Author Tech Review: The Kindle Fire

hand holding Kindle Fire

I almost didn’t get the chance to review the Kindle Fire .

When my boss handed me the sleek black e-reader with the directive to play with the device and review it for Author Tech Tips, I was excited.  The first thing I did when I got to my house that night was turn it on. Tried turning it on. There’s only one button on the small machine, so I pushed it. Nothing happened. The battery was dead.

I plugged it in and let it charge. The next day, I tried again.

Nothing.

By this time, the machine was fully charged. Was this some sort of sick practical joke? How would I be able to review the Kindle Fire  for authors if I couldn’t even turn it on?  So I did what any self-respecting member of the millenial generation would do. I googled it.

It turns out that I wasn’t the only one who had problems getting the Kindle Fire  started. I had to perform a “hard reset” on the machine, holding the power button down for 30 seconds. This isn’t how I wanted to start out my Kindle Fire experience.

 

What I loved about the Kindle Fire:

 

  • Free e-book rentals with an Amazon Prime membership. Getting one free book a month is a great way to get casual readers used to using an e-reader. I downloaded The Hunger Games and finished it in a night. Now I’m more likely to purchase the whole series in e-book format. Great job, Amazon.
  • Streaming movies from Amazon Prime. Again, another fantastic perk of being an Amazon Prime member. Movies play beautifully on the 7″ screen. It isn’t a home theater experience, nor should it be. If you’re on a mass transportation or even sitting in a coffee shop, the personal screen delivers your movies to you. Slip on a pair of headphones and you’re in your own little world.
  • The feel of the Kindle Fire. It doesn’t feel like a book but it’s a lot closer than any other e-reader I’ve used. There are no side buttons to push like on previous versions. You can flick the screen with your thumb, much like thumbing through a paper book.
  • Built-in dictionary. I loved that when I found a word I didn’t understand, I could highlight it and instantly find out what it meant. It’s the little things in life that bring joy to my logophile heart.
  •  The internet. I love that the Kindle Fire comes with browsing capabilities. I can do one click shopping on Amazon, listen to music while I read, or work on documents.

 

What I hated about the Kindle Fire:

 

  • The cluttered bookshelf. If you open an application up, it’s on your bookshelf. I haven’t been able to declutter the bookshelf and it is driving me crazy. The scrolling screen also makes it hard to find the book you are looking for. If everything came automatically alphabetized, it would add some much needed order to the Kindle Fire.
  • The battery life. If you are going to watch a movie, keep the charger handy or turn off the internet as soon as possible. If you are just reading offline, you’ll be fine with the ten hours. Those hours go down rapidly once you are online and streaming content.
  • Unpredictability. The Kindle Fire and I did not start off well. Having to perform a hard reset from the gate doesn’t make me glow when talking about the gadget. Now that it has been reset, it works well. But other user reviews have revealed that there are more glitches yet to be worked out. That just makes me a little nervous.
  • The Kindle Fire feels intuitive but when it’s not, it throws you for a loop. It’s hard to remember that it isn’t an Apple and you can’t use all the same swipes and motions on it as you can the iPad. Having the button be on the bottom of the device goes against intuition and makes it very easy to accidentally turn off your reader. In the middle of a book. So frustrating.

 

The bottom line:

The Kindle Fire  is not the iPad. You will not get an iPad experience when you purchase the Kindle Fire. If you are looking for an e-reader with some fun extras, the Kindle Fire is for you. If you are looking for a tablet with an e-reader, keep looking. If you want any sort of chance of happiness with your Kindle Fire, you need to get the difference locked in your head.

I’m looking forward to using the Kindle Fire . It’s a fantastic e-reader. I’m also excited about using the different apps to modify documents while I’m on the go.

 

Agree? Disagree? Leave it in the comments!

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