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Reviews of Kindle Fire Are a Mixed Bag 381

Posted by samzenpus
from the pretty-good-not-bad-about-the-same dept.
MrSeb writes "Ahead of tomorrow's full-scale launch of Amazon's new wunderkind, panacea, and lynch-pin of its continuing distribution domination, initial reviews of the Kindle Fire are starting to trickle in... and they're not as fantastic as we had hoped. Unsurprisingly, not a single review is denying that the bright screen, solid construction, and $200 price point make for a perfect holiday season outing — but to actually win the hearts of consumers, to steal those throbbing, Cupertino-captivated organs away from the iPad, the Kindle Fire has to be amazing... and it isn't. Throughout almost every review, one particularly telling observation rears its ugly head: the Kindle Fire can be sluggish. Page turns can lag. Menus can be slow to load. Screen touches can be unresponsive. For a device that is entirely about media consumption, the Fire will live or die depending on its perceived alacrity. If an E Ink Kindle or Nook is better for reading books, and a smartphone or iPad is better for watching movies or listening to music, what space is there for the Fire?"
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Reviews of Kindle Fire Are a Mixed Bag

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  • Stock roms, lawl (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 14, 2011 @01:40PM (#38049976)

    Let it get rooted, and optimized by XDA devs and we can see what the tablet can really do.

    • Re:Stock roms, lawl (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Erbo (384) <obreerbo&gmail,com> on Monday November 14, 2011 @01:56PM (#38050162) Homepage Journal
      I came here to say that, or at least to ask the question: Has the Fire been rooted yet? Is it as hacker-friendly as, say, the B&N Nook Color?
      • Nobody is going to have it in their hands until tomorrow, I'm guessing it will be another week or two.

        • Rooting will probably happen overnight. It is an older version of Android. Amazon stated they realized it would be rooted but asked people not to do it.

          It doesn't have a GPS, nor cameras, nor external flash, nor HDMI, nor microphone, and has a limited amount of flash and RAM.

          Android altogether has issues with codecs other than h.264.

          The point is, that even if they did root it and hack away there's too little to work with as far as the hardware goes.

    • by lsolano (398432) on Monday November 14, 2011 @03:45PM (#38051426)

      Even if it can be rooted, that will not make it succeed. How many people can actually root a device?

      I think the 90% (maybe more) of the people that buys a Kindle (or any tablet) do not even know about what rooting a device is.

      • Actually I'd say that thanks to iDevices, a huge percentage of the population have heard of rooting a device, and a whole lot of people consider it normal or even necessary to use the device. In the past couple of years I've seen plenty of less tech-savvy people get a new android phone, and then immediately start asking how to root it, despite not having a single benefit to them that they can list. They just know that iPhones need it to unlock full functionality, so androids must too.

        How Amazons walled
    • by PaladinAlpha (645879) on Monday November 14, 2011 @08:08PM (#38054376)

      This.

      The whole story is partisan trash; I invite anyone to go to the articles source and browse the archives. They literally have a "why this is going to fail" article for every major Android product release, obscure "experts" decrying the benefit of any tech not found in iPhones (quad-core processors, newer nVidia chips, etc.), talk about how new Android versions "won't save them"; they do have a (very few) positive articles about Android features, but the overwhelming majority of content on their site is anti-Android and pro-Apple. There are valid complaints to have with Android, but it's top in marketshare, and it looks just a little fishy when 90% of stories are so heavily critical of Android.

      That's without getting to the meat of the matter, though. They make a lot of talk in the article about the poor reviews, about problems rearing their "ugly heads" throughout "almost every review," and then at the end they link two -- one of which calls the Kindle Fire "revolutionary" and gives it their first Editor's Choice for small tablets, and the other stating it's unquestionably a terrific value. Neither is anything but enthusiastic. So one has to wonder where, exactly, the conclusion in TFA comes from?

      This is just more Apple dittohead speak. Apple makes quality products. I wish they made quality users.

  • We are getting one (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Erect Horsecock (655858) on Monday November 14, 2011 @01:40PM (#38049978) Homepage Journal

    It's sole purpose is basically "grab that and look up x" device for the living room and game night in the kitchen. It's not for games, certainly isn't for reading (I have a real kindle for that), and sure isn't meant to replace my laptop for media consumption.

    $200 isn't that bad for a little net portal.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      It's sole purpose is basically "grab that and look up x" device for the living room and game night in the kitchen. It's not for games, certainly isn't for reading (I have a real kindle for that), and sure isn't meant to replace my laptop for media consumption.

