Are you looking to purchase a new Android tablet this year? If so, you might just be in luck as Amazon’s Kindle Fire was launched officially today, November 15th, 2011.
The 7-inch Android tablet from Amazon is its first Android-based tablet using Android Gingerbread 2.3 with Amazon’s own UI customizations, Amazon Store, and more.
The Amazon Kindle Fire packs a dual-core 1Ghz TI OMAP4 processor, which is powerful and on par with other Android tablets on the market such as the Galaxy Tab 10.1, which also has a dual-core 1Ghz processor. As far as power is concerned, the Kindle Fire packs a good punch for spending only $199.
The Amazon Kindle Fire comes with a Power/Sleep button, micro-USB port, and a headphone jack. That’s about it for physical buttons.
Kindle Fire comes with two speakers on top, which offer fairly-great stereo sound. It’s fairly comparable to my Galaxy Tab 10.1 speakers. Speakers is something I worried about but Kindle Fire passed my sound test by being able to produce high-quality stereo sounds that were loud enough.
The heart of Amazon Kindle Fire isn’t the device itself though but the vast number of content it provides through its own App store. Mainly there’s magazines, newspapers, books, music, videos, docs, and apps.
For magazines, you can find “full digital copies” of your favorite physical bookstand magazines and newspapers. Oh no these aren’t watered-down eReader versions, they are fully scanned and digitized so you get the full magazine without all the weight. I really like this feature as I tend to favor a full version of magazine, not an eReader copy.
I found that though it was harder to get some magazines as some were shown as “apps” while others were integrated into the magazine store. I hope Amazon fixes this in the future so every magazine can be accessed directly from the App store.
As for books, the Amazon Kindle Fire offers a range of free books for Amazon Prime customers ($79 per year plus you get free 2-day shipping on most items ordered at Amazon.com, highly recommended). I don’t read many books but it’s a good feature knowing that I can read a bunch of free books plus buy them without going to the bookstore.
What I really like about the Amazon Kindle Fire was the Movies and TV shows. As an Amazon Prime customer, I was able to tune into thousands of free movies and TV shows including many foreign movies I like to watch. Although I already get thousands of free movies through Netflix, Amazon Prime does offer a ton more extra movies and TV shows I can watch. This is one feature that stands out over other Android tablets and only offered through the Amazon Fire.
Web browsing on the Silk browser was similar to other Android tablets I have tried. It’s not slower but I didn’t see a vast improvement although it should improve over time as I use it more.
I really enjoyed using the keyboard on the Kindle Fire, the 7-inch form-factor makes it very easy to type without having to install a 3rd-party keyboard app like I did with Galaxy Tab 10.1.
The display on the Kindle Fire comes with 1024 x 600 pixel resolution at 169 ppi, which is more pixels than most tablet devices on the market today. Although I felt the viewing angles weren’t as great as my Galaxy Tab 10.1, it was fine for watching movies and using apps. Unless you were nearsighted and trying to use the Kindle Fire without glasses (which I do sometimes), you shouldn’t have any problems.
Compared to my Galaxy Tab 10.1, the Kindle Fire is a bit thicker and a bit lighter.
Overall, the Amazon Kindle Fire is the world’s best 7-inch tablet at retail price of $199, I don’t think there’s a single tablet device that can beat it.
If you don’t have a tablet already and you don’t want to risk $400-500 on the more expensive models, the Amazon Kindle Fire is definitely a go with a ton of family-friendly content.