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Kindle Fire review

7.4/10 AVG.
RATING



7.4/10
Informr score
The Kindle Fire currently has an Informr score of 7.4 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 32 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

The Amazon Kindle Fire is a low cost tablet computer that was first released in November 2011 and has gone on to become one of the most popular Android-powered tablets ever. It can be argued that it contributed a great deal in popularizing the 7-inch tablet form factor. Despite the fact that it runs an older version of the Android software, it managed to attract a great deal of attention from all around the world. Apart from being portable and handy, the Fire retails for just $199, and that’s part of what has made it one of the fastest rising tablets in history.

Amazon is reportedly losing money with every Kindle Fire sold due to its $200 price tag. However, Amazon is betting that sooner or later users will pay for content available on its online store and that’s how it actually makes money—with its digital offerings. So what, other than its very affordable price, gets people to want to buy this tablet?

First off, the 7-inch 600x1024 pixel resolution makes it extremely portable. It measures 11mm thick and weighs only 413 grams, so users are able to carry it around easily whether in a bag or inside a pouch. Its other hardware features include microUSB connectivity, Wi-Fi, stereo speakers, and 8GB of internal storage. Processing duties are handled by a 1GHz dual core TI OMAP CPU and 512MB of RAM, which is plenty for using the device for what it was meant to be used for: multimedia content consumption. That means reading books, listening to music, watching movies, and even playing games. Given that the Fire offers up to 7.5 hours of video playback, users will find it quite convenient to lug around during their day-to-day activities.

As mentioned earlier, it runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread. A forked version, to be more specific. It has been tailor-made to work well with Amazon’s online services, and includes a new type of Web browser called Amazon Silk. It may be worth spending a couple of hundred dollars to get the Kindle Fire if you are a loyal Amazon customer or want to get started using Amazon’s digital services. Otherwise, there are probably better options available in the market now, starting with Google’s very own Nexus 7.

Need To Know: Amazon Kindle Fire

1. Small, portable, and lightweight yet offers enough battery life to last throughout a day’s worth of moderate to heavy use. (The Good)

2. Tight integration with Amazon online services makes it very easy to get books, music, movies, and games. (The Good)

3. Built-in multi-touch display has disappointingly low native resolution. (The Bad)

4. Amazon has no plans of providing official updates to the Android software in the future. (The Bad)


Operating system
Android
Processor
1 GHz
Screen Size
7"
Camera
No


What the Critics Are Saying...


GottaBeMobile

Consumers looking for a full-fledged Android tablet with all the features and specs one expects plus full access to Google Play apps and experience will be happy with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2. It more than justifies its $50 premium over the Fire both on the hardware and software fronts. Consumers de...

- K. T. Bradford, GottaBeMobile
GottaBeMobile

Consumers who have simple needs or a tight budget should go for the Kindle Fire. Though not as well-rounded as the iPad, Amazon’s tablet can boast a good content ecosystem, a decent selection of apps, and ultra portability. People looking for a tablet with more of everything from apps to content to...

- K.T. Bradford, GottaBeMobile
GSMArena

It should be clear by now that the Kindle Fire isn't the cheap Android tablet some people may've been waiting for. Oh well, it is cheap. Not so sure about Android and tablet. It's more like the Kindle for music and video that loyal Kindle and Amazon users may not have been waiting for but just could...

- GSMArena team, GSMArena
TechTree

The tab offers a good capacitive touchscreen, a long battery life, and decent multimedia options. However, the lack of an app store and Cloud support (for India) is a letdown. Moreover the sparse connectivity options also weakens the device's case as a good tablet. However, if you are looking for a...

- Kamakshi S, TechTree
Pocketables

When I first got the Fire I was really excited about it. It appeared to be a combination of great hardware, solid software and integration, and an even better price. I don't want to say I am disappointed, per say, but as I continued to use the tablet it just seemed to become less awesome. Quirks mad...

- Aaron Orquia, Pocketables


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Quick view

Screen Size
7"

The Kindle Fire's screen size is 7 inches with x pixels resolution.