      $200 isn't that bad for a little net portal.

      If those are its strengths, then why not just use a notebook computer? Well, early doors. Maybe they'll go back to their techs, beat them mercilessly with a frozen haddock, and updates will be forthcoming which sort it out and make it a little bit better.

      • The gaming table is already pretty full and I don't want to make room for my 17in MBP. The Fire on the other hand seems like it will fit the bill nicely since it's the same size as a Playbook which had a presence at the table for a while before it was stolen :/

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Threni (635302)

        > If those are its strengths, then why not just use a notebook computer?

        Same strengths as the iPad, though. A "laptop that's not quite a laptop which never goes outdoors".

        I just read both the reviews linked to, and the sluggishness was about the only negative thing, and as someone else just pointed out here, most people don't notice that sort of thing. You dragged the screen left, and the screen scrolled left. That's not something you usually get on the phone to customer services about.

        It's a $200 tabl

      • by Viewsonic (584922) on Monday November 14, 2011 @02:09PM (#38050332)

        Seriously? You can't hold a laptop in one hand, and flick it on and within seconds you're on a web page and passing it around to your friends.

        Laptops are unwieldy devices, not meant to be pop on, pop off for quick info bites. Or sitting on a train doing something. I mean, it's possible, but its a huge PITA and not very fun. $200 is the perfect price point for these devices. Apple will have to play ball if they want to keep the market.

        • by DJRumpy (1345787) on Monday November 14, 2011 @02:52PM (#38050828)

          Somehow I don't think Apple has much to worry about:

          From TFA:

          At this point, diehard Android fans are laughing their heads off. Everyone knows that Android suffers significant, sporadic slowdowns — but we assumed, given how much effort Amazon had put into customizing the OS , that the Fire would somehow be different. It turns out that that simply isn’t the case; and in fact, it looks and feels like the Fire OS is just a reskinned version of Android. Worse yet, the Fire doesn’t have a dedicated home or back button — and lest you think that it makes good use of on-screen buttons, like Ice Cream Sandwich , think again: The Fire OS is based on Gingerbread, which means that Amazon had to hack in on-screen home, back, and menu buttons. Unsurprisingly, but still disappointingly, reviewers seem to find these soft buttons hard unresponsive and/or finicky. The Fire only has a single dedicated button, incidentally — a power button — and it’s in such a position that can be easily depressed when in use.

          Suggesting that users won't notice unresponsive screens, buttons, an general lag is just burying your head in the sand. I foresee some initial excitement for this pad just like all the others before it, and then buyers remorse will kick in about the time the larger reviews do.

    • by adosch (1397357) on Monday November 14, 2011 @01:52PM (#38050112)

      $200 isn't that bad for a little net portal.

      While I agree 100% with that, how many times over are you going to spend that kind of money to find the 'shining light' that holds it's weight against the iPad before ultimately spending enough of your own money on sub-par devices that you could outright owned an iPad?

      No, I'm not a Apple fan boi, but the iPad is a pretty fantastic device. Nothing can touch it right now and I think what gets all of us as end-point consumers is everyone's marketing bullshit lately to get into the tablet market and make a quick, almighty dollar off all of us.

      I think the e-Reader should remain an e-Reader. Period. Perhaps the slight reach to make it enough to casually surf the internet and check e-mail I can live with, but that's where B&N and Amazon are making their mistake IMHO: Taking something and making it something it's not. Let's not forget the iPad was a touch-screen computing device with 'e-Reader and multi-media capabilities' not the other way around.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        I am an Apple fan boy and I've never enjoyed using iOS. Until it ships with something else I won't own one.

      • Because most people don't need a $500 device to do what they want a tablet to do. The Fire does those things without being overkill, both on features and on your wallet.

        With the Fire you aren't paying for 3G if you don't want to (pay a monthly fee for very slow internet access). You aren't paying for a bunch of storage that you don't need. You aren't paying for a camera and a microphone, which most people don't care about in a tablet. Apple packs all these features in that are little-used by most in order t

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by RicoX9 (558353)

        We got some iPads here at work to eval for use in various places. I was very underwhelmed. OTOH - My family and I really enjoy our Asus Transformer tablet. Whenever my kids are home for my weekends, a common question from my wife is "Where's the tablet?" I am very happy about not being tied to iTunes either. There's only one iPod left in the house, and it's a nightmare of support when she has problems.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jbolden (176878)

          I'm not sure what this has to do with fire, and beside it is mainly just name calling. Underwhelmed by what? Enjoyed the Asus why? Would rather not be tied to iTunes because? A nightmare of support because?

