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KF Review from an iPad Owner

This is a discussion on KF Review from an iPad Owner within the Amazon Kindle Fire General Discussions forums, part of the Amazon Kindle Fire Forum category; As the title says, we're an iPad household (me, my spouse, and our 7 y/o daughter). Very fond of the iPad. So fond, in fact, ...

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Thread: KF Review from an iPad Owner

  1. #1
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    KF Review from an iPad Owner

    As the title says, we're an iPad household (me, my spouse, and our 7 y/o daughter). Very fond of the iPad. So fond, in fact, that the demand often exceeds its availability. My wife loves her Kindle and my daughter loves the games, educational apps, and books available on the iPad. Long story short, I purchased a KF to (a) give my wife a Kindle-like device with more functionality and (b) give my daughter an alternative to the iPad when her father "bogarts" it. Some additional requirements. We also have half a dozen (Windows) computers in this household. (I work with software.) I'm very familiar with the Android OS (two smartphones) and the last thing I need is still another device that requires my attention for maintenance and management. A device that, much like the iPad, "just works". No hassle. No rooting. No issues.

    So, after a few days, what's the verdict? Thumbs up. Way up. No, it's not "as good" as an iPad. Yes, there are some shortfalls. (See below.) But on the whole, it provides about 80% of the functionality of an iPad at 40% of the price.

    Saving the best for last, let's start with the negatives...

    () Yes, the power button is on the wrong "end" of the device. Likewise for the audio port. No, flipping it over is not an adequate workaround. Too many apps, including the login screen don't reorient when the KF is turned "upside down." Ideally, the mini-usb port should be "on the bottom." The power button and the audio port should be on "the top." Since these are obvious points, I assume that engineering issues trumped usability. (That's not unusual.)

    () Yes, the lack of a physical volume control is a minor PITA. Not a big deal except that apps vary in volume and having to adjust volume via software is equivalent to having to adjust the volume on your TV by going through a software menu. Bad design. Again, probably an engineering decision that ignores usability.

    () Like the iPad the KF imposes a rigid user-interface (UI) design that cannot be replaced without (I presume) rooting the device. I'd prefer a more native Android UI with its attendant customizability. But failing that, I'd at least prefer a better organization of the "bookshelf" UI that a user must use. Specifically, the carousel is a PITA. At least the 6.2.1 update enables deleting recently used apps from the carousel but it would be far better, imo, to have an "opt in" rather than an "opt out" model. Let me choose to put apps on the carousel rather than require me to delete them. I end up deleting about 80% of the apps from the carousel to reduce clutter. That suggests the "opt out" approach is wrong.

    And while we're at it, why have the carousel at the "top" of the screen and "favorites" at the bottom? Wouldn't it make much more sense to reverse the order? Provide easy access to the apps I want to include. Reserve the carousel for reviewing the apps I've used recently.

    That's more or less it. None of the items above is a deal breaker. Complaints from users and reviewers about instability, failure to respond to touches, responding too easily to touches, wifi problems, etc. Haven't experienced any of that. So how about the attributes that have both pluses and minuses?

    () Form Factor. It's a seven inch screen in a device that weighs 30% less than an iPad. It's more portable but harder to read small print on web pages. There's no way to repeal the laws of physics. Either you appreciate the portability of the KF compared to larger tablets or you decry the KF size because you want more screen real estate. I'd have a hard time using the KF as my only device to access the web but it beats my phone. My wife can slip it into her purse nearly as easily as her beloved e-ink Kindle. I can slip it into my briefcase or the pocket of my winter coat with no special accommodations. The iPad is less easily transported. It needs at least a special place in my bag or a bag of its own. My seven year old loves the iPad but she can handle the KF more easily.

    () Battery Life and Backlighting. The KF needs charging more often than the iPad. Initial impression is that the iPad has about 30%-40% more battery life. But again, the form factors are different. Apple's batteries and battery management are simply phenomenal. I'd like to see more battery life for the KF but I suspect I'd suffer more weight and a hit to my wallet to get it. As for a comparison to the other Kindles, the comparison is simply unfair. The larger color screen of the KF is going to be paid for in terms of battery life. And if you don't like backlit displays, either wait for e-ink technology to advance or get a smaller, less functional Kindle for reading. All in all, the KF performs well given the constraints of physics and cost.

    () Audio. The speaker is terrible. The iPad has a much better speaker but come on... I don't rely on a tablet (or even a laptop) to give me good quality speakers. Use a good pair of headphones or a pair of portable speakers. I use the Sennheiser P100-II portable headphones (hate earbuds) and get wonderful audio. And I have a small pair of iHome speakers (about $40) that enables the KF to fill the room with good sound. Now if the damn audio plug were just better located...

