The Kindle Fire reviews are in, and we’ve constructed a review roundup to see what all the major sites and reviewers say. What do they think of Amazon’s entry into the tablet market? Hit the jump to read on.
NYT – Videos play well, although neither movies nor TV shows match the screen’s proportions, and you can’t zoom in to eliminate the letterbox bars. Glare on this superglossy screen is a problem, too.
The Verge – The 1024 x 600 LCD display does a fine job with all sorts of media, displaying bright colors and crisp text. Touch response on the capacitive screen seemed relatively good — I do take issue with some scrolling behavior, though I think it has more to do with software than anything else.
Engadget – Again, this is a 1024 x 600 IPS LCD panel that measures 7-inches from one corner all the way over to the opposite one. Those are the same specs as on the PlayBook and, as far as we can tell, this is the same panel. That’s a reasonably good thing, because while it won’t wow you at its maximum brightness, color reproduction is good and viewing angles are just as broad as you’d expect from an IPS panel.
MSN – As far as screen quality goes, it’s on par with the iPad.
Wired – Pixel for pixel, the tablet’s 1024×600 display actually delivers quite nice image quality. Unfortunately, though, the screen isn’t adequately proportioned for magazine content. (Wired also mentions that it’s too small for most tablet activities).
Gizmodo – It’s neither Retina Display nor e-ink, no. But for a conventional LCD, it looks about as great as you can expect—after hours of reading on a dark train, my eyes felt fine.
iSmashPhone’s Take: Overall, it’s a nice screen, produces nice colors and looks as good as any other screen. The only complaints some had were that it’s too small for magazine reading.
NYT – Most problematic, though, the Fire does not have anything like the polish or speed of an iPad. You feel that $200 price tag with every swipe of your finger. Animations are sluggish and jerky — even the page turns that you’d think would be the pride of the Kindle team.
The Verge – The Fire isn’t a speed demon, though it definitely holds its own in the specs department.
Engadget – Stacked up against an iPad 2 the Fire routinely got beat in rendering pages — but often not by much. We also stacked it up against Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, which was often slower. Finally, we couldn’t resist pitting the Fire against the PlayBook, and we found those two to be neck-and-neck in most tests.
MSN – No direct mention of overall speed, but they mentioned that the browser is fast – “Speaking of fluid, the Fire’s Silk browser is nice and quick, and only gets faster as it wises up to your browsing patterns. ”
Wired – The Fire’s processor, a 1GHz dual-core chip, appears all but insufficient for fluid, silky-smooth web browsing, an area where I found performance to be preternaturally slow.
Gizmodo – Books, even very long ones, spring open quickly; page turning is, most of the time, very responsive…Oh, and that much bandied browser, Silk? It works just as well as Amazon said… I said the Fire is very responsive, most of the time. Most of the time, yes. But when it’s not, it’s awful.
iSmashPhone’s Take: Seems that the speed is satisfactory. It’s not as fast as an iPad, but for $200, who expected it to be?
NYT – It’s a chunky-thick, seven-inch, shiny black tablet.
The Verge – Still, the device feels solid and well made in your hands. It’s got enough heft that it feels substantial, but it’s not so heavy that you feel strain when holding it for extended periods. Unlike the 1.3 pound iPad 2, I never felt fatigue after reading a book or magazine on the Fire.
Engadget – It’s a perfectly usable tablet that feels good in the hand.
MSN – It could be a little easier to grip, but Amazon went minimalist here, rather than opting for some weird-looking ergonomics. Because of the size, reading is easier than on an iPad.
Wired – No direct mention
Gizmodo – Fire feels massive beyond its small-ish frame—which, by the way, is sturdy and satisfying to hold, like a good paperback.
iSmashPhone’s Take: Comfortable to hold according to the reviewers. It’s light, and doesn’t start to feel heavy after extended use.
NYT – No direct mention.
The Verge – The battery on the Fire certainly lived up to Amazon’s claim of 8 hours for “continuous reading.” In fact, it might have slightly outperformed the ratings while I was using it. Much like my experience with the iPad and iPad 2, I never really found myself worrying about charging the device.
Engadget – In our standard video rundown test the Fire managed seven hours and 42 minutes. That’s 12 minutes more than the seven and a half hours Amazon promises it can deliver when playing video, reaffirming our belief that there is truth in advertising. Sometimes.
MSN – I didn’t run it into the ground in one sitting, but I managed to go several days of regular use between charges. Again, an iPad can go longer — mine lasts nearly a week between charges. Still, the Fire’s battery life ought to be satisfactory for most people.
Wired – There’s just one problem: Because cheaper Kindle models that feature e-ink screen technology are so much better suited to marathon reading sessions, I can’t imagine ever using the Fire to, say, knock out 200-plus pages of George R.R. Martin on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
Gizmodo – No direct mention other than specs.
iSmashPhone’s Take: Everyone agreed that battery life is more or less what was advertised by Amazon. That’s a good thing.
NYT – But at the moment, it needs a lot more polish; if you’re used to an iPad or “real” Android tablet, its software gremlins will drive you nuts.
The Verge – It’s a well thought out tablet that can only get better as the company refines the software. It’s not perfect, but it’s a great start, and at $200, that may be all Amazon needs this holiday shopping season.
Engadget – It isn’t a perfect experience, but if nothing else it’s a promising look into the future of retail commerce.
MSN – But for the moment, and perhaps for the time being, Kindle Fire is well worth its amazingly low price.
Wired – If you already have $200 in your high-tech hardware slush fund, and you’re not willing to splurge one cent more, I suggest you wait longer before pulling the trigger on a tablet. Let that nest egg build. Let it grow interest. Wait for the Kindle Fire 2.
Gizmodo – It’s a terrific, compact little friend, and—is this even saying anything?—the best Android tablet to date.
iSmashPhone’s Take: This part is split. Some say it’s the best Android out there. Some say it’s a definite purchase at $200, and some say save your money.
Is the Kindle Fire for You?
What do you think of the reviews so far? Is the Kindle Fire your kind of tablet? Gizmodo seemed to love it, while the New York Times and Wired seemed unimpressed. The Verge seemed to think it was a good enough tablet for $200 and MSN loved it.
You can read the full reviews (and we suggest that you do) by hitting the links below: