Friday, November 25, 2011

Review: Kindle Fire

My New Kindle Fire-1
My Fire all zipped up in a Marware case

I bought a Kindle Fire, Full Color 7" Multi-touch Display, Wi-Fi and it came last week. On Monday and Tuesday this week, I took my new Fire to an in-service with all my teacher friends and they were so polite about my "cute" little mobile device. They had iPhones and iPads.

I began thinking of buying a Kindle months ago because my friends at the library and church were raving about it. Women my age were reading in bed comfortably and in the dark with large text. And they were carrying their books around in their purses instead of lugging a large school bag full of books like I do. They were slowly convincing me that a Kindle, especially when prices dropped, would be the thing to get.

Why didn't I consider an iPad or iPhone? I could read books on either one (for $500 I could read a book on an iPad and that's ridiculous). But I need a fully functioning laptop for photography and schoolwork away from home and I don't want to spend the money on one yet. I definitely don't want a mobile phone — ever. Having a laptop and an iPad would be silly.

I was going to buy a little black and white Kindle for myself for Christmas. Then Fire was introduced. I read everything I could find about it. I got the itch and decided that I simply had to pre-order it. I've been a happy reader (and game player, e-mailer, movie and TV watcher) ever since.

My New Kindle Fire-2
My Fire in the open Marware case

I bought a pretty, red Marware jurni Kindle Fire Cover for the Fire a day after the Fire came in the mail. I don't want the screen scratched in my school bag. You can see the strap on the left side of the case that allows you to comfortably slip your left hand in the strap and hold the Fire securely when you fold the left cover to the back of the Fire. The Fire only fastens into the case in one way. If you are left-handed, you can still use this case and have the strap on the right side (but the Marware logo will be upside down when you close the case).

My New Kindle Fire-3
Some of my favorite apps, books and links on the Fire

Some of my favorite apps, books and links are the Amazon e-mail app, Daily Bread (Bible devotions) app (99¢), NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha for $10 (this was released on November 22 and has been my favorite purchase, but it has no maps. It does have a concordance). Also, I have a free Netflix app (I only subscribe to streaming movies, so this app is perfect for me), a Facebook app (by Amazon), an Amazon app, my Google contacts on the free Amazon contacts app, my current Agatha Raisin book, Google+ (via a mobile web page on the Silk browser), Pulse (free) and some other stuff. I have Weather Channel (free) and a few great games (Angry Birds, Greedy Spiders, Sudoku, and Mahjong,all free). I also bought a $6 hidden object game called The Mystery of the Crystal Portal. The only apps that have crashed have been a couple from third parties. Everything Amazon makes has worked perfectly.

My New Kindle Fire-5
The Twenty-third Psalm on the Fire

Reading on the Fire is a joy. It is backlit, which I didn't think it was going to do. I can read in the dark or in the light. It is easier for me to read on the Fire than to read text on paper with bright lighting. I can adjust the brightness of the screen and the size of the text.

For some reason, I have a copy of the New Oxford American Dictionary on my Fire. I don't know if I had gotten it earlier or if it came with the Fire. But really, Oxford! There is no table of contents or navigation in this book so you have to flip through hundreds of pages to find your word. How stupid is that?

My New Kindle Fire-6
Angry Birds splash screen

The Fire screen can be turned upside down and sideways for all applications except for some apps like Angry Birds. I never liked Angry Birds, and now I know why: playing with a mouse is lousy. Play it on a touch screen and it sings. It is also free from Amazon.

You get another great offer from Amazon with your Fire: a month of free Amazon Prime. It normally costs $80 a year. With Amazon Prime, you get to borrow books for an unlimited time, once a month, from Amazon. I borrowed Mary Roach's book Bonk from the Amazon Lending Library. You also get faster shipping with Amazon Prime, which is great but not worth $80, and “unlimited” videos. I don’t know if the video offerings are better than Netflix ($8 a month), but if they are, then it is worth $80. The lending library is definitely worth $80 to me.

Wednesday I bought the Kindle Fire PowerBolt Duo USB Car Charger with USB Cable by Kensington for $30. The battery in the Fire works for about 8 hours according to the specification sheet. I keep the charger cable by my bed so that I can charge it while I sleep. That works well  if I remember to plug it in (which I don't). This Kensington charger works in the car. It also comes with a USB cable so that I can charge the Fire on my PC and transfer data (docs and photos) from my PC to the Fire.

I do have four complaints about the Fire:

  • There is no keyboard or mouse. I know this can't be fixed, but I'm used to big keyboards and mice, so typing is difficult for me. How do you people ever text on those tiny phones?
  • The Kindle Fire needs a good camera and video camera.
  • There is no multi-tasking: I can't use my Daily Bread Bible Devotion and have the Harper Bible open at the same time and go back and forth. But I don't think any mobile device can do this. These are not desktop PCs, after all.
  • The biggest problem is that there are no Google apps available (yet) for Kindle Fire. This is a huge problem. This may be fixed soon by Amazon (according to rumors) or you can hack your Fire and fix it yourself (which I doubt I will do).

My total expenses so far are $200 for Fire, $30 for the case and $30 for the charger/cable. I have bought 2 apps and 3 books. The\ apps and books are so cheap that I haven't paid attention to the cost but perhaps I should. I absolutely recommend the Kindle Fire. It’s not for everybody, but it’s a great product. If you click any of the Amazon links in this post, you will go directly to the store and can buy your Fire from here.



  1. I got a Kindle for Mother's Day, and I've been enjoying it for reading and a few games. I'm tempted to save my pennies for a Kindle Fire now - I love the idea of color and being able to access email. I'm glad to hear that you like it so much!

    As far as the NOAD goes, I'm assuming it came with the Fire (as it did with my basic Kindle). The joy of it is that one can click on a word in a book and it'll access the dictionary and provide the definition (which was very useful when I was reading Frankenstein). I can also type a word into the search box of the NOAD (since I have a little keyboard) - but I don't know how that would work for the Fire.

    Thanks for the review. Enjoy your Kindle Fire!

  2. Thanks for the review! My Mommeh has had a regular Kindle for a while now, but she has been wanting the Kindle Fire.

  3. Interesting. I want to go see one in person (like at Staples or soemthing?)

    I have an ipad but I use it for a lot of other things. I do NOT read books on it, though I have. i like real books. I like passing them on after I finish with them. But I might be convinced.

    I have a blue tooth keyboard for my iPad which makes it into something like a laptop--wonder if you can use those with Kindle.

  4. Alison: thank you for the info on that dictionary. I have tested it based on what you say, and now I like it. I never thought to think it was included for that reason. And you can get more info with google or wikipedia. Very cool app!

    Daisy: tell Mom to get that Fire and a case and a mini-USB data cable and car charger like I wrote about. She will be SO happy!

    Mary: I just found out that there are titles on my Kindle (not all the books, but some) that I can "lend" for 14 days to a friend. Very cool! I have a student who is dying to read the Heinlein book I got online. He's reading it in class after he does his work.

  5. I just got mine, our local library has a ereader program (READS) that you can check books out on. Love my Kindle as well! I was a longtime hold out too, now I wonder why I waited!!


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