Some thoughts on the new Kindle Fire from Amazon:
- The display is bright, colorful and crisp. It is also very reflective, which means the Fire isn't going to become my primary ereader; I'll still be using my Kindle 3 (AKA Kindle Keyboard) for that.
- The apps are, in general, very good. The Hulu+ and Words With Friends apps don't adjust to different screen orientations, but that's a fairly minor quibble. The Comixology app displays comics quite nicely, but it would be nice to be able to manually adjust/pan the zoom window.
- I purchased two games through the Amazon app store,1 Fruit Ninja and Plants vs. Zombies; both are brilliant examples of how to create fun, engaging games with a touchscreen interface.
- The Amazon Silk web browser is better than I expected.
- Video playback is very nice. I streamed Conan the Barbarian through Amazon's Instant Video store and have watched a few clips on Hulu+. In both cases, the video was sharp and the audio (especially through headphones) was clear.
- I'm not a fan of the AC adapter. The Fire has heftier power requirements than previous Kindles, so rather than a USB cable with a snap-on AC adapter, the charger included with the Fire is a one-piece, transformer-style adapter. It's not huge by any means, but it's definitely more bulky than the USB cable I've been carrying around for my Kindle Keyboard. The Fire can be charged with the Kindle 3's USB cable, but it appears to draw more power than the USB port provides, so the Fire must be turned off and charges at a trickle.2
- The Kindle interface to the app store is fine, but searching the Amazon site for apps can be perilous. I've seen several Kindle books pretending to be games (complete with images from the actual games), clearly intended to dupe people into shelling out three dollars for a misleading product. Hopefully Amazon will bring the hammer down on this soon. [↩]
- I've seen estimates of 9 hours to fully charge from a USB port, versus about 2 hours to charge with the AC adapter. I've not yet determined whether the snap-on AC adapter for the Kindle 3—which is smaller than the Fire's transformer—can be used with the Fire; I hope it can. [↩]