Amazon Kindle Fire review roundup
The Kindle Fire hits shelves this week. So how does the first-ever Amazon tablet stack up?
Amazon announced today that its Kindle Fire tablet, which was expected to launch tomorrow, will actually launch today. Surprise! According to Amazon exec Dave Limp, the Fire is already a hit: "Based on customer response," Limp wrote in a press release, "we’re building millions more than we’d planned." So how does the Kindle Fire stack up? Well, let's go to the reviews.Skip to next paragraph
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The opening shot
"The Kindle Fire is stuck between e-ink minimalism and gleaming iPad decadence," writes Sam Biddle of Gizmodo. "That could either make it the goofy middle child in the tablet family, or a singular wunderkind. But the Fire will not be overlooked. Apple: Be afraid."
"The Fire is a simple, black thing with nothing in the way of styling pretenses," writes Tim Stevens of Engadget. "In fact, one could say it has nothing in the way of styling whatsoever. Flip it over and you'll see the word 'Kindle' subtly embossed across the back, only really visible if you hold the tablet at an angle in some light. Otherwise the matte, rubberized back absorbs too much and you can't spot that one bit of styling indulgence the designers allowed themselves here. There's an extremely subtle 'Amazon' print below too and, beyond some scribbles from the FCC, that's it."
The hardware, part 2
"It's a 7-inch tablet, which means that it's half as big as an iPad, and way closer in size to a paperback book," writes Wilson Rothman of MSNBC. "It could be a little easier to grip, but Amazon went minimalist here, rather than opting for some weird-looking ergonomics. Because of the size, reading is easier than on an iPad, though kids' entertainment and other engrossing interactive content isn't as fun. And because the Fire is widescreen, unlike the more 4x3 iPad, videos look almost as big as they do on Apple's much larger device. As far as screen quality goes, it's on par with the iPad. In other words, as an opening move, hardware-wise, Amazon's getting it right."
"Amazon has done something very interesting with the Fire," writes Joshua Topolsky of the Washington Post. "The device uses a version of Google’s Android operating system that is forked from the main version that Google releases to partners. That means that the Fire ships without Gmail, Google Maps, or more importantly, the Android Market app store. It’s not always perfect, but generally the company has managed to create a wholly original version of Android." Meanwhile, Topolsky adds, "Amazon has obscured some of the navigational elements of Android, like the 'back' and 'home' buttons, which can sometimes make it hard to quickly move around the device."