Putting new Kindle Fire to the test

November 14, 2011 3:43:52 PM PST
The Kindle Fire could be the next big thing in consumer electronics. It is being billed as a less expensive alternative to the iPad. But can it complete with Apple's tablet computer?

The people I spoke with today want to get their hands on the device before buying it. The good news -- Consumer Reports, among others, have put the Kindle Fire to the test.

The Kindle Fire costs just $200, less than half the cost of an iPad 2. That alone is attracting the attention of shopper Jamar Regist.

He said, "That is actually very good because the iPad 2 is $500 or $600. And $200 sounds pretty good right now. I actually returned the iPad 2 because of the price."

Consumer Reports got their hands on the Kindle Fire and used it to download and stream movies, as well as upload music and use apps, all of which worked well.

Testers say the display looks quite good, though it does have more trouble with glare in bright light than some other tablets. The screen is very responsive. However, it did sometimes mistake a touch for a move, which may take a little getting used to.

Paul Reynolds with Consumer Reports explained, "The Kindle Fire doesn't offer quite as much as an iPad. But it looks like a fine performer, and at $200 dollars, it costs a lot less than the $500 and up you'll pay for an iPad."

Again it is the price that makes the Kindle Fire appealing to Mike Lakhani, who is considering a tablet for his son. But he's not sold on the Kindle Fire just yet.

"The thing is the iPad is the upper end and has millions of applications and it is always getting updated," Lakhani said.

Other reviewers found the seven-inch screen a bit small, but said the Kindle Fire is lighter than an iPad. However, it has less memory. Testers did not find it to be any faster than an iPad.

Reviewers say the Kindle Fire makes it easy to buy things -- after all it is an Amazon product. But the Kindle Fire does not have a camera or microphone.

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