retired CEO and computer Guru and have a great WIFI set up in my home. Here is my quick and dirty review:

WIFI fast and easy to set up and use

Keyboard types great, much better than the HP Touchpad and as good if not better than the iPad.

Display high resolution comparable to the iPad 2

The device downloaded my 100 books in minutes. Most books downloaded to the device in 3 to 4 seconds. A couple of large books took 5 seconds and I am talking about books with 800 pages!

Web browsing is extremely fast. I loaded up a dozen sites that I go to with complex screens and they took 2 to 3 seconds to load. The people who are complaining should fix their WIFI instead of complaining about the Kindle Fire. I see no problem and the speed on the sites I tested is comparable to the iPad 2. One site for a local TV station took about 8 seconds and the screens are complex and contain a lot of videos and changing photos.

Apps load and work great, Facebook, Words With Friends and the Weather Channel loaded fast and work quickly.

Scrolling works very fast and responsive on the capacitive touch screen. Better than the HP Touchpad

Video download is very fast and I have no complaints.

Sound is very good on the device. Much louder than on my iPad 2 device. I saw several reviews blasting the Kindle Fire and in my opinion the sound is better than the iPad 2.

I put the Kindle Fire into a case I purchased from Oberondesign and it fit tightly, but it did fit.

The Kindle Fire is more portable and easier to hold than the iPad and HP Touchpad.

The power button is bad. It is easy to bump and it is right next to the power plug. I have already turned the device off 4 times by accident while doing the testing. I was unplugging the power cable and touched the switch every time. This switch should have been on the top of the device.

Overall the Kindle fire is a 9 out of 10. For the price it is a 10 out of 10.

I am not a professional reviewer nor am I a paid reviewer. The Kindle fire is worth the money and it works well. What happens after 5 million users get onto Amazon is a new test that Amazon must prove they can handle.

Please look at one of my later comments on an excellent WIFI APP tool than could help you test your home WIFI system. Amamzon sells it and it is free!

Update 12-21-2011

Amazon has made an update to the Kindle Fire operating system effective today. Make sure that your Kindle Fire is fully charged or plugged in and press the power button for about 20 seconds. Turn on the Kindle Fire by pressing the on button again and it will begin to come on slowly. It will be downloading the update. After it starts it will shut down automatically and then restart again. When the swipe arrow comes on, swipe it and enter your password (If you have one) and your Kindle will start. Be patient when downloading this and wait for the Kindle Fire to totally restart!

The new operating system is number 6.2.1 and it was 6.2. You can check this by touching the small gear in the upper RH corner, touch "+More", touch "Device" and then looking at the entry for the "System Version".
Major changes that I can see:

-Memory is now segmented into two parts that are available to you. The first is Application Storage which is set at 1.17 GB. It will appear at the top of the device screen and you can see how much is used for Apps. This is the memory allocated for your down loaded and resident Apps.

- The remaining memory is called Internal Storage and it is now 5.37 GB for your books, movies and other storage besides Apps. It is listed below the Application Storage.

-When looking at the Settings page you will see a new access for "Restrictions" which allows you to enable a password to turn WIFI access OFF or ON. If you enable this you will be asked to enter a password, (Minimum of 4 characters) that will allow you to turn Off the WIFI access. You have now just enabled a "child" mode where you can play games, read books, or do anything that is installed on your Kindle Fire. You will not be able to get new email, browse the internet, buy anything, or communicate in any way to the Web as the WIFI is turned off. You will see a key in the upper RH corner where before you saw the WIFI strength indicator. The key symbol means the WIFI is locked OFF. DO NOT FORGET YOUR PASSWORD! Remember you can do anything that is on your Kindle but you cannot download anything from the "Cloud" so make sure that your Kindle has everything you want to do on it resident in the Kindle memory. In order to enable the WIFI you must touch the key symbol, touch WIFI, touch WIFI "ON", enter your password and click OK. Your WIFI will reconnect in about 5 seconds.

-You are able to remove anything from the Carousel by simply touching it for a few seconds and then selecting "Remove from Carousel". This is a nice new feature and you can still access your books or Apps by using the menu bar items above the Carousel.

- Amazon states that operation fluidity and performance enhancements have be added but it is difficult to see what they are as the device does so much you don't know where to look for the enhancements.

-Amazon states that the touch navigation is more responsive and again it is difficult to see changes. I do seem to notice that the back arrow symbol on the bottom of the screen seems to be more responsive.

