My Take on the Kindle Fire After 21 Days of Use

I have now been using the Kindle Fire for about a month. I thought I’d weigh with my impressions thus far. This isn’t intended to be a thorough, technical review. It is simply my view as a publishing professional and e-reader enthusiast.

Amazon Kindle Fire

I have been a fan of the Kindle since Amazon introduced it in 2007. I have bought every iteration since then and have been pleased with the evolution of the device. The simplicity, battery life, and integrated buying experience have been delightful.

However, when I first saw the announcement about the Kindle Fire, Amazon’s Android-based tablet with a color touch screen, I decided to opt out. I already have an iPad 2, so I didn’t see what the Kindle Fire had to offer.

However, after reading Chris Brogan’s review, I decided to go for it. As someone with a professional interest in e-publishing, I thought I should try it for myself.

I am currently using the Fire for reading books and casual browsing. I have not watched a movie on it yet nor really listened to music (though I have uploaded my music library to the Amazon cloud). I have not used the email app. I have watched movie trailers, and the device seems to work as-advertised.

Here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good

  • The price point is terrific. At $199.00 it’s pretty easy to justify, especially compared to the iPad. It offers one of the best value propositions out there.
  • The 7” display is beautiful. The size of the Fire is also nice. It feels more “bookish” than the iPad. However, it is heavier than I anticipated.
  • Book pages look terrific. Because it uses a touch screen, it is much easier to access everything: highlighting, notes, definitions, bookmarks, etc. I don’t miss the joystick from the last version.
  • Highlighting passages is easier and more intuitive than any e-reader I have used. (I am a highlighting junkie.) However, you still can’t highlight across pages.
  • The battery is great. Amazon advertises at least eight hours of continuous reading. I have gotten at least that. It has been a non-issue for me.
  • Purchasing is truly one-click. Some users have complained that this makes it too easy for children and thieves, but I like the convenience. (I also use the password lock feature.)
  • Synching across all Kindle devices continues to work flawlessly, whether they are on your desktop, your iPad, or your iPhone. I can pick up any device and continue reading right where I was on the last one.
  • The 8GB internal storage will accommodate about 6,000 books—less if you want to also store movies and apps. That’s half as much as the Nook, but still more than adequate for most needs.

The Bad

  • The virtual bookshelf, which is the primary way you access your content works as expected. The shelves use a carousel to let you swipe through your content in the order it as last accessed. However, it feels clumsy and it’s easy to flip past the book or app you want.
  • Twitter is no longer integrated as it was with the last generation. This is curious. I think “social reading” is still a huge opportunity for the e-reader space. So far, only Rethink Books seems to have the vision for this.
  • There is currently no 3G version, so if you are not connected to a Wi-Fi, you cannot purchase new books. This makes it less attractive for frequent travelers.
  • The touch screen is sometimes unpredictable. On numerous occasions, I have found myself having to touch the screen more than once to activate a control or feature. In addition, the keys are just too small to access comfortably.
  • The OS transitions are not as smooth or as impressive as the iPad. This is not a big deal, but it makes the Fire feel less polished.

The Ugly

  • The Power Switch is located on the bottom of the device rather than the top. As a result, I have unintentionally turned it off on numerous occasions. (Yes, you can rotate it 180°, but this isn’t the intended orientation.)
  • I have crashed on more that one occasion, and I have even had the tablet spontaneously reboot on me. Amazon is promising an update to the OS within the next few weeks. Hopefully, that will help.

Overall, the Kindle Fire is no iPad killer. If you can afford the iPad, I’d buy that instead. It is just much more polished and, with so many available apps, can do so much more.

However, if your primary goal is media consumption at an outstanding price, you won’t go wrong with a Kindle Fire. With Amazon’s backing, it will only improve with time.

Question: What’s your take on the Kindle Fire? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • Patricia Zell

    Okay, I’m lagging behind with the tech products beyond laptops–I know, I know, that’s way behind–so I have a couple of  basic questions for you about the Kindle Fire. Can I fully access the Internet with it and can I type with it on a word processing app (if there is such a thing)? Thanks, Michael.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes and no. You can access the Internet, but I think the experience leaves a lot to be desired. The screen size is, in my opinion, too small for normal use. Also, I don’t know of a word processing app. Even if there were, the keys are too small for heavy typing. This might be remedied with a software update, but it’s currently a problem.
      I would urge you to consider an iPad if you want those two items.

      • Brandon

        I would check out the Vizio 8in tablet. I have one and it is amazing! I
        wrote abotu my review of it here if you want to check it out:

        • Adam Shields

          We get it Brandon.  You like the vizio.