Processor
1 GHz

There is a Dual Core TI OMAP 4 1 GHz processor (CPU).

OS

The tablet runs on proprietary operating system firmware.

Camera
No
This model has no built-in camera. Sorry, no selfies.
Storage
8 GB

Internal memory is 8 GB. No external card slot is available for expansion.

Battery
4400mAh

The tablet is powered by a Lithium Polymer (Li-Pol), 4400 mAh battery. Amazon's performance ratings are 10 days standby time, 6 hours Wi-Fi surfing.

Kindle Fire Specs

Overview
Release date November 15, 2011
Regions available USA
Networks
No cellular data
SIM card No
Dual SIM No
Operating System

Compare Android Tablets

Secondary OS No
Processor Dual Core TI OMAP 4 1 GHz
Internal Storage 8 GB
RAM 512 MB
ROM No
Digital compass No
Flightmode No
Hearing Aid Compatible No
TTY/TDD No
SAR Unknown
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included AC Charger, Manual
Power & battery
Type Lithium Polymer (Li-Pol)
Battery Capacity 4400 mAh
Removable Battery No
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging No
Battery Charge Time 4 hours
Video Playback Time Up to: 7 hours
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Up to: 6 hours
Internet Use (Celluar) Unknown
Reading Time Up to: 8 hours
Standby Time Up to: 10 days
Physical Characteristics
Material Plastic
Colors Black
Dimensions [H x W x D] 19.1 x 11.9 x 1.1 cm (7.5 x 4.7 x 0.4 in)
Weight 413 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Unknown
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology LCD (IPS)
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution x pixels
Pixel density Unknown
Size 7 inches
3D No
Sensors Motion / Accelerometer
Graphics Yes
Themes No
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock No
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features Capacitive Touchscreen
Input / Navigation
Touchscreen Yes
Sleep / Wake Key No
Home Key No
Mute Key No
Predictive Text Entry No
Physical keyboard No
Text-to-Speech No
Screen Reader No
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control No
Fingerprint Sensor No
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling No
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) No
Contact List Capacity Unknown
Multiple Numbers Per Contact No
Contact Groups No
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, AOL
Messaging No
Connectivity
USB Micro-USB 2.0
USB OTG Support No
Infrared No
Bluetooth No
WiFi 802.11 b/g
WiFi Encryption WPA/WPA2
Mobile Hotspot No
WiMAX No
Memory Expansion Slot No
Expansion Slot Info No
PC Synchronization No
TV Out No
DLNA Support No
NFC No
Camera
Main Camera
Aperture
Unknown
Dual lens
No
Zoom
No
Flash
No
Additional Main Camera Info
No
Video Recording Formats
H.264 / AVC
Video Recording Parameters
Front Camera
Zoom
No
Additional Front Camera Info
No
Video Recording Parameters
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats MIDI, MP3, MP4, AAC, WAV, OGG
Radio No
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats H.264 / AVC
Mobile TV No
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Stereo
Headset Jack 3.5mm
Custom Ringtones No
Vibration Alert No
Apps
To-Do / Task List No
Calendar No
World Clock No
Alarm No
Stop Watch No
Timer No
Calculator No
Currency Converter No
Document Viewer Yes
Viewable document types AZW, BMP, DOC, DOCX, GIF, JPG, PDF, TXT
Weather No
Stocks No
Maps No
NotePad No
Voice Memos / Recorder No
Games Yes
Apps Yes
Included Software / Apps -
More
Additional comments Other Names (AKA): Amazon Kindle 7

Related Links Manual (PDF)
Kindle Fire Reviews
Where to buy Kindle Fire
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Critic Reviews


GottaBeMobile

Consumers deeply tied into Amazon’s ecosystem or who need a simplified tablet experience will be happy with the Kindle Fire

from GottaBeMobile

Consumers looking for a full-fledged Android tablet with all the features and specs one expects plus full access to Google Play apps and experience will be happy with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2. It more than justifies its $50 premium over the Fire both on the hardware and software fronts. Consumers...More

Consumers looking for a full-fledged Android tablet with all the features and specs one expects plus full access to Google Play apps and experience will be happy with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2. It more than justifies its $50 premium over the Fire both on the hardware and software fronts. Consumers deeply tied into Amazon’s ecosystem or who need a simplified tablet experience will be happy with the Kindle Fire. It’s a capable device and a better choice for less tech-savvy users.

