01-02-2012, 08:24 AM
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I got one for Christmas, too. I initially wasn't sure - I have a regular Kindle, and the selling feature for me on that was the matte-finish, virtual paper screen. Sooo much easier to read ebooks from than a backlit screen, such as my laptop (or the Kindle Fire). So, I kind of saw the Fire as a cool tech toy, but the original as a better e-reader, which was my main concern - I can play games and surf the net on my laptop, lol.
I LOVE the Kindle Fire! As I expected, I still have the eye fatigue and eventual headache-y sensation that I get when I try to read a novel on a backlit screen: my original Kindle is still my definite e-reader of choice when it comes to enjoying a good book, lol. That being said, the Fire is a well-built, solid little machine that works well. The screen is very sensitive, and the picture is gorgeous - brilliant color and picture clarity. Perfect for magazines or picture-heavy textbooks.
The app store selection is phenomenal, even if you restrict yourself to free apps. I've been playing Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja, of course, but there's a ton of practical apps for free (or very reasonably priced). I have an office app (Quick Office Pro, I think) that includes a simple word processor, spreadsheet, etc. It will open Word document email attachments, and supposedly spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations, too, but I haven't put it through its paces yet with Excel or Powerpoint. There are a bunch of guitar apps, from tuners to tab finders. Basically, as the commercial says, "There's an app for that," whatever "that" may be. The email app works like a champ, and I love that I can access the internet without firing up my laptop.
I can also plug the Fire into my computer (needs a micro USB cable - I use the one that is part of the charger on my original Kindle. The fire comes with a regular wall-wart style charger, no large USB end. Walmart sells a micro USB in their electronics department for ~$10 US,) and click and drag music that I already own to the device, as well as photos. The Fire is perfect as a photo-viewer, and will play an album as a slideshow.
Some of the reviewers complain that the Fire has no security features, that there is no way to lock the device - anyone can turn it on and instantly buy Amazon stuff off your account. In the menu there is a security tab with an option that allows you to set a password lock.
My dad played with mine half the day on Dec. 26th, and by morning on the 27th he went out to Wally World and bought one for himself. From him, that is a positively glowing review - Dad is notoriously picky about his electronic gadgets. All in all, an amazing little machine for $199 US. The iPad my have a little more to offer, but for that little more you'll pay a ton more.
I'm curious to see what the second-generation of Fire includes. Dad forsees the addition of a little webcam and microphone to allow the use of a Skype app, etc. The Kindle Fire is truly a slick little machine. I'd recommend it.