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Amazon Kindle Fire review

The progenitor of the Kindle Fire line still holds up

Our Verdict

The Amazon Kindle Fire lives up to the hype and delivers more. It's by no mean perfect and there's a laundry list of missing features, but at £125, it's better value for money than any Android tablet and a viable alternative to the iPad.

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1024 x 600
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Great price
  • Excellent custom UI
  • Good build quality
  • Great new browser

Against

  • No cameras
  • Erratic performance
  • No Android Market
  • Only 8GB storage without expansion

As we mentioned earlier, although Android pumps the blood around its veins, the Kindle Fire doesn't really feel like an Android device. Nowhere is this more evident than in the app store department.

The presence of Amazon's own Android appstore means there's no Google-supported Android Market (now the Google Play Store) on this device. What that means is a dramatic reduction in the officially available applications for an ecosystem already struggling to keep up with Apple's 140,00-strong offering of iPad optimised apps.

Kindle Fire Update

Amazon went out and penned deals with a host of the main players in this arena, which means Angry Birds, Words With Friends, Plants vs Zombies, Dead Space and Scrabble are all present and accounted for, while Amazon continues to offer a free Premium app every day. Once again your apps can be stored on the cloud to download as you see fit.

UPDATE: Since our initial review of the Kindle Fire, the device has stepped it up a little bit in the gaming department. Angry Birds Space, Sonic 4, Temple Run, Asphalt 7, Scrabble, Tetris, Monopoly and more give a boost to the Amazon Appstore. However, it's still nowhere near up to the Play Store or App Store level.

The gaming experience on the device is relatively pleasing. It feels like using a large phone, rather than a tablet device as the extra screen real estate on devices like the PlayStation-certified Sony S1 and iPad 2 do enhance the experience, but anyone who has played video games on an Android phone will know what to expect. The multitouch-enabled touchscreen helps in this department.

In terms of streaming media there's the all-important Netflix, Hulu+, Pandora and Rdio apps.

UPDATE: Spotify finally arrived for the Kindle Fire in July 2012 along with HBO Go a month earlier, so the entertainment options are getting better.

In terms of social networking, the built in Facebook icon simply links to the mobile site and only recently did the official Twitter for Android client hit the Kindle Appstore. There are third-party alternatives Seismic, FriendCaster and Uber Social, though.

While the Amazon Appstore is well-stocked and will offer enough to get by on, but no Google support means no official YouTube app, no Google+, no Maps, no Gmail, Earth, Voice, Translate, Navigation (there's no GPS anyway). These are top shelf apps that bolster the Android platform and Amazon has alienated them. Without them the device feels a little bare. This device needs a YouTube app at bare minimum.

Naturally, the new Google Nexus 7 has all of those and then some.

There is a way to circumnavigate this problem and root (or jailbreak) the device in order to load any app (or APK) you would like to, but this method is for seasoned tinkerers only and will void the warranty on your device.

Tech Specs

Product TypeTablet
Flash Memory Capacity8 GB
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeNo
Product FamilyKindle Fire
Operating System PlatformAndroid
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameAmazon
Form FactorSlate
Screen Size17.8 cm (7")
Screen Resolution1024 x 600
Weight (Approximate)6.62 kg
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
TouchscreenYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Height11.4 mm
Width190.5 mm
Depth119.4 mm
Screen ModeWSVGA
ManufacturerAmazon.com, Inc
Product ModelB0051VVOB2
Product NameKindle Fire Tablet Computer
Product LineKindle Fire
Aspect Ratio128:75
Manufacturer Part NumberB0051VVOB2
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.amazon.com
Marketing InformationStunning Color Touchscreen

Movies, magazines and children's books come alive on a 7" vibrant color touchscreen that delivers 16 million colors in high resolution. Kindle Fire uses IPS (in-plane switching) technology - similar technology to that used on the iPad - for an extra-wide viewing angle, perfect for sharing your screen with others.

Beautifully Simple and Easy to Use

Designed from the ground up, Kindle Fire's simple, intuitive interface puts the content you love at your fingertips - spin effortlessly through your recent titles and websites straight from the home screen. Whether you are in the mood to watch, read, listen, play or browse, you can get to all your favorite content with a single touch. It's that simple.

Limited Warranty1 Year