Welcome to our Kindle Fire Review. Amazon, it appears, is continuing its dominance of the eReader market. This time, by literally setting it ablaze with a new addition to its Kindle line. If you’re experienced with eReaders at all, you already know that Kindle offers a series of great choices for anyone interested in buying an ebook Reader.
Customers can now choose between the original Kindle, the Kindle Touch, Keyboard, DX, and of course, the Kindle Fire. And although the names of Amazon’s eReaders seem rather self-explanatory, we went ahead and analyzed what makes each Kindle unique in its own way. All to help buyers figure out which eReader they really want.
Kindle Fire Pros
- Lighter, faster, and easier to read off.
- Intuitive user interface.
- Enormous selection of books, magazines, and periodicals.
- Built-in free international wireless.
- Decent battery life.
- Audiobook integration.
Kindle Fire Cons
- Non-U.S. users may suffer extra fees when using wireless capabilities.
- The battery can’t be replaced on your own.
- Not compatible with several file formats.
Kindle Fire Best For
The Amazon Kindle is the optimal wireless reading device for U.S. book lovers who just love to read – mainly novels, newspapers, and periodicals. It’s also great for travelers who want to enjoy a good read on the road.
Kindle Fire Specs:
- Date of Release: November 2011
- Dimensions: 7.5” x 4.7” x 0.45”
- Screen size: 7”
- Weight: 14.6 ounces
- Internal Memory: 6Gb
- External memory: No
- Gray-scales: Color Screen
- Wireless: Wi-Fi
- Pdf support: yes
- Supported formats:16
- Upload method: Wireless / USB
- Battery lifetime: 3 weeks
- Warranty: 1 year
- International shiping: yes
Kindle Fire Review
Kindle Fire Features
The Fire comes complete with a 16 million color, high-resolution display, a touch screen interface, the Amazon Silk Web Browser to be used with Wi-Fi (no 3G is available so far). It also has 8 GB of media storage.
The Fire is for the customer who wants an eReader and more. Much, much more. Of course, there will be twice the features, too.
The Fire is also loaded with a dual-core processor, so buyers should have no trouble multi-tasking. Media such as special edition magazines will include built-in audio, video, and other features, which you can enjoy while downloading a video or streaming music.
Like its sister models, the Kindle Fire can also view Word documents and PDF’s, making it just that much more practical.
If all of this weren’t enough, the Fire also features Amazon’s Whispersync, which is included on the other Kindles as well.
But with the Fire, this synchronization technology is taken even further. With the ability to watch movies and videos of all sorts, Whispersync will synchronize whatever you’re watching to any other Whispersync devices. So, if you pause a video on your Kindle Fire, put it down and turn on your Whispersync-enabled TV, and you can pick up right where you left off from the Fire.
If you want something to store your books with a few other cool features, the Kindle Fire is not your gadget. But if you want a device that admirably stacks up to the wonders of the iPad, you should give serious consideration to the Fire while it’s hot.
At a mere 7.5″ x 4.7″ x 0.45″, and weighing just 14.8 ounces, the Kindle Fire packs quite a visual punch with a 7″ multi-touch display, a stunning 1024 x 600-pixel resolution at 169 PPI, and 16 million vibrant colors.
Combine unequaled video with the rich clear sounds from the top-mounted stereo speakers, and lightning-fast processor speed, and your Kindle Fire is perfect for streaming any of the 10,000 movies, Television shows, and music videos available through your free, one-month trial membership to Amazon Prime (free with all Kindle Fire orders).
And, that’s not all…browse the web on your Kindle Fire with the exclusive Amazon Silk browser.
And, unlike other tablet computers, the Amazon Fire supports the Adobe® Flash® Player, so you won’t miss a thing!
Kindle Fire Apps
Apps, More Apps & All Your Favorite Games – Your Kindle Fire will enable you to play Angry Birds, tune in to The Weather Channel and more, plus with your Kindle Fire, you get a great paid app for free every day!
Kindle Fire Processor and Memory
Super Fast Processing – Your Kindle Fire features a state-of-the-art dual-core processor for a fast, powerful performance every time. You can stream music while browsing the web or read books while downloading your favorite videos, all without having your Fire tablet run sluggishly or freeze up!
Forget about onboard memory (even though there is a respectable 8GB) – Your Kindle Fire gives you free storage for all your Amazon digital content in the Amazon Cloud. All of your books, movies, music, and apps are instantly available to stream or download for free.
Durable, yet Easy to Hold – The all new Kindle Fire display has been chemically strengthened to be 20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic, making it extra durable and resistant to accidental bumps and scrapes. And, your Kindle Fire was designed so you could take it with you wherever you go. It’s small enough to fit in your purse and light enough to hold in just one hand!
