Thursday, April 12, 2012

Kindle Fire and speck FitFolio review

I have always loved my Kindle 3, that is the model with keyboard. It is light, handy, can be read in harsh sunlight, and the battery lasts a very long time. I subscribed to various blogs and never without materials to read. However, when it comes to Kindle Fire, the only question that I have is "Why bother?"

I blame it on Jeff Bezos, who in an interview, advises people to get both. One to read, and the other for "media consumption." Although I didn't go out and buy a Kindle Fire, the seed was planted.

And so it was that Michael Gallagher's blog, Free Kindle Books and Tips, mentioned buying practically new Kindle Fire for $139 a piece. Refurbished Christmas returns, he called it. Something clicked. The process took about 5 minutes. I ordered Kindle Fire through the mail. There are things that I bought because I need them. There are things that I bought because I want them. This is neither. This is impulse buying, pure and simple.

In less than a week, I got my package. A simple box. Opened. There is the Kindle Fire. There is the charger. And there is the package they came in. That's it. No docs, no cards, no nothing. It was not until later that I found the Kindle Fire manual to be electronic document inside the Kindle Fire itself.

The first thing I noticed is that it is heavy! Much heavier than my Kindle 3 for sure. Another thing is that it has only one button. On/Off button. That's it. The user interface does take getting used to. However, within 2 hours after I opened it, I watch movies, read magazine, newspaper, go to YouTube, watch TV, borrow a book. Generally do what media consumption is all about.

And it is all very beautiful. To be fair, it doesn't have memory card, bluetooth, camera, or any of the other tablet standard features. It consumes media. That's it. It is a very specialized device, set at a low price. It does have micro USB cable that you can connect to the computer for file transfer. It also have a nice touch screen, so much so, that I downloaded a few drawing apps for it. Jeff Bezo is very wily, to give me a free Amazon Prime subscription for a month. I will have to investigate it further, but I think I will keep it.

The experience is very pleasant. I do have to worry about being in cloud and device. And I worry constantly about bandwidth consumption. I will not be downloading movies every day, or every week for that matter. That 5 GB per month limit will be pushed pretty hard. On 4G, that is. There are only 2 4G spots that I know of. The rest is covered by 3G. 3G is slow. 3G is inconvenient.

Never use Kindle Fire with 3G if you can help it, because once you have tasted what 4G can give you, you do not want to wait on 3G. It took a whole minute to download a 256kb app! Can you imagine it? A whole minute! Okay, so it is much better than the past. Still, with 4G, there was no waiting. So, get 4G.

Another thing that I did, is getting a cover for it. FitFolio for Kindle Fire by (*)speck. It is a nice cover. Very solid. The claim "Slim, lightweight folio with form-fitting cradle and multiple viewing angles" is true. I like it very much. I had some trouble folding it to "typing keyboard" angle. But once I figured it out, there was no problem. Everything works as expected.

I watched movie, I surfed, I drew, I typed. Everything works fine, and very beautifully at that. Do yourself a favor, get that cover, or something like it. Did I mention Kindle Fire is heavy? Get this cover, and use it as a stand to put on a table.

I didn't check the battery life. I imagine that it would be shorter than e-ink. I will not get rid of the old Kindle just yet! It does that charge from the same micro USB connection as my phone. So, whenever I'm charging my phone, I can just charge Kindle the same way.

Kindle Fire is a keeper for me. It is heavily dependent on cloud, though. Make sure you have large bandwidth capacity before you get one. If you have broadband Wifi connection, or 4G, do give it a try. Who knows? You may just like it enough to keep it.

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