          You aren't actually saying anything.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      $200 isn't that bad for a little net portal.

      What would happen if they spent another $50 on the CPU and released a $250 version? I bet it would fly off the shelves...

    • by ShawnDoc (572959)
      I've got an iPad 2, and I've got a Kindle Fire on the way for exactly this reason. I found that 90% of my time on the iPad is just using it to check message boards, or look up info on IMDB while watching TV. So a 7" tablet that lighter is a perfect replacement for what I'm using it for. For all those saying "Why not a netbook"? Because a tablet is smaller, or for basic browsing a touch screen is a lot easier to use than a stupid tracpad.
  • Surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 14, 2011 @01:41PM (#38049992)
    A $200 tablet is unresponsive and sluggish? Shocker.
  • Adding the content for Amazon Prime members is enticing... but really, work on how the product feels in the hands of the user (user experience). Then you *might* take some users away from the iPad.

  • Not so sure... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by chaboud (231590) on Monday November 14, 2011 @01:45PM (#38050028) Homepage Journal

    "For a device that is entirely about media consumption, the Fire will live or die depending on its perceived alacrity."

    Really? Given that previous Kindles have been relatively slow to turn pages, and that Hulu and Netflix playback on devices like XBox 360s, Blu-Ray players, and PS3s presents a somewhat less-than-seamless experience, are we confident that "good enough" isn't good enough?

    Not everyone needs everything to be absolutely smooth and stunningly fast. It's nice, but it may not be worth more than doubling the price. Keep in mind that most Americans (and, really, the worldians) aren't geeks. Delays may be okay.

    Will I buy a Fire? Probably not, but I still get that my relatively high standards for devices are relatively high.

    • Really? Given that previous Kindles have been relatively slow to turn pages, and that Hulu and Netflix playback on devices like XBox 360s, Blu-Ray players, and PS3s presents a somewhat less-than-seamless experience, are we confident that "good enough" isn't good enough?

      Given how (relatively) inexpensive the Kindle Fire is, I suspect you're right - although we obviously won't know for a year or so. But I could see this reputation being a problem if Amazon tries to follow the Fire up with a more expensive tablet that's meant to compete against the iPad.

    • by 0xdeadbeef (28836)

      Netflix playback on devices like XBox 360s, Blu-Ray players, and PS3s presents a somewhat less-than-seamless experience

      Have you actually used it or are you just making shit up? The Netflix app on the 360 is stellar, and the version that runs on the PS3 and Google TV devices is pretty good, far better than the native UIs of those systems.

      It's slow as two-legged dog on my iPad, though, so I don't use it.

      • I use netflix on my android phone to queue up stuff on my LG Blue-Ray player. It's a near seamless experience. If I had a Kindle that I could do that with, then it would be much easier. I'm not spending $200 on a remote control, but an ebook reader for my wife for Christmas that doubles as a remote control? Now we're talking.
      • I was enjoying your post, but then my bandwidth changed. I'll have to finish reading it in a few minutes.

    • People don't buy the 360, PS3 or BluRay to stream from Netflix. They buy them to play games, play games and play BluRay Discs respectively. The Netflix thing is just a value add, and people are willing to put up with a big of sluggish behaviour from a value add. If you bought a dedicated Netflix player and it was sluggish, you'd be pissed off.
      • I thought this was true when I bought a PS3 but for last 6 months if you tracked my hours on the device I think you would see Netflix at about 75% of usage and games at 25%. Maybe I'm unusual, but I am surprised at how nice an experience the PS3 + netflix is for watching TV.

  • by ackthpt (218170) on Monday November 14, 2011 @01:46PM (#38050034) Homepage Journal

    What are they doing? Using it to spy on the reader?

    Based upon how long you spent on Page 327 of Cocking the Snook, which contained a lot of words we've run through our aggregator, here are a pile of books you also might enjoy...

  • Most embarrassing (Score:5, Informative)

    by bonch (38532) on Monday November 14, 2011 @01:47PM (#38050052)

    The most embarrassing part is that, like many Android devices, the Fire can't scroll smoothly despite having a dual core processor. Scrolling between pages is pretty important for an Amazon tablet. What is it about this task is so difficult? iOS 1.0 handled it back in 2007 on less powerful devices.

