Random Friday: Kindle Fire, What We Like, What We Don’t

Happy Friday everyone! It was a great week here at Fiction Vixen and I hope you all had a great week too. Random Friday is not so random this week. A few of us got the newKindle Fire Kindle Fire and we’ve been excitedly getting to know our new e-Readers. So, we thought we’d post our thoughts about what we’re liking and not liking about the Fire so far.

 

Catherine:

Likes:

I really love the way the books are displayed. I can scroll through the covers on the main screens or go to the “Books” section and view them in a bookshelf format. I love, love, love having color cover images! I enjoy browsing through the covers, looking for something to read.

Listening to audio-books and watching streaming video is great. The screen is a nice size and the audio is clear. Trying to listen to it when my kids are around is a struggle, but you can blame them for that, not the device. ;)

I like the look of the device and its menu in general. It reminds me of my iPhone and feels very smooth when navigating.

Dislikes: 

I’m not really pleased with the weight of the device. I find it a little awkward to hold. I’ll get used to it eventually, but for right now it bothers me.

I don’t like that it needs to connect to a Wi-Fi network if I want to watch any Prime videos or connect to the Amazon store. I knew that going in, of course, but for some reason I keep forgetting. I suspect I’ll turn to my iPhone more often. I’ll still watch Prime videos on it when connected to a network, but since I use the Kindle mostly when I’m at work, on a road trip, or out and about, that won’t be as often as I’d like. I didn’t expect this to bother me that much, but it does. Oh well. I’ll adjust.

*****

Samantha: 

Top 5 Likes so far:

1. The size was just what I was looking for. I may be a devoted Apple fangirl, but to date have found the iPad to be too big for me. I love the way it feels in my hands. A great size!

2. The ability to easily fast forward books. Just like on the iPhone app I can drag the little dot across to get where I want to go in the book.

3. The screen quality exceeded my expectations. Video looks good on it. I can see Jax from Sons of Anarchy just fine.

4. Love having a backlit screen for book reading. Too often I found myself reading on my iPhone because of the lighting situation.

5. Love the way Gmail looks on it.

Top 5 Dislikes so far:

1. The freaking power button is on the bottom and I accidentally hit it all the time when holding the Fire, turning off the screen. Drives. Me. Crazy.

2. The keyboard layout is different than my iPhone causing me to constantly insert periods in the wrong spot and I’m never able to find the apostrophe or exclamation point. I can type on my iPhone without looking at the keys most of the time. Will my brain be able to memorize another keyboard?

3. I don’t feel getting around the Fire is as intuitive as an iPad. When I was given an option to save an attachment from an email, I chose save, and then it took me awhile to figure out where in the heck it was at. For the stuff I have in my “Amazon Cloud” it’s still a little murky to me on how I get it on my new Kindle.

4. Amazon’s magical special web browser feels a bit sluggish to me. I did a test between my iPhone and Fire and the web pages on my iPhone loaded faster each time then the Kindle.

5. It’s not an iPad which would probably fit my needs more. Not gonna lie – I would totally buy an iPad if it were close to this size and still cost $200 more than the Kindle. Yup, I totally would. Apparently for me, size does matter. ;)

*****

Jen:

What I like/don’t like SO FAR with my Kindle Fire…..I have to say I was pretty excited when I saw the box sitting on my doorstep.  A new, bright, shiny toy.  Allllll for me.  My husband is making noise like this needs to be my Christmas present.  Hmmm, we will have to see about that.

What I like (SO FAR)
1.  Did I mention it was shiny?  The screen is so clear.  Like crystal.  The colors are bright and eye-catching.  I find myself just looking at it for long periods of time.

2.  The touch capabilities are very smooth and sensitive.  I haven’t had any issues with touch, in fact just the opposite.  Everything responds beautifully to me

3.  The way it is organized is very simple.  That is good.  At the top there is a listing of Newstand, Books, Music, Videos…. and so on.  It is very clear to me where I am able to go and what I need to click on to get there.  Once I go into to one of those areas I am able to see the two sections at the top called Cloud or Device.  By clicking on either of them I can see what I have stored at each location.  It seems like someone almost idiot proofed the menus for this.  I thank them.

4.  The browser?  I guess that is what it would be.  One of the first apps I downloaded was the Netflix app.  My son wanted to watch Backyardigans.  Our wi-fi instantly picked up the connection and the episode was playing.  It was light years faster than even what our computer of TV are.  And the screen is perfect for watching the video.  Once again, it is so clear.  The Netflix app was made for this thing.

5.  I have an android phone so the android technology was easy for me to step into.  There wasn’t much of a learning curve for me.

