Since the Amazon Kindle Fire was released to the public there has been so much written about it, both good and bad, but the main question boils down to this review – is the Kindle Fire worth buying. You may find all the back and forth about its abilities incredibly difficult to digest. Some people love the Fire and some people hate it so how do you decide for yourself? It’s all very confusing.
This article will help in the debate and make it easier for you, the consumer. I’ve made a list of the good and the bad about the Kindle Fire so that you can really get a feel for this tablet and decide if it is for you or not.
There are mainly two models of the Fire tablets, and you can see here for the difference between the Kindle Fire HD and HDX.
First… The Good (Why the Kindle Fire is Worth it)
- The PRICE!!- $199 (even cheaper for used offers)- seriously you can’t beat the price. Amazon’s price so undercuts the competition that many technology gurus thought it was a joke at first. At under $200 you can practically upgrade to the latest device every single year.
- Storage- There is FREE Amazon Cloud Storage easy to access via Wi-Fi. It is unlimited storage for your Amazon content and 5GB for your personal content. There is also 8GB of storage on the device which will allow you to store about 80 apps plus 10 movies or 800 songs or 6000 books. The on device storage isn’t huge, but it is large enough to handle most people’s needs. For me, the Cloud Storage capability is what sells it. I know all of my content is stored safely in the cloud even if I lose the device.
- The Amazon eco-system, that amazing collection of books, magazines, newspaper, apps, movies, music and even more, that you can access from the Kindle Fire. There are also tons of free books for the Kindle. I love the wide selection that I can access using any WiFi network.
- Amazon Prime- Join Amazon Prime (Kindle Fire comes with 1 month free Amazon Prime)… I mean it! For only $79 a YEAR you get unlimited instant videos, including 10,000 popular movies and TV shows, access to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library plus additional perks like FREE two day shipping on all Amazon-sold products. This little add-on will make your Kindle Fire even more worthwhile. Amazon is so good at making your life easier it amazes even me.
- Quality Assured Apps Store: Amazon reviews every app before adding it to the Kindle Fire Apps Store so the quality of their apps is assured. You won’t be able to find the millions of apps that the Apple Apps Store has (there are lots of junk apps however, same for the Android Store), but everything that a casual user would want is there. If you are not sure, go browse the Kindle Fire Apps Store before you buy the device, and we suggest you bookmark the link as well, as the store is somewhat hidden on Amazon’s site and is difficult to find.
- Kindle Free App of the day- We suggest you to bookmark this link too. Every day, one paid app is given out for free. Check it out every day, and you can save a lot.
- The Kindle Fire travels easier than pretty much any tablet I’ve tried because of its size. It’s lightweight, can be held easily in one hand and can fit in your purse for easy transport.
- The screen was built with IPS (in-plane switching) technology which allows you to actually see the screen at different angles. You can watch a movie and have a friend watching right next to you without one of you killing your neck.
- The Backlight – you can watch a movie in complete darkness or read a book in bed and not worry that you won’t be able to see it. The backlight is strong and illuminates the entire screen so that you can enjoy.
- This tablet is DURABLE!!!! Amazon worked hard to make sure that some simple bumps and scrapes won’t hurt – The display is made of Gorilla Glass, which is highly damage-resistant; the back of the tablet is rubberized, so it won’t slide around and won’t get scratched easily. Thus this compact tablet will stand up to some wear and tear!
- The Kindle Fire boots up in 30 seconds. I don’t know about you, but I hate sitting around waiting for my computer or any device to boot up. It drives me up the wall.
- The micro-USB port- that’s right the Kindle Fire somehow manages to fit in a micro-USB port in its incredibly small frame. The port allows you to move files from your tablet to your computer or micro-USB drive. The transfer is simple and generally quick so you can have a good amount of storage at your fingertips.
- Amazon’s Whispersync – thank God Amazon developed their simple bookmarking tool. With it you can easily sync your library, bookmark your last place in books and movies, take notes, add highlights to books and even view all your media across multiple Kindle devices and Kindle reading applications. If I had to constantly scroll to the last scene I watched in a movie I might jump out a window.
- Multitasking- who doesn’t love multitasking these days? The Kindle Fire allows you to multitask by letting you read your favorite book while streaming music or you can download videos while you listen to music. Given my busy life, multitasking on my tablet is just essential.
- The Amazon store is seamless with your tablet. Seriously, buying your favorite book, song or video is just a click away. This feature is one of my favorite things about the Kindle Fire.
- The streaming quality of the Fire is very good. It’s not as good as Blu-ray or High Resolution DVD, but it’s truly just fine.
- Amazon included a built-in email app into their tablet giving you quick access into your email even while streaming music or downloading a video file.
- The Silk Browser with its cloud accelerated processing is a first. No other tablet has the benefit of splitting processing time between the tablet and cloud computing. Plus the Silk Browser will only get faster as more people use it and it learns more about how people browse.
- Quick Office – The Kindle Fire actually has a lightweight app built-in to allow you to read Microsoft Office- like files so you’ll be able to open those attachments that come in through your email. You can’t edit or create these files with the standard app, but for $14.99 you can upgrade to Quick Office Pro and be off and creating/editing files.
- AND the last but not least, GOOD thing to the Kindle Fire is that it is made by AMAZON. If you’ve been an Amazon customer for any length of time you know why this fact makes the Kindle Fire worth it.
So that’s the GOOD, now let’s talk about the BAD of Kindle Fire
The Kindle Fire isn’t as robust as the iPad, but that’s no big surprise. It wasn’t built to compete head to head with the iPad, but rather be a great cost-effective alternative for people who are mostly interested in consuming content. So let’s go through some key drawbacks to this first release of the Kindle Fire. If these are features that you must have on your tablet then go for the iPad instead.
- There is no 3G option. That can be a pain if you are not in a place with WiFi, but it’s not an insurmountable obstacle. But remember if you want 3G on other tablet, you’ll need to pay monthly fee for the 3G network.
- There is no HDMI or Bluetooth – without High Def the video experience is more akin to old analog television, but is that so bad? I may seem outdated, but analog TV to me really wasn’t that awful. No Bluetooth though is more of an issue for me when I’m driving. It is much harder to listen to my favorite music or an audio book via my Kindle Fire. The speakers on the device are a bit tinny so I always use my headphones, but that’s not practical while I’m driving.
- There is no camera on the Kindle Fire. That may not seem like a big deal to most tablet users since their smartphones undoubtedly have a camera, but for pictures hounds like myself I truly wish it had a camera.
- There is no microphone, which will be nice for video chatting or voice recording.
- There is no GPS, which can come handy when you are in need of it, but you should subscribe to 3G service as well in order to make good use of GPS.
- The 8 hour battery life is not an amazing amount of time (vs 10 hours on the iPad). You’ll need to charge it every day if you use it heavily or just a couple of times a week for limited usage.
- The key BAD to the Kindle Fire though is that it’s not an iPad. It can’t do everything that the bigger tablet can do with its increased RAM and processor abilities.
So that’s a full overview of the Kindle Fire and we do think Kindle Fire is definitely worth the $199 price tag. Here are some final places for you to check out, if you are considering getting the Fire, or read Which Kindle is the Best to Get?
If you are considering other Kindle models: