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Amazon Kindle Fire

Amazon Kindle Fire

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74 Engadget Score
A dependable product that doesn't really stand out from the competition.
74

A dependable product that doesn't really stand out from the competition.

How we score

The Engadget Score is a unique ranking of products based on extensive independent research and analysis by our expert editorial and research teams. The Global Score is arrived at only after curating hundreds, sometimes thousands of weighted data points (such as critic and user reviews).

Engadget Review

Amazon's first tablet can't quite match the experience of the competition, but for half the price it doesn't have to.

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Pros
  • Incredible price
  • Very solid construction
  • Easy access to lots and lots of premium media
Cons
  • Middling performance
  • No Android Market access
  • Occasionally clumsy interface
74 Engadget Score
A dependable product that doesn't really stand out from the competition.
74

A dependable product that doesn't really stand out from the competition.

How we score

The Engadget Score is a unique ranking of products based on extensive independent research and analysis by our expert editorial and research teams. The Global Score is arrived at only after curating hundreds, sometimes thousands of weighted data points (such as critic and user reviews).

Scores

Engadget

74
 

User Reviews

80
OurEmpireStyle
There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws. - Engadget
60
marcdryan
I just finished packing up my Kindle Fire to return to Amazon. Let me say in...read more
90
marcham93
The best in its category. We highly recommend it. - Engadget
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Score Breakdown

 
80
Average user Score
 
80
OurEmpireStyle
There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws. - Engadget
 
60
marcdryan
I just finished packing up my Kindle Fire to return to Amazon. Let me say in advance I'm a huge fan of Amazon and everything they do (first gen Kindle owner, Prime for 5 years, Cloud Music User, etc.). However, I'm disappointed in the Fire. As a current iPad owner perhaps I set the bar too high but I believe that in today's market the bar should be pretty high. The device in and of itself is a nice little piece of hardware that is reminiscent of a Motorola Droid vs. the iPhone. It's a little blockier and feels substantial in your hand. The 7" display seems to be the perfect size to replace a typical paperback which makes it seem like a no brainer for books and movies. However is was much weightier than I expected and a little awkward to hold. The power button for the device is at the bottom which seems completely counter intuitive especially when holding it one handed. If you try to hold the device in one hand you need to splay your fingers along the bottom to prop up the device which will inevitably cause you to accidentally trip the power switch. Incredibly annoying. Of course, since the display rotates, you can flip the device upside down to read however the lock screen does not rotate which makes this workaround clunky. Even ignoring the power button issue, the device is just too heavy to hold with one hand easily, after 30 minutes with the device my hand was going numb. I like my original kindle for it's light weight feel which truly makes it a paperback replacement. The fire is definitely a two handed device which doesn't make sense with such a small screen. If you're going to use two hands you might as well use a 10" device.One bright spot was the interface which is well thought out and elegant. It's highlight is the cover flow homepage that moves seamlessly through your content. Overall the Amazon skin on android is well executed, with plenty of content integration that feel natural. Navigation is easy and intuitive on the device. I had no trouble knowing where to go for my content. Keep in mind that the Fire is not a typical tablet, it's designed entirely as an entertainment device for consuming content, apps, email, calendars, browsing, and even social media all feel like an afterthought. If you're like me and have a lot of content within the Amazon ecosystem this is a great device for accessing that content.One drawback to the device is the available storage. Amazon pushes their cloud as integral to the device which reduces the need for on device music, but without 4G this is a pretty empty promise. I have a 64G iPad which is mostly full of music and movies and I found myself pushing the boundaries on the Fire pretty quickly, especially since I use my devices in my commute. So while it gets you access to great content, there are some big limitations.Lastly, I think it's worth pointing out some things that others have pointed out about the device. Page turns on books on the Kindle Fire are not what they are on other apps (e.g. iOS). It's crazy to think that the premier device is so clunky on books. When I first turned on the device and tried to read the included welcome letter from Jeff Bezos the device had a hard time displaying the content and getting to the second page. It's also not even close to a comfortable reading experience for newspapers and magazines. At 7" there's no way to read a digital analog to a print publication when all that's happened is the content has been re-sized to fit the screen. This results in text that is too small and can only be read with zooming and panning. Finally, as I mentioned previously, the idea of using the device for email or surfing the web feels like an afterthought. Finding the email app took some time and the browser is the last available tab on the interface. It's clear Amazon wants you to use the device to buy more movies, music, books, and newspapers.While this was a disappointing experience I'm still holding out hope. I like the direction that this is going and who can argue with the price point. Perhaps when they come out with the next version I'll make the jump.
 