Read full review

Less

GottaBeMobile

Customers heavily tied into Amazon’s ecosystem and content will be happy with the Fire

from GottaBeMobile

Consumers who have simple needs or a tight budget should go for the Kindle Fire. Though not as well-rounded as the iPad, Amazon’s tablet can boast a good content ecosystem, a decent selection of apps, and ultra portability. People looking for a tablet with more of everything from apps to content to resolution will be happier with the iPad.

Read full review

Consumers who have simple needs or a tight budget should go for the Kindle Fire. Though not as well-rounded as the iPad, Amazon’s tablet can boast a good content ecosystem, a decent selection of apps, and ultra portability. People looking for a tablet with more of everything from apps to content to resolution will be happier with the iPad.

Read full review

Less

GSMArena

The Kindle is so cheap because it lacks many basic features

It should be clear by now that the Kindle Fire isn't the cheap Android tablet some people may've been waiting for. Oh well, it is cheap. Not so sure about Android and tablet. It's more like the Kindle for music and video that loyal Kindle and Amazon users may not have been waiting for but just co...More

It should be clear by now that the Kindle Fire isn't the cheap Android tablet some people may've been waiting for. Oh well, it is cheap. Not so sure about Android and tablet. It's more like the Kindle for music and video that loyal Kindle and Amazon users may not have been waiting for but just couldn't say no to. The Kindle Fire keeps it simple. It's a multimedia player, which feeds mostly on paid content from Amazon's catalog. They've thrown in email and a web browser (not nearly as revolutionary as they said it would be, but not bad either). There's nothing else to distract users from its main purpose - buying content that's a click away. There must be people who bought the Kindle Fire - or about to - without ever planning to have an Amazon account. They can load their own content and find ways to play it, getting around the Fire's limited file support. It's not impossible to root the Kindle Fire either. And the effort may even seem worth it - $200 for a tablet is a bargain, no doubt about that.

Read full review

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TechTree

Well priced, lacks expandable memory, only Wi-Fi connectivity

from TechTree

The tab offers a good capacitive touchscreen, a long battery life, and decent multimedia options. However, the lack of an app store and Cloud support (for India) is a letdown. Moreover the sparse connectivity options also weakens the device's case as a good tablet. However, if you are looking for...More

The tab offers a good capacitive touchscreen, a long battery life, and decent multimedia options. However, the lack of an app store and Cloud support (for India) is a letdown. Moreover the sparse connectivity options also weakens the device's case as a good tablet. However, if you are looking for a budget tablet, the Kindle Fire is definitely is a better option.

Read full review

Less

Pocketables

Great hardware, solid software, awesome design

from Pocketables

When I first got the Fire I was really excited about it. It appeared to be a combination of great hardware, solid software and integration, and an even better price. I don't want to say I am disappointed, per say, but as I continued to use the tablet it just seemed to become less awesome. Quirks made themselves more apparent, performance slowed slightly, and annoyances like purchased apps not being available dampened the experience....

More

When I first got the Fire I was really excited about it. It appeared to be a combination of great hardware, solid software and integration, and an even better price. I don't want to say I am disappointed, per say, but as I continued to use the tablet it just seemed to become less awesome. Quirks made themselves more apparent, performance slowed slightly, and annoyances like purchased apps not being available dampened the experience.

However, when you use the Kindle as Amazon intended, it excels. Books, music, videos, magazines, and any other content from Amazon integrates wonderfully into the experience, and is easy to access and purchase. Anything having to do with Amazon works perfectly and almost always automatically, and if I lived in Amazon's ecosystem the experience would have been awesome.

