Amazon's Kindle Fire Tablet Reviewed

Dennis Faas's picture

The first hands-on reviews of Amazon's debut tablet device, the Kindle Fire, are beginning to appear. Their general theme is that the price is great, but the device itself could use some improvement.

The Fire costs $199, approximately 60 per cent lower than Apple's iPad, and right on the consumer electronics price point at which mass market purchasers become more willing to try out new technology.

Kindle Fire: Silky Smooth But Not Ultra Fast

Most of the reviews claim that Amazon's highly promoted web browser for the Kindle Fire, Silk, is too slow.

The browser actually displays web pages indirectly: using a remote Amazon server, which compresses the originals so they can be loaded quicker by the tablet itself. (Source:

For each page displayed, Silk ranks all links in order (based on past online activity), then preloads them on the remote server.

In terms of efficiency, most users will find most web pages loading very quickly. CNN says "Silk loaded some pages a hair quicker, but the difference was negligible." (Source:

The way Amazon uses a back-end server in tandem with Silk has prompted privacy concern, however.

Specifically, there is a possibility that Amazon could (for example) track and collect user browsing habits since all activity is being re-routed through a central Amazon server. In turn, the data may later be used to serve up 'more appropriate' advertising, for example. (Source:

Free Movie Book Rentals to Amazon Prime Users

Aside from browsing the web, The Kindle Fire also offers users the option to obtain free movie streaming and book rentals, provided they are a subscriber to Amazon Prime.

Most reviewers seem to like this feature, though in fairness it could take extended use to determine the true value of the service, which largely depends on the available catalogue.

Some reviewers have noted the Fire doesn't play in HD (high definition), but others question the significance of that capability on a 7 inch screen.

Critics: Kindle Fire: Very Good, For The Price

Before the Fire was released, some critics dubbed it the "iPad killer." Some critics suggest, however, that this is clearly not the case.

The Kindle Fire quite simply isn't as powerful as an iPad, and thus, some issues are the result of those limitations. Other issues, however, appear to be software-based usability flaws that will likely be smoothed out over time.

With their different price points, the two devices may not compete directly. Instead, the Fire will be considered one of the better devices at its price.

Even assuming it will receive strong support from Amazon, it may never overcome all the limitations of being manufactured on such a tight budget.

Thus far, early adoptors of the Kindle Fire have the device 4/5 on out of almost 1,300 reviews. The Fire went on sale earlier this week.

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