    • by Kartu (1490911) on Monday November 14, 2011 @03:31PM (#38051246)

      So which major brand Android device cannot scroll smoothly?

      Is it Sony Tablet S? Nope, it rocks.
      Is it Samsung Galaxy Tab, thinnest, lightest tablet with best tablet screen ever released according to toms (http://media.bestofmicro.com/benchmarks-review-samsung-galaxy-tab-10-1,G-1-305137-13.png)? Nope, it rocks.

      Yes, there are cheapo devices, that, at fraction of cost, are a bit sluggish. But is it something to wonder about?

  • by DavidinAla (639952) on Monday November 14, 2011 @01:48PM (#38050072)
    I know this is a shock to the fanboys who demand that companies arbitrarily lower prices because they don't want to pay $500 for a tablet, but if you strip something down to a cheap price, there are tradeoffs. You lose some of what people want. OF COURSE it's not as good as an experience as something costing twice as much. Why in the world is this a surprise? If you don't mind the cheaper experience, buy the Fire. If you want something excellent and you think it's worth paying the money, get an iPad. Those are your choices. You can't expect an iPad experience at a Kindle Fire price. Decide whether you want cheap or good, but don't complain that reality won't let you have both.
    • by Naffer (720686)
      Yes. Clearly Amazon is trying to compete with Apple by stripping out some of the features and specs of the iPad to deliver a less expensive device. It's not intended to be a perfect facsimile of the iPad, just a device which can offer a somewhat similar experience for substantially less money. People will expect less out of a $200 device than they do out of a $500 device, and Amazon is hoping that they cut costs in the right places to make a device that people will buy.
    • by saider (177166) on Monday November 14, 2011 @02:00PM (#38050216)

      People were probably hoping that Amazon was selling the Fire at a loss and that they were actually getting a $500 tablet.

    • by Viewsonic (584922)

      Did you read any of the reviews? They all say it holds its own against what the iPad does. Offers quick access to web and email, listen to music, and watch videos. Fire does it just fine for $200. iPad does it just fine for $600. Gee, wonder which one people will end up buying?

      • by DavidinAla (639952) on Monday November 14, 2011 @02:16PM (#38050428)
        No, that's NOT what all the reviews say. Some of the reviews say it does a poor job on really basic things, such as page turns. If you like that -- and want a cheapo experience -- buy it. But don't expect an iPad experience for Fire prices. It won't happen.
        • by Viewsonic (584922)

          Oh no, not page turns. The end of the world. This matters not. It doesn't justify $400 price premium. If you can read books, browse pages, check email, listen to music, and watch videos for $200, it can do everything the iPad does for $400 less. Everything. None of the reviews say its unusable. None say its horrible. None say its not worth buying. All the reviews DO say it's the first iPad competitor they've seen, and mark it highly.

          • All the reviews DO say it's the first iPad competitor they've seen, and mark it highly.

            This is the *first* iPad competitor they've seen? What the heck were the Galaxy Tab, Playbook, Asus Transformer and other post-iPad tablets? Or do they mean the first "respectable" (i.e. non-Chinese knock-off) competitor at a much cheaper price, with all the warts that go with it?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by nightfell (2480334)

            Oh no, not page turns. The end of the world. This matters not.

            Yeah, it's not like you'll be doing something like that over and over again, multiple times per hour, while using the device or anything...

            It doesn't justify $400 price premium.

            $300, but what's being off by 33%? Given your inclination to not sweat the little things, I'm sure this matters not...

            All the reviews DO say it's the first iPad competitor they've seen, and mark it highly.

            I see the money you've saved on buying a Fire has allowed you to invest in rose-colored glasses. That's not what the reviews say at all. Most, in fact, say pretty much the opposite. That they had high hopes and that it really had a lot of potential, based

  • by Oswald McWeany (2428506) on Monday November 14, 2011 @01:50PM (#38050088)

    I'm not saying tablets are a "fad"- they will be around for the foresable future. However, the public's response to tablets at the moment is "fadish".

    It's the cool thing to have- especially for anyone wanting to look yuppyish and in the in-crowd. Not saying they don't have function for many people (although most people would still be more practically served by a netbook).

    So someone needs to fill the niche for the majority of people for whom Apple and other quality tablets are just too expensive.

    So regardless of whether kindle fire is any good- it will sell because there is a need for less wealthy people to feel "with it".

