Kindle Fire

This review has been incubating for a long time, primarily because I wanted to do something comprehensive to explain why I don’t like the device but I just can’t because there’s just too much wrong with it. Instead I’ll make this short…

The bad

Cheap hardware.

They made the thing feel solid to hold but that’s only because it’s heavy and bulky.

The UI is awful.

This is the worst part, it’s not only confusing but it’s totally cumbersome.

A kid can’t use it

My three year old son can find his way around and start an app but when he needs to control the volume it’s a nightmare experience. I’ll admit his user experience for tablets is based on an iPad but I’m not talking about an icon grid on the homescreen; the kindle fire doesn’t have volume controls on the device or a home button, two things standard on any device like this — not just the iPad. The power switch is tucked away when you want to turn it on but it’s really convenient when resting one something so it can turn itself off.

The control panel thingy is badly designed.

Because the Fire lacks the hardware buttons to easily control the device the Fire puts a strip across every screen with a small arrow, you click on the arrow to get a control panel to manage volume, etc., it’s a good compensation to no hardware controls but the thing isn’t responsive. Maybe it’s the entire system not being responsive enough but clicking the arrow should bring up the control panel immediately, it shouldn’t take a couple taps and/or swipe attempts to make it work. This is also why I can’t force my son to use the Fire — it’s too frustrating.

The entire UX is frustrating

The hardware is cheap it has really bad touch accuracy. Like the Palm Pilots and Pocket PC devices of 15 years ago you can see the little sensor in a grid on the screen and since sensors are spread out so much you can’t just touch the device to use an app or shuffle through the general interface, instead you have to poke and prode your way through.

The good

  • Even though it looks and feels cheap I like the texture on the back. It’s has a soft rubberized matte feel.
  • Amazon Prime.
  • I like Amazon, simple as that.