So, sort of a departure today for reviews. I’m not reviewing a book, but thought I’d give my thoughts on the new Kindle Fire, which I’ve had for a couple of days now. Instead of a book, I’ll be giving away my much-loved basic Kindle. Read on for details.
I bought the Kindle Fire because I’m exactly the customer Amazon was targeting. I’m already a member of Amazon Prime, which means I pay a flat sum once a year and enjoy “free” two-day shipping the rest of the year.
I’ve also had iPad envy for a while now but couldn’t bring myself to shell out $500-plus for a tablet when I knew most of what I’d do with it was play on it, and I don’t have time to play. Day jobs to tend to, books to write, and all that. The last thing I needed was an addiction to Angry Bird. But it was just so damned cool, you know?
Last year, my best friend gave me a basic Kindle for Christmas. I’d insisted I didn’t want an eReader, I loved printed books, but she thought I needed it, and she was right. I love it. I can read faster on it, blow the type up because I’m half blind anyway, and store lots of books. I still buy my favorite series in print, and always will. What I really like–and what surprised me–was being able to subscribe to magazines. I missed the graphics but like the bookmarking functions, the portability, and the ability to keep a bazillion back issues without taking up lots of space. And I was able to do some light proofreading and manuscript editing on the Kindle by emailing documents from my laptop to the Kindle, something I hadn’t anticipated.
The Kindle Fire seemed like a good compromise, and so far I’m happy with it. It’s heavier than the basic Kindle–weighs more like a Nook color, if you’ve handled one of those. The web-browsing function is fast. Streaming movies from Amazon is extremely fast and not a hitch so far. My magazines are OMG beautiful on the color display, sharp and clear. There was a rumor floating around that the Fire wasn’t compatible with Google products like Gmail or Google or Google Plus, but that is not true. Setting up my Gmail was seamless and fast. Ditto moving my music files from iTunes–I uploaded them from my computer to Amazon’s Cloud Server and then downloaded them to the Fire. I think there’s a way to transfer directly from the computer to the Fire, but I haven’t figured that out yet. And I actually like the 7″ touchscreen (as opposed to the iPad’s 10-inch screen) because it’s easy to hold and control with one hand.
The only negatives so far, I can live with. The touch screen is a little less sensitive than what I’m used to on my iPhone but I’m getting the feel of it. Since it’s backlit, it has more glare than the old Kindle. The Fire doesn’t have text-to-speech capability yet, though I’ve read it will be in a future software update. The on-off button is small and dark and wedged next to the charging dock so I have to feel around for it if I’m not in a well-lit room. I’m sure I’ll get used to that. I wish it had 3G capability but I spend 90 percent of my time in wireless environments and have my iPhone the rest of the time, so it’s not that big a deal.
So, that’s the report so far. In the meantime, I have a basic wi-fi Kindle (no 3G) that needs a new home! Yeah, it’s used, but it’s cleaned off and deregistered and ready to go…and free. I have a leather case for it and a charger (it charges either by USB port or by AC adapter). All you’ll have to do is go to the Amazon site and register it to yourself when you get it. Oh, and you never know, I might put the first chapter of ROYAL STREET on it for you 🙂
So…Since this is kind of a special giveaway, I’m going to keep it running until December 9. Every Friday (today, Nov. 18; plus Friday, Nov. 25; Friday, Dec. 2; and Friday, Dec. 9) you’ll have a chance for four entries–so a possible 16 entries total–one entry for comment, one for blog follow, one for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and one for a Tweet or Retweet of the contest.