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Amazon Kindle Fire Review

Updated on October 4, 2011

Looking to buy Kindle Fire?  Preorder the Kindle Fire Now to make sure that you get your Amazon tablet in time for the holidays.

Brand New Kindle Tablet on Sale Soon

If you've thought about buying a tablet you may have noticed there is a lack of good cheap tablets on sale.  They either lack functionality, are slow and outdated, or are top-notch and cost over 500 bucks.  Amazon is looking to fill this void by offering their Kindle tablet for a very reasonable price.  It's advertised to do everything that the best tablet can do (such as multitasking, streaming videos, etc.) while becoming the best cheap tablet as it costs only $199.  Will this combination allow it to overcome the Ipad and other competitors or will it get lost in the dust with other runner-ups? 

This Kindle Fire review will cover what makes the Kindle tablet a great choice, what they left out and how that affects you, and we'll see how it compares to some of the other tablets in it's class

Why Kindle Fire is the Best Cheap Tablet

As I mentioned above, Amazon released it's Kindle Fire at the astounding price of $199. This puts it into the class of cheap tablets, those which are $200 or less. Usually these tablets are sub-par compared to the more expensive models; lacking some features or just being slower or less user-friendly. The Amazon tablet, however, is not. As I'll discuss below, It has many of the same features as the Ipad (dual core processor, in-plane switching) and was designed to optimize the latest Android operating system (Honeycomb). So when you buy Amazon Kindle Fire, you are getting the best of both worlds.

You may be wondering why Amazon would make a cheap tablet. There are really two reasons. The first being that they are coming late to the game. The Ipad has been out in one form or another for several years and it took other major manufacturers a few years after that, but they've been competing heavily for a few years now. Amazon is just coming out and needs to break into the market and by offering a high-performing, low priced tablet they are able to draw potential customers in. 

The other reason is because they aren't necessarily trying to make money on the tablet, they are more interested in the long term profit of buying their goods and services.  It's been rumored that Amazon is actually losing $50 on each one.  But they know that by providing a top of the line tablet that people will buy and then making it extremely easy to buy mp3s, movies, books and Apps from their marketplace, they can tap this revenue stream for the long haul.

Kindle Fire Review - Strengths

So enough about the marketing of a cheap tablet; what makes the Kindle Fire so great?  The Kindle tablet has several big things going for it.  Let's start with it's display:

High Color Display - one of the things that may have lost the original kindle some market share is that it used the black and white e-ink technology.  While it was designed to be an e-reader, the nook still snuck in with it's color display to steal market share.  Not anymore.  Amazon not only went color but got the best technology it could.  It starts of by using 16 million different colors, more than the human eye can differentiate.  Combining this with the 169 pixels per inch, you get remarkable depth in the color.  They also went with the In-Plane Switching technology the Ipad uses to provide the broadest viewing angles possible.  This makes it possible to watch a movie with a friend and not have to worry about positioning.

High Performance Computing - Another major technology that Amazon invested in its tablet is the dual core processor.  While you hear about them all the time in PCs, laptops and to some degree netbooks, the processing that tablets traditionally do has never really required this high performance technology.  But as more people adopt the technology and want to do different things with it, the performance of other models has suffered.  With the Dual Core tech the Kindle Fire is able to multitask effortlessly allowing you to download a movie as the same time you are playing music and surfing the web.  Plus video streaming is seamless allowing you to watch movies online through netflix or Amazon's Prime service with out pixelation or pausing to buffer.

High Speed Browsing - Speaking of web surfing, Amazon built their own web browser specifically for this tablet.  It's called Amazon Silk, and it uses a brand new technology to speed up page loads and streamline data.  The Silk uses a "Split Architecture" which means that it uses part tablet computing and part cloud-based server computing to go retrieve the files that are needed to serve up a webpage.  Essentially, there are two computers doing the work that one computer normally does so it's twice as fast.

Kindle Fire Review - Weaknesses

Even though there are a lot of strengths and great features packed into the Kindle Fire, it's not without it's compromises.  There are a couple of noticeable weaknesses that may affect how you use it or even if you purchase it.

The first weakness is the lack of a front or back camera.  The Ipad is famous for touting it's Facetime program that allows you to video chat with others.  The lack of cameras as well as no microphone prevents any type of video conferencing like Facetime or Skype from happening.

The second weakness is that it doesn't include any 3G options.  The Kindle ereaders have always had a 3G option that allowed them to download books free of charge using spare 3G bandwidth.  This allowed you to use your Kindle just about anywhere.  Well, there is a big difference between downloading a book and using your Kindle Fire to watch movies and surf the web.  So while it's understandable that Amazon can't provide 3G for free, currently, it doesn't even have the option to sign up with a carrier.

Which is Better Kindle Fire or Ipad?

So the burning question that everyone wants to know is whether the Amazon tablet can hold up to it's competitors, most importantly how the Kindle Fire does vs. the Ipad.  The technology that each of them use is very simillar: the Dual Core processors, the In-Plane Switching; so the media aspect of it is a tie.  The video chat software is one feature that the Ipad has over the Kindle Fire.  Also, the Ipad can be linked to a 3G carrier allowing it to be used just about anywhere; with the Kindle Fire you are stuck in a WiFi hotspot.  Another thing thing that the Ipad has that the Kindle Fire hasn't addressed yet is the keyboard add-on.  Many people are looking to use tablets for productivity and Ipad has a series of keyboards that allow you to link up for the best of mobile computing; there are no such devices for the Kindle Fire yet.

While it seems that Ipad has the edge, if you keep in mind that the Kindle Fire is as good or better for watching movies, TV, music, Apps and the like and it costs less than half the price of the Ipad it would seem like a much better option for those activities. 

I guess it just depends on what you want to use it for.


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