It's now been a few months since I got one of the first Amazon Kindle Fire's (see previous review posts here & here) and I've come to a conclusion: it just isn't for me. I've switched back to my iPad (1st gen) for my tablet experience. Why? Two core reasons that I touched on in my last review:
- Performance: To put it simply, there's a reason the entry-level iPad is $300 more than the Kindle Fire. I found myself wanting something that was more responsive and quick than the Kindle Fire.
- Bias towards connectivity: Amazon's approach was to make a device that was lacking on the storage capacity (8GB) because you'll stream movies from their servers. For me that model doesn't work. I travel a good bit and while we have WiFi on planes, it isn't terribly fast nor is it reliable. Streaming a movie in a hotel room isn't cheap or fast (hotel connectivity is also slow & spotty). I have a Verizon LTE hotspot but that's metered and streaming a movie would suck up a good percentage of my bandwidth. I like how I can rip a bunch of movies and copy them over to my iPad and it's 32GB storage space.
- Browser: I know I said three, but the whole Silk experience was slower than using my iPad. Conceptually it makes sense why it should be faster, and tests may prove it, but in my test (browsing to a few sites using my Windows 7 laptop, iPad (1st gen) and Kindle Fire the first time and on page refreshes all using the same wireless connection at my house... the Kindle Fire was the slowest one by a sizeable margin (IE9 on my laptop was a bit faster than Safari on the iPad).
All of these things were aspects I noticed in the first few days of having the device but I wanted to live with it for a while before making up my mind. I started to come to the conclusion about 2 months of using it and for the last month (all of January) I tried to look past some of the frustrations. For the last 3 weeks I switched back to my iPad and shut the Kindle Fire off & stopped taking it on trips. As someone who roots for Amazon, I'm a bit sad to say I didn't miss it.
With all this being said, I don't think the Kindle Fire is a bad device. I'd give it a 3.5 our of 5 stars, but for my usage and lifestyle, it just isn't for me. Like I've said before... there's a reason it's $300 less than the entry level iPad. I still think the iPad is overpriced but I don't blame Apple. When you're selling them like crazy, what's the incentive to lower the price? They obviously found a great price that maximizes profit (which made me happy when I was a stock holder). I actually wouldn't be the least bit surprised if they iPad3 was $25-50 more than the iPad2... like that would hurt sales!
I do want to reiterate one thing I said in one of my previous posts: one huge thing I've learned is how non-user friendly the Android platform is. Yes, Amazon customized it, but from what I've seen I'm not at all a fan (compared to some Droid phones I've seen). Apple (with their iOS) and Microsoft (with Windows Phone 7.*) can rest easy... in fact those Blackberry & Droid users would be great targets for Microsoft as possible customers!
So for now I'll enjoy my iPad & wait for the Windows 8 tablets to hit the market... I really want to have a single OS experience and not have to keep copying stuff between machines.
In related news, there's a new Kindle Fire in great condition entry listed on eBay that includes a zipper sleeve ... make me an offer!