6.  The favorites bar on the front page is helpful.  I can store all my most commonly used app and whatnot there.

What I don’t like (SO FAR)
1.  The carousel.  Heck no, it has to go.  The carousel is located on the front page and allows you to scroll through all your most recently used items.  When I was showing the Fire to my boss this morning my most recently used item just happened to be the book, “Playing Dirty” by Susan Andersen.  Imagine my embarrassment when that thing popped up bright and clear (did I mention the clear picture?) for everyone to see.  One feature I loved about my old kindle was not having to see the cheesy covers.  That is back and in bold!  Second thing on my carousel is my elfster Christmas exchange page.  Ack, it is so big.  That is not what I want to see front and center!  I saw some talk on the Amazon forums that many people do not like the carousel so the next update might make it go away.  We will see.

2.  It seems a little heavy?  I am not sure what I was expecting though.  I will get used to that but it just surprised me at first.

*****

Sophia

So everyone knows that I am a fan of the Kindle. This is my third Kindle. I started with the Kindle 2, then moved on to Kindle 3 (now called Kindle Keyboard) and now I have a Kindle Fire. After playing with my Kindle Fire for a few days, here are my thoughts:

What I like so far:

1. The size! We have an iPad2 and I rarely ever used it because it just felt too big for me to hold and type and tap at the same time. I love the size of the Kindle Fire. It’s perfect for me. A lot of people have mentioned that they feel the device it too heavy. This has not been a problem for me at all.

2. The display is very crisp. However I’m not ready to make this my main reading device. It’s of course backlit and I prefer e-Ink technology for my eReader so I won’t be retiring my Kindle keyboard by any means.

3. I really like being able to stream movies and TV shows and the Kindle Fire seems more than able to handle it. I use the NetFlix app as well as all the available content via Amazon Prime.

4. The email app that comes with the Fire is great. Nice and clean and it gets the job done.  I was able to configure it for my custom domain, Google apps. So yay!

5. The speed. This will also be listed in my dislikes. In general the Kindle Fire seems nice and zippy. But…see below.

What I don’t like so far:

1. The speed. The browser seems to chunk up and slow down sometimes. I find that annoying.

2. No collections. Boo. As of now I have not figured out if creating collections is possible on the Kindle Fire. This is something I love on my other Kindles and I’m disappointed that this Kindle, supposedly the top-of-the-line doesn’t have it. Don’t call it a Kindle and take away Kindle features. (If you’ve figured out how to create collections on the Kindle Fire let me know)

3. The power button. It’s located on the bottom of the Kindle and it’s not recessed. It’s very easy to turn it off the device accidentally and I do it frequently. >.<

4. No external sounds controls. You have to tap the settings button and adjust that way. When streaming a movie, if you do this it pauses the movie and you have to adjust the sound and judge it based on the “beep” as a guide. You cannot adjust the sound while the movie streams so it’s a guessing game.

5. The carousel is pretty much useless for me. Scrolling through to find things is ridiculous. I’d rather have a homepage of shortcuts and favorites with a button for recents or something. Also, you can’t delete anything from the carousel.

 

So there you have it, our initial likes and dislikes on the Kindle Fire. Did you get one? What are your thoughts? Are you considering getting one or maybe a Nook Tablet?

Subscribe via email

Comments

  1. says

    Thanks so much for this. Exactly what I wanted to know. More likely to pick up an iPad, given what I want to use the device for. Still, love my Kindle keyboard, though I wish I could see covers in color.

  2. Norma says

    Sounds great! I plan to get one for my teen aged son. He’ll use it mostly for books and you tube. Watching videos on youtube was good? I can’t wait to play with it (you know, to experiment if it’s really good for him or not)

    • says

      Yes, YouTube is fine as long as your wifi connection is good. And yes, you totally need to make sure it well and truly tested before giving it as a gift. Totally. :)

  3. Norma says

    Thanks. Great review btw. I’m not interested in all the technical stuff. I’d buy the most expensive, top of the line tablet if I was (and of course assuming my money tree sprouted or George Clooney *finally* proposed to me). I want to know what real people think of it!

    Thanks!

  4. Jen says

    Oh yes, that power button. I should have added that to the dislikes too. I turned my episode of Iron Chef (watched that on my lunch break today, totally awesome) off like 3 times in the middle of streaming. Very annoying.

  5. says

    Nice to know the official name for that thing is the “Carousel.” I’ve just been referring to it as “that scrolling display thingy.” I find it funny that one of the my main likes (the covers, the easy scrolling on the main screen, etc.) is a dislike of most of the rest of you. I love being able to browse through my stuff like that. .

    I agree about the browser feeling slow and clunky. I just forgot to mention it. I haven’t had a problem with the power button, though.

    • says

      “that scrolling display thingy.” is perfectly acceptable. LOL.

      I have hundreds of books and since the scrolling display thingy sorts by most recently used, it’s hard for me to find what I’m looking for. Now I I could sort by author etc. it might be more helpful but it also displays apps and webpages so that wouldn’t word either.

