First Opinions of my new Kindle Fire
Well, I finally did it. I made my first venture into the tablet computing world. Oh, sure, I've played with many tablets since the first iPad entered the market. As a web designer it's almost mandatory that I, at least, view my creations on the tablets to be sure that the viewer will have an acceptable experience, but I never had the urge to commit to tablet until recently. You may have heard me say a couple weeks back, that I was almost sure that the iPad 3 (the NEW iPad) would be the one that finally made me make a purchase, but after the launch, I just found myself still unwilling to make the $500+ purchase, but at $199, the Kindle Fire offered a very interesting alternative to me, and I found myself unable to resist the temptation.
I decided to make my purchase at a local establishment, rather than purchasing online, due to the fact that if I had issues, I would have someone to physically speak to in order to air my complaints. After purchasing the Kindle, I gave it to my wife to open in the car on the way home (this is a purchase for her, as much for me). She opened that package only to find the tablet was not charged, I found this to be very disappointing, but I'm not all-together impatient, and decided I could wait to get home and plug it in.
Once we arrived home, I setup the charger and plugged the cord into the device. The power button turned green, and then immediately turned orange. I read on a review that the light turned orange when the device was charging, so I assume this is to be expected. I then pressed the power button... nothing. This was disappointing. To me, a device should be partially charged in the box, to give the customer, who just dropped a fair amount of money, the ability to at least "check out" their device immediately out of the box, you know, to enjoy the "shininess". My first thought was, "Perhaps it needs to charge for a couple hours, before it is usable", so I decided to give it 30 minutes and try it again. After 30 minutes had passed, I came back to find that the orange light was still lit, and the device would still not power on. this bothered me greatly, so I decided to give Cris a call to ask him about his unboxing experience with his Kindle Fire. He quickly explained that his device was partially charged in the box, and powered on immediately upon opening. This sealed the fate of this Kindle, and I promptly left to return the device to the retailer. They exchanged it with no complaint (they had only 1 left, close call), and I asked them to power the device up for me immediately, to be sure i didn't have to make a return trip. They agreed, and we open the box, and the device powered on without a hitch, so I was once again on my way home with a new Kindle Fire.
After getting home and settling in, I powered up the device and began my exploration. The first thing you'll notice on powering up your Kindle, is that the device immediately requires you to enter your Amazon account information. I have purchased many things from Amazon over the years, so I typed in my information and hit "continue" to meet the Kindle home screen for the first time. The home screen consists of a "Tile Slider" of your most recent visits, and a favorites "Shelf" (for lack of a better word, it graphically looks like a bookshelf), to pin your favorite apps, pages, books, docs, or whatever else you'd like. This device is clearly centered around reading, and with a copy of the Oxford dictionary, and Tolstoy's "War and Peace", I decided to check out the book functionality first.
After cracking open "War and Peace", I discovered that the reading experience is quite comfortable. Some say that the backlit LCD is not a good choice for reading, but my day job has me looking at my 27" iMac, with blinding brightness, for endless hours, so I have grown quite used to the LCD display experience. you also have the option to reveres the display (white printing on a black screen) and change the font size, among a few other options. I find the black screen to be what I prefer in a dark setting, and the white screen better in a lighter setting. I also found the marketplace to be easily accessible, one click in the upper right, and the selection is obviously out of this world, as the kindle has set the standard for electronic reading devices. There are also a great many public domain books available that are considered literary greats, my first downloads included Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, and Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. I can already see that this device is going to be a great help in doing more reading, which is something I have done less and less of late.
The next thing for me is to check out the streaming media options on the Kindle. I immediately installed Netflix and began my trial of Hulu+. Both work excellently with the Kindle Fire, and I love me some Netflix, my experience with Hulu+ was greatly diminished by the fact that, even as a paid customer, you still have to watch commercials on their streaming videos. I find this ridiculous, and I will not continue my subscription, almost based on this fact alone, however, I also found that Hulu's service disconnected in the middle of shows pretty much 100% of the time, telling me there was a network error, which I know to be untrue, as I have watched multiple Netflix movies without issue. There is also Amazon's streaming service, called Amazon Prime, which I haven't purchased yet, because they require you to pay for a year up front, but I do have intentions to purchase it in the near future, and will write a review at that time.
Overall, so far, I'm very satisfied with my choice, and I am enjoying my Kindle Fire for the time being. I will keep you updated!