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Amazon Kindle Fire : Review

Kindle Fire is a 7” Android based tablet from Amazon with a 1GHz dual core TI OMAP processor and a 512MB RAM. It has a foot print of 190 mm x 120 mm x 11.4 mm and weighs 413 grams. It gets online via the built-in Wi-Fi g/n but no support for radio 3G or Bluetooth. It comes with power button which is awkwardly placed, chances are that you may ON/OFF the device accidentally. It has just two external interface, a head phone jack and a MicroUSB connector, no slots and a sealed battery.

It comes with a gorgeous 1024X 600 IPS LCD display. It is as bright as iPad with a 169 PPI (pixels per Inch) better than iPad’s 132 PPI which gives a very consistent fine display and the text is very crisp. It comes with just 8GB memory (6.5GB usable memory) and no external card slots for expanding the memory so forget about loading HD movies in to this. There is no volume button or screen locks and it does not come with a GPS, camera, or a microphone. It is solely designed as a content consumption device unlike iPad without any communication capabilities. It costs you just $199/- so you can’t complain.

It runs on Android 2.3.4 (Gingerbread) with heavy customization by Amazon which enhances the look and feel of Kindle Fire. Since it is Android based it is open enough to appeal the geeks and with Amazon’s enhancements it is attractive enough for the non-geeks too. It comes with 7 sections Newsstand, Books, Music, Video, Docs, Apps, and Web which gives an indication of what it can do. The rest of the screen is dedicated to a “cover flow” like interface for the recently used apps and four user assignable apps in the bottom as shown in the picture below. Touch Screen works like a charm similar to iPad.


 Books can be downloaded easily from Amazon Stores (offers 1Million books) but if you wish you can load your own books too. Some of the colorful children books works only in landscape format and cannot be zoomed in and out like what you do in iPad or Nook. Some of the Kindle Touch features like X-ray summary is not available in Kindle Fire. Comics books work in landscape mode, you can double tap and zoom but cannot pinch zoom which you may be familiar in iPad. Magazines comes in two formats, one in text like format (Kindle) and another is “replica” where you can flip through the images and text like what you do in iPad. It supports eBook formats, Kindle AWX, Mobi, txt and pdf. No support for ePub.

8GB is enough for 80 apps, plus 10 movies or 800 songs or 6,000 books.


Kindle Fire handles MP3, AAC and OGG music files including Album art. Music can be downloaded from Amazon Cloud or can be locally stored ones from PC. Amazon gives unlimited storage in the cloud for anything you buy from Amazon and 5GB cloud storage free for things you bought elsewhere. You may find this extremely useful with the limited internal memory. The volume control and other settings can be accessed from the top pushing the menu in the navigation bar, and it supports notification too.


Kindle Fire supports H.264 and MP4. Movies or TV shows can be downloaded from Amazon (USA) or you can load your own contents. There is no wireless (like Apple Airplay) or HDMI support so the video cannot be streamed to your TV. Playback of movies are very smooth.


Silkbrowser is extremely fast for browsing the Internet compared to iPad which is no way a slouch (very fast compared to a typical laptop.). Silk browser uses Amazon cloud for performance enhancement leveraging their EC2 servers processing power. Since the heavy load is taken care of at the cloud end rather than at your end, there are some privacy issues too. Amazon has the entire history of your browsing habits.

Silk browser supports Flash too. Browsing using Silkbrowser is a different experience which you will surely love, watch the following video if like to know more.

Productivity Applications

The Kindle Fire doesn't come with a range of productivity apps, but that doesn't mean you can't be productive with it. You will have to download the relevant apps.

You get a basic POP/IMAP email program, a very simple contacts program, and the Docs reader, which can turn Office documents into Kindle-readable versions.

Fortunately, better alternatives to everything are available in Amazon's app store. There some apps pre-installed on the Kindle Fire, which includes: Pulse for music, Audible for audio books, IMBD for information about movies and actors, Quickoffice for working with Microsoft Documents, Facebook for social networking, as well as an app for email and one called Gallery that shows a gallery of videos and pictures on the device.


If you read the same Kindle Store book across multiple Kindles, you'll find Whispersync makes it easy for you to switch back and forth between devices and free Kindle reading applications available in other tablets. Whispersync synchronizes the bookmarks and furthest page read among devices registered to the same account. Amazon's Whispersync technology keeps track of your last location in a video so you can resume watching across your Kindle Fire, PC, Mac, or one of over 300 compatible TVs, blu-ray players, or devices.

Kindle Lending Library

“With an Amazon Prime membership, Kindle owners can choose from thousands of books to borrow for free - including over 100New York Times Bestsellers - as frequently as a book a month, with no due dates.” As per Amazon web site


Many reviewers report a few noticeable and irritating bugs in the first generation Kindle fire unlike the first generation iPads. Sometimes Kindle fire becomes very sluggish and the buttons won’t respond, flipping pages with heavy graphics is not seamless etc.. But you can expect these minor irritations (only $199!) will go away with future firmware upgrades.

  1. It is content consumption device, not a communication device, no microphone or camera, no bluetooth.
  2. It can connect only to Amazon App store, not to other Android Market places limiting the number of apps available.
  3. It does not support 3G
  4. No official YouTube app, no Google+, no Maps, no Gmail, no Earth, no Voice (there's no microphone), no Translate and no Navigation, no twitter
Battery Life

Its battery lasts comfortably 5 hours of constant use which is a way less compared to 9.5 hours of iPad2.

How will Kindle Fire compare with iPad?

  1. Cheaper
  2. Display is very sharp and bright
  3. Easy to hold and great for reading on bed
  4. Silk Browser performance is good
  5. Easy to setup
  6. Amazon Prime account enables lending of books
  7. Open enough to load any Android apps you like

  1. Power Button placement
  2. No Volume control buttons which is really annoying sometimes
  3. No games
  4. Sometimes Little sluggish
  5. Wi-Fi only

Kindle Fire is the most affordable and easy to use 7” tablet with a killer price. It does everything well but not an iPad killer which does everything better with double the cost. Kindle fire may kill other Android tablets.

Quick Look: Nook Tablet

Barnes & Noble introduced Nook 7” Tablet running Android 2.3 Gingerbread. It has almost same spec as Kindle Fire in terms of processing power but little bigger in size and has a microphone and more button to control the device. It has 16GB builtin memory. It is very similar to Nook Touch the eBook reader and supports huge number of books which can be bought online from their stores. It is preloaded with Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora® internet radio, Chess, Crossword, Sudoku, Media Gallery, NOOK Friends™, Email clients etc..

Nook Tablet vs Kindle Fire

Nook feels more like an Android tablet whereas Amazon managed to cover it up give a new experience with Fire for better user experience. Amazon has fantastic choice of books compared to Nook. Nook outshines Fire for read along books for kids. Nook allows even record your narration along with books (read and record feature) to play for your kids. Video performance is much better in Nook as shown in the right side image. Nook has 16GB storage and a card slot, provision to add external storage. Nook is almost $50 costlier too.

 Kindle vs Nook