The $199 Amazon Kindle Fire lands this week and the embargo on reviews was just lifted. Besides a well-timed gem of an interview of Jeff Bezos by Steven Levy, here are some of the bigger Kindle Fire reviews from around the web:
The Kindle Fire isn’t a revolutionary device, but it is Amazon’s most important product ever. [It] takes Amazon’s wildly popular services and presents them in a solid piece of hardware with a responsive, easy-to-understand interface that works. It doesn’t have the iPad’s extra layer of polish and sheen, but with the Amazon brand, a wide ecosystem of services at its disposal, and that $199 price point, it doesn’t really need it. In that sense, Apple’s tablet just met its first real competitor.
The Fire deserves to be a disruptive, gigantic force — it’s a cross between a Kindle and an iPad, a more compact Internet and video viewer at a great price. But at the moment, it needs a lot more polish; if you’re used to an iPad or “real” Android tablet, its software gremlins will drive you nuts.
(The iPad finally has serious competition). If you like what Amazon Prime has going on in the kitchen, the Fire is a terrific seat. It’s not as powerful or capable as an iPad, but it’s also a sliver of the price—and that $200 will let you jack into the Prime catalog (and the rest of your media collection) easily and comfortably. Simply, the Fire is a wonderful IRL compliment to Amazon’s digital abundance. It’s a terrific, compact little friend, and—is this even saying anything?—the best Android tablet to date.
The Kindle Fire marks an important milestone in the history of tablets. While the industry has been competing with Apple for the claim of the fastest, thinnest, or most feature-packed tablet, Amazon started in on its own slow race to make the first “good enough” tablet at a game-changing price. If you remember what Netbooks did to the laptop industry, this probably feels like deja vu.
Still, there’s no question that the Fire is a really terrific tablet for its price. The amount of content you have access to — and the ease of getting to that content — is notable to say the least. The device is decently designed, and the software — while lacking some polish — is still excellent compared to pretty much anything in this range (and that includes the Nook Color). It’s a well thought out tablet that can only get better as the company refines the software. It’s not perfect, but it’s a great start, and at $200, that may be all Amazon needs this holiday shopping season.
So, the Kindle Fire is great value and perhaps the best, tightest integration of digital content acquisition into a mobile device that we’ve yet seen. Instead of having a standalone shopping app the entire tablet is a store — a 7-inch window sold at a cut-rate price through which users can look onto a sea of premium content. It isn’t a perfect experience, but if nothing else it’s a promising look into the future of retail commerce.
- Kindle Fire: Moment of truth (tech.fortune.cnn.com)