Now that I've had more than a month to give my Kindle Fire a workout I figure it is time to gather my thoughts and conclusions. First I must say that getting a Kindle Fire was a big decision for me, mainly because I have never warmed up to the idea of tablets. I generally don't like pecking at a screen with my fingers, and am quite happy with a keyboard and touchpad or a mouse. But a couple of things helped to sell me on the idea.
I've been using a regular Kindle with an e-ink screen for the past couple of years. I think that the print book as a primary way to consume data and novels is quickly becoming a dinosaur. Storage for ebooks and etexts and simply saving trees all speak in favor of digital media. I love my regular Kindle, and have moved from a physical library of books to a digital library of ebooks. The only thing the regular Kindle really lacked in my view was color.
There are some books that you simply must have in color to enjoy them fully, and magazines and even some online content really need color to be appreciated. I realized that one area I was sorely lacking in my new digital library was guide books. Books for birds, trees, plants and animals need color, so that was the first selling point for me regarding the Kindle Fire. The second selling point was that ability to edit my books and documents on a smaller device. Even a Netbook can be cumbersome when it comes to editing an entire book. With the Kindle Fire using OfficeSuite I can access my books and docs both from Google Docs and from Dropbox. I'm not saying this is a great way to handle rewrites of an entire book, but for polishing a manuscript it is great to read over it with the 7 inch KFire.
Those things convinced me to take the plunge and purchase a KFire. It also helped to know that I could use a stylus to help keep the KFire free of finger smudges. A mini stylus works great on the KFire.
Some things that surprised me. The touch screen on the KFire is reasonably sensitive, I did not want to be constantly pecking on the screen to get it to respond, thankfully the touch works well. I was pleased that I could access my dozen or so Barnes & Noble ebooks by downloading the nook app through getjar. I was surprised that I actually used and enjoyed the free month of Kindle Prime, both for the free ebook and free movies and TV series. Video looks very good considering you are watching it on a 7 inch screen.
What I have not been so happy with: I'm spoiled by the regular Kindle's battery life. the KFire spends much more time on the battery charger. It lasts longer than my Netbook on battery power, but I would love to see future improvements regarding the battery. PDF files are far more usable on the KFire than on the regular Kindle, but with the touch screen it is too easy to bump them back to regular size rather than zoom size. I've heard complaints about no physical volume control and agree that would be an improvement. The power button also has gotten complaints and I agree that locating it on top of the device might be a good idea. The screen is very reflective, worse than my Netbook's LCD screen. You won't be reading this outdoors in the sunshine.
What I like best: The price is great. Amazon is selling the thing at or below cost. I like its size, it is very portable. Game apps like Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds seem to be perfect on the KFire. I like using a calendar and note taking app to keep track of my life on the KFire. I like streaming music on the KFire, it has better sound than my Netbook and is a great portable radio, and also can access all the music I have bought and uploaded at Amazon. Doing email is OK but not great on the KFire. Web surfing is fast and better than I expected. Most web sites also work with phones, so I only rarely came across a site that was unmanageable on the tablet. As mentioned earlier, color books and word processing are positives for me on the KFire. And movies/videos are surprisingly good as well.
My conclusion? The Kindle Fire for me has been a blessing rather than a bust, and this from a guy who is not a fan of Tablets and Tablet interfaces. Amazon, with its excellent support and willingness to live on thread bare profit margins, has given the regular Joe and Jane the opportunity to own a fine tablet for an incredible price. I don't think it can take the place of a desktop or laptop for serious word processing, video and photo editing, and other things requiring a keyboard and mouse, but for most people doing some email, web surfing, book reading, note taking, facebooking, and other non-strenuous computing, the Kindle Fire is well worth considering.