Unfortunately in this case, I live in Google's ecosystem. And while the Kindle Fire may carry the label of an Android tablet, in practice it is not one. The only thing it really carries over is application compatibility, and even then things can be problematic as you have read. Otherwise, the Fire is a different beast. Amazon has made it into a lean and simple consumption machine, and for that it works wonderfully.

If you expect the Fire to be an Android tablet, you will be disappointed. Amazon's software is good, but at the core its really just a mechanism to get you to buy from them. The design, though, is still awesome, and the hardware really can't be beat for the price. Just keep in mind that if you want something more than a consumption machine you'll have to tweak it yourself, and the Kindle Fire should serve you well.

Read full review

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BWOne

A tablet that is easily accessible to everyone

from BWOne

For a first try Amazon has done a great job in creating a tablet that is easily accessible to everyone. It’s a great mix of a e-reader and tablet features.  It’s focus is on consuming media and content and not necessarily creating it. This isn’t the tablet for work. Tables...More

For a first try Amazon has done a great job in creating a tablet that is easily accessible to everyone. It’s a great mix of a e-reader and tablet features.  It’s focus is on consuming media and content and not necessarily creating it. This isn’t the tablet for work. Tables are still questionable in terms of real productivity and this one won’t answer that question. However for $200 you will get a media centric device that you will enjoy watching movies and TV shows, reading books and magazines, play a few games and listening to music.

Read full review

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Hardware Secrets

Solid build, good screen, excellent video playback, no expandable memory

from Hardware Secrets

There is a natural tendency to compare all tablets to the popular, ground-breaking iPad, but the Amazon Kindle Fire really can’t be compared to the iPad. It is an entirely different, less expensive category of tablet. At less than one half of the price of the cheapest iPad, this should not be surprising. The Fire performs all the basic tablet functions quite well. You can easily use it to send and receive email, surf the Web, listen to music, read digital books and magazines, and play games. While the app selection is not as large as that of the iTunes store or the Android marketplace, there are good selections of games, entertainment, social networking, and productivity apps including must-have apps like Netflix, Pandora, Hulu, Angry Birds, and more....

More

There is a natural tendency to compare all tablets to the popular, ground-breaking iPad, but the Amazon Kindle Fire really can’t be compared to the iPad. It is an entirely different, less expensive category of tablet. At less than one half of the price of the cheapest iPad, this should not be surprising. The Fire performs all the basic tablet functions quite well. You can easily use it to send and receive email, surf the Web, listen to music, read digital books and magazines, and play games. While the app selection is not as large as that of the iTunes store or the Android marketplace, there are good selections of games, entertainment, social networking, and productivity apps including must-have apps like Netflix, Pandora, Hulu, Angry Birds, and more.

For the price, the solidity of the hardware and the screen quality of the Fire are exceptional. Although the Fire is lacking some of the hardware options like cameras that are found in higher-end tablets, we found this to be acceptable because of its price. There are, however, two hardware limitations that we felt were weak points for even a basic tablet. We felt that Amazon should have included a microphone and a hardware volume control. We certainly hope that they will be included in future versions.

Although storage is very limited, Amazon provides useful cloud storage that offsets this limitation. There are limited customization options, but this results in a device that is very easy to use. We expect to see more customization options added as the operating system is updated. In fact, Amazon has already promised that such an update would be forthcoming.

With an extremely large bookstore, an excellent selection of music, and a constantly growing number of videos and apps, Amazon has made content a big draw for the Fire. It has also made it easier to access that content than any other tablet, including the iPad. Content and ease of access to that content is where the Kindle Fire excels and why it will be popular.

Power users might be frustrated by the lack of advanced features like cameras, GPS, Bluetooth, and/or by the small screen. These users should opt for a full-blown tablet. Those expecting basic functionality will be happy with the Fire. It is quite simply an outstanding entertainment device at an affordable price.

