Amazon Kindle Fire tablet
A tablet that fails to impress, as either a tablet or as an e-reader
- Easy shopping for Amazon books, music, videos
- Smooth integration of cloud and local storage
- Sluggish performance
- Interface still has some bugs
- Not as flexible and versatile as other tablets
The 7in Android-based Amazon Fire will appeal to those who buy books, videos, and music at Amazon, but it will frustrate those looking for a more versatile slate.
Price$ 199.00 (AUD)
All prices in this review are in US Dollars. Weights and measurements have been amended with metric system equivalents (far superior, we think).
All eyes are on the Amazon Kindle Fire to provide fresh competition for Apple's iPad 2, today's dominant tablet. Not so fast: Beneath the Kindle Fire's slick veneer and unparalleled shopping integration lies a tablet that fails to impress as either a tablet or as an e-reader. The Kindle Fire (US$200 as of November 15, 2011) is best considered a relatively inexpensive, hassle-free but flawed way to consume books, music, and videos purchased at Amazon. As a tablet, though, the Fire can't hold a candle to the best tablets available today: It has sub-par specs, a limited interface, and a surprisingly messy app store.
When the Fire was introduced, I immediately wondered where it would fit into the overall tablet universe. It runs a custom operating system based on Android 2.3, it limits you to buying apps solely via the Amazon Appstore, and it has just 8GB of storage: all red flags that made this tablet stand out as a curiosity amidst the Android crowd. But at US$200, and with the colossal weight of Amazon behind it, the Fire automatically became worth talking about.
The Fire's integration with Amazon's media storefronts is, bar none, the best thing about this tablet. Rather than giving you one place to shop and another to use your digital media, Amazon consolidates those experiences into one. The Newsstand, Books, Music, and Apps tabs all take you to your personal library first, and then offer a prominent but not offensive option to go to the store for that category. (The exception to this arrangement is the Video tab, which deposits you in the video storefront first, and then lets you hopscotch into your personal library.) The seamless interface makes acquiring content of any kind — be it for ownership, or, in the case of movies and TV shows, streaming or rental — the best media experience of any I've tried on a tablet.
In most other respects, though, the Kindle Fire left a tepid impression at best. Let's walk through the device step-by-step to see which marks it hits and which ones it misses.
Amazon Kindle Fire: Design
Physically, the Kindle Fire does little to distinguish itself. Contrary to some reports, it really doesn't resemble black tablets like the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook, which was rumored to to be Amazon's starting point for the Kindle Fire. In fact, the Fire is smaller than the PlayBook, measuring 7.5 by 4.7 by 0.45 inches (19.05cm by 11.94cm by 1.14cm), and weighing 0.91 pound (413 grams). That's a hair heavier than the Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet and T-Mobile SpringBoard (each of which weighs 0.88 pound (399 grams)), and noticeably heavier than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, which weighs 0.77 pound (349 grams).
While the Fire didn't feel especially heavy or tiresome to hold in one hand while I was reading, its weight is still less than ideal. In fact, my survey of five colleagues saw a clear preference for the weight and balance of the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus. All preferred the Fire's velvety back, which has a smooth, rubberized texture that makes it easy to hold.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® Portable SSD
Google Daydream VR headset
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Surface Pro 4
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- 2 ZTE Axon 7 review: Is ZTE dumping old stock on Australia?
- 3 Oppo R9s smartphone full review
- 4 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
- 5 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
Latest News Articles
- Cisco's Spark Board looks like an iPad -- and acts like one
- Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Tablet modules add features but limit functionality
- Slump continues as tablet markets records worst quarter since 2012
- Acer puts liquid cooling in its Switch Alpha 12 tablet
- Intel's tablet adventure looking more like its netbook disaster
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTApplications DeveloperACT
- CCTest Planner - Infrastructure/Data CentreACT
- FTSenior Technical Consultant - SQLACT
- FTMicrosoft Dynamics AX Technical ArchitectACT
- FTSenior Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)QLD
- FTJunior Software Engineer - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)VIC
- FTPMO Specialist - PermanentACT
- FTSenior Learning Specialist - Global OrganisationQLD
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Supply Chain Modules)QLD
- CCData Engineer (Java/ Data/ Big Data Developer)VIC
- CCSenior Technical Business Analyst - ITMSP - Melbourne CBDVIC
- FTApplication Support SpecialistNSW
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Sales & Marketing Modules)ACT
- FTTechnical Consultant MS Dynamics AXACT
- FTMicrosoft ConsultantVIC
- TPDrupal Developer - Immediate startQLD
- CCFinance Analyst/ Project SpecialistVIC
- FTDeveloper - XML & JavaVIC
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Supply Chain Modules)NSW
- TPSoftware EngineerWA
- FTJunior Software Developer - SASACT
- CCBusiness AnalystQLD
- TPSharePoint AnalystQLD
- TPProject Manager to manage two concurrent ProjectsQLD
- CCDesktop Engineer l WollongongNSW