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      The reason netbooks got it so badly is because most people are NOT better served by them. Most people want a portable device to read, watch videos, browse the web, play games and perhaps write an occasional email or Facebook post. A tablet does all of those better except perhaps writing. Perhaps - I much prefer typing on a tablet to the tiny keys of a netbook. And for actual mobile use (you know, when there isn't a table handy to put it on) the tablet wins hands down in everything.

      • I'm not sure I agree.

        You can stick a DVD or a Bluray in a netbook as well as stream video.

        For browsing the web- how often do you not need to type something into google- a keyboard is the best way to do that (for most people).

        If you often find your self wanting to stand up and use a device- sure an tablet would be better- there are other scenarios a tablet is better too- but I think for most people a netbook, whereas less cool, is more functional.

        Like tablets though- there is a wide variety of how good the t

        • Speaking on not agreeing:

          You can't stick a DVD or BR into most netbooks, because most netbooks don't have a disc drive (let alone blu-ray drive).

          For a couple quick google searches, I don't think there's a fundamental difference between a physical keyboard and touchscreen keyboard. Most people are reasonably sufficient on both. Unless you're using the tablet as a primary device (which most wont), you're not usually typing tons and tons on it. Many netbook keyboards are also gimped. I'm probably faster
      • by PCM2 (4486) on Monday November 14, 2011 @02:18PM (#38050456) Homepage

        The reason netbooks got it so badly is because most people are NOT better served by them.

        So what's a netbook? Netbooks were sold as a category, but they really weren't any different than what had come before. Atom processor instead of Core processor, check -- so they have lousy performance. Otherwise all the components were exactly the same as a laptop. It was never much of a stretch to just drop the Atom and build a regular laptop with cheap build quality (which is pretty much what you see in Best Buy now).

        Most people want a portable device to read, watch videos, browse the web, play games and perhaps write an occasional email or Facebook post. A tablet does all of those better except perhaps writing.

        Boy, here I really disagree. I have an Android tablet and I rarely pull it out for anything. Most Web sites are still designed for a pointing device rather than a touch UI. Anything that requires typing, from word processing to Facebook to Slashdot, works better on a device with a keyboard. Tablets work great for Angry Birds, but otherwise I'm just not sure what they're good for.

  • by tsa (15680)

    The blurp looks like an advertisement for the iPad, or at least a 'do not buy a Kindle Fire' ad. Is this really worthy of /.?

  • by gfxguy (98788) on Monday November 14, 2011 @01:52PM (#38050114)
    The problem is people comparing it to an iPad2. It's not an iPad2. I don't feel sorry for anyone buying one thinking it's a cheap iPad2, nor do I think any reasonable people thought they would or should be competing for the same audience.
  • $500 vs $200 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {werdnaredne}> on Monday November 14, 2011 @01:53PM (#38050126) Homepage Journal

    Are they suggesting a $500 item might be better than a $200 item? I'm shocked!

    The fact that a $200 item is competitive feature wise with a $500 item should make it the better value, no?

    • Re:$500 vs $200 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by aiken_d (127097) <brooks@tangent[ ]com ['ry.' in gap]> on Monday November 14, 2011 @02:10PM (#38050342) Homepage

      Depends what you mean by "feature wise". If we ignore screen size (7" versus 10"), memory (8GB versus 16GB), construction (plastic versus aluminum), UX (sluggish versus snappy), thickness (0.45" versus 0.34"), glass coating (none versus oleophobic), camera (none versus front and back), and bluetooth (none versus yes), the features are competitive.

      The Fire may be a better value for you if you don't *want* the iPad's extra features, but it's not like there's feature parity for the $300 price difference.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Enderandrew (866215)

        For what it is worth, iOS devices aren't always fast and snappy. I wait on my iPhone to respond all the time.

        Tablets aren't carried around in pockets in most cases. A tenth of an inch in thickness shouldn't even mean anything to anyone.

        I wipe my iPhone several times a day to remove fingerprints. Supposedly it is finger print resistant but I just don't see it. If the feature worked as advertised, I'd consider it a plus.

        Amazon created a tablet that is primarily there to digest media. You can listen to music,

    • by figleaf (672550)

      To be fair one of those devices comes with a 2x plus markup over the manufacturing price.

  • by daves (23318) on Monday November 14, 2011 @01:53PM (#38050130) Journal

    If an E Ink Kindle or Nook is better for reading books, and a smartphone or iPad is better for watching movies or listening to music, what space is there for the Fire?

    A $200 device that will do both.

