Kindle Fire and Kindle Touch Review

Kindle Fire

I bought my Kindle Fire to read lying on my back in the dark (I like to read in bed). It is much better than the iPad I for that since it is smaller and lighter. The reading experience is generally worse than the Kindle app on the iPad: it is clumsy and poorly thought out. There is no 2 column layout in landscape mode, the menus appear for seemingly no reason and are slow to disappear. Managing your queue of books is sort of annoying since it isn’t clear what’s on the device and what’s in the cloud. Syncing seems less reliable than it did on the iOS app. It is missing some key apps: the native Twitter client and Instapaper. I might switch to ReadItLater.

The hardware seems good, and the onscreen keyboard is generally reliable. The auto-correction/completion is very much inferior to iOS.

Summary: It’s $200. If all you want is a backlit e-reader (the reason I bought my iPad originally) it is worth it. If you want a cheap and fully functional tablet, it is not worth it. Most of my complaints with it could be (and probably will be) fixed with software updates since the hardware is solid.

Kindle Touch

Yes, I bought both of them. Hi, my name is Lucas and I’m a gadgetaholic. I also don’t have a car, so I have extra spending money. Just one more gadget. Then I’ll quit for good.

This is much more refined than my wife’s Kindle 3; the onscreen keyboard is surprisingly good. The touchscreen generally works flawlessly.
It’s extremely light: I think it’s lighter than all the books I have other than very short mass market paperbacks.

My only (minor) complaints:

  1. There should be more feedback when it has entered “highlight” mode. The only feedback you get is that the word your finger is on turns black. But if the word is smaller than your finger, that’s not very helpful.
  2. I wish they had kept the page-turn buttons
  3. The “special offers” screens are much more annoying than I would have expected. I wish there was option to upgrade to the Kindle without the special offers. Well worth the extra money to skip the offers, IMO.
  4. The home button does not look or feel like a button. Weird and confusing, even after I know what it’s for.
  5. The power button is relatively easy to hit by mistake. I liked the slide button on the old Kindle much better.

Summary: Love it. Excellent. A very refined and well-designed product. Spring for the more expensive no ads version.

Update: You can unsubscribe to the special offers for the $40 difference in the cost of the device. Go to, click the drop-down by your name, and select “Manage Your Kindle”. From there you can unsubscribe, or, if you feel like you don’t have enough ads in your life, re-subscribe.

2 thoughts on “Kindle Fire and Kindle Touch Review

  1. “Then I’ll quit for good.” — Over on they say “After this purchase, I’m done.” I never say that, because I don’t have a problem. Honest.

  2. Thanks, Lucas. I will likely be buying one of the new Touch’s for my wife for Christmas (I currently have a 3/Keyboard). I’ve toyed with the idea of Fire, as an inexpensive tablet, but I’ve just had the sense that it’s too constrained by Amazon’s ownership. Will continue to ponder.

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