Pros: Easy to use, economical
Cons: The unit is not 3G ready and is limited to WiFi
Yes, The $199 Kindle Fire is approproately named. It is a fantastic product. We ordered it from Amazon and received it in the mail three days later. The big question I has was, "How easy will this be to set up and use?".
Pleasant surprise...EASY. The first thing I noticed when unpacking the Kindle Fire was that there was no instruction manual. A glitch? No! The Kindle comes charged and ready to go, and the homepage has a virtual bookshelf with a virtual user manual. Click on it and it opens. You are already using it as a book reader right out of the box.
The menu is straight forward and organized with the various features such as books, video, and applications(programs to run various organizing and entertainment options. Many are free.
New users receive an automatic trial of Amazon Prime, which provides on-demand movies and TV shows, a book library where you can "borrow" books at no charge, and also get free shipping when ordering other things from Amazon. The cost is $79 per year. After the trial, we will definitely sign up, as I order things from Amazon during the year and the savings on shipping will pay for the subscription.
The screen image on the Fire is crisp and stable. However, the "paper & ink look" of the simpler black & white Kindle machines is superior if you are only going to be reading books. The Kindle Fire is for those who will be using all the other features, watching videos, and downloading colorful magazines and such.
The Kindle Fire is WiFi ready and easily syncs to your own wireless system at home. The Fire does not have built-in 3G connection, so if there is no WiFi available to connect with, you will not be able to order things online.
The Fire is touchscreen and very responsive. The speakers of the sound system are adequate for private viewing but do not have a very wide fidelity range. Hook up external speakers if watching music videos or movies.
The tablet can be held horizontal or vertical; the screen visually adjusts automatically.
Design-wise, the Kindle Fire has only a few minor issues. The placement of the tiny on/off switch can be triggered accidently, although once you get used to the tablet, avoiding the on/off button comes naturally.
There have been reports of the Fire freezing up. I have not experience that at all. There have been a few episodes of slow loading or pause in video, but nothing that would deter you from buying this model.
This full function Tablet costs far less than Apple's product due to Amazon subsidizing the cost, based on the desire to generate business on the Amazon site. Great for them, great for us!
This machine is easy enough for my parents to use it, and they don't even own a computer. Basically, if you can push an "on" button, you can use the Kindle Fire and enjoy a treasure trove of entertainment.