          • Brandon

            Haha! Yes! I gotta spread the word!


        • ipad&fireowner

          what the hell is a vizio and why do u not shut up about it

      • Anonymous

        i agree with you totally Mike the
        is the better solution

    • Brandon

      I would check out the Vizio 8in tablet. I have one and it is amazing! I wrote abotu my review of it here if you want to check it out:

    • Anonymous

      There are Android-related apps, such as Documents to Go that can be used for Word Processing. I used my Fire to make edits and add some things to a devotional I was writing for my church, but I don’t know that I could do a large project by tapping out. I need a keyboard for such things, so I generally use my laptop.

    • Josh Turmel

      Evernote for Android tablets is really nice, this is what I use for word processing, it appears that it is in the Amazon AppStore as well so this shouldn’t be an issue.

    • Patricia Zell

      Thanks, everyone, for the info. Since price is kind of an issue, I may just go with the Kindle Fire and see what it can do for me.

    • Sylvia Hubbard

      Evernote makes a perfect word processing app that you can work with online and offline the Fire provides!

    • Millennium spartan

      you can sideload on kindle fire so you can download apps for free at panda apps with out modding your kindle but apple you have to jailbreak it in order to download free apps my opinion is fire is better f that apple ……..

  • Cyberquill

    I just bought the previous version less than a year ago. I’ll wait for the Kindle Conflagration. 

    • Joe Lalonde

      If it is like the iPad, that will come out next year around this time.

  • Craig Jarrow

    I couldn’t justify this gadget for me. Guess I am trying to minimize my devices.

    I love Amazon’s Kindle platform, but I read it on my iPad, iPhone, and Mac.

    • Ben Patterson

      Good call, Craig.  No need to get the Kindle when you’ve got your iPad.

      • Brandon

        so true!

      • Adam Shields

        I really disagree.  I like my ipad, but I read on my kindle.  I think there is not question that the eink screen is better for reading.  And it is also lighter, and does not have any distractions.  I don’t think  is is nearly as cut and dried.  Some people I know like to read on their ipad, but most I know that have both still prefer to read on their kindles.

        • Ben Patterson

          Yea, still the Kindle Fire is connected to the internet and has the same distractions of an iPad. I see your point if you’re simply going for an old school Kindle.

  • Jon Stolpe

    I’m still in the dark ages when it comes to these reading devices.  Thanks though for the information.  I’ve been thinking about the possibility of getting an iPad, and your review gives me a better handle on the Kindle.  Thanks!

    • Brandon

      What are you planning on using it for?

      • Ayomide Akinkugbe

        Very appropriate question Brandon. I think these tablets things are just a fad. I have the iPad but I still have to rely on my laptop most times. If any one wants a reading device, go get the e ink kindle, at least you wouldn’t be getting any distractions. LOL! :)

        • Brandon

          Some of that is true. I personally believe that tablets will eventually replace laptops. I think that is the direction these things are going in.
          I have the Vizio 8in tablet, and that thing is nice! I highly recommend it!

          • Ayomide Akinkugbe

            Brandon, You wouldn’t believe I just heard about the Vizio yesterday and I heard it’s really good. Would sure check it out. Thanks :)

          • Brandon

            It is really is awesome!


          • Ayomide Akinkugbe

            Oh yeah it is. Read a couple of reviews.

  • Sandra Elzie

    Nice price for bells and whistles I’d never use.  Kindle Touch ($79) works fine for my use.  I didn’t fall prey to flashy advertising and buy the newest and brightest when I only read on my e-reader.

    • Ben Patterson

      Advice we can all use.  Thanks, Sandra.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I think you are right. I haven’t tried the Kindle Touch, but I thought from the beginning it was probably a better machine for people who just want an e-Reader.

  • Sia Knight

    I have opted for the Samsung Galaxy Ta

  • Sia Knight

    I have opted for the Samsung Galaxy Tab – It’s the same size as the Kindle (7 inch screen), but it has all of the functionality of an ipad 2.  Plus- it has flash!

    • Kelly Combs

      This is the one my husband wants me to consider too!  Good to know.

    • Brandon

      These are not very great! I had read reviews, and have seen them in action. I would go witht he Vizio 8in tablet. I wrote a review on it here:

  • Greg

    Thanks for the review. Sandy and I just ordered ours (one for each of us) on Sunday. Mine will be primarily as an E-reader. Is this currently your E-Reader of choice or do you revert back to a previous version? Also, I read that the Evernote app is available for the Fire. Is there a copy paste available? I also use Calengoo and google calendar and I see that’s available also.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, Evernote is available for the Kindle Fire. However, I haven’t tried it yet. Thanks.

