Kindle Fire Review (or, why I want an iPad mini)

In my last post about eReaders vs paper books I was trying to decide if I wanted to stick with paper books or move to reading books on a device. The decision was to take the jump and get a Kindle Fire. It has now been a month with the Fire, and after hours of reading both blogs and books on the Fire, I can now review my venture into the eReader world.

The "Kindle" experience is much better on the Fire than the Kindle apps available on the iPhone and iPad. After using the Fire I have to believe that Amazon can make the Kindle apps more user friendly and easier on the eyes. But I understand that they don't want to make the apps awesome, or why would you want to buy a Kindle when you can have a full featured version in an app on your iDevice?

I love the 7-inch screen and overall device size. It could probably be a bit thinner but that is minor. It is easy to hold in your hand, type on and set in your lap while reading. The battery life needs to be improved. It seems to drain faster than I had anticipated.

I still have a problem reading digital versions of magazines. I have tried both on the iPad and the Kindle Fire. Not sure what exactly the hurdle is, but on the Fire just like the iPad, I have this mental block on the layout of magazines and the ease of reading.

The overall app selection is a bit lame. I dont know the number of apps currently available on the Fire but there is nothing that really stands out. I want the Reeder app to read blogs. There are no good RSS apps in the Amazon app store so I am left with using the mobile version of Google Reader.

This is my first Android device and I have to say I am less than impressed. I know many will claim that it is a heavily modified version of the Android OS you get on other mobile devices, but I have played with the android phones and Samsung Galaxy and many of the same annoyances occur. It takes a while to start up and seems like it stutters a bit. The device is slightly slow in response to touch commands especially if you are used to an iPad. When clicking a link in the browser you need to touch just slightly above the link or you will hit the link below it. These individually are minor but as a whole can be a pain.

The one positive feature of Android is it still supports Flash. I am not a huge fan of Flash as a technology, but it is still used on enough web sites that not having the ability to use it is needed. Not supporting Flash is the one drawback to the iDevices, but over time it will die off.

The ultimate conclusion I came to is this. While the Kindle Fire is a nice device and is a better experience for Kindle related services, I now REALLY want an iPad mini. I want the functionality and UX of an iPad in the 7-inch package of the Kindle Fire. If Amazon were to improve their Kindle app for iDevices, it would be the perfect combination.

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