Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Kindle Fire

Well, I finally broke down and got an ebook device. For Christmas and my birthday, my wife and daughter have bought me a Kindle Fire. I was mainly looking for a reader so the tablet features it does possess are a bonus. I think if people buy with the idea that it is a cheap iPad then they will probably be disappointed, but if they accept it for what it is they will enjoy using it. I have been using mine non-stop since I brought it home this past weekend.

I have never used a regular Kindle before, so I have no idea how much I would prefer the regular Kindle's eInk display over the display in the fire for reading purposes. I just finished my first book on the Fire, and it was surprising how quickly I adjusted to reading on the device, and now possibly prefer it to physical books.

For regular reading the Fire is great, but I do have a minor annoyance with the ways maps are handled in history books. You can click on the map image and bring up a larger image, but it is the image you clicked on scaled to a larger size, and will be very pixelated and not be easier to read. I think it would be better if the publishers, or Amazon modified the format if this isn't possible, used a larger image that they scaled down for the normal view so you could click it and bring up a nice image to look at. I did buy an atlas of the Gettysburg campaign to see how it would look, and in this case it actually looks nice. I have also looked at a couple of programming books and it varies between books as to how nice the code formatting looks. I would tend to use the programming books through the kindle app on the pc instead of the kindle itself though so it isn't an issue for me. PDFs seem to render pretty well. I have copied over a bunch of manuals for my pc wargames to the kindle so I can consult them while playing the games.

The app store isn't nearly as populated as iTunes, but there are some useful apps available.

For web browsing once I find what I want to read, I find it nicer to turn the fire sideways and read in landscape mode which allows the page to be zoomed in more. The silk browser seems to function well enough and is fairly responsive so far.

I haven't spent much time with audio or video, but they seem to function adequately.

The battery life would certainly be better on the older kindle, but the fire seems to hold a charge long enough to use it throughout the day, and charge it at night. For multimedia use it probably wouldn't last as long.

Overall I would say it is a good purchase for me. My wife had the iPad2 and enjoys it immensely, but the fire probably does all I need a device to do, and actually the smaller form factor probably means it will get more use from me than if I had bought an iPad or ASUS eePad.