Top critical review
8,382 people found this helpful
I wanted to love you
on July 31, 2014
I wanted to love my Fire Phone. I really love Amazon Priime and my kindle, and they made the phone a bargain. Who could resist a year of prime on top of the rest? When at last the phone arrived, that sleek black box was a pleasure to unwrap.
The phone felt good in my hand, sturdy, well made. I used it as a phone -- wow, good sound, much better than many of the cell phones I've used in the past. Score.
I played with the dynamic perspective -- how nifty. I tried changing the backgound and here was my first disapointment -- a lot of them are dim, even bordering on creepy. Clearly time and effort was spent on choosing them, but they felt like Uncle Fester's last minute IT assignment. I finally chose one that bugged me the least. As my 9 year old said the first time he saw one, "Cool!" and then the next day, "that gets kind of annoying."
I moved forward, and loaded my email app, gmail, without a problem. I thought "Smartphones are pretty useful!" and felt reassured in my decision.
Then I started looking for other apps I've used on my android tablet, and I came up empty on the Amazon app store. Huh. I thought "no big deal, I can live without that app" and I searched for something else and thought "and that app too." Finally I realized a lot of google apps were off limits, and I had to rethink what I could do. It felt like a big step backward.
I found solace in streaming a song from my Amazon Music and opening up my current book using the kindle software. Better. Yes, reading was lovely. I took a picture and identified something instantly with Firefly -- nothing tricky, but it was fast. That was kind of fun. I never plan on using my phone to buy anything, however, so not that much fun.
I used the apps i was able to install, and I found myself befuddled a number of times. There's no software back button support. Some apps have a working back button within them, but not all, and there were times I felt trapped in whatever I was using, like Gretel after the breadcrumbs were eaten.
Swiping was supposed to help, as was flicking your wrist, but the responses were inconsistent. I thought I was fumbly and inept until I shared my phone with an IT pro and he also found that there were times where he'd flick his wrist 3 or 4 times without success. You'd feel so frustrated you'd want to start shaking it uncontrollably, then fling it into the wall. I loved catching him in those moments, our frustration shared. Navigation that was effortless on an android tablet became convoluted and difficult. MANY things that felt effortless on a full blown android were obscured or disabled.
A phrase swirled in my head, "you can't get there from here."
The low point came when I was showing off my new phone at work to extol the virtues of my new Amazon Fire. Flick fail. Swipe fail. Firefly fail. I could at least show the dynamic perspective with my lock screen, and they gazed politely. They tried the swipes and flicks, and sometimes they worked. Overall though, I think I solidified their loyalty to their current iPhone or Android. Sigh.
I had my Fire Phone two more demoralizing days, and gave up. What I thought at first was unhappiness due to unrealistic expections of having a smartphone, I came to realize was unhappiness based upon the comparison of my phone to my android tablet. It's just not as good. The Fire Phone is pretty and well made, but the software is crippled and the experience disappointing.
I returned the phone, and I have to say Amazon was professional, quick and courteous. Customer service rates an A+.
I replaced my Fire Phone with a Google Nexus 5, and I could not be more happy. Sorry Amazon, I wanted to love you best. Your screen was great and I loved using you for calls, but my need for sleek functionality won out over the fun of drama and glitz. Maybe next time.