Amazon’s Kindle Fire: Why It’s Cool, and What It’s Missing (A Kindle Fire Review)

by Nindo Mom on October 30, 2011

Benefits of Amazon’s Kindle Fire e-Reader

Amazon released its first Kindle model in 2007. Now, four years later, the Kindle Fire is finally here. So what’s so great about it?

1. Full Color Display

The most obvious new feature on the Kindle Fire is the first Kindle to sport a full color display. Honestly, it surprised me that it took Amazon so long to come out with a color version of the Kindle. As with TVs, I wondered why would anyone buy a black and white model when there’s color models to be had.  I guess there could be reasons, but it’s hard for me to imagine what they would be.

2. Amazon Silk Cloud Accelerated Browser

The Fire is the first Kindle model to offer Amazon’s Silk Cloud Browser; all previous models of the Kindle have been listed with an “experimental” browser.  So I guess this cloud browser is the one Amazon’s been gearing up for. . . .

3. Low Cost

Another benefit of the Fire is that this Android-based e-reader retails for $199–just HALF the price of the first generation Kindle that Amazon released in 2007. (The first Kindle sold out in just five and a half hours when it first came out, despite its nearly $400 price tag.)

But it’s not all milk and cookies . . .

What the Kindle Fire is Missing

With all these benefits, what’s the Fire missing? Why is it HALF the original price of some of the other Kindle models?

1. E Ink electronic paper

Unlike every other Kindle model Amazon has released, the Kindle Fire does not have E Ink–the technology that displays words on a screen with a very close resemblance to a printed page, making it very easy on the eyes, and thus very easy to read, for extended periods of time. Instead of E Ink, the Fire has “vibrant color IPS”–in other words, a color display.

Although I am a huge fan of color displays (as I’m sure you’ve gathered from what I’ve said above), I’m NOT a fan of giving up E Ink. I would like to see a Kindle model that has a color display that’s also E Ink capable–so we can see graphical items in awesome color, but still read the text of ebooks using Amazon’s E Ink technology. In other words, I want the best of both worlds.

3. 3G

This one really surprised me. The lack of 3G, in addition to the lack of E Ink technology, shows how Amazon is able to offer the Kindle Fire for so much less than the original prices of the other Kindle models. The Fire DOES have wi-fi, of course–how else could you order your ebooks?

4. Microphone, Camera, and SD slot

The Kindle Fire does not have a microphone, camera, or SD slot–amenities that customers are pretty used to seeing on many other tablets on the market today.

Who Should Buy the Kindle Fire?

Anyone who:

1. Is excited about a full-color display

2. Want’s a Kindle with a fast browser

3. Wants these benefits at an affordable price

4. Doesn’t mind giving up E Ink technology, 3G Internet, and extras such as a camera, microphone, and SD slot.

Some customers won’t like what they have to give up in order to get the full color display and the Amazon Silk browser; some won’t mind, because they never got attached to E Ink or 3G, in the first place. The much lower starting price is also likely to be a huge draw for many this holiday season–for both those who want to buy themselves a Kindle and for anyone wanting to purchase a Kindle for someone special on their holiday list.

But Is Amazon’s Kindle Fire worth the cost?

No matter how cool a new electronic gadget is, this is always a question I ask myself.

Before the Kindle Fire model was released, I was seriously wondering why none of the Kindle models had a color display. After all, their competitors–the Barnes and Nobel color NOOK–did. So what gives?

Then the Kindle Fire came out–at long last, sporting that color display. And better yet, the Kindle Fire was 20 percent cheaper than the color NOOK (as of November 3 2011). Great! So based on my color display requirement, the Kindle was on top, simply because it was more affordable.

But the lack of 3G stopped me in my tracks–it’s just too big a benefit to ignore. Any e-reader is going to be way more useful to me if I can download new stuff when I’m “out and about”–waiting in line during the holiday season, maybe waiting for a school event or awards assembly to begin. I’d have so mething to browse books with–something that fulfills my internal need for “something new” when I’m feeling a bit bored and want to get something accomplished.

Sadly, the Kindle Fire doesn’t currently offer Free 3G. (Neither does the NOOK.)  So the question becomes whether the Kindle Fire is worth the (current) $199 price tag without this coveted 3G feature. The answer will depend on just HOW important it is for you to have 3G access–the ability to download content from just about anywhere, even when there’s no Wi-fi access available.

For me: I’m greedy. I want both a color display AND free 3G–even if it means I have to pay more for it. (Which of course, I will.) So I’ll probably hold off until Amazon comes out with a Kindle Fire with free 3G. But if the color display isn’t a feature you feel all that strongly about, the best option, for now, would likely be the Kindle with Free 3G

Resource: Learn more about Amazon’s Kindle models on Amazon’s website.

Resource: Order  Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

 

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kindle User January 1, 2012 at 11:18 AM

I do agree with some of your review, but I believe there are some key features of the Kindle Fire that you might not have considered. No it doesn’t have free 3G , but if your used to mobile computer, your likely to have some sort of mobile internet device. Me I carry a MiFi 2200 in my shirt pocket everywhere I go lol.
My Fire is completely integrated with my home/office network, with remote access control for my home pc’s. It is much easier to carry the 7 inch Fire then it is a bulky laptop. I think this is a part of its features that have been overlooked, and possibly and advertising error on Amazons behalf.
It has a very nice QuickOffice display/toolset.
Alot of people do not care for the bookshelf display, but this is something that is easily changed. You can disable the factory Launcher file and replace it with a more user friendly Launcher. Me personally, I like the droid launcher.
I believe alot of people are under the belief that you have to get all of your apps directly from Amazon, or use an Amazon controlled outlet. This is not the case either. You can configure the Fire to accept software from unfamiliar authors. I would do some research first to make sure that it is compatible, but you will find alot are. I use a Non Kindle file management system on mine for the simple fact I couldn’t get used to the way the Kindles looked.

When I weigh the Pro’s and Con’s the Kindle is a much better fit for me, but then again it all comes down to what your looking for.

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Nindo Mom January 3, 2012 at 10:08 PM

You make a lot of good points here. I’ve been resisting purchasing a portable Internet modem to keep household costs down, though I’m sure that once I give in to the temptation I won’t want to give it up! Having such a device would certainly eliminate the need for the Kindle Fire to have free 3G…but wouldn’t it be nice if it did? That way you’d know you had a connection wherever you go…

I agree the Fire is a lot easier to take around than a laptop computer. Plus, the Fire isn’t as obtrusive sitting on your desk at work.

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