  • by noldrin (635339) on Monday November 14, 2011 @01:56PM (#38050164)
    Reminds me of the joke about futons, "a not that comfortable couch that turns into an even less comfortable bed, wow both those things in one!"
  • by dell623 (2021586) on Monday November 14, 2011 @02:02PM (#38050248)

    The comparisons to the iPad are ridiculous. I do expect the Nook Tablet to be a better device and The Nook Color has the least reflective LCD display I have ever seen on a mobile device and the only LCD display I consider good enough to read on.

    However the iPad is a horrible reading device. Anyone who thinks an iPad is a reading device doesn't read much.

    - the iPad has much lower pixel density than the Nook Color/ Tablet and Kindle Fire. You can see it. And peopel who read books aren't going to have much love for pixelated text.

    - the iPad screen is horribly, unusably glossy. Basically the only situation in which you are not dealing with awful reflections is indoors when you manage to position the iPad so that no lights are reflected in it. Outdoor use? Forget it. The Nook Color as I said does a lot better.

    - the iPad is big and bulky for reading. It's not about strength or being too weak to hold up something as light as the iPad, holding something iPad size at arms length for a while gets old really really fast.

    - the iPad is not portable, it is nothing like a book. The Nook Color and similar sized devices like the Kindle Fire fit easily into a jacket pocket or a handbag, the iPad is a pain to carry around in comparison. The iPad is a coffee table device, not a true mobile device.

    What we want from the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet is something that is easier and better to read on and carry around and is a lot cheaper than an iPad. An iPad is a luxury, \anyone who does any seirous work will also have a laptop. The iPad is osmething you pull out when a laptop is inconvenient. Well, 7" tablets are even more convenient, and a lot cheaper than an iPAd which costs more than a basic, extremely competent laptop does.

    The other reason people will buy the Kindle Fire is the same reason people bought those junk $100-120 Android tablets. It's cheap enough to not have to think about. An iPad for a lot of people is a luxury, and something it's not hard to have second thoughts about. 7" tablets will give another reason to not buy an iPad. They are completely different devices, which will actually be more suitable for a lot of people.

    • by jds91md (2439128)
      Boy, my experience is quite different. I think the iPad2 is great for reading. I like real books and audiobooks when I'm running or driving. Never thought of reading a book on a screen, but decided to give it a try. What a pleasure. The screen is great with good resolution and contrast, the page turning is quick and elegant. The device itself is lightweight and comfortable for holding. The iPad just does a lot of things well. Great for media consumption. Not so good for producing anything like ema
    • by repetty (260322)

      Damn, that's a lot of typing!

    • The comparisons to the iPad are ridiculous. I do expect the Nook Tablet to be a better device and The Nook Color has the least reflective LCD display I have ever seen on a mobile device and the only LCD display I consider good enough to read on.

      However the iPad is a horrible reading device. Anyone who thinks an iPad is a reading device doesn't read much.

      Yeah, and despite all that, my Kindle Library pretty darned large thank-you-very-much. 90% of it read on an iPad, the other 10% on my 2nd-gen Kindle which was immediately given to the in-laws once I got the iPad. For my situation, reading on the iPad is a way better situation than the Kindle.

    • by Sancho (17056) * on Monday November 14, 2011 @02:38PM (#38050684) Homepage

      As someone who regularly reads on an iPad, I'm not really there with you.

      - the iPad has much lower pixel density than the Nook Color/ Tablet and Kindle Fire. You can see it. And peopel who read books aren't going to have much love for pixelated text.

      I honestly haven't noticed the text being bad. Maybe I just don't know what I'm missing. A double-density display might be nice (comparing the iPad to the iPhone 4, it's noticeable, but not a degraded experience IMO.)

      - the iPad screen is horribly, unusably glossy. Basically the only situation in which you are not dealing with awful reflections is indoors when you manage to position the iPad so that no lights are reflected in it. Outdoor use? Forget it. The Nook Color as I said does a lot better.

      I agree with this. I got a matte screen protector because of it. I really wish Apple would deal with this problem.

      - the iPad is big and bulky for reading. It's not about strength or being too weak to hold up something as light as the iPad, holding something iPad size at arms length for a while gets old really really fast.

      I don't hold books at arms length. So I guess I never noticed a difference.

      - the iPad is not portable, it is nothing like a book. The Nook Color and similar sized devices like the Kindle Fire fit easily into a jacket pocket or a handbag, the iPad is a pain to carry around in comparison. The iPad is a coffee table device, not a true mobile device.

