Better late than never right? I have been meaning to pick up Amazon’s Kindle Fire for months and have finally got around to placing an order. I got it much quicker than I expected and turned it on immediately. I actually got a much different interface than I expected. I knew Amazon put their own interface on top of the Android OS, but I didn’t expect it to be this different. I found the front page to be a large waste of space with huge icons taking up the middle of the screen. Those icons are what you used recently, which is a nice idea, but I would’ve preferred a different layout.
Besides the odd home screen I was happy with everything else. Having my Amazon account automatically linked to my Kindle was awesome and made my first book purchase pretty easy. The screen was nice and bright and I found myself toning down the brightness when I wanted to actually read books on it. I was slightly disappointed with the apps available on the Amazon store. I already paid for several apps on my Droid X, but because the kindle doesn’t have the Google marketplace, I can’t get the apps I paid for without charge. This pushed me more and more to rooting the device.
Netflix ran nicely on the device as I tested it on HD content and Standard definition content. The speaker placement, which is on the top of the device, was an odd choice. I found myself cupping the sides to get the sound to point towards me while watching videos. Not a big deal as I will probably be using headphones for the majority of the time. Another potential downside is the missing Micro USB wire to connect to your computer. I have a droid X, which came with a Micro USB wire, but I could see this being a slight annoyance with people who have older phones.
The touchscreen is very responsive, though I did find myself pressing a bit harder than I thought I would need to. Once I got the hang of the Kindles sensitivity I was able to easily navigate the tablet with ease. Now… On to rooting the device. If you don’t know what that means, rooting is when you unlock a device from its restrictions, which enables to you install programs that you normally couldn’t. I wanted my Kindle Fire to essentially become a full Android tablet. The main reason for this was to have access to the Android Marketplace and get the apps I already paid for through my phone.
The rooting process was actually pretty easy. I simply had to download a few files, enter in some code (which was easily copy and pasted from instructions) and it was a full Android tablet in a matter of minutes. Amazon has gone on record saying they wouldn’t block any form of rooting with much effort, even though the last big update undid many peoples rooting efforts. Within a few days a new program was written and the tablet was rooted easily without harm to the device. Though I will warn anyone out there thinking of doing this, there is always a risk that something could go wrong, and in this case, it can void your warranty if it does. Just be sure to watch plenty of youtube videos on how to root your device and be very careful.
After rooting the device I had a bit less control over what I wanted to be than I expected. Apparently, the folks who help make the code to root the Kindle Fire are still working out some wrinkles. One such wrinkle is overriding the Kindles automatic background program. I managed to change my background to whatever I wanted, but the moment I put the device to sleep, and woke it up again, it would change back. Not a big deal, but a slight annoyance.
Overall I am extremely happy with my purchase. The Kindle Fire is exactly what I wanted in a tablet. Something small, with a bright screen and internet connection. If you decide to get a Kindle Fire in the future I would suggest checking out Verso’s covers for it. They have 3 styles that make your kindle look like an old book, which is great if you walk around with your tablet often. Anyone who looks in your hand will think you just have some old journal, also it just looks cool to be able to fit it on a shelf with your old books.