The Fire's general performance likewise is good but not astonishing. The UI is smooth enough, and SD video playback fine, but there's noticeable lag while the screen contents reflow after you rotate the device.
More Android-like UI elements lie within
You'll get a continuous video playback battery life of well over seven hours, if my test was anything to go by.
As you can see from the snaps, the Fire is dressed in black and sports no adornment. There's not even an Amazon logo on the front. Only the grey-on-grey branding and CE certification info on the back give any clue which way up it might be supposed to go. That and the lockscreen, which is always presented in portrait, no matter how you hold the Fire.
Micro USB and 3.5mm audio are the Fire's only ports
This tablet is designed like no other to be held any which way. There's not even an iPad-esque Home key to give a nod to a preferred orientation. Just pick it up and leave the accelerometers to present the image on the screen accordingly.
And a very nice screen it is too. Amazon has nudged the brightness down, but a tap of the status bar allows you to push it back up. The 1024 x 600 resolution is decent, and yields an iPad-beating pixel density of 169ppi. True, it's no "retina display", and you can see jaggies, but text is a lot easier on the eye than it is on the Apple product.
It's impossible not to block a speaker when you hold the Fire in landscape orientation
There are a pair of stereo speakers on one narrow side, a bad location: one grille gets covered when you hold the tablet in landscape mode to watch a video. There's a 3.5mm audio jack on the other opposite side, but that too is placed exactly where you'd naturally hold the tablet.
The audio port sits next to the Fire's micro USB connector and power key. And that's it for connectivity beyond the built in 2.4GHz Wi-Fi.
Next page: Weighty tome
Sounds too limited
But might be nice as a subsidised Cyanogen tablet.
@uhuznaa: 'Proper kindle' battery life
I can tell you don't own a kindle. I (and the other people I know with Kindles) only charge the kindle about once a month. And this is with typical usage of someone who likes to read. ie you may read for 2-3 hours one day, none the next day, etc, etc. WiFi is only ever used to download a book, for the rest of the time it's off (no-one seriously uses the kindle for browsing) so even if you're buying 2 books a week that's still only about 4 minutes per month of wifi.
To try and suggest that a 'proper' kindle has battery life in the same magnitude as something like an iPad or Kindle fire is so very, very wrong. So, i return to my original point, you obviously don't own a kindle so stop commenting on things you know nothing about.
Missing the point
It is not an 'Android' device. The OS is a fork of the Android source. Amazon do not claim that it is Android (as far as I'm aware at least.) It's 'Amazon Fire OS'.
Something missing I feel...
What is the Kindle like as an e-book reader? One photo comment that the text is clear and smooth doesn't really add anything - Does it have all the usual limitations of being an LCD rather than e-ink screen? i.e. after prolonged reading are you eyes strained? is the glare rediculous? or have amazon made some software alterations to minimize this?
Given that the only thing you could put on the device without a PC were books I'm surprised you didn't mention much about them.
For a $200 tablet, I don't really care about loading my existing videos. What I would use such a cheap tablet for (I don't really want Amazon video and I have a proper Kindle for e-books) is web-browsing and watching TV... so what's the situation with iPlayer, 4OD, etc? Will they just work through the web-browser, or require special apps?
What IS this Silk browser anyway? Webkit?