      I carry mine around in a handbag. I can't imagine having a 7" device in my pocket, jacket or otherwise. Heck, I can barely stand having a 3.5" screen phone in my pocket. It swings around annoyingly while I walk.

      An iPad is a luxury, \anyone who does any seirous work will also have a laptop. The iPad is osmething you pull out when a laptop is inconvenient.

      I never carry a laptop while I travel anymore. iPad in my carryon works great. I might throw a bluetooth keyboard in my checked luggage, if I think I'm going to have to do a whole lot of typing. Simple note-taking is fine without it, as are short, quick e-mails.

      The other reason people will buy the Kindle Fire is the same reason people bought those junk $100-120 Android tablets. It's cheap enough to not have to think about.

      Maybe. There are certainly more people out there who can afford not to think about a $200 purchase than a $500 purchase. I think $200 is still thought-provoking to most people. And anyone who reads specs (admittedly not most people) should be wary of the limited storage on the Fire. The Nook Tablet at $250 provides double the storage and expandability. If I were looking for a 7" tablet, that's where I'd be looking.

  • I am a long time Amazon customer but when it came time to choose a multimedia ebook reader, the Nook Color was just the best deal for me. And to make it more attractive, it's easy to through android on there (though I prefer the stock firmware) and has the ability to let you increase the storage space via a microsd card. It's a great value and I've loved it so far. I heard about this new Amazon device and got excited that I might be able to do all the things I love from the nook, but now with Amazon. Bu
  • Donotwant (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh@gmail.cCOBOLom minus language> on Monday November 14, 2011 @02:08PM (#38050324) Journal

    I have no use for any locked-down toy computers. I disregard any such devices once I learn of their nature, although sometimes I take an interest again if they can be hacked (like the Nook Color).

  • by GreyyGuy (91753) on Monday November 14, 2011 @02:09PM (#38050334)

    The difference will be the price point and ease of use. Sure- the iPad can do it all better, but for 2.5 times the cash. Other devices might be better ebook readers. But getting all of it for under $200? Technology history is full of better devices and technologies losing to "good enough". And the reviews seem to be saying it isn't stellar, but also seem to be saying it will do the job. And how many non-techie people read through all the comparison reviews? I doubt the typical Slashdot reader is Amazon's main intended demographic.

    I wouldn't count it out yet.

  • by slimjim8094 (941042) <slashdot3@justconnected . n et> on Monday November 14, 2011 @02:16PM (#38050434)

    I say this as somebody who doesn't have an iPad and can't figure out why people want one...

    Apple really has pulled something off with the iPad that I think hasn't happened in a long time. There are finally serious competitors to the first iPad, but they're more expensive and not quite as slick. The Galaxy Tab is probably the closest right about now, but it's just not as good. Nothing comes close to the second one in terms of performance, and it's still just $500. This is aside from all the user-interface things that don't figure into the specs.

    I've never seen anything like it. Apple released the first iPad almost 2 years ago and there aren't really any serious competitors. There are serious competitors to the first one, but they came out only just before the release of the second one! A brand new Galaxy Tab is still $500, is a lower resolution, and slower than it's also-$500 competitor!

    The iPad is honestly the cheapest option, but the best anyway. A pretty interesting thing for Apple, even though their high prices are mostly a myth anyway (the cheapest laptop for the specs I wanted was a mac). As we see here, by cutting the price back (and even eating a loss) you lose functionality very quickly.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by dell623 (2021586)

      The Galaxy Tab is much higher resolution, what are on about?

      And it performs better and is thinner than the second iPad, forget the first one.

      Sure, the iPad still kills anything else for software, but if you want a tablet for actual tablet uses of games and movies and reading and browsing, the Galaxy Tab is great. If you want software that is severely crippled compared to what you could run on a cheaper laptop, sure, the iPad is great for yuppies. Why do you think Apple is so desperate to get it banned? Ho

  • by Doc Hopper (59070) <slashdot@barnson.org> on Monday November 14, 2011 @02:22PM (#38050496) Homepage Journal

    The E-Ink versions of the Kindle do what they are supposed to do very, very well. If I sit down to read a book on an E-Ink screen, I can read for several hours without eyestrain. The Kindle E-Ink UI is sluggish, but it is generally consistently sluggish, and my brain soon ignores the sluggishness. The slow page-turning stops mattering after a while -- it takes some time to flip a page on a physical book, too! -- and the lack of glare, easy-read screen, and ability to read in sunlight combine to create a pleasant reading experience.

