Shouting Fire in a Crowded Theatre

Robert said I would blog about the Kindle Fire as soon as I got it. Proving him right once again.

First thoughts upon pulling it out of the box:

Wow, there’s not much in the way of documentation. In fact, none to speak of. One tiny 2×4″ piece of brown paper with instructions for turning it on.

It’s kinda small. The iPad is bigger.

Who needs documentation anyway? It just gets shoved in a drawer and never read anyway. So good on Amazon. As for the size, that minor disappointment disappeared as soon as I turned it on. I’ve never owned an iPad to directly compare the experience, but the Fire is plenty big for what it is.

The screen is nice and clear and colorful. Movies from both Amazon and Netflix looked good, although the Netflix streaming was a bit slow (I’ve had problems with their PS3 app, too). Book text looks crisp. The app store appears reasonably well-stocked. It’s missing a few of the apps that I’ve heard people rave about for the iPad, but I don’t think that will be a huge hindrance. The web browser works–it will take a few days to render full judgement. The speakers are freaking awesome: this little thing puts out better sound than just about any laptop I’ve ever heard, and it’s loud enough to fill a medium-sized room.

My biggest problem for it was that I couldn’t find the e-mail app. After an hour and a half of playing around, I turned the Fire off and it began to update. And once it had re-booted, there was my e-mail app, right where it was supposed to be. D’oh. Perhaps Amazon should have added that to their tiny instruction card: “Please allow the Fire to update before pulling your hair out searching for the missing e-mail app.”