      • Brandon

        Evernote is awesome! I use it to type notes in class with my Vizio tablet. I can type as fast on it as I do on a computer. I type close to 94 words per minute on a computer…

      • Anonymous

        I like Evernote for the Fire. Probably because it’s their Android App—I can’t compare it to the iOS version, but the functionality is excellent for mobile.

        You do get the Wi-Fi only drawback. But I think that’s because Amazon has made a big deal of the “no continual fees” idea. You’re not going to get a tablet on 3G/4G without a data contract, methinks.

    • Michael Lettner

      Probably one of my biggest uses for Kindle Fire is for Evernote. I have used it in meetings for I find myself liking the keypad better using my thumbs than iPad where I mess up more. It is the Evernote app for Android & has same editing features. Good for using for a recipe when cooking. 

  • Eric S. Mueller

    I have an iPad 1. I love it. I recently took a class and had the opportunity to check out a Kindle DX to read the course material on. It only took me a few seconds to realize I was better off just loading the reading materials into iBooks on my iPad. 

    My dad decided to get my kids Kindle Fires for Christmas. I’ll play around with them, but like your advice goes, if I had the money, I’d just get an iPad 2.

    The only drawback is that Amazon hasn’t yet opened it’s Kindle library to non-Kindle users. I’m a Prime member, but don’t own a Kindle, so I can’t participate yet. I’m sure they’ll broaden the program at some point.

    • Michael Hyatt

      You don’t have to have a Kindle to read Kindle books. You can read them on your desktop, iPad, iPhone, etc. You just have to download the free app and connect it to your account.

      • Eric S. Mueller

        I’ve been reading Kindle books without a Kindle since my 1st generation iPod Touch. But Amazon recently rolled out a lending library, where you can “check out” Kindle books to read for a limited time, like a library. But this feature is currently restricted to Prime members with a hardware Kindle. It’s not yet available to be used with the Kindle app on other devices.

        • Adam Shields

          I think it will be soon. There is too much incentive for them to make their books the most important format.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the Review. I prefer the IPad much more than Kindle Fire. But being a dedicated E-reader makes it a perfect companion for most of my non business trips. I agree, compared to the IPad the Kindle Fire looks unpolished but I guess it is a good bargain for the price it comes with.

  • Kelly Combs

    I have never had a kindle, but the Fire was the first to make me consider it.  As a matter of fact, it’s on my Christmas list.  My husband has been researching, and evidently there is a Samsung device that, while slightly more expensive, has more options as well.  So the jury is out for us.  I guess I will find out on Christmas morning which “Santa” thought was the best device. 

  • Drfeyen

    I would like to see you test the Nook to see how you think it compares.   Thanks for the hoest review on the Fire. 

    • Michael Hyatt

      I don’t think I will be buying the Nook simply because my entire digital library is on Kindle. If I wanted to access Nook books, I would use the Nook app on the iPad. Thanks.

      • Eric S. Mueller

        I got a nook for Christmas of 2009. I never used it. Amazon has much more content. Hardware and capability wise, the nook was superior to the Kindle at the time, but all the content is on Amazon. At the time, I thought I’d use the nook to carry pdf books with me, but they didn’t format correctly, and once I got my iPad I just put them in iBooks.

        • June JD Wilson

          Since the Nook Color, they’ve now released the Nook Tablet.  Looks impressive!   Wish I had known about the Nook Tablet before requesting the Kindle Fire for Christmas!  (Smile.)

          • Eric S. Mueller

            I’m excited to see the competition lead to amazing products. I look forward to what comes out in the next few years. I get the feeling we’ll see the decline of the desktop and possibly the laptop as tablets get more capable. I’ve said for the last few months that as soon as the iPad can accept peripherals like an external hard drive, the laptop’s death won’t be far behind.

  • Ben Patterson

    Whew!  Glad to know that my recent iPad purchase is still the best option.  Thanks for the review, Michael!

  • Sabai Technology

    As someone who doesn’t have an iPad, I love my Kindle Fire.  I enjoy watching shows from Prime, as well as reading my books and checking email.  I agree with the carousel issue mentioned, that it’s easy to pass your books and yes, sometimes I have to click more than once.  

