Tell me about your Kindle Fire

Thinking of getting one for my mom so she can start ebooking and such. Tell me about yours.


  1. Connect via cell service, right? Cost?

  2. If one household owns two kindles how do they share books? I know how to do it with our iPads but not with Kindles?

What else don’t I know about it?

They don’t connect via cello-phone service. They are wi-fi only do there is nothing else to pay once you get one EXCEPT a subscription to Amazon Prime for about $80 a year is highly recommended with one. That is about the best deal in existence on its own. You get free streaming movies plus free 2 day shipping to your door for just about anything you would want plus lots more. If she doesn’t already have an internet connection with a wireless router though, that will be a significant extra expense and hassle.

You can also load books via a USB cable from your computer.

You can link both Kindles to the same Amazon account and download anything you buy to both of them (up to 6 actually, including Kindle apps for devices).

My mom has one and loves it. I’ve used it a couple of times and have also been impressed by it. Strangely, despite not owning a tablet, I almost want a Kindle Fire more than an iPad.

They’re pretty nice. I’d heartily suggest one.

[mod]Moving over to IMHO, by the way, although it could fit in Cafe Society too[/mod]

My sister was avidly, politically, religiously opposed to all kinds of e-readers. I bow to no one in my appreciation of the regular book, and I admit when they first came into common use I rolled my eyes a bit, but still I could see some advantages in the product. When traveling and wanting to keep your baggage light, say, or for downloading books immediately (instant gratification! Gotta love it). But my sister? A traditional, almost luddite book-lover who refused to see any use in 'em.

For Christmas a grateful editing client bought me a Kindle Fire, and as I showed off my first on-a-whim book purchase (“The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat”) to my sister, she said both grudgingly and sotto voce, “yeah, that is pretty cool.”

To me that was like Gingrich saying “Bill Clinton was the best president of the 20th century.”

So I bought her one as a surprise. And when she realized she could download her new social work textbook onto her Kindle instead of lugging that 7lb thing around, she was hooked for good.

Two useful tips for extending your batterly life, though:

  1. If you aren’t doing anything that requires wifi access (such as reading an already-downloaded book or listening to already-downloaded music), turn the wifi off. The Kindle is always searching for Wifi access and this wastes battery power.

  2. If you’re not using it, don’t just press the “off” button lightly to turn it off; that just puts it into sleep mode, which still wastes batteries. Press and hold it, until you get the message “Do you want to shut down?” Click YES obviously. You’ll know the difference if you press the button to turn it back on – you should just see the words “kindle fire” as it warms up, rather than have the screen go back to the orange stripe thingy and the clock.

(This stuff is probably well-known to experienced Kindle users but just in case there are other newbies like me, it might be useful. I was finding myself running down battery power really quickly before I realized the wifi search issue.)

Had one and returned it for a Kindle touch. The screen sensitivity is god awful and is very unpredictable. The web browser is kind of crappy too. If you only want to use it for reading books then save the money and get a kindle touch instead. It’s way better.

+1 vote

I prefer a IPad over a Kindle Fire. The new Kindle Touch is a great book reader My mom and I use ours nearly every day. We’re thinking about buying a third one for my 1st cousin.

If she just wants a Kindle to read ebooks on, you might consider getting her another type. For my ebooks, I think I’d prefer the 3g, or even just a plain first-gen Kindle, over the Fire. The touch screen definitely gets in the way while reading. I wish I could hold the Fire with my thumb across the front and hit buttons to turn pages. Hell, I might get a vanilla Kindle *anyway, *just for that convenience. Also, the e-ink display is much easier on the eyes. I can turn down the backlighting on my Fire, but I can still tell it’s backlit. Especially as someone who spends so much time on my computer at work, it would be nice to get away from the backlit screen while reading ebooks.

And another thing: the Fire is heavy. Since childhood, I’ve preferred to lie down on my side and read books one-handed, but I can’t hold the Fire up with one hand. I either have to sit up in bed to read or prop it up with a pillow.

