Amazon Fire – First Impressions

tl;dr – Yes, this is The Holiday Gift of 2011.

For all the hype – this is easily the best tablet I’ve played with in a decade. From the unboxing experience (less than 5 minutes from delivery to browsing my ebook library) to getting comfortable and settling in.

Amazon has:

  • minimized all the parts of Android that annoy me (back button, overall cheap feel),
  • brought in all the parts of WebOS that I like (get me to my stuff, integrate the web throughout the OS),
  • brought over all the parts of about Kindle I love (remember where I was, stay out of my way)
  • and made it easy to sideload everything – ebooks, photos, music, video, address book – via USB.

At 7″, the Fire is terribly comfortable to hold in one hand and it makes tablet computers (iPad & TouchPad) seem comically large. Like the larger tablets – this is a great size to socialize around (unlike laptops or handhelds).

Unlike the iPad – I can easily see taking the Fire everywhere. Hell – I can see buying two – one that stays in the house and one that’s mounted in the car.

Oh, and there’s the bit about it having a fantastic web browser (that even makes it easy to bookmark) and WiFi.

Oh – and the revenue model is clear (it’s an extension of Amazon’s store, duh).

7 thoughts on “Amazon Fire – First Impressions

  1. Hmmm, how very reasonable of you. Marco Arment’s flesh-searing review (with which I agree) almost had me boxing mine up to return, but it’s true — this thing has warts but it isn’t all bad, especially for the price.

  2. I haven’t had the experience Marco describes.

    I’ve found the Fire to be a great size. performance has been quite acceptable and consistent. Yes, the 6GB size is tight and Amazon does offer ‘Cloud’ storage for everything that doesn’t fit.

    For beating Apple at their own game (leaving out stuff you thought you needed) – Amazon easily wins.

    1. Small storage is not a problem if you use it at home with little else but streaming media (as I probably will). I can’t see how cameras, SD slots, and USB ports would be important for normal people.

      The stuttery performance of the web browser (which could be fixed in software) is more drastic. It’s ameliorated by being able to do some content that doesn’t work on the iPad (Zero Punctuation and other Flash videos come to mind).

      The lack of hardware buttons is very strange …

      The lowish resolution of the screen is a bummer in some ways, but not much worse than iPad. For example, digital replicas of magazines suck on both devices. I would argue that the Kindle app shows better on the Fire than the iPad because of increased pixel density.

      I’ve had this for 2 days, so it’s hard to predict how it will fit in. It’s not strictly “needed” but I think my 4yo might get to play with this more than anyone else.

      1. @Jindo – you make me smile. I sold my iPad because the kids were getting more enjoyment out of it than I was. I’m keeping close tabs on the Kindle Fire. Unlike the iPad it quickly found a home in my bag.

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