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Amazon Kindle Fire review roundup: great for its price, but it’s merely a multimedia tablet

Amazon’s Kindle Fire has just started shipping and after all the hype surrounding it in the last couple of months, it’s finally time to see how can this 7-inch ‘’iPad killer’’ live up to all the expectations and how does it look and feel in reality.

In the following lines we will recap Fire’s tech specs and features and we will take a quick look at some of the product reviews  from the biggest and most important technology websites.

Available for just 199 dollars on Amazon.com, the Kindle Fire comes with probably one of the best quality-price ratios possible. With a 7-inch multi-touch display with IPS technology, anti-reflective treatment and 1024 x 600 pixels resolution, the Fire is Amazon’s first high-end tablet, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not nicely built, solid and elegant.

Could the Kindle Fire give Apple a run for its money after all?

Could the Kindle Fire give Apple a run for its money after all?

The design, however, is not one of the most original, with the Fire resembling very much the old BlackBerry Playbook. On the other hand, the new slate is elegant and slim, weighing in at just 14.6 ounces (413 grams) and being fashionable enough to make you look and feel cool.

In terms of hardware, the Kindle Fire is not exactly a true competitor for the iPad 2 or other 10-inchers out there, but again it’s pretty satisfactory for its price tag. The TI OMAP 4 1 GHz dual-core processor and the 512 MB of RAM should be enough for running a couple of video games, as well as music and video clips, but also for an overall decent browsing experience.

The Fire only comes with 8 GB of internal storage space and no SD or microSD card slot for expanding it, but on the other hand you get free cloud storage for all Amazon content and you should therefore cope with the low on-board memory.

The moment we have all been waiting for has come and the Kindle Fire has finally started shipping.

The moment we have all been waiting for has come and the Kindle Fire has finally started shipping.

As for the software, this should be one of the most important Fire selling points, with the tablet running a modified version of Android 2.3. The interface is very different from anything you have seen on Android devices and that’s a good thing, because the overall user experience should be pretty nice and interactive.

The number of pre-loaded apps is generous enough to attract a few customers, but it’s the non-pre-loaded content that should make quite a difference. You therefore get access to millions of apps, games, but also movies, music and books, all of which are not that expensive.

As far as battery life is concerned, the Fire is pretty good, being able to run for around eight hours based on regular use on a single charge. Other features include Wireless connectivity and USB, but no cameras, HDMI or other things you could hope to find on a high-end slate these days.

The Kindle Fire reviews

Let’s get down to today’s order of business and let’s take a look at what the most important online reviewers have to say about the Kindle Fire:

The Verge

Pros: The tablet is affordable and offers more than you would expect from its price tag. The user interface is consistent, easy to master and ‘’cohesive’’. The number of apps is great and the access to them, as well as the shopping experience, is simple and fast. The battery lives up to the expectations and can go for more than eight hours in continuous reading. The slate is slim and light.

Cons: The software seems buggy. The level of overall performance is below average. The design is ‘’incredibly unoriginal’’. The browser is mediocre, with not very high load speeds.

Bottom line: The Fire is a terrific tablet for its price, but it’s definitely not an iPad killer.

The Kindle Fire's value has been hailed by pretty much everyone so far.

The Kindle Fire's value has been hailed by pretty much everyone so far.

Engadget

The good: It comes with a great quality-price ratio. The body feels incredibly solid and reliable. The IPS screen does a good job in terms of color reproduction and viewing angles. The battery is at least as strong as it was advertised, being able to run for almost eight hours with multimedia regular use. The browser is not the fastest, but it’s quick for its limited hardware, intuitive and pretty comfortable to use.

The bad: The tablet’s performance is occasionally sluggish. The user interface is sometimes clunky and glitchy. The 7-inch screen is not very functional when running third-party apps. The design could have been better and more original.

Conclusion: The Kindle Fire is quite an achievement, but it’s not the perfect tablet for ‘’power users’’.

Most of the Fire's reviews so far are favorable.

Most of the Fire's reviews so far are favorable.

Pcmag.com

Strong points: The Fire delivers for its low price. The screen is sharp, bright and comes with nice colors and viewing angles. The interface is very easy to use, easy to master and intuitive. In terms of content and apps, the Kindle Fire is great for newbies and light users. The free cloud storage makes up for the low on-board memory.

Weak points: In terms of hardware, it’s rather sluggish and slow in comparison with some of the other high-end tablets available on the market. The display is reflective and you will have real trouble of using the tablet in direct sunlight. It lacks important features, like cameras, Bluetooth and microphone.

Wrap-up: The Kindle Fire is revolutionary, being extremely easy to use, portable, slim and affordable, but it can’t compete with the big guys in terms of hardware and performance.

Cnet

Pros: It comes with access to an impressive number of apps and multimedia content. The browser is unique, fast and very ‘’clean’’. It has an ultra-affordable price tag. The display provides an exceptional overall quality.

Cons: It cuts some corners, lacking features like GPS, cameras, microphone, Bluetooth or 3G. The screen is not very bright. It lacks parental controls. The level of performance is below average.

Bottom line: The Kindle Fire is a great affordable entertainment tablet, but comes short of being high-end and snappy.

Wired.com

The good: The price tag practically screams ‘’buy me’’. It can very smoothly play video content. It makes shopping for apps fun and has access to loads of multimedia content. The user interface is easy to use and master.

The bad: Aside from playing video, the Fire is not above average in any software area. Its level of performance is mediocre, at best. The web browsing experience is overall unsatisfying. The screen is too small and therefore ruins many tablet key activities.

Bottom line: It doesn’t even come close to the iPad 2 and you would be better off waiting for a Kindle Fire 2.

Wrap-up

After seeing what some of the most important people in the online technology world have had to say about the Kindle Fire, it’s time for us to draw our own conclusions.

First of all, it’s pretty clear that the Fire can’t and won’t compete head to head with the Apple iPad 2, being oriented towards a different public. Also, what all the reviewers agree upon is that Amazon’s first-ever tablet comes with a great quality-price ratio.

The overall low speed of the Kindle Fire is one of its biggest problems, according to pretty much everybody right now, as it is the lack of certain features that are standard on most tablets today (Bluetooth, cameras, HDMI).

Surprisingly enough, some of the reviewers have also found a couple of software glitches we weren’t exactly expecting from Amazon, while the lack of originality in design seems to not be a big issue after all.

The Fire can't go near the iPad 2 in terms of hardware, but all in all they should both be succesful and competitive.

The Fire can't go near the iPad 2 in terms of hardware, but all in all they should both be succesful and competitive.

The battery life and the multimedia content, especially the video playing, seem to be two of Fire’s strongest points, while the user interface should be very easy to master and therefore perfect for light users and tablet newbies.

All in all, there aren’t many surprises and the general opinion remains the same that we ourselves expressed a while back. The Amazon Kindle Fire is a great multimedia tablet, comes at a very affordable price tag and aims more towards technology users on a budget who don’t exactly look for the perfect and fastest gadget out there.

Finally, if you want to take a closer look at the 7-incher from Amazon, check out this short video review from The Verge:




About the Author
Adrian
Adrian is an editor for several websites, trying to combine his passions for sports, politics and technology. He’s a Foreign Languages graduate, specializing in Japanese and Portuguese, but loves most the language of Shakespeare, Jon Bon Jovi and Steven Gerrard. Adrian is also a social media fanatic, spending most of his free time blogging and tweeting.


Last updated: November 15, 2011 | Published: November 15th, 2011
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