Journeying Through Tablets: the Kindle Fire

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(Thus begins an irregular column in which I talk about random experience I’ve had involving tablet PCs on display in stores.)

I had the chance to play with a Kindle Fire yesterday (my local Barnes and Noble didn’t have a tablet in the store, which sucked).

Initial thoughts:

  • The design is sleek and clean.
  • The interface is intuitive and fun to play with.  There are probably flaws in the interface, but I didn’t notice them at the time.  Honestly, I figured out how to do everything almost immediately.  Maybe that’s just me…
  • It’s fast.   It switched between reading (books, magazines, online stuff) and viewing (movies, apps, etc.) fairly smoothly.  Other tablets might run faster, but I don’t think most people will notice while using the Fire.
  • I don’t think it will be good as a reading device, with exception to magazines that are still in magazine format.  The color and background options for the eReader were lacking.  You could make things semi-okay for reading, but I think e-Ink still reigns supreme in this category.

An amusing fact:
There were a whole bunch of other devices on display (a Vizio something or other and two Acer devices).  All but one of those was busted for one reason or another (or the interface was clunky for a touch pad, in comparison to the Fire).

I want to wait for my local B&N to bring in a tablet for me to play with before I make a decision.  Right now, the $50 price difference gives the Fire a huge edge.  But if the B&N has a better interface, better options, and better performance, it’ll be worth throwing down the extra cash (one day — I don’t have the $ to buy anything like that right now).

To be continued…

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital Rhetoric and Writing at Bemidji State University. He received his PhD in English from the University of Florida and studies science fiction, postcolonialism, digital fan cultures, and digital rhetoric.

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