There is a post on Amazon to download this update using a computer and a micro-USB cable but I have updated two Kindle Fires using the method I discuss above without a problem. If you would like to look at the Amazon post look here:
Many people may not own a micro-USB cable.

I could not use the automatic update mode where it says to touch the "Update Your Kindle" button on the Kindle Fire under the Device page as that selection was grayed out. Cycling the power to do a hard reset forced the download automatically. You should receive this update automatically on your Kindle Fire in a day or two after it begins the automatic update roll-out.
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Showing 1-10 of 255 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 15, 2011 1:46:25 PM PST
marks trains says:
hard to take your post seriously as you say it compares to an ipad. how so? as a reader? pretty much all of the comments i read say that to compare it to a 9.7" screen ipad and its $500 price tag is unfair (to the fire), for obvious reasons. and yet, after owning the fire for less than a day, you compare it favorably to your ipad 2 and your hp touchpad. guess we just have to take your word for it, but it's an awfully interesting take.

bezo's is smiling, that's for certain.

Posted on Nov 15, 2011 2:29:35 PM PST
JJCEO says:
I understand your feelings but I have owned an iPad 2 since early this year and the HP Touchpad for about 3 months, got it in the HP fire sale. The iPad 2 is the top of the line but not perfect. The sound out of it is really poor. The Kindle fire is indeed louder and easier to carry.

The Kindle Fire is fast and once you browse a web site it adds it to the top of your screen for a fast pull up of the site. The display is excellent at 169 pixels per inch and the iPad 2 is 132 pixels per inch (61 percent of the resolution of the Kindle Fire). The Video download was very good and so is the e-mail connection which worked perfectly with Comcast.

Typing is easy and downloading books was shockingly fast. I don't have the number of apps that I have on the iPad but some of the good ones are available.

People blast the Kindle Fire for not having a camera. I have used the camera on the iPad 2 about two or three times. I use my iPhone as a camera or for important events I use a real good digital camera. I have never used the Bluetooth function on the iPad except when Apple accidently turned it on after their IOS 5 update. I found it immediately as it is a battery drain and turned it off. Frankly, a lot of the high cost features on the iPad and the HP Touchpad are items that I don't use as there exists better tools to do those tasks.

For $200 the Kindle Fire does 80 percent or more of an iPad 2 functions and it does 90 percent plus of what I do with a tablet. Compared to the $699 I paid for an iPad 2 with 64 GIG the Kindle Fire at $200 is a steal. To me it simply is not worth $499 for a few features that I don't use. Is a larger display and better apps worth that much? The apps will come along and the portability of an entertainment device is an important feature that cannot be ignored. I think the Kindle Fire is a very good product and someone should stand up and say that. Reviews written by people who don't even own the product or who say they are going to buy an HP Touchpad are ridiculous. I own all three plus a Kindle 3 and have used them all extensively. The Kindle Fire out of the box was a shock at how good it performs for the price.

I do wish the Kindle Fire had the text to speech feature of the Kindle 3 and it is nice to turn it on sometimes when you drive or are tired of reading. Perhaps that will come along in the future in an app of software upgrade.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2011 3:45:04 PM PST
D. O. says:
This is a very good review about real use issues from someone who has actually USED the product. Thank You.

Posted on Nov 15, 2011 4:49:01 PM PST
Much easier to get up and running than an IPAD
Ipad you have to link into itunes the first time to get things running.

This one you power up and go.

Posted on Nov 15, 2011 8:47:16 PM PST
You can use the Kindle with the power button at the top. The screen will rotate approppriately.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2011 1:35:46 AM PST
icaras says:
Not true any more. iOS5 introduced PC free setup.

Posted on Nov 16, 2011 4:52:20 PM PST
rameshraja says:
You are right, the power button is annoying. Either it should little recessed or Amazon has to control this better using the software.

Posted on Nov 16, 2011 5:43:52 PM PST
So jjceo, did you turn your Fire 180 and try it with the button up top?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 17, 2011 4:31:25 AM PST
JJCEO says:
Yes but the issue was, as I said, that I bumped the switch when plugging in the power cable. Turning the Kindle does keep you from accidently pushing the button but plugging in the charger and trying to keep on reading or working is still an issue. Since I put the Kindle Fire into a case, I have not accidently bumped it again. The case extends beyond the Kindle just enough the protect button. It would have been a smarter design to simply put the power switch and earplug jack on the top.

Posted on Nov 17, 2011 9:23:10 AM PST
Very helpful review, thank you very much for sharring.
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