    I’ve passed my other Kindle down to my son and really like the black on white text of the Fire screen better.  (I may be in the minority there).  I think the sentence that says the most is “With Amazon’s backing, it will only improve with time” I expect that’s the truth.  It’s a hardware device and the software is not static.  Everything else Amazon does gets better over time, I expect the OS will be no exception.

    Thanks, as always, for a thoughtful and insightful blog! – William Haynes

    • Lorraine

      For the sake of my friends that cannot see print and so use screen access software to make print speak (and control the cursor), I hope an Amazon update will be accessability for them. More and more educational institutions are incorporating inaccessible technology – hardware and software – into their online and in classroom functions.

      • Michael Hyatt

        Unfortunately, the text-to-speech option is gone (as far as I can tell).

  • Stacy S. Jensen

    I really like my Kindle fire and trying to max out its potential. I can’t find the password lock option. Can anyone direct me to this? Do I set it up on the Kindle or through my Amazon account. Thanks in advance. 

    • Michael Hyatt

      I responded to you on Twitter, but go to the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner, click on More, then Security, then Lock Screen Password. Thanks.

      • Anonymous

        I appreciate you mentioning it–I meant to look for it and had forgotten to until I read your post.

  • Anna Grassini

    Very helpful post.  How do you feel about e-ink on the old “conventional” kindle vs the Kindle Fire? What about glare? I also own an ipad, but I still prefer to read on the kindle.  I am considering getting a kindle touch and the 3G is essential as I travel a lot around the world and I love having a bookstore at my fingertips anywhere!

    • Michael Hyatt

      I do miss the e-ink technology. I find that the Fire tires my eyes, as does the iPad.

  • Patty

    Thanks Mike for the review of the, “Fire”. I have often wondered about the functionality and have only heard one review by Kim Commando. She was not real keen on it  when it was first coming out. I just bought my Kindle with WiFi and am learning some new technology along with it. I have not been a reader before and hoping this helps me to get motivated with reading. I have read more since I bought and look forward to many years of use. I think I will wait a while until they get the bugs out to purchase Fire.

  • GailR

    Pre-ordered my Kindle Fire on day #1. I’m finding the more I use it, the more I like it. Heavier than I guessed & lots of screen glare. NOT as responsive as iPad. Using mostly for Apps, eBooks, Games, eMail. Subscribe to newspapers, Mags & Blogs on my Kindle3 Keyboard. For Web browsing, I prefer my iPad. Music i D/L sounds acceptable. I do like it for nightime eBook reading. I have watched movies over WiFi at library (free) & works good, screen looks great. There are not enough Prime movies & TV shows I’d want to watch, mostly older stuff, so don’t buy one if the free Prime movies is a major want for you. Same thing for free monthly D/L of Prime eBooks, too few titles and few I’d want to read. I do think the Amazon Fire tablet is worth $199. I also have new  Kindle Touch, NOOK Simple Touch, KOBO Touch eReaders. Of the bunch, KOBO is #1, NOOK Touch #2, Kindle Touch #3 in my preferences. Amazon still has the largest eBook Library. One thing I do NOT like re eBooks is the steadily upward price crawl. What happened to $9.99 eBooks?

  • Scott Kantner

    The Fire serves it’s primary purpose well – a vending machine for Amazon’s content – as your review does indeed bear out.  It was not intended to be an “iPad Killer,” nor does it need to be in order to be successful.

  • Scott Ross

    I too have been huge fan of the Kindle, and have owned multiple iterations.  As someone who reads a great deal and in many cases on airplanes will read for hours at a time, I have chosen to have a kindle regardless of whether I have an iPad due to the e-ink non-backlit display technology.  Kindle has always been like reading a “real” book.”  My biggest question is if this is still true with the Kindle Fire?  It seems that the display would be more iPad-like than “paper” as in previous versions.  Any clarity you can provide is appreciated!

    • GailR

      I have both backlit and e-Ink eReaders. I have all the Kindles, inc new Kindle Touch (and Fire) and also NOOK Simple Touch and KOBO Touch eReaders. I also use original iPad and Apple iTouch. Most backlit ones are no good in sunshine, e-Ink shines in bright light. I have found backlit screens are harder on my eyes, especially if you read for several hours. You do need good lighting to read on an e-Ink Reader. I have found the LED lights for e-Ink readers do improve reading but not as good as strong light. For nightime reading, I do like the Amazon Fire tablet, which IS more iPad-like, because the smaller screen does not “light up the whole room”, or disturb others, and is easier on my eyes if reading for long stretches. 