Amazon Fire Built-in Features
Built-in Email app – Get your webmail in a single inbox with the Kindle Fire built-in email app. You can even import your messages and contact lists from other email accounts plus there are additional email apps available in the Amazon Appstore for Android.
Take Your Documents with you – Kindle Fire makes it easy to take your documents with you wherever you go. Simply email your documents (including Word, PDF, and more) to your Kindle Fire, and you can read them anytime, anywhere!
And, just like the original Amazon Kindle, the Fire tablet features a simple, intuitive interface that puts the music, videos, and content that you love right at your fingertips – you can spin effortlessly through your recent titles and websites straight from the home screen. Whether you are in the mood to watch, read, listen, play, or browse, with the Kindle Fire, you get to all your favorite content with a single touch. It really is that simple.
Kindle Fire Books and Ecosystem
The Kindle Store offers over 1 million books, including 6,000,000 titles at $9.99 or less, plus over 2 million free, out-of-copyright, pre-1923 books, like Pride and Prejudice. And, just like the Amazon Kindle, the Fire tablet uses Amazon’s unique Whispersync technology to automatically sync your library, last page read, bookmarks, notes, and highlights across all of your devices.
Cloud Storage: Unlimited, free cloud storage for all Amazon content
How long does the Kindle Fire Battery Life is going to last?
Battery Life & Charging: Up to 8 hours of continuous reading or 7.5 hours of video playback, with wireless off. Battery life will vary based on wireless usage, such as web browsing and downloading content. Fully charges in approximately 4 hours via included U.S. power adapter. Also supports charging from your computer via USB.
Connectivity: Supports public and private Wi-Fi networks or hotspots that use the 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, or 802.1X standard with support for WEP, WPA and WPA2 security using password authentication; does not support connecting to ad-hoc (or peer-to-peer) Wi-Fi networks.
What type of files do the Kindle Fire support?
Supported Formats: Kindle (AZW), PDF, TXT, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively, DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, non-DRM AACAudible (Audible Enhanced (AA, AAX)), MP3, OGG, WAV, MIDI, MP4, VP8.
Warranty Info: 1-year limited warranty and service included. Optional 2-year Extended Warranty available for U.S. customers sold separately.
Kindle Fire vs Kindle Touch vs Kindle Keyboard
How I Conducted My Analysis of Amazon’s Collection of Kindles.
Between four separate ebook readers (we will review the standard Kindle, the Touch, the Keyboard, and the Fire), there were more than enough reviews and articles to be read about the Kindle series. But really picking apart the differences didn’t just take me to the Internet. It also took me to my bedroom, where I gave my own older model Kindle a thorough examination.
Needing to travel only to Amazon’s website, as well as respected review sites like Engadget and Cnet, analyzing Amazon’s Kindle models was simple.
How I Stacked the Kindles Against Each Other
Of course, not all Kindles are created entirely equally. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of common features across all of the platform models.
To simplify things a bit, here are the elements that all four reviewed Kindles include:
- Access to millions of books, newspapers, games, magazines, and documents
- At least 2GB of in-device storage
- Free access to Amazon Cloud storage
- “Special Offers”, which are advertisements Amazon includes on your device should you choose to let them. Models with Special Offers are, on average, about $40 cheaper
- The ability to borrow Kindle books from supporting local libraries
- Experimental Web Browsing (excluding the Fire, which will utilize Amazon’s new Silk platform)
Perhaps the best reason the standard Kindle is such a good choice as a first eReader is its price.
Not to mention the fact that this device weighs less than 6 ounces and is thin enough to suit my own preference for ultra-portability.
So why even look further into Amazon’s catalog of eReaders? Simply put, because Amazon has more to offer with the Kindle line. So, if you are in the market for a new eReader, take the time to explore all of your options before you make your final decision.
Standard Kindle Features
This Kindle is not the same model as those previously released. It has been redesigned to begin a new standard for 2011.
It has 2BG of onboard storage, and is nothing if not user-friendly, with buttons to turn pages on either side of the device.
Its content is viewed via an E Ink display that really does, as Amazon claims, “read like paper”.
The navigation system looks to be a tad frustrating if it’s anything like the one featured on previous Kindles.
The 5-way controller of the Kindle seems quite easy to make mistakes with.
Also, the brand new Kindle will still not feature audio this time around.
But once you begin reading (which is the ultimate purpose of an eReader, let’s not forget), the Kindle demands your full attention.
Being the simplest of all Kindles, this model is great as an entry-level eReader. In other words, if you want something to store your books electronically so you can take a whole library with you, it is ideal. And you can keep that library open for an entire month at a time since the Kindle can last over 30 days without a charge.
And if you keep your wireless Internet turned on, one charge, which takes about 3 hours to fill an empty battery, will last three weeks or so.
