Mar 29, 2012

My new favorite toy (review of Amazon's Kindle Fire)

I swore I'd never buy an e-reader. I love the heft of books, the physical satisfaction of turning a paper page, and, more important, I do almost all my reading in the bathtub (seriously) and an expensive e-reader just isn't suitable for that wet environment. And spend $200 to read a book on a tiny screen? I don't think so!

Of course, Life happens. A few months ago I did a large job for and they paid me with an Amazon gift certificate. I saved half of it for future Christmas and birthday shopping, but ear-marked the other half for me to have a "splurge"... and you know I don't do that often!

So I bit the bullet and ordered myself a Kindle Fire. I could not have been more wrong about this little amazing piece of technology being an e-reader. I've owned it now for 10 days, and haven't read a book on it yet!

The Kindle Fire is more like a little laptop than simply an e-book reader. Right out of the box I found it entirely user-friendly. Touch the screen and go. FaceBook? Touch the "FaceBook Icon" and you're on FaceBook, fully able to read your friends' posts and post to your own account. Same with Twitter (though I'm not much of a Twitter user, I am a Twitter reader). Web sites? Just like sitting at your computer, you simply either click on a link or type in the address (and why on earth is there not a "dot com" button on every keyboard?! The Kindle has it!), and you're viewing the web. With a flick of your finger you can enlarge the screen to make viewing a good readable size (even with old eyes like mine!).

Do you have Amazon Prime? (If not, you get 30 days free with your Kindle Fire purchase.) You can watch tens of thousands movies and TV shows on your Kindle Fire, with great clarity and adequate screen size for viewing by one person. I always regretted not watching "Upstairs Downstairs" back in the 70's, but now, thanks to my Kindle Fire, I'm able to watch it wherever and whenever I want!

You can also set up the Kindle Fire to receive (and send) all your email. I get so much junk email and have so many filters set up that I haven't done that at this point, but I'm considering getting a new email address for close friends and family only and having it come in on the Kindle.

It is Android-driven and there are a million "apps" (we used to call them programs in the "old days"... lol) out there for Android devices. So far I have downloaded a To Do List (of course!) and Grocery Shopping organizer, MapQuest with GPS abilities, and four games (two for Mr. B and two for myself). And the best part? Most apps are FREE, and if they do cost, they run an average of 99 cents!

The two drawbacks I have found so far is 1) the Kindle Fire must be within Wi-Fi range to be able to use the web, email, MapQuest, etc. It's not like a cell phone where you can be anywhere and connect. Last week I had to go to an auction house to pick up some items I'd won (fabric!), and I brought the Kindle along to use MapQuest, not realizing that once I was out of range of our wireless router I wouldn't be able to access MapQuest. That said, the next time I will use MapQuest at home, then simply bookmark the directions and I will be able to pull it up to follow them as I go. And 2) the battery does run down rather quickly -- about 6 hours before it has to be charged up again.

My poor laptop thinks it's been abandoned - and honestly, except for email, it pretty much as been. The Kindle Fire has almost all the same functions as the laptop, but can be easily carried from room to room or out on the deck or in the car.

Books? Costly, in my opinion, though there are many "classics" available for free. My local library offers ebooks and Kindle editions for free, however. But honestly, I have yet to put a book on my Kindle. I still do all my reading in the bathtub!

If you're thinking about a Kindle Fire, don't hesitate. If I were buying it again, I would probably save $60 by getting Amazon's full warranty refurbished Kindle Fire.

The Kindle Fire comes only with the cord to recharge the battery. I have since made additional purchases of a stylus (seriously, it is so much easier to use the keypad with a stylus), a screen protector, a USB port plug, and a car charger. Cases are pricey, so I'm making my own (tutorial coming in the next day or two).

Life is good! and just a tiny bit better with my new Kindle Fire!


Karen said...

I have to say that I earned points at work and I was able to purchase something and chose a regular kindle. Biggest waste of my points! I've never read a book on it!

beebee said...

I love my Kindle. I am not able to hold up a heavy book anymore because of the arthritis in my hands. I have had my Kindle for about 3 years and I have lots of great books on it. I really like to get the free books that Amazon offers for the kindle..
I have an ipad2 that my sons gave me last year for mother's day.
Enjoy your Kindle Fire.