    • Michael Hyatt

      The Fire does not use e-ink technology. I find it tires my eyes, similar to the iPad.

  • Steve Akins

    Your didn’t use email? Ie it wasn’t your primary devices.

    I rooted a Nook for my wife to the android OS. I have an iPad. The operations of the Kindle sound the same as the rooted Nook – like a MS windows device.

    Face it, your an iPad snob.

    It could be an iPad killer. The fire is creating an enterly new market at $200 unless Apple responds with a low cost version of the iPad.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Since I always have my iPhone with me, I didn’t see the need to hook up another device to email.
      I don’t think I am an iPad snob. I barely use mine. In fact, I have written against it (search my archives).
      The Kindle Fire is drawing a lot of criticism this week. Check out this article, for example, in today’s issue of USAToday.

      • Jeff Randleman

        I agree.  I haven’t added email to my iPad since I access it primarily from my iPhone and my PC.  I didn’t want the confusion of triplicating messages.

  • Douglas Andrews

    What is your take on the Barnes and Noble Nook Tablet?   

    • Michael Hyatt

      I haven’t used it. Sorry.

  • PSpengler2

    I got my wife a Kindle Fire and she loves it. She is not the most tech person in the world. She find reading easier on it than trying to hold a book and read.

  • Brandon Vogt

    “However, you still can’t highlight across pages. I will be so glad when someone figures this out!”

    I’m confused. I’ve used the regular Kindle for a while and *can* highlight across pages. Just click somewhere on the first page, hit the ‘next page’ button, then click somewhere on the second page. The highlight will capture everything between the two selections.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Indeed you can. I was referring to touch devices like the Fire and iPad. I have deleted this sentence because it was confusing. Thanks.

  • Robert Talbert

    I’m very happy with my previous-generation Kindle with 3G. I read before bed and I bought the Kindle because, while I like e-books, reading from a backlit screen was messing around with my sleep patterns. (As in, totally demolishing anything like a “pattern”.) The Kindle’s e-ink solved that problem. So anything besides e-ink is out of the question for me. 

    However, I think my kids would like a Fire for watching movies and playing games, and at $200 it’s not as major of a loss if they, say, drop it in the bathtub. (Not that that’s ever happened with an iPod Touch around our house, or anything.)

  • John Richardson

    I have a friend at work who purchased one and their reviews were similar to yours. If you are a regular Amazon customer, this is good buy. If you have an Amazon Prime account it’s even better. Some of my tweeker friends have modified many of the Android tablets and I’m sure the Fire is not far behind. It will be real interesting to see how the Kindle Fire evolves.

    To me, the decision is pretty simple. If you want a tablet and have $500 or more to spend, get an iPad, if not, the Fire is the next best tablet and the price is a steal!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Perfect summary, John. Thanks.

  • Brandon

    Awesome! By the way, have you tried the Vizio 8in tablet? I have one, and they are amazing! Pretty close to the ipad, but only $200.

    • Michael Hyatt

      No, I have not. Thanks.

  • Thomas_freeman

    I’m considering scanning my library and converting my books to OCR’d PDF files.  Would the Fire do well in reading PDF books.  I will be going overseas as a missionary with New Tribes Mission and would like to minimize the cost of transporting my books.  Thanks for the review!

    • Michael Hyatt

      I’m not sure.

    • Adam Shields

      I would not leave them as PDF.  PDF is a lousy reading format.  If you have good OCRed PDFs then get the free software Calibre.  From Calibre you can convert PDF to either ePub (the standard Nook, iBook, Sony file format) or .mobi (the standard Kindle format).  The problem with PDF is that it keeps your pages.  Moving form one device to another or one text size to another is difficult.  With both epub and mobi the pages re-flow so that you are not stuck with hard page breaks.

  • Pritchett4

    I was able to get Acer A100 7″ tablet for $190 on “Black” Friday (Bestbuy lists for $250 right now) which is an Android tablet (Gingerbread) which I have really been enjoying. It has access to all Android apps, has mini SD card slot, mini HDMI out, wifi and backlit. I also have Kindle 3rd generation and do highlight quite a bit, but was getting lag with the Kindle (though enjoy being able to read outside with it). I would recommend Acer A100 as a good alternative for Kindle fire. 

  • Jon Nicol

    thanks for this review, Michael – I ordered the Fire for my wife for Christmas. But in the meantime, I realized she’ll be using it more as a tablet than a reader. When it finally arrived, I sent it back and scrounged the money to buy her an iPad.  So from your review, it sounds like I made the right choice. We’ll find out Christmas morning…

  • Anonymous

    How do you think will color screens on readers influence the production of e-books in the near future. Will writers now be expected to illustrate too? Or maybe incorporate animations, rich media, etc.?