The Fire IS nice for youtube and streaming through Amazon Prime, though. Just this week, I’ve streamed free episodes of Daria, Arrested Development, Red vs Blue, and good throwback movies like Miss Congeniality and Mrs. Doubtfire. But she’s going to need a wireless router if she wants to do this. No additional cost for the web surfing, as long as she has internet.

I’m sure you get battery savings by turning it completely off, but I gotta say, battery life while in sleep mode is huge. Like, days and days and days - seems like at least a week. This is even with wifi on (I never turn wifi off).

I disagree. I got the Fire and the Touch at the same time, fully expecting to keep the Touch and send the Fire back. I ended up liking the Fire WAY more than the touch. The quick page-turns of the Fire is a big deal to me; on the old Kindles and the Touch, the page turn rate made it so I skipped reading footnotes, never wanted to go back a few pages to double-check something, or pretty much do anything but read the book straight through.

Overall, I really like my Fire as a reading device. It does OK with web browsing, apps, and mail too, but it’s no iPad. I like it better than the e-Ink Kindles (though I still have an e-Ink, for reading outside in the sun.)

Using fingers on the screen does suck. I got a stylus and now all is well. Got an accessory package including stylus, leather case, screen protector, car charger and USB cable for $13 on eBay including shipping.**

This is true; the Kindle Fire does not connect via cell phone (3G) service. But… some of the other, e-ink Kindles DO have cell phone connectivity for downloading content. And I believe there is no fee for the connectivity, which is a pretty awesome deal.

We don’t share a lot of stuff between Kindles, as there’s very little we both want to read at the same time. (Actually, I suspect he wouldn’t want to read most of the stuff on my Fire at any point. He’s not so much into the 19th century romances and kiddie lit.) But if he buys something we both want to read, or finds it through ahem other channels, it’s just a matter of emailing the file to my Fire and it loads automatically through the Wifi.

But if you want it just for books, I think a regular e-ink Kindle would be a better choice. As others have said, it’s much easier on the eyes in normal lighting and glare-free in bright lighting, both of which can be issues with the Fire. Plus, depending on how tech-comfortable she is, it can be less intimidating because it’s essentially a book, rather than a mini-computer.

Agreed, I put mine to sleep and the battery usage is minimal - so low it looks like almost nothing.

One advantage that the Fire has over the regular e-ink is that you can read graphic novels on it. It even has an automatic panel-by-panel zoom function. Very cool.

I also don’t think that it has a computer intimidation factor any worse than the iPad; they keep everything pretty well walled-off, and even the app store is curated.

However, the brightness at the lowest brightness setting is WAY too bright, and the lack of hard volume controls is a really careless omission, IMO. It also bothers me a bit that updates are pushed to the device automatically. But the screen is very crisp and page navigation is much snappier than the e-ink versions.

I’ve seen people recommending the Screendim app, have you tried it?

Ah, I haven’t. Looks like it’s exactly what I need. Thanks!

re: Screen Brightness - I thought for sure that I’d hate reading on it because of the backlit screen, but as it turns out, it’s no big deal. I do have the brightness turned down a little, and I’m using the tannish colored background instead of white. I have no eye fatigue with it at all.

Bottom line: it’s a supersized iPod Touch that meshes perfectly with the webstore that I actually use (ie - not iTunes).

Coming from iOS, the dearth of apps is noticeable, but it’s a self-correcting problem. New apps come out all the time (they just got Hulu+ working this week) and Amazon gives away a free app every day, so there’s always something new to fiddle with.) The cloud music service and the video service via Amazon Prime work flawlessly. As an e-Reader, I still tend to reach for my Kindle instead, but I like the flexibility of being able to read from the Fire without having to turn on the lights.

Overall, it’s easy to see why it’s selling so well. It’s an attractive little toy - and it’s priced like a toy, not a laptop.

I’ve never found the screen to be too sensitive or unpredictable. It may be the best touch screen I’ve ever used. Love the kindle. You can keep your 500 dollar ipad. I dont want it.

How well does it handle PDFs? I’ve just started a new job and would like to read papers and reviews during the commute. I got a Kindle Touch for Christmas and I like it a lot, but it’s crap at handling PDFs and the lack of color makes it worthless when reading a paper where antibody staining plays a critical role.