Review: Kindle Fire
Although the original Kindle Fire is still under a year old, the new Kindle Fire has already arrived. Amazon have tried to improve on the original in all the obvious ways, and are making this new version of the Kindle Fire the bottom end of their new Kindle Fire product range (at a very affordable price). With that in mind, letâ€™s take a look at the new Kindle Fire and find out whether it really does improve on the older model. Key Specs For The New Kindle Fire RRP: $159 Release Year: 2012 Operating System: Android Display Size: 7 inches Connectivity: Wi-Fi Cameras: n/a Battery Life: 8.5 hours Kindle Fire: The Pros Speed: The most obvious improvement over the original Kindle Fire when using the new version is in the speed. Although the processor on this device still isnâ€™t quad-core and so canâ€™t match the Google Nexus 7, itâ€™s a good bit faster than the original Kindle Fireâ€™s processor was. On top of this, the new Kindle Fire has double the amount of memory compared to the old Kindle Fire. That makes applications load faster and generally improves performance. Together, these improvements combine to make the new Kindle Fire about 40% faster than the original. Thatâ€™s a significant improvement and you really can feel it when using the device. If youâ€™ve been frustrated by slow tablets in the past, then you wonâ€™t really need to worry about that with this device. Sure, it doesnâ€™t stand up to top-end tablets like those offered by Asus and Apple, but itâ€™s not meant to compete with them. This is a portable tablet meant for casual users and the speed at which it runs meet these demands very well. Storage: The new Kindle Fire offers more storage than the original. The first Kindle Fire had 6GB of storage, of which around 4 was available for user content. The new Kindle Fire has 8GB of storage, of which about 5.5GB is available for user content. That means users now have 1.5GB more storage space to play with â€“ enough for a whole extra movie, or 250+ songs. The storage on the Kindle Fire still isnâ€™t huge, but is a marked improvement over the original and does compete with other low-end tablets at this capacity. Ready Out Of The Box: The new Kindle Fire is ready to go right out of the box. There is nothing to set up or install and nothing to download before you can get going. Just switch it on and have a good time! 1 Month Amazon Prime Free: Amazon Prime, Amazonâ€™s unique online service that gives you a range of benefits including thousands of free streaming movies, millions of songs and more, is a really effective multimedia service. While a yearly subscription really doesnâ€™t cost you that much, itâ€™s great that the Kindle Fire comes with a 1 month free trial to let you find out whether you like the service or not. Micro-USB Port: A source of frustration with many tablets is the lack of ports offered. While the Kindle Fire isnâ€™t exactly loaded with ports, it does manage to offer a micro-USB port which can be connected to various other devices or used for charging. This is a great thing to have, giving the Kindle Fire more flexibility than other products that donâ€™t have any USB features. Kindle FreeTime: Kindle FreeTime is a great new feature that allows parents to regulate the amount of time their kids spend using the Kindle. It can limit access in general, or be used to restrict the use of specific functions such as games and web-browsing by applying time limits or total bans. Thatâ€™s a great tool to help parents encourage their kids to read books on the Kindle instead of doing other things. Charge Time: If you buy the Kindle PowerFast charger accessory, itâ€™s possible to give the new Kindle Fire a full charge in just 3 hours! Using other micro-USB chargers takes slightly longer than that, and when connecting to a computer through the micro-USB charging is around 11 hours. Whichever way you charge this product, it really is fast, and makes the product that much better as a portable device. Price: It goes without saying that the price of the new Kindle Fire is an absolute standout feature. At just $159 it undercuts rival tablets by around $50 making it extra appealing, especially to those operating with a tight budget. Kindle Fire: The Cons Limited Apps: The Kindle Fire might be cheap, but thatâ€™s because Amazon want you to spend more of your hard earned money for their online services and in their own app store. As such, the Kindle Fire does not allow access to Google Play â€“ the biggest marketplace for apps on Android devices. It is possible to access some third-party app stores, such as GetJar and SlideMe, but this carries an increased risk of getting malware onto your device. That means your choice of apps is fairly limited compared to other tablets, although Amazonâ€™s store does not offer in excess of 50,000 apps which still gives quite a bit of choice. Not HD: Along with the new Kindle Fire, there are also a range of Kindle Fire HD devices that try to match other higher-end tablets on the market. If youâ€™re looking for great image quality in movies, then the new Kindle Fire canâ€™t match up to other HD offerings. Storage: Even though this Kindle Fire offers more storage than its predecessor, 8GB is still a pretty small amount of space. Amazon does offer a large amount of cloud storage that allows you to keep the music you purchase through Amazon on the web, but still, you canâ€™t do an awful lot with 8GB. No SD Card Slot: Even though SD card slots are beginning to show up on some of the newest tablets, the Kindle Fire still doesnâ€™t have one. This isnâ€™t a huge complaint since itâ€™s not an expected feature of tablets yet, but given the small storage capacity of this device it wouldâ€™ve been a nice bonus. Is The New Kindle Fire Worth Buying? If youâ€™re a Kindle fan, or youâ€™re looking for a great portable tablet at a budget price, then this will suit you down to the ground. However, if youâ€™re a demanding user in need of power for the top-end games youâ€™ll want to stick to something on a bigger budget. Thereâ€™s really very little to criticize about this tablet though. A real improvement on the original.