Feeds
75%
Amazon Kindle Fire e-book tablet

Amazon Kindle Fire

Content consumption kit

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Business security measures using SSL

Weighty tome

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos writes in his message to Fire buyers: "We designed Kindle Fire to disappear in your hands so you can lose yourself in the content you love."

Amazon Kindle Fire Android tablet

The screen is no "retina" display, but text is clear and smooth

Nice try, Jeff, but the only disappearing this tablet is going to do is slipping out of your hand and tumbling to the floor. Amazon's spec sheet puts the Fire at 414g. That doesn't sound very much, and on paper it's much less than the iPad's 601g. In your hand, it's another matter. The Fire's size is such that you unconsciously hold it one-handed. Indeed, that's one reason why a fair few of you prefer the 7in form-factor to nine- or ten-inchers.

The thing about those bigger tablets, though: you naturally pick them up with two hands. So that greater weight feels half of what it actually is.

Amazon Kindle Fire Android tablet

An e-book reader at heart?

The Fire's curves mean the 11.3mm front-to-back device's sides aren't quite as thick as that, but the flat sides make the Fire less comfortable to hold than it could be. Holding the Fire one-handed, I found it would slowly slip, the rubberised back not really producing enough friction to keep it in place without tightening my grip. Folk with sweaty palms, beware.

Verdict

The Kindle Fire is a nice-looking tablet, and, at 200 bucks, Amazon is going to sell a shedload of them. Its flaws are well balanced by the low price, and it's a logical upgrade if you're already a Kindle owner and you want to buy videos, music and apps from Amazon, not just books.

The problems I had getting content don't affect US buyers and will disappear for the rest of us when Amazon activates international sales. If it continues to make side-loading content a faff, that too will change when third-party video players and picture viewers are available.

And let's not forget the possibility of custom firmware from the likes of the CyanogenMod team, converting the Amazon-centric Kindle into a more capable device running generic Android.

For now, then, the Fire makes for a so-so Android tablet, but succeeds as an cheap vendor-tied content access device, the tablet equivalent of a Sky HD box. If you're looking for an iPad killer, look elsewhere, at least until the hackers have got to work. ®

More Tablet and Reader Reviews

Ten high-end
Android
tablets
Asus
Eee Pad
Slider
WHSmith
Kobo Touch
Amazon
Kindle 4
Ten budget
Android
tablets

New hybrid storage solutions

75%
Amazon Kindle Fire e-book tablet

Amazon Kindle Fire

Compact but heavy 7in tablet for buying and consuming Amazon-sourced content.
Price: $199 RRP

More from The Register

next story
Half a BILLION in the making: Bungie's Destiny reviewed
It feels very familiar - but it's still good
Apple's big bang: iPhone 6, ANOTHER iPhone 6 Plus and WATCH OUT
Let's >sigh< see what Cupertino has been up to for the past year
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
A SCORCHIO fatboy SSD: Samsung SSD850 PRO 3D V-NAND
4Gb/s speeds on a consumer drive, anyone?
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Get your Indian Landfill Android One handsets - they're only SIXTY QUID
Cheap and deafening mobes for the subcontinental masses
Apple's SNEAKY plan: COPY ANDROID. Hello iPhone 6, Watch
Sizes, prices and all – but not for the wrist-o-puter
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.