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What Can A Kindle Do - The Ultimate Guide

Updated on January 14, 2015

What Can A Kindle Do That Other Tablets Can't?

First let's be clear, its not what can a Kindle do, but how much money you can save on top of all the features! An iPad is awesome, for sure, but at a cost significantly higher than a Kindle Fire HD, Amazon's newest tablet. In this lens I'll reveal what a Kindle can do and why it answers the call for so many.

I bought my wife a Kindle Fire HD for Christmas and like you, I was on the fence for a long time before buying... there are lots of choices out there for tablets, e-readers and of course pads like the Apple. As consumers its confusing and truthfully very difficult to separate fact from hype.

I write here at Hubpages and I'm affiliated with Amazon, so some would say that I have monetary motives to push the Kindle. The problem with that theory as it relates to my truthful review of the Kindle Fire HD is that I bought one myself with no discount, for the same price as everyone else. I could've bought anything. Amazon has truly transformed the industry with it's Kindle line.

This is a look at why I bought the Kindle HD Fire, and the features that sold me over other tablets. Now, after owning and using a Kindle, I couldn't be more happy with our choice and I recommend it without fail to my family and friends, and to you. If you have a lot of money, and price isn't an option, then of course go with the iPad... its top notch. If saving $150 - $200 matters to you then read on and you'll discover why millions of people are switching to Kindle. For the $199 price tag of a Kindle Fire HD 7" there is absolutely nothing to compare it to. Let's find out what a Kindle can do.


Update 2015: Amazon has a newer Kindle now with even more features (and same low price) so I'll be reviewing it in an upcoming article and comparing it to the latest competition. In the meantime you can see it here at Amazon and read reviews.

The Kindle Can Do What Any Other Tablet Can - ... And A Lot More For Amazon Prime Members

Can a Kindle do what the Nexus 7 or iPad Mini can? Sure, for the most part, but understand that they aren't exactly built for the same purpose. A Baja buggy can drive around like a Formula racer, and they're both automobiles, but they weren't designed for the same thing.

When answering the question of what can a Kindle do, it must be clear that Amazon designed the Kindle Fire HD to be a media machine... the display is absolutely stunning. The iPad mini has the popular Apple layout, function, and iConnectivity that so many people love. The Google Nexus 7 is, well, almost a Kindle Fire HD, minus the Amazon connection... which is everything.

One feature that they all share is their size. As you can see, they're compact and you can easily stuff them in your purse, bag or lunch box. The Kindle Fire HD is built for casual fun users, not business presentation packing suits; for them the iPad or iPad Mini is the clear choice.

Whether you join Amazon Prime or not is up to you, but millions and millions of people have joined and for good reason. The main reason is that you get FREE 2nd Day shipping on almost all of your orders, big or small, and you can even pay a measly $3.90 on the order and receive it Next Day Air for those rush items you need right now... anyone who has bought anything online knows how much shipping can cost, especially over the course of a full year.

As a Kindle owner you can get free downloads of books and movies, streamed right to your Kindle, which is great for anyone not technically inclined. Browse the Prime movies or books, click select, and there it goes. The iPad Mini can't even watch HD movies. Make no mistake, the Fire HD is a functional tablet without Amazon Prime, but its precisely because of Amazon Prime that is shines and overshadows the other alternatives. Without Prime Membership my review would look differently.

What does Amazon offer that makes the Kindle Fire HD irresistible? Apple has their iTunes and other proprietary outlets, but Amazon takes your access to a whole new level.

Here's Some Of The Features...

  • Over 23 million movies, TV shows, magazines, songs, audiobooks, books, hot apps and games such as Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, Pandora, HBO GO, and Angry Birds Space.
  • There's integrated support for Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo! and more, as well as Exchange calendar, contacts, and email.
  • You can use the forward-facing HD camera for photos or making video calls using Facebook, Skype and other apps.
  • Kindle Fire HD owners get free unlimited cloud storage for all their Amazon content.
  • Another huge feature is Kindle FreeTime - a totally free and personalized Kindle journey especially designed for kids. You can exercise parental control by setting daily screen limits and setting access to certain areas and the internet.
  • With Prime Instant Video you get unlimited, instant streaming of thousands of popular movies and TV shows and last but not least...
  • Access to the Kindle Owners' Lending Library. Choose from a selection of more than 270,000 books that you can borrow for free.

Next Generation Kindle - Pure Love

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"Repairability Scale" For Your Tablet Devices

Even Here, The Kindle Fire HD Outshines The Rest

How about something you won't read on any other review? It does nothing to reveal what a Kindle can do, but it directly effects your wallet. How about "repairability."

Yep, it's a word. iFixIt.com dissects everything under the sun and creates a cool database for you so that you can find out how to take your gadgets apart.

In the process they give each item a score based on how easy, or difficult, it is to repair. Which can also be an indication of what it might cost you to have work done on the device when your warranty expires. Here's what they found.

Based on a 1 - 10 scale, where 10 is the best and 1 the worst, here's how the gadgets stacked up.

The Kindle Fire HD had a "Repairability Score" of 8 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair).

Apple's iPad Mini had a "Repairability Score" of 2 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair).

Google's Nexus 7 had a "Repairability Score" of 7 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair)

All three devices come with a 1 year manufacturer's warranty, but based on my personal experience and on my own research, Amazon is the clear-cut leader in terms of handling customer problems with these devices. Some reviewers report having a new replacement Kindle in a matter of days, even before shipping the defective unit back. That's certainly not a written policy, but I think Amazon truly cares about customer satisfaction. Its not just a matter of what can a Kindle do, but what the manufacturer does as well.

What Can A Kindle Do Compared To Other Choices?

