Kindle Fire by Amazon

Amazon’s Kindle Fire seems to be a larger version of an iPod Touch, for the same price. The Kindle Fire only has 8 GB of storage, the same as the least expensive iPod Touch. For what’s being touted as a tablet computer designed for reading and watching movies, this seems a vastly insufficient amount of storage space, and the operating system alone takes up 2GB. Ebooks don’t require much storage space, but music and movies do. 600 songs almost fill the usable storage capacity of an 8GB iPod Touch. A tablet computer should have much more storage space to avoid the frustration of constantly having to choose what content to delete to make room for new downloads.

The 7 inch display allows for comfortable viewing of television shows and movies, and for reading books and magazines. The dual-core processor makes the Kindle Fire a powerful vehicle for watching video. The Kindle Fire can make 18 million television shows, movies, books and magazines available to you, as well as music, but you’ll only be able to carry a small fraction of them around with you due to the low storage capacity. If you’re looking for a device to make your media library mobile, this is not going to be the tablet for you.

Amazon Kindle Fire

Amazon Silk Web Browser

The web browser is the Amazon Silk. The Kindle Fire has built-in wi-fi so you can get online on your home network or at your local Starbucks. There is no 3G capability, so if you’re not on a network or at a wi-fi hotspot, you’re out of luck. The Silk browser uses the Amazon Web Services cloud to make websites load quickly and smoothly, and the browser supports Adobe Flash. Amazon does offer free cloud storage for content purchased through Amazon.

While iTunes and the Android Marketplace offer hundreds of thousands of apps for their devices, apps for the Kindle Fire only number in the thousands as of yet. However, Amazon has made the most popular apps available, such as Facebook, Angry Birds, Pandora and Words With Friends.

The Kindle Fire lacks a camera. Most tablets have at least one. The similarly priced, albeit smaller 8GB iPod Touch has a camera. For the price, the Kindle really should have a camera. The battery life is acceptable…eight hours of reading time or a little over seven of video playback. As with other e-readers, the Kindle Fire saves your place in your book. An Amazon Prime membership grants you access to the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library, but you can only borrow one book a month. That feature is hardly going to suit a voracious reader.

Reading Documents and Watching Videos

Amazon’s page on the Kindle Fire says that you can read your documents, such as .PDF files and Word documents after you email them to yourself, but the tablet doesn’t seem to allow for document editing. This means that the Kindle Fire is not going to replace your laptop. Other tablets offer compatibility with common office file formats and can be used with separate keyboards just like a laptop. The Kindle Fire is for reading, watching movies, listening to music, playing games and browsing the web. That’s it.

So is the Kindle Fire worth purchasing? For some users, certainly. If you or someone on your holiday gift list is dying for an e-reader with web-browsing capabilities, the Kindle Fire is a fine choice. Want to play Angry Birds and your other favorite games on a large, vibrant screen? Get the Kindle Fire. It’s a great choice for those on a budget who want primarily an e-reader and internet access. In addition to purchasing books from Amazon, you can download free classic books whose copyrights have expired, and you can access Internet Archive, or archive.org, to view historical books and document collections. Amazon also touts the device as a great e-reader for children’s books, so if you’re looking to purchase a tablet for the child in your life, the Kindle Fire is a great option. It’s relatively inexpensive and your child or grandchild can access a world of books at the touch of a finger, as well as, of course, Angry Birds.

The Kindle Fire is small and lightweight and ideal for the traveler who wants to read books and magazines on the train, in the airport and on the plane. But if you’re looking for a tablet with greater capabilities, a tablet that you can accessorize with a Bluetooth keyboard and use in place of your laptop, save the money and save up for one of the higher-priced, more functional tablets.

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