Recently I splurged on myself. This is something I do not do – but this time I had a hard time saying no and hubby gave his overwhelming support, so I did it. I pre-ordered a Kindle Fire. I was SO delighted at the mere thought of it, I ordered the thing on the day they announced it. Yes, I am admittedly that much of a geek.
After about 24 hours with it, I had some observations and I had a lot of people asking me for my opinion, so I put together a quick review and I’ve already gotten a lot of comments and questions. I thought it might be good to share it with our Radiant Lit readers because we all know you’re totally savy awesome chicks who are probably as curious as I was.
LOVE that I opened it and out of the box, it had my name on it and was all registered/set up with Amazon. I LOVE Amazon. I’m a prime member and I have a regular Kindle and and I love Amazon’s service – so I was down with that. Nice to have it ready to go (and mostly charged too!) right out of the box.
It’s a good size for me. It’s pretty much on par with my Kindle with the keyboard at the bottom for size. In fact, I’m currently using the same case for it. So that works for me. I didn’t need a full sized tablet. This is easy to carry and fits well with whatever I am already toting with me – I’m a mom. I don’t usually travel light.
The display? AWESOME! I loved e-ink on my Kindle and this one’s good. It’s clear. Crisp. And it’s pretty much as close to e-ink as you can get with a backlit display.
Playing games and using apps with it? Rocks. Love that. The apps I’d purchased through Amazon were already on there and though they were stored on the Cloud, with a wireless connection it literally took just a few seconds to store the ones I wanted directly on the device. Same with my e-books.
Cons: (Yes – there were several and some of them to me? Epic fail. You’ll see.)
See that first Pro? It’s a Con too. The box was marked Kindle Fire all over it and it was left on my front porch. If anyone else had gotten it or stolen it, they have instant access to my amazon account with credit cards, etc. No password to enter and nothing to do – it’s all right there.
No USB charging/sync cable. This didn’t make sense to me. That’s pretty much a given on something like this, so not including it made me scratch my head. It’s a micro USB so I figured I’d use the one I have for my phone. Amazon, of course, has said nope. They strongly encourage you to use the specific KINDLE USB cord to put anything on the device that isn’t from amazon and without that, you’re stuck. Gotta buy one for $20. C’mon… For my Kindle, I had a USB with the AC adapter head to plug in to the top. Would it have killed them to do that for this one? Hmmm.
No parental password/protection. I’d love the ability to let kidlets play the games or access certain parts of it. Nope. In fact, you can purchase ANYTHING from your Amazon account WITHOUT A PASSWORD NECESSARY. (One touch too – any bump, click, choice and it’s YOURS. And anyone who has kidlets that click and explore know how easy it would be to do that.) Big epic fail for me. If kidlets are playing a game or click on amazon and want something, they can buy it without need of a password – at all. For that matter, so can ANYONE PICKING IT UP. Leave it somewhere? Your Amazon account info is ALL there with access to everything. You can password protect the entire device, but once it’s open or someone’s in it, there ya go.
Also, anything digital that you buy or watch through your amazon.com account comes up in the carousel on the home page. You can’t delete items or re-arrange them, so if I buy something for hubby for Christmas through Amazon, he can’t borrow the Kindle for anything cause it’s too easy to come across that info. Amazon wants you to buy their stuff. I know. They made this device and are probably losing money on it (that’s what everyone says at least) so they’re pushing their content, but they’ve made it all too easy to access and my Amazon info/purchases aren’t private enough for my taste. I KNOW it’s an Amazon product. That doesn’t mean I want ALL my Amazon info out there all the time. It’s all right there and unable to be moved or deleted. If my kids or hubby can’t borrow my device because they may come across something I’ve bought for them that’s supposed to be a surprise, it defeats the purpose for me. *sigh*
You can upload your own movies/tv shows, etc to the ‘cloud’ for viewing, but you CANNOT watch any of those on the device. The only videos available on the device (or to download to the device) are the PURCHASED ones from amazon.com. This means if I buy Cars 2 on dvd and put a digital copy in the cloud, it won’t play on my device. Only if I re-purchase it from Amazon’s digital store. (And if I buy the aforementioned USB cord! LOL!) Home movies or videos – same thing.
I can’t connect to my business email. It accepted my personal gmail just fine and my business email runs through gmail as well, but for some reason, it balks at that. Hours spent trying to get it to come up and no. Won’t work. It may later, but that could be a deal breaker for me. I wanted something that would let me answer emails, etc…while sitting in aforementioned car waiting for hubby at work. Then again – no WiFi, so maybe that’s a moot point. Regardless, if I can’t sync up two or three gmail accounts, that’s a problem for me. I have several gmail accounts and I would like to keep track of all of them – not just my personal account.
I can’t access amazon.com - the entire site. Well check that, I can, but I have to take the ‘long way around’ and go through the browser to do it and then click ‘full site’. The amazon app is a pared down version of the site for mobile devices. Not a biggie, but I’m a Black Friday GEEK for amazon and I was hoping to be able to keep track of the ‘flash specials’ that are only only sale for an hour or two. Can’t do that – can’t see or find the specials. So that’s a fail for me.
Also – THE BOOKSHELVES! You ALL know I read professionally and I tend to be a little obsessive about organizing my book stacks. I’d like to archive the ones I’ve read or place them in order of what I need to read or review, but it won’t let me. ALL of the books sit on the shelves together. So I can’t place them in folders or organize them beyond alphabetical.
Oh and that no password thing? That also counts for any books or amazon prime videos I’ve been watching previously. If I’m reading a ‘grown up book’ or watching a ‘grown up’ movie (nothing bad – just something rated R or that I wouldn’t particularly want the kids to watch) it ends up on that main carousel on the homepage and the kids can get to it at anytime. So for me, if I want to do anything personal with this device (buy Christmas gifts, watch Mommy-centric movies or vids or read books that might not be for kidlet consumption) then I can’t share the Fire with the kids without serious oversight.
So where am I right now? Well, I like it. I like it a lot. It’s a great gadget and honestly, everyone who knows me knows I am a geek. So I like it. But will I stick with it? I don’t know. I’m considering the purchase of a new Nook Tablet and see if it will fit my needs better and then returning the one that doesn’t work.
I’m a little bummed and disappointed. I’ve always loved Amazon and been a huge Amazon proponent…but there are a lot of things missing on this one and I really had thought Amazon would think ahead and consider them because they’ve been so good about customer service or thinking through customer usability before this. Maybe it’s a first generation thing and it will be ironed out later. I don’t know. Just…still considering whether I’ll keep it or not. We’ll see….