Bloomberg’s Rich Jaroslovsky reviews the Kindle Fire.
(Link to video version)
Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble both introduced new color tablets at budget prices trying to wrest some sales away from Apple’s mighty iPad. I’ve been trying both of them, the Amazon Kindle Fire and Barne’s and Noble Nook tablet. There are a lot of similarities. Both are capable and compact devices for doing things like watching movies and TV show, reading ebooks and magazines and surfing the web.
Neither of them have cameras or 3G data options, but in a funny way, they are kind of reverse images of each other. The Fire’s strongest point is its price at $199. And the universe of content that’s seamlessly available from Amazon.
You can buy just about anything you want with a click or two. Plus Amazon stores copy of everything on its servers. So its always available even if you change devices. You never lose content it even if you delete it from the Fire to free up some of its limited storage space. In addition, if you’re a customer of Amazon Prime service, you get no extra charge access to thousands of older movies and TV shows, much like Netflix. The only thing I didn’t like about the Kindle Fire was the Fire itself. It’s kind of plain and chunky and the software felt sluggish. I also had trouble with the accelerometer, the sensor that reorients the screen if you turn it.
The Nook Tablet costs $249, $50 more than the Kindle Fire. For the extra money, you get twice the memory, twice the onboard storage capacity and an expansion slot for an SD card. I found it to be more attractive and zippier than the Kindle Fire with fewer software bugs. Where it falls short is exactly where Amazon shines, in the selection of content available and how well it’s integrated into the overall user experience. Whereas Barnes and Noble’s ebook selection is fine, the Nook largely relies on third party movies apps, TV shows and music. In place of Amazon’s one stop shopping, you have to juggle separate accounts and logins for services like Netflix and Hulu plus.
If only someone came up with both a polished and capable device you’d enjoy using and a seamless ecosystem. Oh wait, someone did. Apple. It just costs a LOT more.