So, with a single charge lasting weeks at a time, those who purchase the standard Amazon Kindle will not find themselves starving for their eReader charges very often at all. The primary reason for this is that the original Kindle model uses no battery power to display a page. Instead, power is needed only when the user is physically pushing buttons or allowing WiFi to remain engaged.
The Kindle Touch is pretty much exactly what you may think it is. An Amazon Kindle with a touch screen. Its battery will last the user a whopping two months of use with a single charge, once again, depending on your use of WiFi and your Internet configuration.
The Touch is a dream come true for fans of the Kindle who want the reputation of Amazon’s eReader, with at least some of the functionality that comes with Apple’s iPad. BGR.com praised the “incredible” touch sensibility of the Kindle Touch’s screen, which makes the unit seem about as fluent and smooth as any of the best touch screen interfaces these days.
As such, the Touch doesn’t seem to be just a big setup for a letdown like so many other touch screen devices, whose owners claim, “You just have to get used to it”. Instead, the Kindle Touch is completely under the control of your finger, right out of the box.
Kindle Touch Features
This Kindle holds 4 GB of content, which could be seen as one of the best reasons to opt for it over the standard Kindle.
But the screen is not the only feature that sets the Kindle Touch apart from the others in the series: the Touch includes a text-to-speech function that will read for you, out loud, or through your headphones.
The Read to Me function features the voices of celebrities and world-class narrators, which I found to be a very savvy option for Amazon to include.
Having a familiar voice reading a book to you has to be one of the most comforting things modern technology is capable of delivering.
The Touch, also available with AT&T 3G instead of exclusively the standard Wi-Fi, has rear-mounted speakers and an audio jack, so you can listen to your books, as well as MP3 music files.
And with a non-3G enabled model at $99 with special offers, or $139 without, it’s clear that the Kindle Touch is meant to be available to more than just tech and book enthusiasts.
The Kindle Keyboard, which I mentioned earlier, is the top-selling eReader of 2011.
It is not much different from its touch screen counterpart, except, of course, for the fact that it features a simple keyboard, which I am fond of.
It is about an ounce heavier than the Touch, but Amazon tells us it contains up to 4 GB of storage space, like the Touch.
The battery life and a charge time of the Keyboard are both identical to the Touch as well. What some consumers may not know is that the Keyboard is a new alias for the original Amazon Kindle. If you own the earlier Kindle model, you own an earlier Kindle Keyboard. However, this model features audio, and, like the Touch, is offered with Wi-Fi and/or 3G.
If the Keyboard and the Touch seem similar, that’s because they are. They have almost the exact same specs in multiple categories.
In fact, the brand new Kindle Touch could be called a replica of the original Kindle with little more than a different interface.
Now, Amazon has designed the Keyboard to hold 500 more books than the Touch, so that’s a perk, I suppose (OK, maybe not such a perk for most of us. I still don’t get why I need the capacity to carry any more than maybe a couple hundred books, which would take me a couple of years to read anyway).
But the standard versions of both the Touch and Keyboard sell for $99. In my opinion, the Touch is the better choice by far, but if you want a few hundred extra books, and a conventional, comfortable keyboard, then the keyboard is the right Kindle for you.
The new Kindle Fire, on the other hand, is in a totally different world. The Fire is currently available, and it has surpassed eReader status.
We could probably refer to the Kindle Fire as Amazon’s answer to Apple’s iPad because this tablet features nearly everything every other Kindle has offered so far – and much more.
Online Opinions and Reviews on the Kindle Line
The recent releases of the Fire and the Touch have both given way to some highly anticipated reviews. However, there were none to be found of the Kindle Keyboard (more on that later).
The Amazon Kindle
When it came to the newly designed standard Kindle, reviews were pretty consistent: although it has a nice design, it has been stripped down a bit. Well, there is a reason for that, and it is the Kindle Keyboard. It should be remembered that the original Kindle is being continued under a new name with new features. And the new “standard” Kindle for 2011 is a newly designed eReader in and of itself.
Most reviews have a positive slant. TrustedReviews.com loves its low price, and while they acknowledged the loss of a few features here and there, they gave the device a 9/10.
Here’s a quick snapshot of what a few are saying about the new Kindle:
“…the perfect eBook reader for today’s hard times.” –Mark Harris
“…different in a rather brilliant way.” –Andrew Williams
“…establishes the new class standard for affordable eBook readers…” –Jamie Lendino
The Kindle Touch
The Kindle Touch has been received well so far, especially considering the fact that it is Amazon’s first touch screen device. Various websites claim that it isn’t set apart from the other Kindles design-wise. However, some reviewers found its design very similar to Apple’s simple home button, power button combination.