    • Michael Hyatt

      No, I don’t think so. This will be the role of the publisher. Think of how newspapers or magazines are compiled. One person writes the content. Someone else does the photographic or illustrations.

      • David Nevin

        I totally agree, but how many indie newspapers are there being published by individuals. The indie author is becoming the indie publisher, for better or worse. Imagine the article “How to format your book for the Kindle Fire – 101 Photoshop and mp3 editing tips”

  • Angie

    I really like my Fire. It does exactly what I need it to do at this time. I read, watch a movie, listen to music, and do some light surfing on the internet. (It’s beside me right now at work playing Christmas music via Pandora.) I have several Apple devices—iPhone, MacBook Pro, etc. But for some reason when it came to making a choice about the IPad, I found myself wanting to unhook from the temptation to work. This is why I chose the Fire instead. It has given me the freedom to read a book without being tempted to peek at my office email. . . . Actually now that I think about it, I’m relaxing a lot more in the evenings because I’m reading again!

    • Michael Hyatt

      That’s exactly why I haven’t hooked up email on my Fire. Thanks.

  • Brandon Weldy

    This is all good to know. I have put “e-reader”  on my Christmas list. Hopefully one will show up.

  • Ivanhoe Sánchez

    Thanks for your honest Review Mike.  I’m looking forward to have a Kindle, I just can’t decide which one will be the right one for me.  After reading your post and comments I think I will stick with the Kindle Touch 3G.  

  • Susan

    I  used a Kindle 3G model, until  my dog started using it for her reading pleasure and somehow messed up the screen. I also have an iPad 2 3G model.

    I opted out of the Kindle Fire, in spite of the nice price, because it doesn’t have the 3G capabilities. 

    I can read all of my Kindle books on my iPad, so I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to Kindle.

    I can tell you that my iPad is sturdy. I dropped it screen side up on a cement floor (I do have a smart cover) — I expected to pick it up with a damaged screen. No damage  at all. Not one problem. I’m not sure my Kindle was that sturdy.

  • Becky Eppley

    As someone who has been considering getting a Kindle for a year now I find the Fire reviews confusing me.  I’ve amassed a lot of Kindle books and read them on my phone or computer with the app; however, I’d love a dedicated ereader for all that content (and a bigger screen than the phone!) So the question is, to you who own all the devices :) do I get a $99 Kindle or a $199 Kindle Fire?  I wouldn’t mind having the tablet functions, especially as the kids would probably mess around with it but my primary goal is to get a Kindle for reading – any thoughts anyone? Thanks!

    • Michael Lettner

      If you are mainly going to use it to read, Kindle Touch would be best for e-ink & battery & cost. But if you think you will use it for your kids a bit, then Kindle Fire would be good. My 2 year old like it for videos, coloring, and kids books. It’s a better size for her than the iPad or iPod touch. 

      But it sounds to me from what you said it would be best to get a Kindle Touch & let your kids play with some apps or watch video on your phone.

      • Becky Eppley

        Thanks so much Michael for the feedback and helping me make this decision!

    • Anonymous

      I would agree with Michael Lettner–if you want to read, get a non-Fire Kindle with e-ink. Battery life, eyestrain, and cost are better.

      My wife has a Kindle Touch and I have a Keyboard. I like my Keyboard better, but they’re both good readers

  • Clarissa

    My first comment ever! As a publishing professional, I am actually kind of surprised by your use of Amazon/kindle products – mostly because of the many others in the industry who are upset by Amazon’s recent strategies promoting readers to “look in stores, buy online” – to sum it up. I’ve been debating between numerous tablets and e-readers and although I’m a long-time user of Amazon, I’ve recently felt obligated to shy away from supporting the company, including by not buying their e-readers. What are your feelings about all of this?

    • Michael Hyatt

      I don’t like Amazon’s strategy with PriceCheck either. I have tweeted about it. Thanks.

      • Millennium spartan

         well on kindle fire you can side load apps for free without modding it so that is a plus you have to jailbreak apples so i love my fire check out panda apps . peace

  • Rob Sorbo

    I think I’m done with tablets (ok, maybe not, but I’m going to wait for huge improvements). I have a smartphone and a laptop, and the things I can do on my smartphone I can do on a tablet and the things I need my laptop for I still can’t do on a tablet. I have an iPad 1–it’s impressive and fun to play with, but I found it useless anytime I needed to do anything practical.