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Electronista

The Fire brings most of the essential tablet features at less than half the cost of its competitors

from Electronista

The Fire, as an e-reader, is unlikely to woo most Kindle owners who are already content with the E Ink models, which offer a superior reading experience for most books. The device does make sense as a first tablet, with a price tag that serves as a closer fit for many holiday gift budgets.

Read full review

The Fire, as an e-reader, is unlikely to woo most Kindle owners who are already content with the E Ink models, which offer a superior reading experience for most books. The device does make sense as a first tablet, with a price tag that serves as a closer fit for many holiday gift budgets.

Read full review

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Macnn

The device does make sense as a first tablet, with a price tag that serves as a closer fit for many holiday gift budgets

from Macnn

The Kindle Fire has arrived as a latecomer to the tablet arena, offered by the biggest name in online retail. Amazon is undoubtedly targeting customers who are also considering the iPad and other high-end tablets, however the Fire is clearly attempting to compete through price rather than feature...More

The Kindle Fire has arrived as a latecomer to the tablet arena, offered by the biggest name in online retail. Amazon is undoubtedly targeting customers who are also considering the iPad and other high-end tablets, however the Fire is clearly attempting to compete through price rather than features. For $200, we feel the device is a bargain in the same way that the discounted PlayBook is a good deal—bringing most of the essential tablet features at less than half the cost of its competitors.

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HotHardware

Brilliant IPS display, easy to navigate, solid build quality

from HotHardware

The Kindle Fire isn't in the same league as the iPad 2. It's not really fair to compare a $199 tablet with another that starts at $499, but regardless of the injustice, that's what people shopping a slate are going to do. If you're in the market for a tablet, you don't care what's fair, you're just looking to make the best purchasing decision, and if you have $499 to spend, you'll get more enjoyment from the iPad 2 than you will with the Kindle Fire. That's just the way it is....

More

The Kindle Fire isn't in the same league as the iPad 2. It's not really fair to compare a $199 tablet with another that starts at $499, but regardless of the injustice, that's what people shopping a slate are going to do. If you're in the market for a tablet, you don't care what's fair, you're just looking to make the best purchasing decision, and if you have $499 to spend, you'll get more enjoyment from the iPad 2 than you will with the Kindle Fire. That's just the way it is.

As a $199 tablet, the Kindle Fire is sometimes really good, other times not so much, and in some cases it's merely alright. What I like most about the Kindle Fire, other than the price, is the IPS display. It's bright, vibrant, and viewable from almost any angle with no discernible loss in picture quality. Amazon's ability to include a high-end display on a device in this price range is pretty incredible, and it's a major win for the Kindle Fire.

I also like the integration with Amazon Cloud. Sure, barely more than 6GB of usable onboard storage is a bummer, and it's compounded by the fact that there's no microSD card slot. But being so closely tied to Amazon Cloud takes some of the sting out of this, and I'll take the Amazon Cloud Player over Apple's iTunes 11 times out of 10.

Where the Kindle Fire turns cold is in browsing the web. This is not the tablet to buy if you're a heavy web surfer; you'll end up frustrated by its consistently choppy performance and feel betrayed by all the hype over Amazon's Silk browser. I'm not sure if a future update will address this or not, but today, the Fire just isn't a solid choice in a tablet for browsing the web, plain and simple. Casual surfers, however, won't be as turned off, just occasionally annoyed.

I'm also disappointed that you can't download apps from Google's Android Market, though I understand the decision to direct users to Amazon's own Appstore for Android. The Kindle Fire is first and foremost a content delivery platform for Amazon's services, and the tight integration is precisely why Amazon can afford to sell the Kindle Fire for $199, presumably at a loss. Still, it's frustrating to be limited to a single app store, and there are some popular Android apps that aren't available, which makes this limitation even worse.

So if the Kindle Fire isn't an iPad killer, then what is it? Well, it's a $199 Android tablet built from the ground up for fun and play. It's a content consumption device firmly planted into Amazon's ecosystem, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. It's less than ideal at times, but the upside is that the Kindle Fire is incredibly easy to use, it looks great, and it's a lot of fun for a reasonable price.

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