Kindle Fire

The Good
  • Ultra affordable
  • Exceptional screen quality for the price
  • Access to Amazon’s extensive collection of books & magazines
The Bad
  • Limited features available in SA
  • Limited on-board storage, with no expansion slot
  • No 3G, camera, microphone or GPS
The Verdict
★★★☆☆

Whilst the Kindle Fire is not the best tablet that we’ve seen this year, it does provide an excellent alternative for buyers unwilling to fork out R 9000+ for the new iPad or wary of buying a knock-off piece of junk.

R2,399.99
Buy Now

Kindle Fire [Review]

With the Kindle Fire, Amazon has bridged the gap between what the latest techno-fetishist quad-core tablets are capable of doing and what consumers actually want – and that is to be entertained. And whilst not all Kindle Fire features are available in South Africa, it still packs enough of a punch to make the R 3000 odd Amazon Kindle Fire a worth wile purchase.

Design & Features

Similar to the BlackBerry Playbook or the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7, the Kindle Fire is a tablet with a 7-inch screen. Whilst the screen might initially appear too small if you’re used to the iPad’s much larger display, we found it perfectly adequate for reading e-books, browsing the web or watching a quick movie.

On the bottom of the Kindle Fire, you’ll find a headphone jack, a Micro-USB port, and a power button. An included wall adapter charges the tablet using the Micro-USB port (note: this is a US adapter – make sure you either purchase the optional USB charging cable or a suitable adapter). The back of the Kindle Fire is covered in a dull soft-touch black finish with the Kindle name embossed in the middle.

Whilst the Kindle Fire is somewhat limited in its features, many basic ones are covered. You can browse the web, email, play a variety of music files, read and edit common document files and transfer any media simply via a common Micro-USB connection from your laptop or PC.

Hardware

The Kindle Fire runs off a 1 GHz OMAP dual-core processor, which provides stable performance that will satisfy most users. If you’re planning on doing lots of processor intensive tasks or play games with souped up graphics, you should rather opt for something like the Transformer Prime with its quad-core insides.

Connectivity comes in the form of 802.11n Wi-Fi and USB 2.0 (Micro-B connector) – not that there is currenly to 3G support. We found the battery to deliver a solid 7 hours of video playback or roughly 8 hours of reading time.

Software

The Kindle Fire runs off a very heavily modified version of Android 2.3 Gingerbread, although the interface bears almost no resemblance to the Android OS.

This is where it gets interesting – whilst the Kindle Fire has access to a variety of third-party apps via the Amazon app store, these are not available in South Africa. There is a quick workaround for this, but it is important that customers outside of the US are aware of this limitation.

If you enable “sideloading” on your Kindle Fire, you will be able to upload most common apps such as Google’s app suite (Gmail, the Google App Market etc.) as well as most popular games (see here for a detailed guide on how to do this). Also, South Africans will not be able to consume any video or movies via Amazon’s Prime offering. However you can purchase books & magazines as you would with any Kindle in South Africa.

Display


The Kindle Fire’s multi-touch display uses the same IPS technology as the iPad, which makes for quick and responsive touch navigation and scrolling. Unlike many of its competitors, the Kindle Fire has a 7 inch display with a resolution 1024 pixels by 600 pixels.

The more widescreen resolution actually makes the screen look a bit larger when viewing movies but the overall smaller screen size is not ideal if you are planning on using your tablet primarily to surf the web. Unfortunately, the screen’s brightness is also not quite on par with the iPad’s, but it’s fairly close and definitely bright enough to look great indoors.

If your looking to use the tablet primarily in direct sunlight, you would probably be better off with an e-ink Kindle.

Conclusion

When compared against most other popular tablets, the Kindle Fire can’t really compete. It lacks the depth of features that most tablets now offer as standard, its performance is lagging behind modern quad-core processors and its 7-inch screen is somewhat limiting. However, these tablets usually cost about three to four times as much as the Kindle Fire.

Even with the limitations of the device in South Africa, we can say that the tablet offers some if not the best value for money. Just make sure you understand exactly what features are available and which ones aren’t to avoid disappointment.



So for around R 2000-R3000 we rate the Kindle Fire a buy – however if you can spare the additional expense you are much better served with one of the more advanced tablets.

The Good
  • Ultra affordable
  • Exceptional screen quality for the price
  • Access to Amazon’s extensive collection of books & magazines
The Bad
  • Limited features available in SA
  • Limited on-board storage, with no expansion slot
  • No 3G, camera, microphone or GPS
The Verdict
★★★☆☆

Whilst the Kindle Fire is not the best tablet that we’ve seen this year, it does provide an excellent alternative for buyers unwilling to fork out R 9000+ for the new iPad or wary of buying a knock-off piece of junk.

R2,399.99
Buy Now

Comments

  1. Cavil Shepherd says:

    I got the 64G BlackBerry Playbook for R2800 from Excellular and it has everything including ereader,apps,email,video etc – in high definition and bridges with my BlackBerry.Awesome!

  2. Hi,
    I have just received a Kinlel fire as a gift. from my son in law when I was in America. I however do not know how to work this thing and how to get an amozon account. as it is on his name.
    Can you help.
    regards lynn

    • Hi Lynn,

      Don’t know if you will read this as your post was in Jan 2013. if you go on to Amazon and register an account – their staff are well trained and INCREDIBLY helpful. Their customer service is impressive and they will help you with any and all questions you have about your kindle. Go to http://www.amazon.com and eonjoy your Kindle 🙂

  3. I live in South Africa, but have purchased a kindle here with my Brit credit card… Is it better for me to register with my SA credit card in South Africa or to remain on my uk credit card….re. apps,books, movie downloads?

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