      • says

        Yeah, it wouldn’t be useful if you were looking for a specific book. I just like browsing through it and waiting for something to catch my eye. I wish it didn’t display apps and stuff like that, though. I’d prefer it be books only.

        • says

          The search field at the top works great. I can search anything on the Kindle from there. But I don’t like having all my history in the carousel. Not that I’m naughty or anything. :)

  6. says

    Question: So can you browse the internet without problems? Can you pull up Google and then go to people.com or fictionvixen.com like a regular computer? What about email? Any problems sending mail or tweets on the fire? Thanks for all the info!

  7. says

    You just open the web-browser and type in the URL. That’s it. (You need a wifi connection though) It’s tabbed browsing which is nice.

    The Fire comes with an email app that is pretty nice. You can also purchase in enhanced email app (I got it for free) but I didn’t like it as much as the basic. Or you can access your gmail via the browser but I find the app is much nicer.

    You can install twitter apps as well. I use Seesmic and it works great.

  8. says

    Yes, the search function works great. It’s the main way I find books in my archive.
    Also, I too like the email app that came with the Fire instead of the enhanced app.

    I don’t like that the Facebook app is built into the web browser and is not a separate app. I keep accidentally closing that tab. What is it with FB and their crappy app development?

  9. says

    Great pros and cons, ladies! Very interesting to read. My eReader is a Nook and I like it, so will probably be staying with this system. Don’t actually have very many eBooks I’ve bought (mostly use for NetGalley or eBooks I buy from Google), but still.

    Jen – absolutely hysterical! I have so done that, though it was with my Nook Touch which is e-ink and very small … was the most recent Anne Mallory book. Embarrassing!!!

    • Jen says

      Oh yes. Considering ALL of my books have cheesy colors and were brightly displayed for him to see, it was a little awkward. Thank you carousel.

  10. says

    GREAT post-thanks so much ladies! It sounds as if Amazon has a few bugs to work out for the 2nd generation. I LOVE 2 things so far- the color capability & the backlit screen. I also own an Android, so I think that I might find working with it to be intuitive to me. I have also never owned an iPad, so again I think I won’t be tripped up by certain features as current iPad users are.

    • says

      Yes I think you are right. It’s us iPad and iPhone users that seem to be grumbling. LOL. I realize this is not an iPad and there are many things about the Fire that I love. But, you know…old dog, new tricks LOL. :)

  11. says

    I have thought about getting a Kindle Fire (when it comes to the UK) as I too love shiny new things, but from what you’re saying I’m not sure it’s for me. I’m an Apple girl through and through and I desperately want Apple to come out with a 6″ iPad Mini (see, I’ve even given it a name) I would so buy one of those! Great post ladies :D

      • says

        I’ve really started to like my Kindle 3 – I never thought I’d be an e-reader, and although it hasn’t replaced my books, I do enjoy being able to take my Kindle wherever I go and have a choice of 200 books! The aspect about the KF that caught my attention was the colour. I do wish my K3 was in colour but I love that’s it’s not backlit and has e-ink, so not sure if colour and e-ink are compatible. Ah well, finger’s crossed that Apple works it all out ;D

          • says

            We bought an iPad (before my Kindle) and I was going to use it for reading but it’s just too big and heavy – another reason the KF caught my eye. I wish I could combine all the things I love about each device and make my own LOL

            • says

              Yes, exactly! That’s why I talked the hubs into getting an iPad2. I wanted to use it for reading but it’s too big and I ended up not liking it. Good thing he likes it or I’d be in trouble. I have a feeling Amazon is listening to the feed back and we can expect the next generation Kindle Fire to be even better. But if you’re an apple girl, be patient, I’m sure they’ll come through for you. :)

  12. Lorenet says

    To get rid of the carousel displaying EVERYTHING in your archive, go to settings, applications, and clear the data and cache from the Amazon Device Client Platform. I don’t mind it displaying things I have downloaded to the device, but I don’t want everything I have purchased there for everyone to see.

  13. Lexi says

    I absolutely love my iPad, and would so buy it in a smaller version if they ever come out with one. But my husband loves it just as much, so I have to share which means less ebook reading for me. So I have been trying to decide what type of ebook reader to buy. This post was great to read, loved the likes and dislikes from all of you. Now I just have to decide….

  14. Emily Tardy says

    I’m thinking of buying myself a Kindle Fire as my first ereader…
    I keep wondering, can you listen to audio books on the kindle? Does it have head phone abilities? I’m not even sure what to ask! But if anyone can help me I’d be very thankful! I have both Nook and Kindle for pc, but I really can’t stand walking around lugging my laptop, especially because it isn’t one of those cute little ones! lol please help =D

    emilytardy@yahoo.com

  15. Kindle case says

    Good post. I loved reading the reviews of the people who got their Kindles. I will try and get one too. I am intrigued now

    Regards

    .S-

Trackbacks