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)
The difference between phone and tablet apps on a 7-inch screen can be huge. This shortcoming is particularly surprising since I'd have expected Amazon to handpick apps from its Appstore that best show off what the Kindle Fire can do. Instead, my random downloads produced apps with fuzzy, phone-ready graphics and menu design, and my searches revealed apps that won't even work right on the Kindle Fire because it lacks the necessary hardware. Even Angry Birds wasn't ready for prime time here — two versions of Angry Birds launched upside down, depending on how I held the tablet. Oops.
Amazon Kindle Fire: Software
For all the thoughtful design touches the Kindle Fire has, I found just as many glitchy behaviors. In all, they speak to premature software, and some things that Amazon may perhaps fix with future software updates. For example, book page turns didn't always feel smooth, whereas highlighting passages gave me no issues. Animations and graphics were jerky, but the carousel on the home screen is insanely zippy. The well-presented music player is an improvement over that of standard Android 2.x tablets, but the interface is at times inconsistent (tapping on a song in the cloud brought up a jarringly Android-like menu). The Amazon-supplied on-screen keyboard has a good layout for typing, but I nonetheless found myself prone to a few more errors than I'm used to on other 7in Honeycomb tablets.
Other random issues I encountered: The keyboard in the Newsstand didn't work consistently in landscape mode, the device wouldn't always register various taps on the screen, and sometimes the interface ran away with itself (in one instance, when I zoomed in on a photo, the image moved every which way).
Although many of those problems are clearly software bugs that annoy, but don't impede use of the tablet, my bigger concerns lie with the image-quality compromises I identified with the Kindle Fire.
Let's start with the image gallery. Ordinarily a tablet's gallery lets you easily show off photos of family and friends. But the Kindle Fire's Gallery app limits the usefulness of this indispensable tool: It resizes all the photos loaded into the app — regardless of whether you add them by dragging and dropping to the tablet when it's connected to your PC, or whether you download the images via email. After resizing, images become soft and pixelated, and you can't zoom in on them (and when you try, all you get is a hot mess of blockiness).
One of my test images, for example, was resized to 486 by 324 from its original 3888 by 2592 pixels, which made for an unacceptable result. The issue lies entirely with Amazon's Gallery app. That same photo renders well in a random but kludgy free image viewer that I downloaded, exhibiting better colour and saturation, and reasonably sharp detail. But in the Kindle Fire's native image gallery? Not even close.
Knowing that Amazon made such choices for users in the gallery makes me question what other trade-offs the company may have made in the name of its perceived greater good.
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.
- MSI GE62 7RD Apache gaming laptop review
- LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- Oppo A57 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
- FTSenior Business Development Manager| SMSF/Accounting SoftwareNSW
- FTTechnology Project ManagerNSW
- CCImplementation Manager/PlannerQLD
- FTNetwork EngineerACT
- CCPega DeveloperVIC
- FTBusiness Improvement ManagerNSW
- FTSenior SQL Database SpecialistACT
- FTWeb Developer - Full Stack - VR 3D WebGLNSW
- FTDigital Business Analyst/Project Manager | PermanentQLD
- FTProject CoordinatorVIC
- CCSplunk Software DeveloperVIC
- CCImplementation Manager/PlannerSA
- FTSenior Procurement Specialist | 3mth ContractVIC
- CCChange AnalystNSW
- CCData AnalystNSW
- FTSenior Front End DeveloperQLD
- TPTechnical ArchitectVIC
- FTSystem Analyst - IntegrationQLD
- TPPrimary Support Officer (Level 1)VIC
- FTSenior Solution Designer/ ConsultantVIC
- FTsolution ArchitectNSW
- FTSystems EngineerNSW
- TPSOE EngineerACT
- CCSoftware DeveloperVIC