    That said, I find the Fire appealing, but won’t get one until tablets take a large leap forward (like full computing power in your pocket).

  • Joe Lalonde

    I’ve been debating between the Fire and an iPad. I’m still torn.

    A co-worker absolutely loves her Fire. She’s able to read books, watch videos, and felt that the browsing was adequate. And the price is right. Another advantage is it uses the same OS as our cell phones.

    My wife currently has an iPad 1 and loves it. We have a ton of content for the iPad that would not transfer over. Yet I know it will do everything I would need it to.

    I think the biggest advantage the iPad has is it is two generations in and about to hit it’s third iteration. It has been able to be polished and honed to a fine piece of hardware.

    A thing to note is Amazon has a planned update going out in the next week or two. This may clear up a few issues.

    • Michael Lettner

      You are kind of in the situation we were. We love the iPad & it is a lot more polished, but costs 2.5x that of Fire. We both have Android phones & I have had Amazon app store on it to get the free apps so most of those were able to transfer to Fire (didn’t do the GPS ones of course).  We like our set up for if you want to do something that the Fire can’t do you have the iPad, but if you just want a simple tablet, Fire is good. But of course, iPad is better.

      • Joe Lalonde

        Michael, thanks for your input as it seems you are in a similar situation as my wife and I.

        You bring up a great point with the free apps from the Amazon app store. I have a ton of those and would love to use them on a tablet.

        I’ll mostly be using a tablet for reading books and taking notes. Maybe some of the apps that I get from the app store.

        I’m really leaning towards the Fire but I know the iPad currently has the advantage.

  • Nathanael Small

    Thanks Michael – very balanced and helpful. 
    Looks like it’s the usual story – wait until “Fire 2″ is released and they’ve ironed all the bads & uglies out. Being in Australia we normally have the opportunity to look at these releases “from a distance” and then be second movers. 
    One for the 2012 anniversary / birthday list…

  • Jeff Goins

    Interesting review, Mike! So would you recommend the lower-grade models for someone who just wants an eReader?

    • Michael Hyatt

      I can’t recommend them because I haven’t tested them myself. But I would definitely look into them. Thanks.

    • Vmspinetti

      Jeff, when you say “lower-grade models” are you referring to the e-ink Kindle products? If so, I can give you my experience. I used the Kindle app on my iPad 1 for about 18 months. I enjoyed reading on it, but my two major grievances were:
       1. backlit screen is unhealthy for eyes and is detrimental to sleep (if you read before/in bed) 2. Distractions were plentiful with the iPad. I would give myself an hour to read and 47 minutes into the hour I would find myself on twitter, safari, etc. 
      Lately, I’ve been on a technology pilgrimage of sorts, trying to strip out the unnecessary evils and return to simplistic, utilitarian tools. 

      In late November I received the $79 Kindle for my birthday…it’s truly worth every penny. You can’t beat it for simplicity and it flawlessly integrates with Instapaper, which just released Kindle related upgrades that are fantastic. 

      With that I am satisfied. 

      These are humbly my opinions and experiences, but hopefully they are helpful. 

      • Jeff Goins

        This is perfect. Thanks!

  • Ben H Berson

    i like the ipad owing to your  last comment Michael. however thanks for categorising all the advantages in a lucid way!

  • Michael Lettner

    My wife & I bought an iPad 2 in the Spring shortly after it came out and we have used it all the time. We would fight over who can use it. So we were thinking a little bit about getting another iPad, but since the Kindle Fire was $300 cheaper & had most of what we want, we preordered it.

    We like and have used the Kindle Fire almost everyday as we do with the iPad. We never use our old laptop anymore. The best review of the KF I’ve seen is on CNET that I completely agree with for it isn’t an iPad Killer or can be compared to an iPad, it is a good enough tablet for the average person. I agree with the carousel problem & responsiveness and hope they improve with software updates.

    I actually like typing on the Kindle Fire better than the iPad. I’m quicker on it because I’m more accurate on it (and I think Android’s auto correct is much better than Apple’s but iOS5 made it closer). Evernote is great on the Kindle Fire & if you use Evernote or All Recipes for cooking, KF’s size is great for using it when cooking. YouVersion Bible app is best on the KF for it seems the right size for reading the Bible. The Fire’s size is about equal to a Moleskine notebook for I’ve taken both to church several times. Video works great on it. If you have uploaded music to Amazon’s cloud service, it works great syncing with it & you can easily download music from the cloud to it. It really needs to get Google apps like Gmail, Calendar, Docs, G+, YouTube, etc. to be a much more practical device (You can do all those through the browser, but it’s not as good as the Android apps). Mail works (especially for typing an email) but not as good for conversation as Gmail. Also wish I could get TweetDeck on there.

