The new Android based Kindle Fire has arrived at AppBite HQ.
Is this an iPad killer ? Here are our first impressions.
What have Amazon for us ? When first opening the box we were surprised how small the Kindle Fire was, when you think 7" display vs 9.7" display it you don't think much of it, but this thing is tiny. It then dawned on us Amazon have sized the device to be exactly the same as the 3rd Generation Kindle, which is now known as the Kindle Keyboard, so it will fit into a jeans pocket (we really wonder if this is what they measured when designing the original).
- Price $199 Kindle Fire vs $499 iPad2 16GB
- Screen - nice and bright
- Amazon Cloud Storage & Books
- Amazon App marketplace
- Same "pocket" size as the Kindle Keyboard
- No volume buttons - quite odd for a "multimedia" device
- Headphone jack at the bottom
- Small Screen size
- Inaccurate Tap positions (software update coming we are told)
Setup was quite easy, adding it to our WiFi wasn't a problem (although there have been some reports of comparability issues).
Screen is nice, as Amazon point out the 169 ppi (Pixels Per Inch) is 28% higher than iPad 2, so it does look a bit more solid than the iPad *but* it's no where close to the iPhone 4S Retina Display at 326 ppi.
User Interface is good, I quite like flipping through the previously used apps & webpages - I think Apple could learn something here. This Android derivative is going to be interesting to track what happens when it comes to updates.
Silk Web Browser - the "Cloud-accelerated web browser" wasn't as hot as we thought it would be. The browser itself is fine but it wasn't the great leap Amazon were promising. We need to do some tests on the Adobe Flash support.
Kindle, Kindle, kindle... There is no doubt this tablet is a 7" Color Kindle. Better executed than the original Nook Color, which you may have had a chance to hold in your hands at a B&N store. Of course get all your Kindle Books, on top of that you get Free cloud storage for your Amazon content. If you've been buying movies & music from Amazon already you can stream or download them to the Kindle Fire. Digital Media users are really the devices target market, people who are within Amazon's usage sphere, people with Amazon Prime, people e using Amazon Digital Download services.
Apps - Well this is what AppBite is about and we have to say Android & Kindle Fire has a ways to go in this department. Buying an app is not as smooth as with the iTunes App Store. Finding Kindle Fire apps was a bit of a challenge, one obvious issue is the multiple screen sizes for Android phones & tablets, we found Angry Birds HD handled this pretty well, but one of our favorite games Plants vs Zombies HD looked like it had been stretched to fit.
Obviously we see this is where we come in, finding the best Kindle Fire apps, that suit the device, so look for more in that department in the future.
Should you buy a Kindle Fire ?
Well we've had it a few days and we're obviously rather iPhone/iPad centric here.
- If you have an iPhone already and have $499 get an iPad2 the experience is just smoother.
- If you want a smaller device than the iPad2 get a Kindle Fire, at $199 the price to functionality we think it's a good value.
- If you're already well into the Amazon ecosystem (with no ties to Apple), have lots of Kindle Books, Amazon Digital content, we think this is a good device.