It continues to amaze me how technology is improving while the costs of technology continue to decline. The Amazon Kindle Fire tablet is a solid example of this continuing trend.
For the low price of $50 you can now purchase a capable tablet with the following features:
-8 GB of storage
While using the Kindle Fire I have found it to have several advantages. The size is perfect for reading e-books and documents. The Web browsing capability is sufficient and suitable for casual browsing. The Kindle Fire also works for mobile gaming and the Amazon Underground feature is really cool. With Amazon Underground there are a number of premium apps (some as high as the $9.99 price point) that are free. It’s really great that you can download premium mobile games such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic free with Amazon Underground.
Overall I have found the display quality to be surprisingly good as well. I am accustomed to using an iPad with retina display and really haven’t noticed a big difference. In terms of reading, viewing videos, and casual gaming, the display is more than adequate.
There are a few downsides with the Kindle Fire tablet. Battery life is limited and if left disconnected from power, will drain within a day or so without use. I have found that setting the device to Airplane Mode can help significantly extend battery life, over many days. In addition, the Kindle Fire is not compatible with the Google ecosystem. Therefore you cannot access any Google apps or services. Amazon provides equivalent services which are functional, but this can be an inconvenience at times as I am able to access Google services even on my Apple devices. Ideally Google functionality would carry over to the Kindle as well. The Google Play store is also off limits, with an Amazon equivalent existing for that as well.
Concerning mobile gaming, even though the Kindle Fire is suitable for gaming, it doesn’t seem to have the same feel as my iPad which I find myself returning to for gaming. It is interesting that I am actually finding my device usage to segment across various devices beyond just mobile gaming. For example, I use the Kindle Fire for reading, an iPad for mobile gaming, and a Chromebook for productivity applications. It actually seems as if there isn’t one device that is ideal for everything, but rather a device suited for a specific use.
Overall I find the advantages of the Amazon Kindle Fire to far outweigh the disadvantages, especially given the entry level price point. If you are interested in a low cost tablet for reading, light Web browsing, and casual gaming then the Kindle Fire is the best alternative.