    Summary: if you don’t mind spending $600 (500+tax+case) for a tablet, get an iPad. If you just want a good enough tablet for $200 (I haven’t needed a case), get a Kindle Fire.

    • TNeal

      Thanks for the CNET link.  It added visuals to Michael’s printed descriptions.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Excellent summary, Michael. Thanks.

  • Bob Seymore

    I have used the Fire since it came out and agree it is not a competitor to the IPad, but it is a great economical step into the small tablet world. In fairness to Kindle, the Fire is ideal if you are reading books and things with graphics, pictures and color. But I still think the 3rd generation Kindle is one of the best devices for size, weight and battery life. If you are just wanting to read books with black and white pages, the previous Kindles are hard to beat.

    Recently had my carry on taken and checked because of bin space on a long international trip. All I had for a 36 hour trip was my 3rd generation Kindle and 200 books and plenty of battery life for the long journey. 

    Regardless of which reader you get, get one. With my multi sync capabilities of Kindle on IPhone, Mac and every other device I am reading a lot more books. Accessibility is priceless. 

    • TNeal


      I concur with your travel observations. I spent two weeks in the Middle East and packed only my Kindle for the flight and any reading time as I traveled. Battery life lasted without recharging until I returned home. It packed easily and did the job I wanted it to do–access plenty of reading material.–Tom

    • Lorraine

      “Accessibility is priceless.” — I so VERY much agree, Bob. 

      Seniors with problems reading inkprint are a growing segment among folks who like to read some or all of the time by hearing. So far, only the Apple company has built in accessibility to its products right out of the box at no additional cost to these readers.  

      Anyone who wants to read by hearing AND use email, the Web, TV-movie functions, and, make calls on cell phones–all in one package – won’t be buying Nooks or Kindles or Samsun products.  Seems to me since the eBook market has now overtaken the inkprint market that publishers’ associations would be wise to push the electronic companies to make assessible products so the publishers could reach this market segment.

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  • TNeal

    Love my Kindle. Have no idea about the Fire–outside of the fact it does color–except what you’ve just shared. So far I’m not feeling the need for color so am happy with Kindle 3rd generation.

    Always interested in your take though.

  • Caroline Starr Rose

    Maybe my memory’s sketchy, but wasn’t the point of the Kindle the non-glare screen? I know the Kindle Fire is meant to do more than “just” be a reader, but this change isn’t a draw to me.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I wouldn’t say that was the point, but it was definitely a feature of the previous Kindles. It is still used in the new Kindle Touch.

  • Anonymous

    I still use my Kindle Keyboard (formerly the 3rd Generation Kindle) for reading, but I like the fire for the apps I’m using.

    Having not used an iPad, I can’t compare them. I agree that the Carousel needs to go (or at least be adjustable).

    But I’ve switched from using a paper calendar to using the Fire to keep tasks and schedule handy for me. I typically entered them using my laptop, but then printed weekly sheets since my Blackberry just had too much trouble keeping up with multiple calendars. Now, on my Fire I can keep it all together without printing.

    The size fits well into my already-too-stuffed bag, which a bigger tablet would not go into.

    I like my Fire, but I think that there is a lot of room for improvement in the device. It’s not quite as fully-featured as other tablets, but it’s a good starter tablet. The more I use it and the more I get used to the digital format, the more likely I am to buy a more expensive tablet that does more. Amazon might consider that for the future–make sure the ones to come make this one worth replacing.

    It does make Evernote even more useful than it was before. No more transferring sermon notes from Evernote to PDF to Kindle to use for preaching. Now, I just put the Fire on full-screen and go forth.

  • Vanterrius A’shiyahsFather Wes

    I never was a fan of the Kindle or more recently the Kindle Fire. I fell in love the Nook products. So far, I have the Nook 1st edition. It has been good to me so far. I put my short story on it  as well as my novel I am currently writing. I do this to give me a rush seeing my stories on a Nook like an e-book. I plan on getting the Nook Tablet in February at least. I want that to be my first tablet experience.

  • Your Blog Angel

    I sent my Kindle Fire back.  I noticed the same problems and the heaviness was noticeable. I  has been a Nook fan and still like Nook but at the end of the day, I decided to save my pennies for an Ipad.  Thanks for the review!