Ready, Aim, Fire!

Kindle Fire, that is.

I received my own Kindle Fire in the mail this past Friday.  For those who might not know, the Kindle Fire is a tablet device produced by Amazon (the online book and everything else seller) and sold for $199.  A $199 tablet?  How does this compare to Apple’s $499 base iPad?  Or any of the other tablet computers out there?   Here’s a link to a number of reviews on the Fire from around the internet.

Getting this device gives me a chance to remind folks that all Kindle devices (including the new Fire) now provide ready access to free Kindle books through Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Overdrive service.

The nice thing about accessing Kindle books through Overdrive is that it requires just a few quick steps, and is a little less unwieldy than the ePub format accessed via Nooks and other devices.   Now I also own and love the Kobo, a dedicated eReader that does nothing but read ePubs.  I’ll likely keep using my Kobo to read eBooks, and use my Fire for eReading, watching streaming video, and listening to MP3s.

Here’s a short list of things I like about the Fire:

  • The Tablet and screen interface provide adequate navigation and bright, clear visuals.
  • The Wireless connectivity delivers speedy browsing results, including handling Netflix downloads with ease.
  • Accessing library Kindle books is easier than ePub format materials.

Here’s a short list of things I do not like about the Fire:

  • The marriage to the Amazon “cloud” makes it hard to add non-native content.
  • $199 means a bare bones product: no micro-USB cord, no case, and no internal camera creates an austere device.
  • Battery life is low–only about 5.5 hours before a re-charge  in my experience.

One thing that every reviewer agrees on is that owning a Fire marries you to Amazon’s online content distribution network.  As long as you’re OK with this, you can also use the device to read PDF’s and do other things that a tablet device allows, but you’ll have to buy an Amazon micro-USB cord to add any “non-native” content.

So if you’re curious about the Fire, read some reviews, check it out at a local store that sells it (you can buy them in person at Staples and other places), and make up your own mind.  A $199 tablet does have some drawbacks, but you might also find that it does the job you need it to do.

–Scott

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Ready, Aim, Fire!

  1. Having only recently purchased a standard Kindle, I’ve been dragging my feet about spending another $200 for a new one.

    That said,the Kindle, in general, has transformed my reading habits. Always an avid reader, I’m now pleased to be able to switch books while away from home, without having to remember to bring along a different one.

    My book buying habits have changed a lot, too. Now someone recommends something on Goodreads, or I read a review (or watch one), and I want a book, I can usually buy it within a minute.

    Now, if only there would be a revolution it the cost of ebooks. Paying $15 or more for a stack of electrons rankles a bit.

  2. Thanks for the review. I’ve been on the fence about getting one. I’m not sure how I feel about being “married” to amazon. Let us know how it fares after a few weeks of use…

  3. I have an iPad one, and while I really like the original Kindles I’ve played with, I just don’t read that many ebooks. For what I do read in that format, the iPad’s connection to my phone is FANTASTIC. No matter where I am, I can take the same stack of books with me and switch back and forth on devices. I agree though about the price points. For a non-physical posession (I can’t really hold the bytes of data) I feel like a pricepoint similar to paperbacks would be better….

  4. I’ll be getting the Kindle Touch, soon for Christmas. I wasn’t interested in the Fire because, reading on a computer-monitor like screen hurts my eyes. I liked it, but I am the kind of person that tries to get tech devices that I know I’ll use for more then one thing. For me I’d just use it for one thing, so getting a plain jane Kindle makes me happy. I have so many other tech-media items that are fairly new, I’d just be ridiculously greedy by trying to get one more multi-capable device like the fire right now, til my laptop can no longer be relevant.

    I use to be old fashion about ereaders, because I like the texture of holding books, but since I’ve been traveling so frequently with my spouse, ereaders are starting to appeal to my lifestyle now, and I don’t have to be weighed down using my carry-on with five books banging around in there, I am a poly-reader so The Kindle Touch was my cup of tea.

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