"Great media expierence, outstanding hackability."4.0 starson by bhartman35
Pros: - Nice, bright, colorful screen
- The price
- Access to Amazon's digital kingdom
- Enough hackability for a very good Android tablet
Cons: - Carousel is oversensitive
- Wifi only
Summary: The Kindle Fire is great for a specific set of users: Those who don't want all the bells and whistles of an iPad, and, more importantly, don't want to pay for them. It should be no surprise to anyone that $500 buys you more tablet than $200 does. So here's what you're not getting with the Kindle Fire:I haven't updated the review since the 6.2.1 upgrade came out, so just let me say, the carousel works much better than before.
3) Full Android Market (but you can root the device to get that)
If there's anything on that list you can't do without, this tablet isn't for you. For the rest of us, the Kindle Fire represents a leap forward in low-cost tablets. This isn't some Chinese knockoff with 3 hours of battery life and no multitouch, accessing some anemic app store they tacked on as an afterthought. The Amazon Appstore, while not as extensive as the Android Market, will likely be enough to tide many people over, and there are more apps being added every day. (Expect the Amazon Appstore to explode, now that the Kindle Fire is out and it appears to be a hit.) Plus, you get a free app every day. Today, I picked up the full version of Documents To Go. Not bad. Not bad at all. :)
The two biggest downsides I can name are these:
1) The device is Wifi only. And it doesn't seem to like ad hoc networks, so you might be unsuccessful tethering it. (I certainly have been, so far.) So you're going to have to do your downloading while you're in Wifi range, and save the videos to play later, if you want to play video outside of Wifi.
The carousel (Amazon's cover flow-like menu) takes some getting used to. If you flick through too fast, it's hard to get the interface to slow down at the app you want to open. But after a day or two, I had a light enough touch that I could move through the menu quickly and accurately.
Much has been made of the comparatively sparse 8GB of memory. But keep two things in mind:
1) If you're comparing this to a Nook, the Nook actually limits you to 1GB of space for non-B&N items. The Kindle Fire is file agnostic. Amazon's Cloud Player doesn't care where you got the music from.
2) All your files are backed up on the cloud, so there's no problem deleting something, if your space gets tight. You can always download it again later, in a matter of seconds. If you've owned a Kindle before, you're very familiar with this cloud dance. It's really not that big a deal.
In short, I can heartily recommend the Kindle Fire for 90% of people who would normally get an iPad2 for music, movies, and Web browsing. The interface isn't as polished as an iPad 2, but unless you have very specific needs, you're probably not going to miss the extra features more than you'd miss the extra $300 you'd spend on the iPad.
Updated on Mar 12, 2012
On the other side of the ledger, the lack of USB host mode does bother me a little. I think the Kindle Fire would easily be a 5-star device if it had USB host mode or Bluetooth (enabled) so you could hook a keyboard to it.