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)
Overall, the Fire has a curious design. An asymmetrical black bezel surrounds the 7in (17.78cm) display (it's thicker along the bottom when you hold it in portrait mode). The tablet takes simplicity to the extreme. It sports just one button, a sleep/wake/power button at the bottom edge. I like that the button is easy to press, and that it glows red when the device is charging, but it's also too easy to invoke accidentally. Next to the power button are the Micro-USB port (for charging and transferring data) and the headphone jack.
Both of the Fire's speakers are located along one edge (the top in portrait mode, or the left in landscape). That means you'll lose the stereo effect no matter how you hold the Fire, and you'll likely end up covering one of the speakers with your hand when holding it in landscape.
The only cabling included is a wall charger; you'll need to supply your own USB cable (if you want to transfer data between your PC and the Fire) and headphones. The tablet handles volume control entirely via software, and in my tests that proved problematic time and again, especially in apps (more on this later).
When you first start up the tablet, the Fire walks you through a few simple setup points, and then deposits you into your home screen — the same screen you land in when you swipe to the left to unlock the device. The home screen has a search bar at the top, with tabs for Newsstand (where you access various periodicals), Books, Music, Video, Docs, Apps, and Web beneath. At the centre of the home screen is a carousel that shows your most recent acquisitions or most recently accessed content of any sort — books, periodicals, music, videos, websites, apps — in reverse order, with the latest on top. You can flip through these, and they go by surprisingly quickly, but I found it bothersome to find age-old books I'd bought showing up in this carousel, even though I hadn't downloaded the books from my cloud archive to the device (at least the same didn't happen with my sizable Amazon music collection).
At the bottom of the home screen is a Favourites shelf. The Kindle Fire comes with Amazon's Appstore app, the Pulse reader app, the IMDb app, and the Facebook app icon pinned there already. Temper your enthusiasm, though: The Facebook “app” merely leads you off to the mobile version of the Facebook site.
The top of the home screen shows the name of your device, the time, the battery status, and the Wi-Fi status. It also features a "gears" button that calls up a pop-over menu for quick access to various settings like the rotation lock, the volume slider — your only volume control for the tablet — brightness, Wi-Fi, and sync (for use with Amazon's Whispernet synchronization between Kindle devices). It serves as the jumping-off point for the main settings menu, as well.
Want to go back to where you were previously? Tap on the sole, clearly delineated back arrow at the bottom of the screen. Or tap the home button, also clearly delineated, when it appears at the lower left. In apps, you can navigate by tapping the up arrow at the bottom of the screen, which in turn reveals the home, back, and menu buttons. But if you're viewing video in Amazon's video player, you'll need to swipe up from the bottom, since the player consumes the whole screen.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei P10 smartphone review
- 2 Huawei P10 Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Motorola Moto G5 smartphone review
- 4 Oppo A57 phone: full, in-depth review
- 5 Moto G5 Plus phone: full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Tech Timeline: The iPad first goes on sale
- New 9.7-inch iPad teardown reveals it's basically an original iPad Air with minor tweaks
- More iPad screen sizes unlikely to stop slump
- Samsung's Galaxy Tab S3 is like a giant Note7
- Cisco's Spark Board looks like an iPad -- and acts like one
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
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.
- LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- Huawei P10 smartphone review
- Huawei P10 Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- FTSplunk Software Developer | 6mth ContractVIC
- FTPrincipal Project ManagerVIC
- CCWintel Server EngineerNSW
- FTSenior Front End DeveloperQLD
- CCTransport EngineerVIC
- CCSolution ArchitectQLD
- FTEnterprise Architect - Technology and StrategyQLD
- FTSupport Analyst - TallymanVIC
- FTProgram SchedulerVIC
- TPBusiness Analyst - ImprovementQLD
- FTScrum Master/Project ManagerQLD
- CCFront End DeveloperNSW
- FTSharePoint Technical Business AnalystQLD
- CCData Warehouse Solution DesignersACT
- FTx3 Field EngineersVIC
- TPICT Customer Support OfficerNSW
- CCSystems Analyst- Port MacquarieQLD
- CCSenior Data EngineerNSW
- FTSenior Activations Performance Analyst | $700pdVIC
- FTTRIM TrainersACT
- TPTechnical ArchitectVIC
- CCImplementation Manager/PlannerQLD
- CC.Net DeveloperNSW
- CCInfrastructure Business AnalystNSW