Hands On: Kindle Fire and iPad 2

By: Unknown, February 6, 2012
This is a guest post kind-fully written by Melonie McLaurin (more info at the bottom of the post). Credits go to her. If you would like to write us a guest post please click here.

Now that some time has passed since Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet was released into the wild, I’ve had a while to compare it extensively with the iPad 2, and enough time to get past the “ooh” and “ahh” stage of infatuation with the former that I can make an unbiased evaluation. Here’s my background with each device.

I was standing in one of those long lines outside the Apple Retail Store two hours from my home on launch day for the original iPad. I’d pre-ordered this revolutionary tablet, and even having done so, there was a line – but I love waiting in line for new technology. It is there you get to meet the real fan boys and fan girls who share your passion for gadgets.

When iPad 2 was available, I waited several months to upgrade. I had sentimental reasons for wanting to hang on to my iPad, but the lure of the latest and greatest eventually won out. I have had my iPad 2 since October 2011, so I’ve fully bonded with it now.

When the Kindle Fire was announced, I, like many technology enthusiasts, was eager to get up close and personal. It was also revolutionary, in some very important ways: the $199 price, the 7” screen, and the Amazon-optimized version of Android powering the device all conspired against me. Although I certainly didn’t need the Kindle Fire, I unquestionably wanted it. Bad. I pre-ordered, deciding that it was actually a gift for a relative. This justified my need to experiment with it, while keeping me from total indulgence.

When the Kindle Fire arrived weeks later, the unboxing ceremony was nothing to post to YouTube. In fact, there was hardly anything to the box. It was plain, brown cardboard, and nothing was inside: no cute little Android or Amazon stickers, no instruction manual. Just a little card in a slot on the inside of the box’s top lid, showing in graphic fashion how to turn the Fire on.

What was in the box was an entirely different story. I lifted the rather sleek looking tablet from its secure spot in a cheap plastic tray and removed the outer wrapping. I turned it on. I was amazed. The screen lit up beautifully. The glass itself seemed sturdy, and the screen’s resolution bright and spacious. It was no iPad 2, but then, I hadn’t been expecting that.

I used my iPad2 and the Kindle Fire side by side for a few weeks before preparing the Kindle Fire for its new owner. And I was very happy to be doing this, since I realized quickly that the iPad2 is for one type of consumer, while the Kindle Fire is aimed at perhaps a distinctly different crowd. My final conclusion is that the Kindle Fire is a device suited to those people who do what most people do with tablets: checking email, using Facebook and other social media apps, Web surfing, playing games – and most importantly for Amazon, purchasing Kindle books and other media from the company. The Kindle Fire is especially useful for members of Amazon Prime, since its streaming video service is tied right into their accounts and can be used on the Kindle Fire seamlessly.

For more hard core users, the iPad2 is still the tablet that rules them all. A 7” screen is too cramped for business productivity, leaving the Kindle Fire hobbled somewhat for serious tablet users. The iPad2’s mutli-touch interface is quicker and more responsive than that of the Kindle Fire. And let’s not forget: the iPad2 is powered by good old iOS 5, and grants full access to the iTunes App Store. Amazon has limited the Kindle Fire by restricting access to the Android Marketplace; the only apps its users can download must come from the proprietary Amazon App Store.

So you see, this is not a question of which tablet is the best, since each will appeal to a different consumer. It all comes down to knowing who you are, and what you will be using your tablet for. In my experience, each is a pleasure to use and either would be an excellent choice, again, depending on how it is used. So, if you are in the market for either of these tablets and haven’t made a decision, I hope this article was helpful for you.

About the Author: Melonie McLaurin is a professional technology blogger who loves gadgets, especially those Designed by Apple in Cupertino. She currently promotes ADT New York home security.

1 comment:

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