When I saw the presser months ago with Jeff Bezos, someone I highly respect in this business and one of the few true visionaries, I jumped and did what I try not to do and make an impulse purchase on something that expensive. When I got it I loved it, gave it a few days and wrote a review I posted here. Now after two months, I wanted to post some more thoughts.
First, I still really like the device and I'm glad I got it. But I have to say that I don't love it. You can't beat the price for what you get, but there are a few aspects to it that I would need to see resolved for it to be a good iPad killer:
- Performance - I'd gladly pay a little more to have a better processor in it. The keyboard is sluggish, too sluggish to take notes with or be active on email. Even with the bigger screen, I'd rather use my phone to do mobile messaging. At first I thought this was a software issue, but maybe it isn't as Amazon hasn't fixed it. I don't notice the sluggishness in all apps so that says software to me.
- Storage - Again, I'd pay more for more space... even if it was a removable card. I like to put movies on my tablet to watch when I travel. Streaming from Amazon Prime isn't going to solve that "want". You pay for metered bandwidth if you travel (I have a Verizon Mifi 4GLTE hotspot, but I don't want to use 80% of my monthly usage on movies... I use it for work). Hotel connectivity sucks... even the internet connection in this airport lounge I'm in as I write this sucks (Paris's Charles de Gaul airport).
- I have ripped some movies and put them on my Kindle Fire, but I only have room for one or two at a time unfortunately. But it does play them great!
- All Cloud - This ties into storage. I like the idea of having my stuff in the cloud... hell I love the cloud... but I want to sync my stuff down to my device. You aren't always connected when you want your content or want to pay through the nose for bandwidth.
- Reading - I put a ton of work related PDF books and articles on it... and for that it's great. But if I'm reading a novel, I'm using my Kindle 2nd Generation and the eInk. Nothing surpasses that for quality reading.
- Battery - Sure isn't nearly as good as the regular Kindle due to the great screen... but I expected more after having an iPad for a while.
The other thing I love about the Kindle Fire is the form factor. I pickup an iPad now and it feels massive... way too big.
The most glaring thing that the Kindle Fire has shown me is how crappy the Android OS is. This feels like it is so clobbled together... apps freeze, you have to force close them, the UI sucks... I'm not a fan. Microsoft and Apple have it right when their mobile OS'. I'm more of a fan of Windows Phone than iOS, but maintaining control and blocking customization of the OS is definitely the way to go.
Is it an iPad replacement? Maybe for some... maybe for me (see above: I haven't picked it up since I got the Kindle Fire). I just can't get past the fact the entry point for an iPad is $500 and goes up to $830! Sorry Apple, but that's absurd... the iPad isn't 2x as good (when you factor in the closest model to the Fire... WIFI only & 16GB @ $499) price wise as the Kindle Fire.
All in all, it's a great device and you're getting what you pay for: a very inexpensive & versatile tablet.
I do like the Kindle Fire more than my iPad (1st generation)... in fact I haven't picked up my iPad since I got the Kindle Fire (and I don't miss it). It's turned into the family iPad and my son uses it the most. I'm very eager, and will get, a tablet based on Windows 8 when it comes out mid year. Not saying Windows 8 will be great, just that it will be interesting how well it, and the devices that are out for it, executes. So far, I like what I see.
So for me, Kindle Fire > iPad... but we've yet to hit that tablet sweet spot IMHO.