Amazon Kindle Fire: Is It Good Enough for You?

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2011-12-01 Print this article Print

Video content from Instant Video loads up a lot faster on the Fire than it did on my WiFi-connected Google TV Amazon Instant Video app, and looked a lot better than the content rendered via the Netflix app, which I downloaded free from Amazon's Android Appstore.

Users can also easily access their music via Amazon Cloud Drive and Cloud Player, or purchase new tunes from Amazon's MP3 Store.  Buying goods is easy as you'd imagine, considering the device is built to enable easy shopping on Amazon. It was quite liberating to fire off one-click purchases from this device, than switch gears to getting back to Instant Video to check out "The Wonder Years," a hit from my childhood.

Ultimately, it's a gross mistake to compare the Fire to the $499 iPad, or even the $399 Tab 7.0 Plus, which both provide superior Web surfing and app access, have more storage and other perks some consumers will deem necessary.

Forrester Research analyst Sarah Rotman Epps told The New York Times the Kindle Fire is a decent consumer media device for a very good price and compared it to Research In Motion's Blackberry PlayBook, which is fair considering both devices are made by Quanta.

"You turn the BlackBerry PlayBook on, and it doesn't work because there is nothing to do with it," Epps told The Times. "The Kindle isn't perfect, but it's a simple out-of-box experience, and most importantly its content is front and center as soon as you start it for the first time."

The Fire will be a hit among many first-time tablet owners who aren't familiar with the navigational joys of the iPad or Tab lines. But for more discerning folks like Arment, for whom speed and fluid access are paramount, it won't wash.

What you must decide is whether you or the person for whom you are mulling buying the Fire is the average Joe or Jane consumer who is happy with a tablet that is good enough, but not excellent, for accessing Web content and shopping.

If not, you need to go more upscale with an iPad, Galaxy Tab, or even the new Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime.



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