Sunday, November 20, 2011

[META REVIEW] Kindle Fire: The Good, The Bad and The Indifferent

Amazon’s Kindle Fire may have started shipping early, but the reviews are already rolling in. So far, everyone seems in agreement that $199 for a tablet is a remarkable feat. However, some are a little more enthusiastic about the device and its features than others.

Read on to see who gave the device a thumbs up or down, then decide for yourself which way your own thumb will be pointing.

Editor-in-chief Joshua Topolsky believes the Kindle Fire is not necessarily an iPad killer, but a more feasible option for anyone on a budget. For its affordability and overall usability, The Verge gives Fire a thumbs up.

  • Great Amazon content ecosystem
  • Seamless integration on Whispersync
  • User friendly and consistent
  • Affordable

  • Software can be buggy
  • Amazon Appstore has limited selection
  • Uninspired hardware

Bottom Line
“There’s no question that the Fire is a really terrific tablet for its price. The amount of content you have access to — and the ease of getting to that content — is notable to say the least.”

Although he finds the price remarkable, editor-in-chief Tim Stevens doesn’t think Fire stands a chance when compared to other tablets, giving it a thumbs down.

  • Simple, minimalistic exterior design
  • Stock keyboard more comfortable to use than Android’s

  • Performance is a occasionally sluggish
  • Interface often clunky
  • Not enough storage
  • Restricted functionality

Bottom Line
“If you were hoping to convert all your paper magazine subscriptions into the digital ones, other, bigger tablets do it better — usually at two or three times the cost.”

There are just a few quirks that editor-in-chief Lance Ulanoff found in the Kindle Fire, but for $199 he gives it a thumbs up.

  • Wi-Fi often slow to return after sleep
  • Minicrashes do not shut down the device, but drop you out of what you were doing
  • Interface does not always feel like it was designed for a 7-inch tablet
  • Odd placement of power button

  • Tied to previous Kindle accounts
  • Pages look great, and accessing features such as highlighting and definitions is easy
  • Frictionless environment for app purchase and content consumption
  • Excellent and easy to use

Bottom Line
“It is the closest tablet I’ve seen yet to an Apple iPad: a consistent, well-thought out marriage of hardware and services that offer an almost frictionless environment for app purchase and content consumption.”

Tech columnist David Pogue notes the potential of Kindle’s tablet in the future, but for now he gives Fire a thumbs down.

  • Videos play well
  • Attractive, colorful home screen

  • Not nearly as versatile as a real tablet
  • Animations are sluggish and jerky
  • Text shrunken down too small to read, and zooming is limited
  • Glare on the superglossy screen is a problem, too

Bottom Line
“The Fire deserves to be a disruptive, gigantic force — it’s a cross between a Kindle and an iPad, a more compact Internet and video viewer at a great price. But at the moment, it needs a lot more polish; if you’re used to an iPad or ‘real’ Android tablet, its software gremlins will drive you nuts.”

It’s clear that Fox News SciTech is a fan of the Kindle Fire’s design, but there are a few things in the review that make us not sure whether the blog’s thumbs are up or down

  • Kindle’s design is even starker than the iPad’s
  • Smaller size makes the Fire more portable

  • 8 gigabytes of storage is too small
  • Amazon online storage only works when you have Wi-Fi
  • Can’t buy copy-protected books from anyone but Amazon

Bottom Line
When compared against other tablets, “it becomes apparent just how spare Amazon had to keep the device to limbo under that $200 price level.”

Reporter Sam Biddle warned Apple: “Be afraid,” and gives a thumbs up for Kindle Fire.

  • Silk is as real a browser as mobile Safari
  • Device is puzzlingly simple
  • Membership yields you unlimited streaming flicks and TV episodes

  • No dedicated home button
  • Lagging on page turns

Bottom Line
“Simply, the Fire is a wonderful IRL compliment to Amazon’s digital abundance. It’s a terrific, compact little friend, and—is this even saying anything?—the best Android tablet to date.”

There’s no doubt senior editor Jon Phillips is not a fan of Kindle Fire — giving it two thumbs down.

  • Elegantly repackages and streamlines the Amazon purchasing experience
  • The overall home screen conceit is a design win
  • Great platform for casual video playback

  • Screen is too small for many key tablet activities, including reading magazine content
  • Small amount of storage
  • Long-form content is not enjoyable to read on LCD
  • Crap browser performance

Bottom Line
“The Fire isn’t a dud, but its real-world performance and utility match neither the benchmarks of public expectation, nor the standards set by the world’s best tablets.”

Wilson Rothman, editor of MSNBC’s Technolog, also thinks “Apple should be scared,” and gives Kindle Fire a thumbs up.

  • Reading is easier than on an iPad
  • Appstore is a huge asset
  • Nice and quick Silk browser — gets faster as it recognizes your browsing patterns

  • Prime video only works when you’re connected to the Internet
  • Sometimes you have to click a few times to even see the home button
  • Battery life isn’t as long

Bottom Line
“For Apple, this still spells trouble. The Kindle Fire can handle about 80 percent of what I want to do on an iPad, for 40 percent of the price.”

Lead mobile analyst Sascha Segan finds the device overall satisfactory, giving a thumbs up.

  • Incredible value for the price
  • Sharp, bright, hi-res screen
  • Extremely easy to use
  • Free cloud storage for Amazon content

  • Sometimes sluggish
  • Screen can be very reflective
  • Limited on-device storage

Bottom Line
“While the user interface occasionally gets sluggish, we’re willing to have a bit of patience to get a first-rate tablet for half of what most competitors charge, thus the Kindle Fire is our first Editors’ Choice for small tablets.”

Consumer Reports also found the price to be incredible, and the device overall gets a thumbs up.

  • Quick and smooth touch response
  • Display looked very good, with a crisp picture
  • Easy to stream Prime videos, and they quickly loaded and ran smoothly

  • Sometimes the screen was overly responsive
  • Display is only fair in sunlight because of glare, a little more so than other tablets tested

Bottom Line
“In our first look, the Amazon Kindle Fire was a fine performer, especially if your priority is to get Amazon content including movies, TV shows, music, and books. The display is smaller than the iPad’s, and the app market is more limited, but for $200 you’re getting a full-featured tablet that performs well.”

Anyway, I think the Kindle Fire is a great device and already ordered it, did you?

Via | Mashable

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