Smartphones

Review - Amazon Kindle Fire

by Abhiman

When you first see the Amazon Kindle Fire, you cannot hide your excitement over what you feel. The exterior design of the device is mysterious. It is so simple, that you’d wonder why it is so. The minimalistic approach to the exterior design is intriguing.

First Impressions

If you have seen the Playbook, you’ll know how much the Amazon Kindle Fire resembles that device. To be blunt, the Kindle Fire is a simple black box with no pretences. There is no style whatsoever. Therefore, it is up to you to perceive it the way you want.

The device easily fits into your hands. The dimensions of the device are smaller, shorter, and lighter than the Playbook. Although it is fairly lightweight, it is definitely heavier by about three hundred grams than the Galaxy Tab 7.0 plus.

Somehow you get that feeling of holding a premium device in your hands. The extra weight is not a burden on your psychological orientation of holding a top-end device in your hand.

What’s great?

One of the strengths of this device is the easiness of setting it up. All you do is power-on the device, turn-on the WiFi, and register the device with Amazon. If you already have an Amazon account, then it is likely that you purchased this device on this account. So you only turn-on this device and its network connectivity to start using it.

The device synchronizes with your existing Amazon account. Any previously purchased content is carried forward. All of this is systematic and disciplined. When you buy the Kindle Fire, you are good to get going the minute you lay your hands on it.


The device is powered by a dual core 1.2 GHz OMAP processor. The processing performance of the device is good. When you are streaming multimedia content, there is no latency whatsoever. The device has WiFi connectivity, and has no problems connecting to wireless networks when on the move.


The Amazon Kindle Fire has an impressive display measuring 7 inches. The display resolution is about 1024 X 600 pixels. The brightness, color reproduction, and viewing angles of this IPS LCD display are good. Although there is scope for improvement, you can be assured of quality multimedia rendition.


The Pearl display has a reflective nature to it. This makes it easy to read text for longer periods of time. You don’t have to strain your eyes reading for hours together. This is one standout quality of the display in the Amazon Kindle Fire.


Amazon has pegged the performance of this device as forty percent faster than its predecessor. Benchmarks tests have revealed an increase in performance of this device. There are two reasons to this. One is the 1.2 GHz processor and the other is the Android 4.0 operating system.


The tablet has won lot of appreciation for its Silk browser. The browser offloads multiple work-types from the cloud. This aspect makes for better rendition of content. Given the internal specifications on the device, this is indeed a quick browser.


The rendition of pages on the Fire is good. There is no latency. It still keeps up with the likes of high-end tablet PCs. You don’t experience visual jarring of any kind, nor is there any webpage truncation. All renditions are seamless and crisply clear. You move from page to page in a fluid manner. The Fire is a delight to read content on.

What’s not so great?

For a device that is simplistically designed on the outside, the internals aren’t a handful either. Behind the simplistic exterior is a disappointing interior. The Amazon Kindle Fire is powered by the same processor that powers the Playbook. The device annoyingly has lower primary memory of 512 MB. The internal storage on the device is an abysmal 8GB.

What’s with no 3G when this device is intended to be a reader? The lack of 3G leaves you at the mercy of lower WiFi networks. There is no Bluetooth support as well. The Kindle Fire has been positioned as a device that allows you to upload and download content on the go. But why is this device still using the jampacked 2.4 GHz band?

Benchmark tests conducted on this band against the 5 GHz band revealed a significant latency in speed. The WiFi connection on this device was speedy enough.


Although the device has a decent display resolution, the pixel density is disappointing. At only 160 pixels per inch, this specification is way behind from what is offered on some basic smartphones. It must be said that entry level smartphones ship with 1280 x 800 display resolutions.


The keyboard of the Fire needs improvement. When in portrait mode, your typing experience could be cramped. You could rather use the stock Android keyboard instead of the device’s exclusive keyboard. The keyboard does allow a roomy typing experience when in landscape mode though.

The Kindle Fire has no inbuilt camera. This is quite frustrating. You cannot conduct videoconferencing through applications such as Skype for instance.


Although the internal speakers are good, there is no microphone. Internal memory is just 6 GB. The Fire is positioned as an entertainment device, so this internal memory specification is inadequate. There is no memory slot available, so you cannot expand internal memory.

Competitors

Vs. Google Nexus 7


Powered by a quad-core processor, the Nexus 7 has better processing power than the Kindle Fire. It has more primary memory and has NFC support for wireless connectivity. The only advantage that the Fire has is that it is comparatively inexpensive.


Vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab 2


The Galaxy Tab 2 supports super-fast data access by way of its 4G support. It also has lots of RAM. In comparison, there are a lot of shortcomings in the Kindle Fire. The Fire has no microSD slot, has low RAM, no front facing camera, lack of ambient light sensor to read content in bright or low ambient light and so on.

Vs. Apple iPad 3

There is actually no competition between these two devices. The iPad 3 outsmarts the Kindle Fire in all regards. Be it processing power, RAM, internal storage, apps, features, display resolution; there is more to the iPad 3 than Kindle Fire.

But yes, if you are looking for a basic tablet PC that is inexpensive and also offers you some decent features, then the Fire may fit the bill.

Bottom-line

The Kindle Fire is an inexpensive tablet when compared to some high-end tablets. It does offer many useful features for its price. It has a respectable look and is easy to carry around. Even though most apps are on the Android Market, rendering it from the cloud is easy courtesy an agile Silk browser.


The Amazon Kindle Fire is about hits and misses. There are many features and facilities missing in this device. Therefore, you cannot stack this device against high-end tablet PCs for competition. This is because the Fire does not have enough to compete against the best. But it is reasonably priced, and that’s one of its major draws.


Price and availability


The Amazon Kindle Fire costs Rs. 14449. You can purchase it at a discount at any of the numerous online stores such as indiatimeshopping.com, eBay, Sulekha etc.

 

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