Amazon reported record breaking Kindle sales this holiday season. The Kindle Fire was a major player in making those sales possible.
My sister got a Kindle Fire, so I thought I’d grab it and give my thoughts on it. First off, I was shocked at how small it is. It is not that much bigger than my Kindle Touch. I guess the size came as a shock because I’m used to the iPad.
The Kindle Fire is the best of two worlds. It is compact enough to tote around in your purse, but it yields a bigger screen than a smartphone. So, you don’t have to squint to see what you’re reading. Plus, there’s no data fee each month on top of the fact that the Fire is the same price as most smartphones with a contract.
The display is as crisp and vibrant as described in the product description. I like how some of the most prominent navigation buttons are bold or in a different color to make sure you don’t miss them.
Now, here’s where the Fire could use some improvement, and I have to say that I am biased because I am a staunch advocate for user friendly technology. The Kindle Fire is very appealing to the masses because of its price and features, which is Amazon’s goal. That sentiment can certainly be proved with the rush of new Kindle Fire owners this Christmas. However, there are a few aspects of it that make it counter intuitive.
The app wheel that spins the apps on the home screen is cool, and it allows you to quickly zoom into the app that you want. But, the home screen in general is a bit cluttered with apps and links. It took me awhile to figure out where I needed to go first.
There is only one button that switches the tablet in and out of sleep mode. My first instinct was to find the physical “home” button, but that is actually on the screen in the bottom left corner.
As for the web browser, I like that the text does not require scrolling, and it reads down the page regardless of whether you flip the tablet vertically or horizontally. I am visually impaired, so I have to zoom in on the text that I am reading. I couldn’t find an easy way to do so in the Kindle Fire’s web browser. I also had a little trouble with the tabs.
Accessibility is something that Apple excels at, and integrating it would take a little more effort on Amazon’s part. It would probably also ramp up the price because of the extra time. But to truly appeal to everyone, a device has to include features that make it usable for people who cannot access it the conventional way.
So, to sum it up, there are aspects of the Kindle Fire that are awesome, and there are others that need improvement. It is just like any other new technology that will improve over time. So for now, I am quite pleased with my Kindle Touch, and with my iPad for more heavy duty stuff.
So, new Kindle Fire users, what do you have to say about it?