PILIPINAS.IT Review: Amazon Kindle Fire

i finally got hold of my Amazon Kindle Fire, so far i’m lovin’ it! 

announced last sept-28-2011, the tech-world having seen many tablets so far but none that could equal that of Apple’s iPad, Amazon Kindle Fire has been one of the highly-anticipated tablets lately.  

i ordered via amazon.com around mid-october.  since i didn’t know then how to ship it to Manila, i had it delivered to my folks in the USA instead. eventually i chose Johnny Air Cargo due to their good reviews.  the contact persons were in fact prompt and nice, believe me – completely no hassle!  picked up my Amazon Kindle Fire (KF) @ their makati office 4-5days after transacting with them.

upon opening…

– at first look, KF is sleek and sturdy. for it’s size it was however heavy (almost 4lbs/near-half kilo), good thing i ordered the cover with stand

– the box includes only the KF and a charger
– did not include micro-usb cable (last i checked CDR King doesn’t have it :()
– did not include users manual (booklet), but this has been pre-loaded in the KF as a digital document and can be accessed on the Amazon Kindle Help page

upon starting…
– i had to triple check first if i could plug it to our local  power outlet, it works for 100-250v (whew!)
– note that you need to first register your KF with Amazon (hence you need wifi connection)
– KF uses Android 2.3 and does not come with some old Android features
– it had this lone power button @ the bottom, which you might accidentally press and shut down the KF
– does not have a Home or Volume buttons, i can live with this since my iPhone’s usual problem were these buttons

during play time…
– first checked the highly-touted “Silk” browser, yep it was fast and could almost instantly load all the page contents.  much faster than apple’s safari (and probably even faster than opera)… and oh yes – flash works!
– the “carousel” shows your recently opened apps/docs/movies/etc, but be careful as this could be a little messy since you can not readily remove them from the list (unless you clear your cache) 
– tilting the device (portrait to landscape or vice-versa) is not as smooth transition as that of Apple’s ipad/phone.
– zooming in/out is much smoother with Apple ipad/phone as well, also sometimes tapping to zoom in does not always work the first time
– lacks simple preloaded apps such as calendar, calculator – but can be downloaded 
– video play is fantastic! sound is crisp and clear (way better than Apple)
– downloading ebooks from Amazon was fast! very fast!  although reading it produces little glare on the screen against the light, unlike in the old Kindle
– the big issue… Amazon AppStore (and Amazon Cloud Player) are not available outside the USA.  Android Appstore also would not allow you to buy if you don’t have a billing address in the USA…
– without the above geographical restrictions, your Amazon Premium account is also somehow useless, note premium accounts have access to free apps of the day, free movies, free mags, free books, etc.. this sucks big time!  
– however, there are many options to download apps, e.g. GetJar and SlideMe (note that to be able to download apps outside the AppStore, you need to “allow installation of applications from unknown sources” first) or download and use a micro-usb cable to transfer from your PC to the KF
– another option suggested was to access the AppStore via a proxy server or VPN (still reviewing this though)

for US$199 (Php8800) + US$40 shipment, Amazon Kindle Fire is a great buy for a tablet…certainly not an Apple iPad killer, but perhaps definitely a readers tablet. i can say i’m already a proud PINOY Kindle Fire user!


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