I recently had the chance to review the Kindle Fire for Argos UK.
As a digital comics site I wanted to concentrate on the reading of comics on it, but before that I thought it would be good to go through some of the other features and my thoughts on the product as a whole.
On the box it states “frustration free set up” and I must say that is true. No linking up to a PC or using other programs. All you need is a Amazon account – which most people have nowadays, or can set up easily for free! All you do is switch it on and log in. That in itself makes it a device for more people than some of the more technical tablets on the market.
One of the first things I noticed was how robust the Kindle felt – this was something I would feel happier in the hands of my children, or at the beach! This feels like a sturdy piece of kit! Although I wasn’t going to try a drop test!
Once switched on and set up, the first thing that struck me was the clarity of the HD screen – to my mind this was perfect for reading comics on, the colours were sharp and the lines are clear!
The Kindle is easy to navigate around, with the menus for the various types of programs across the top, with the most recently used apps, programs and books shown on the home page. Below the most recent apps and books are suggestions on what to get next which is a nice touch.
Obviously the Kindle is famous for the books, and with the link between this and your amazon account, it’s simple – you can easily buy and download the latest books you require. Books are stored on the cloud and can easily be transferred to reading on you device – this works with the apps and games you may download from the app store.
The reading experience is good, with a perfect light coming from the screen and you can read in portrait or landscape.
The apps and games are under separate sections on the Kindle, which makes it easier to navigate around. One program the Kindle has pre-installed is Silk, the Kindle’s web browser. This is a nice, smooth browser, with tabs and book marks available. All the sites I visited (including my own) worked well and were easily navigated.
The apps and games are downloaded via the Amazon App store, and can be purchased either on the Kindle, or on the Amazon App Store online. As far as programs are concerned I downloaded the BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Comixology and Skype (Skype can be used with the front-facing camera). All of these worked well with no crashes and drop-outs. For games I downloaded Minion Run, Sudoku, Flick Golf and Angry Birds. All the games worked well and the quality of the screen added to the fun of playing with them – again there were no crashes or lags.
You can also play music, the the Amazon music store – this is new to me and I found that some albums that I have bought for friends and family had been added as free MP3’s, so I got to try that out! The music streamed well and was easy to play. The speaker for the Kindle was very good and didn’t degrade the quality – even at top volume!
If you have a LoveFilm account, you can stream movies and TV shows – this is inbuilt and takes into account your watchlists!
Of course, I wanted to read some comics on it, so first I tried the Comixology app. To give a good test I then downloaded Think Tank, Atomic Robo’s Real Science Adventures and Wolverine: Japan’s Most Wanted.
Initially I was concerned that the smaller screen would lessen the reading experience – but that was soon proved incorrect. Nevertheless, I read Wolverine: Japan’s Most Wanted first – it being an infinite comic and uses the Guided View process. I would say that reading this in landscape was, in fact, easier than larger tablets. Not only did I feel more comfortable reading, but the HD screen improved the quality, with the transitions between screens working very well.
Next I read Atomic Robo’s Real Science Adventures – with it’s big panels and bright colours I decided to try reading this full-screen. This worked well – I had no problem reading the text and seeing the details within the panels.
Finally I tried Think Tank – a black and white comic, with far more details in it. Again I tried to read full-screen, and had no problem – I didn’t need to double-tap twice to zoom in on any point.
As a final test I tried reading DC Comics Dark Victory – a darker, detailed comic – on the Kindle’s native books platform. Again this worked very well in full-screen mode, and I only needed to zoom in on the double page spreads – which I have done on larger tablets as well!
In all the digital comics reading experience is excellent – a less bulky tablet at an excellent price. I can see why this is so popular, as carrying the Kindle around is a far lot easier than larger one. It fits into bags and larger pockets well and is sturdy enough to take some damage!
The Kindle Fire is available from Argos Online and is available with either 16 or 32 MB in a 7 inch version or 8.9 inch (I reviewed the 7 inch)
Argos Online also have a selection of accessories and other tablets.