    I cannot sit and read for hours on my iPad. After a two or three-hour reading session on the iPad -- even with regular breaks! -- the world around me is fuzzy and I'm often nursing the beginnings of a headache. The Barnes & Noble Nook Color shared the same problem. I don't expect any different from the Fire. Close-range LCD creates eyestrain in many people, despite manufacturer claims to the contrary. I can't read an LCD comfortably outdoors in the sunlight, and the glare is horrendous in many situations.

    The Kindle Fire, for me, would only be interesting to me as a replacement for my iPad. So what would I get for $200? A device that isn't a great book reader because I can't read for longer than an hour on it without eyestrain. And now reports claim it shares the same problem every Android device I've used so far suffers from as well: inconsistently sluggish performance. That's the very reason I own an iPad 2 instead of one of the many excellent, high-spec Android tablets out there. UI sluggishness bugs the heck out of me most when it's inconsistent, and I suspect I'm not alone in that observation. The human brain is an organ of prediction, and performance must be predictable to take advantage of that fact.

    The Kindle Fire? Meh, I'll pass, while once again pondering the thought of selling my iPad 2. That is, until the next time I play Dungeon Defenders, want to surf quickly without firing up the laptop, or watch a movie when the kids are using the big screen. The Kindle Fire might survive in that ecosystem and might not. I see no compelling reason to pick one up.

  • I wonder how much of the sluggishness is due to the browser funneling everything through Amazons servers? If you want a consistent user experience the local hardware needs to handle retrieving and rendering, not a remote server. I don't want my browsing dependent on how much traffic Amazon is experiencing.

    Can another browser be used on the Fire besides Silk, one that works like a traditional web browser?

  • False metric (Score:4, Insightful)

    by argStyopa (232550) on Monday November 14, 2011 @02:26PM (#38050546) Journal

    "For a device that is entirely about media consumption, the Fire will live or die depending on its perceived alacrity."

    No, not at all.
    That's the measure about whether it's an iPad.

    It's not.

    The fact is that (I believe) many people will be happy to save $hundred$ in exchange for a little menu-lag. The Fire will live or die depending on its perceived VALUE.

    HP Touchpads failed as a market product, but FLEW off the shelves at a lower pricepoint. That has NOTHING to do with how 'quickly' it displayed stuff....that didn't change between the earlier and later sell-rates.

    Capitalism 101, for those of you in academia.

  • Amazon don't release final products. The Fire sounds like buggy incomplete software like the Touchpad. The difference is HP were complete morons and released the Touchpad for 600. For 200 the Fire will sell like hot cakes any way and Amazon will bring out a software patch in a month or two. The hardware inside the Fire is very potent, and 512MB of RAM is enough for Apple so it is enough for anyone. Amazon have done a poor job of 'improving' gingerbread. But at $200, they have time to fix it. Silk is a stupi

  • I've got my fire-sale HP TouchPad as a couch companion. I don't read as much as I should, but buying DRM-hobbled ebooks (with their inevitably limited virtual 'shelf life') just doesn't appeal to me.
  • by Marrow (195242) on Monday November 14, 2011 @02:48PM (#38050794)

    Are these devices designed to just die in a year or two when the batteries decay? And will they "function" at all when they are running off of supplementary power? My Nook Simple, seems to go braindead when its plugged in. It goes into a "charging" mode.
    I realize this crowd probably wants to use the Fire as a tablet and not as an e-reader. But its being sold as a e-reader and a "replacement" for books. Well, books dont stop working after a few years. What is the max lifetime we can expect from these devices?

  • Blog spam (Score:5, Interesting)

    by artor3 (1344997) on Monday November 14, 2011 @02:57PM (#38050882)

    1. Claim reviews are trickling in
    2. Only link to your own review, and repeat your own thoughts in the summary.
    3. Profit.

    No missing step required. MrSeb submits a link to a review written by someone named Sebastian. Coincidence? I think not.

  • To read the linked article, you'd think the reviews were lukewarm to negative.

    Then you click on one of them, the PC magazine review [pcmag.com] and it gives it "4/5 with its "bottom line" summary as "The first easy-to-use, affordable small-screen tablet, the Amazon Kindle Fire is revolutionary." Verge was slightly less positive, giving it 75%, but finishes with "Still, there's no question that the Fire is a really terrific tablet for its price. "

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