How Does The Fire HD Stack Up To The Competition

As far as I'm concerned there are only two real competitors to the Kindle... the iPad Mini and the Google Nexus 7, even if they aren't designed for the same purposes. Both have their strengths (and weaknesses) and in fairness each of the three have areas where they outshine the others. In terms of video, none do quite what a Kindle can do.

The iPad Mini is of course riding the wave of "iMadness" and so it has an unfairly skewed (in my opinion) range of favorable reviews, especially in comparison to other products. The Nexus 7 is a star in its own rite, and many called it the Kindle Killer out of the gate. Unfortunately there were just too many shortcomings for it to earn those stripes. Just a singular Micro USB connector (and nothing else), for example.

Also beware, some reviews skew their bias by comparing the Kindle Fire HD to the much larger and enormously more expensive full-sized iPad... really? They're not even the same type of device. Compare it to the iPad Mini for a fairer comparison, and even then you can save $150 for a better device with the Kindle.

Both the Kindle Fire HD and the Nexus 7 use Gorilla Glass, which is as advertised, very tough. I contemplated getting a screen protector for our Kindle but after reading reviews I found that it wasn't necessary. And it isn't. Not even the slightest notice of a scratch on our Kindle after several months of daily use. The iPad Mini... no, they use something else to save a few bucks, yet still charge you way more. Just one more reason why I don't and won't buy an iAnything.

As you can see, each of them have areas where they outperform. The iPad Mini has both front and rear cameras, and the fastest Processor of the three. Its also the thinnest and lightest.

Google's Nexus 7 is slightly larger, but lighter, than the Kindle Fire HD. It's Processor is only marginally quicker than the Kindles 4470, but the Nexus 7's Jelly Bean Android Operating System (OS) makes it perhaps more of a choice for pure gamers, but even that is over-hyped. Jelly Bean is Android 4.1 and Kindle's "Ice Cream Sandwich" is Android 4.0... not exactly a giant leap. But that's the only slight advantage it can claim.

The Kindle has stereo sound that is truly impressive, while the other two have a mono speaker. As mentioned earlier, it shines in HD, where it's resolutions smash the iPad Mini (Kindle Fire HD has 30% more pixels than the Mini). My chart above mentions that there's no access to HD movies for the iPad, but that is a reference to the access to Amazon streaming. And also a reference to the surprisingly awkward 4:3 aspect ratio of the Mini which forces Widescreen movies to be played in a letter box. The iPad Mini doesn't conform to the Widescreen 1280 x 720 specification so while you can download iTune movies, they are a scaled down version and not true HD. What else? The Kindle is the only one with dual internal antennas and it has the longest battery life.

So check it out at Amazon, and see why it has a stellar reputation based on over 10,000 customer reviews on Amazon... currently a 4.1 out of 5 star rating!

Turn Off Special Offers On Kindle Fire

For an added cost you can get the Kindle with Special Offers turned off.

I realize that I intended this article to answer the question of "what can a kindle do," but I feel its helpful to give you insights about the tablet that I've learned along the way. When you purchase a Kindle you'll have the option of buying the regular version for $199 (which I bought) that includes an advertisement on the Lock Screen (see the image for an example on my Kindle), or you can pay $15 extra and turn off Special Offers on Kindle Fire devices.

As you can see, there is nothing intrusive or obnoxious about the Lock Screen advertisement (Special Offers). You only see it when you first turn the device on... simply swipe your finger across the unlock bar to begin using it. In my image here you can see that some of the advertisements are actually cool as they often show special book, movie, audio or other deals of the day. In this case it was the daily deal for Kindle Books, "Blood Men" by Paul Cleave for only .99... so yea, I don't mind them.

I recommend that you at least give it a try, not because the $15 is a huge amount, but because you'll see how silly it really is that people feel the Lock Screen offers are a big deal. I've found several great deals specifically because I had the Lock Screen offers and I know others who have said the same thing. You can turn them off later.

Here's how you can turn off Special Offers on Kindle Fire devices.

If you later find out you don't like it, you can easily turn off the advertisements (but it will still cost $15). Log in to Amazon.com and go to "My Account." From there you'll see the various sections for "Orders," "Payments," "Settings," and "Digital Content." Within the Digital Content section you want to click on "Your Apps and Devices".

Within Your Apps and Devices you'll see a panel on the left side to "Manage" your items. Click on "Your Devices" and on that screen you'll see your Kindle, and on the right side is a drop down menu titled "Actions," select it and click on "Manage Your Kindle."

From that screen you will see the "Special Offers" line next to your device, and a button to select edit. Click that and you can then turn off Special Offers on Kindle Fire.

Below are some really cool and affordable cases for the Kindle Fire HD tablets. I own the first one listed, the one that looks like Carbon Fiber. It's high quality and cool looking, and fits the Kindle really, really well. For the $12.95 sale price its an easy choice.

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Unless otherwise attributed, all photos are copyrighted by SafeReviews. You may use the comparison chart and photos freely as long as you provide a link back to this page.

Share your thoughts or experiences with the Kindle....

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    • safereview profile image
      Author

      Bob 4 years ago from Kansas City

      @pitlock: :) Well, with any tablet you'll do well to add a portable keyboard via cable to your device if you plan on doing lot's of typing/writing... but yes, you can Squidoo on them.

    • pitlock profile image

      pitlock 4 years ago

      lots of information was just wondering if you can squidoo on the kindle?

    • safereview profile image
      Author

      Bob 4 years ago from Kansas City

      @kimberlyschimmel: Haha, that's the problem with having just one- one person wants to play Angry Birds and someone else wants to read their book. Thanks for stopping by.

    • kimberlyschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel, MLS 4 years ago from Greensboro, NC

      I love my Kindle Fire. So do my kids, so I might have to get one for them, too!