But this Kindle Fire tablet is my first real gadget for the sake of having a gadget. I NEED my laptop PC for work...and for play. I NEED my not-so-smart phone for work...and for play. But really the only reason I would get a tablet, of any kind, is for play and for play alone.
The Kindle Fire does that well. It does it very well. It ain't perfect, and I'm not saying it's as good as an iPad. But for my purposes, it works just as well. Let's do a quick round of Sergio Leone's favorite game, shall we?
- The e-reader it top notch. It's exactly what I wanted an e-reader to be when the first Kindles were introduced. No buttons, just swiping. And the size of the screen is relatively the same as a paperback, which I what I normally read anyway. Sure, the e-reader (and the Kindle app) on the iPad work pretty much the same and look just as good. But for hundreds of dollars less, you get the same functionality.
- Watching films or TV shows thru Netflix or Amazon Instant is fast, bright and convenient. The screen size is just about perfect for watching a film in bed or waiting in a reception area. It's much better than I thought it was going to be.
- It's ultra-convenient to carry around. I haven't found the cover that I like yet, but I have a number of jackets that have a handy pocket or two that it slips into rather nicely. And having it by my side when I'm watching a TV show and I want to quickly look something up on the Internet is ultra-convenient as well. Very easy to swipe it on and type a few characters for the answer. Much more so than opening up my laptop for the same exact thing.
- Plenty of useful and free apps available from the Amazon Store. Too many for me to even consider reviewing right now. Mostly because I haven't done anything with them yet. But I will. I'm sure I will.
- For right now, I'm pretty much using it for brain candy right before I go to bed. A quick game of this or that, filtering through my feed reader, reading what my Tweeple are saying. And that's all fine. The mobile versions of Twitter and Google Reader work great on it. But for a lot of other websites out there? Not so much. Even just a simple Google search is...awkward on the Kindle Fire. Maybe iPad users experience the same thing. I don't know, but I much prefer serious web surfing on my laptop PC to the tablet experience so far.
- No 3G. Oh well.
- No camera, blue-tooth, GPS or mic either. Oh well, again.
- As I kinda alluded to above, I hate typing on the thing. I've always been a physical keyboard guy, and I'm finding the touchscreen keyboard difficult to get used to. Hell, even my phone has a physical keyboard for texting and what-not. I'm a touch typist, and a pretty darned fast one at that. So going back to the old hunt and peck for typing on the touchscreen always makes me shake my head a bit.
- The Android operating system is a bit buggy. Not overwhelmingly so, but enough to make the Ugly list for me. I've encountered several screen freezes or application problems that seem to be tied directly to the operating system. I don't know if Amazon will be doing any system upgrades or fixes, but for right now I'm not thrilled with the performance of the system itself. More to follow on this one.
- Flash is supposed to be supported on the Kindle Fire, but most of the flash sites I've come across don't work or are EXTREMELY buggy. I think an operating system for a tablet, whether it's this one or iOS, should work with every internet site out there. Regardless of whether or not Flash is a good or bad product. I don't care. Everything that is on the Internet should be available on the device in full working condition. That's all I'm saying.