90
marcham93
The best in its category. We highly recommend it. - Engadget
 
80
Pdqkevin
Pros: The best book reading device I have used, better than my iPad. I like the lighted screen more than e-ink. Very good movie watching, the amazon and netflix sources work very nicely. Could be used as a computer replacement for kids or tech challenged adults so long as they don't need to print. Speaking of kids, the Fire may be the iPod Touch killer. Movies, music and games on a much bigger screen with books and full fledged web access also for not much more money. The rubberized back is great and is something all handheld devices should aspire toward. Cons: Surprisingly heavy but I'm getting used to it. Really, really needs a Home button. Adjusting the volume is a pain and buttons would help here also. The screen is too small for me and magazines, an iPad sized screen with retia display resolution is what I'm gonna need.
 
90
Rocky
I am growing to really like this device. It's obvious that Amazon designed this as a store front, but with that said, it contains every feature that the majority of consumers will need and find they want. The Amazon Carousel will even start to grow on you after a bit, even if you are an avid Android user such as myself. (You can however install Go Launcher directly from the Amazon App store, if you really want an Android experience).At launch you have Netflix, Hulu +, Crunchyroll, and Amazon Prime streaming support. So video is covered. Also the Amazon Cloud for music is quite nice, and well designed and integrated into the tablet. One of the major complaints I had at first was no Google support at all, however with a quick search of XDA Developers you will find one download for all the APKs, and sideloading is an option on the Fire, so in a 5 minute time period I had all of the Google apps loaded and ready to go.The sizing of this device is also nice, the 7inch form factor fits easily into my front coat pocket, which makes it easy to transport, The weight can be a big much if you hold it one handed for quite a long time, but I actually haven't had to much of an issue with that, as I usually lay it down if I'm watching or reading something.Honestly at this time I can't say I'm having any second thoughts about this purchase, I would like to have a 3g/4g version in the future, but as I currently have a smartphone with Mobile Hotspot even that isn't an issue to me currently.
 
70
falleninsea
It’s strange that I keep finding myself saying “for the price” when I describe the Fire to people. It’s always something like “For the price it’s a great device.” or “For the price the screen is large enough.”The device is well integrated into the Amazon ecosystem. Right out of the box when ordered from Amazon it loads easily and links up to your account and starts showing your books and media once it starts synching up over your Wi-Fi connection.The device is a little heave for its size but it feels solid and has a brick is built to it. The rubbery back is nice to hold and rest against things. The sound is good from the built in speakers. The power button sticks out a little from the bottom which has caused me to turn it off by accident.You can access the amazon app store, on line video library and with prime you get free streaming of movies and TV Shows. You also can stream music right from their locker service which has the music you bought from them and any you may have uploaded.If this device was sold for $300 or even $250 I don’t think I would recommend but at the $200 dollar price tag it’s a pretty good device.Would I recommend this device to family and friends? If they were wanting to only spend the $200 and were OK with a 7inch display yes I would. But if they could afford an iPad or a Galaxy Tab 10.1 I would recommend that for them instead. But with that in mind for people like my parent who just love their Kindles I would suggest the Fire because they could have all their books right there plus movies and apps would be something I could see them playing with when sitting on the couch or just lying in bed. They already have a prime membership and the Fire is just a nice add on to that even though it’s not needed to fully take advantage of the device.
 
80
veelove
Only issue I have with the device is the lack of storage space. Gets a bti laggy on occasion but that's Android. Movies from Prime great on look great on the screen. Without a conection it is going to be a pretty subpar media device for video and maybe even music due to storage size.. Of course I'm old enough to have had a 1gb hardrive for my PC so I don't mind terribly having to manage my content. My attitude towards the Fire is that it's a super kindle so I'm pretty happy with what I got.
 
80
scotthicok
There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws. - Engadget
 
80
Boog911
There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws. - Engadget
 
60
frankhsueh
A forgettable product. It isn't bad, exactly, but also doesn't do anything particularly well. - Engadget

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