The Touch has truly impressed some who have reviewed it thus far, and those who weren’t particularly impressed were still somewhat fond of the device. Here’s what those reviewers are telling us:
“…Amazon’s best e-reader to date.” –cnet.com
“There’s a lot to like here…but there’s nothing that would make us want to dump our Nook, Sony WiFi reader, Kobo or even Kindle Keyboard.” –Engadget.com
“…a nice upgrade for folks who own touch-screen phones and are comfortable with that interface” –foxnews.com
The Kindle Fire Reviews
I was very eager to see what other reviewers would say about the Fire.
One review compared it favorably to the Nook Tablet and the iPad 2, which was no surprise to me since I felt the same way after looking over the Fire myself.
Other reviews, such as Gizmodo’s, outright warned Apple to “be afraid.” Still others, such as the review by Rick Munarriz of Dailyfinance.com, strictly supported the iPad against this newcomer – but nevertheless, he could admit that for the investment, the few features the Fire is missing out on aren’t much of a setback considering the attractive price.
The Fire, of course, will never quite be the iPad, and there have been a few complaints about web browsing from a few sites, but it all in all, the Fire seems to have lived up to the hype it sparked:
“…cheap, useful, and fun to use; 9/10” –digitaldesi.com
“…a fantastic buy. It is intuitive and capable…” –bgr.com
“…does exactly what Amazon wanted it to…” –ubergizmo.com
“…an outstanding entertainment value that prizes simplicity over techno-wizardry.” –cnet.com
The Kindle Keyboard
As I’ve mentioned previously, this Kindle model has been with us from the start. Amazon released the Kindle 1, Kindle 2, Kindle DX, and Kindle 3, all with qwerty keyboards. The Kindle Keyboard follows their footsteps and hasn’t received much attention because in reality, it is the same Kindle we’ve come to know and love – with a new title.
Kindle vs Kindle Fire vs Kindle Touch vs Kindle Keyboard
Amazon is appealing to a very wide market in a very tough economy with its new line. Now that you know what makes each Kindle unique, I’ll give you the bottom line to help you choose the one that’s right for you.
The New Kindle: Cheaper and Simpler
The new Kindle is for those who want an eReader stripped down for the purpose of reading books. Yes, it can do a few other things, like surf the internet on Amazon’s experimental browser, but it is quite obvious that this is designed to be a $79, bare bones Kindle to be read, not shown off. The lack of a keyboard may make it unorthodox for those who bought earlier models, but if you want a practical eReader with a fresh design at an affordable price, you can’t go wrong with this one.
The Kindle Touch: Modern, Flashy, Inevitable
It makes sense that Kindle would release a touch screen device with its new line. The Kindle Touch is the answer for those who want an eReader with the Kindle’s reputation, and a touch screen interface, which is all the rage these days. And at $99 without 3G ($150 with it included), you can have the most up to date of Amazon’s eReaders at very reasonable prices. Preorder the Touch if you want an eReader that will stay charged longer, hold more data, play your music, and highlight your interests in any literary work – all without pressing a key.
The Kindle Keyboard: The Juggernaut
The Kindle Keyboard is the classic Amazon eReader. Ever since the first Kindle was released in 2007, the company has always had a keyboard-equipped eReader for sale. And while the Kindle Keyboard may seem like the “same old, same old,” it’s also the same recipe for happy customers. Amazon’s Keyboard model isn’t the latest and greatest in tech, but if you want the battery life, storage, price, and other features of the Touch in a classic eReader with a conventional keyboard, this is the best option for you.
The Kindle Fire: Amazon’s Best Yet
Amazon really has something big going for them with the Fire. This tablet has been highly anticipated, and seems to stack up nicely to the iPad, especially when you consider the difference in price. The primary differences between the iPad and the Fire (besides the OS) at first glance appears to be the Fire’s lack of a built-in camera and microphone.
And of course, the vast amount of raw disk space the iPad has built-in is very impressive, but once you reach for anything past Apple’s 8 GB model, your wallet begins to have a panic attack.
If you are looking into buying a Fire, you are likely to conclude that the few things it doesn’t have are forgivable in light of the attractive price. With Amazon’s Silk web browser, a gorgeous touch screen display, a dual-core processor, and about 6 GB available to the user, this tablet is very well stacked.
From games (yes, you can download Angry Birds), movies, magazines, music, newspapers, audiobooks, to just about anything else you might want in a tablet – it’s all available on the Fire for a great price – and in a tighter package, too (Fire: 7.5” by 4.7”, iPad 2: 9.5” by 7.3”).
The size isn’t the only thing that’s smaller. You can own the groundbreaking Kindle Fire for $100-159, half the price of the 200- $400+ iPad 2. The Kindle Fire is your gadget if you want in on the tablet craze without committing the dollars you’ll need to acquire an iPad.
Kindle Fire Final Verdict
Our Kindle Fire review has come to an end. With a feature-packed, full-color tablet computer, combined with Amazon’s cloud services, the Amazon Kindle Fire is THE best ebook reader and THE tablet computer to own!