Amazon Kindle Fire hands on, promising $199 iPad killer

There are many tablets advertise they are the iPad killer. But there is just one worthy this prime. Because of the cheap as shirt price of $199 and good brand reliability, Amazon Kindle Fire pre-orders have exceed 500,000 in the first month. Amazon Kindle Fire have actually became the biggest competitor to iPad2 though Kindle Fire wasn’t located to be the direct competitor of iPad2. Now let ITGeeg introduce it.

Kindle Fire Package and appearance

The package of Kindle Fire inherited the experiences from Amazon. It uses a Frustration-free package with a recyclable inner protect moulded paper. Kindle Fire is light and tiny. You can control it by just one hand.

The appearance of Kindle Fire gain much focus on, as it’s very like BlackBerry Playbook. The design manufacturers of Kindle Fire is the same as Playbook’s. Though the appearance is not so fashion, the manufacturing engineering quality is quite good.

Kindle Fire uses a rubber liked material back case with dull polish. There is also a etched Kindle logo as other kindle products.

The front side of Kindle Fire uses a black piano lacquer color plastic. The picture below is a simple comparison among Kindle Keyboad, iPad and Kindle Fire.

There are no entity button on the left and right side. Two speaker is placed on the top side. The only button, power button, is placed the bottom of Fire with Micro USB and 3.5mm handset port lay aside.

The shortcoming of the button design is that users need to wake up the main screen to turn down or up the volume. The power button is easily get touched if you put Kindle Fire vertical. And the power button get frequently clicked during the test, as is too “high”, which makes me not so happy.

Kindle Fire Display and reading experience

Kindle Fire uses a 1023 x 600 pixels, 169 ppi density IPS screen. It provide quite a good experience whether reading books or browsing websites. However, different from the Kindle Keyboard’s e-ink technology, users is easier to get tired when reading e-books on Kindle Fire. Compared to iPad, Kindle Fire is equality on the display but just support 2 point touch other than iPad’s multi-touch.

Though there is no e-ink screen, the Kindle Fire reading experience is quite good. It offers better multi-media experiences. Amazon also developed new KF8 format to improve the interaction reading experience.

Kindle Fire integrated the best purchase & reading process. Just one click and you can go to Amazon to choose your favorite books. Users can even preview on chapter before they make final decision. These makes reading on Kindle Fire a more convenient and fun experience.

Kindle Fire hardware and speaker

Once, the Kindle Keyboard impressed me with its quality speaker which beat Apple iPod Touch. Kindle Fire inherited the excellent quality. Watching videos just with these speak is also not a bad idea.

You will feel Kindle Fire fever on the bottom after about quarter hour. However, for a $199 hardware, you should not put too high expectation on Kindle Fire especially when the Fire have meet most of your needs.

Kindle Fire performance

In order to compare the performance, we used Quadrant Antutu to test the Fire. The figure below can indicate how powerful the Fire is. In Antutu, Kindle Fire got 5093 which is a little below Samsung Galaxy S2 but higher than Moto Xoom and Nexus S.

Kindle Fire OS and apps

Kindle Fire run on Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Amazon did some customization. Amazon removed most Google services, even Gmail client. However, this simplify makes some apps can not run on Kindle Fire, Chinese input for example.

Some people find the OS may sometimes very slow. Our test don’t show any problems when we don’t open too many apps. However, when we opened more than 4 apps, problems come.

As Amazon blocked Android Market, we may wonder if we can install other third party Android market. There should be no worry about it as we have tried two other Android market on this tablet. Just few apps are not supported on Kindle Fire.


Amazon deployed their own Silk cloudy browser on Kindle Fire.  However, we didn’t find much performance upgrade by this browser. And if there are many pictures in a webpage, the speed is really slow. But we can install other third-party browsers, like dolphin-browser.


Kindle Fire is a milestone of Android Tablet. It’s, not like other Android tablets compete with powerful hardware, wining the market with great services. Though Kindle Fire is not a hardware stand out product, its whole scale services from Amazon makes it a good choice except iPad, especially just $199.

You can purchase Kindle Fire on Amazon now. However, take a look at 12 Kindle Fire shortcomings before making final decision.