    () No 3G. Some people really hate this. I ain't one of 'em. I have a 4G/LTE Verizon hotspot that gives me near broadband web access when I'm away from my home wifi. If Amazon offered a 3G version of the KF I still wouldn't opt for it simply because I don't need/want another overpriced data plan on another device. Those with "tetherable" phones can share their plans. And as noted, I get 4G speeds (7 to 12 times faster than 3G) wherever I go.

    OK. Enough carping. How about the best features...

    () Price. Of course. No need to say more. It's a phenomenal value.

    () Video. The 16x9 format is ideal for watching movies. Nearly as good, in fact, as the iPad despite the larger screen of the latter. The iPad's 4x3 screen is far superior to the KF for content creation (not a strong suit of the KF) but the 16x9 format is ideal for video. And the fact that the KF supports Flash while the iPad does not gives it another plus (at least for the present.) For personal video consumption, the KF is near ideal. Video streaming via "Prime" is delightful. Just wish Crackle was supported.

    () Parental Control. Odd to put this in the list of pluses considering the number of complaints that emerged initially about the KF but hear me out. One of my biggest disappointments with the iPad was the fact that it does not support multiple "user accounts." Anyone with access to the device can access any app. No way to provide a "sand box" where a kid's apps can be placed without worry. I was surprised (even shocked) to find that an app available for the KF (Kids Place) provides just such a feature. It's not ideal but it's far better than anything available for the iPad. Haven't figured out a way to segregate my daughter's music and books (in addition to apps) but I think I may be able to do so. As far as the complaints about "1 click" access to Amazon. Those who have the KF realize this is nonsense and easily handled.

    Suffice to say that for our family the Kids Place app alone is enough to justify purchase of the KF. (Apple's "solution" to the problem is to buy an iPad for my kid. No thanks.) I am VERY impressed with this feature.

    All in all, for our family the KF is a great companion to the iPad. It doesn't provide the same level of functionality as the iPad. I wouldn't purchase it instead of the iPad for my personal requirements. (I have some major content creation requirements that the KF cannot meet.) And if I were a single person, I can't imagine having both an iPad and a KF. But for households like ours with multiple users it's an awesome product.

  2. #2
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    yeah ipad sucks... i hope other brand will compete.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by randy2011 View Post
    yeah ipad sucks....
    Let's not go there.
    The OP did an honest personal comparison between the 2 devices they own and fanboy comments will not be helpful to this thread and no more will be tolerated

    Support Our Troops!!!
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    Sent from a Rezound phone via Blue TapaTalk

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    Hey jsh, really nice write-up; I think you hit all the talking points. I agree the pluses outweigh the minuses. Well done young man lol.
    Margaritas and Senoritas, time well wasted!!

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    I am so tired of reading KF/iPad comparisons. They are two entirely different devices, occupying two very different niches and appeal to consumers for very different reasons. Frankly, there is more credibility comparing my Xoom to my Fire but I would not for the same reasons.
    Hawaiian Princess and cali like this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skydog View Post
    I am so tired of reading KF/iPad comparisons. They are two entirely different devices, occupying two very different niches and appeal to consumers for very different reasons. Frankly, there is more credibility comparing my Xoom to my Fire but I would not for the same reasons.
    I agree that the devices occupy different market niches. Nevertheless, many consumers (and I presume some readers of this forum) face a choice between purchasing one or the other. Furthermore, many families face the issues raised in my review, i.e. whether it makes sense to have both devices. My intention was not to declare a "winner." It was simply to provide a perspective on the Fire from someone accustomed to the strengths (and the weaknesses) of the iPad.
    Last edited by jsh1120; 01-10-2012 at 07:39 AM.
    cali likes this.

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    We've bought two and will probably add a third and fourth one later on this year for the kids....all because of the price.

    Sideload a good launcher and you're set IMHO.

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    One more note that FK is a e-book reader and a tablet . Ipad is a tablet and .....
    I wonder , does Ipad have something like "cloud" to save all of your books ??
    People keeps complain about the position of the on/off switch , for me I never have problem with that , may be when I hold the KF I put my finger in the wrong place.
    Most of the time when I watch movie (stream from Netflix) I used headphone , and I adjust volume ONE time only for many movies, how many time people adjust volume while using tablet. (Look around your house you will see some headphone from IShuffer, Ipod or .... lay around , or ebay $0.99+Tax+Shipping).

    You pay less than half (40%) of Ipad price , and you get more than half (80%) of what you can get on Ipad, I think KF is sure a winner.

  9. #9
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    I hit the I/O switch the first two or three times I used the wifes machine....since I got mine I've hit it once, a few days ago I put a gel protector on mine and there's zero way you can hit the switch by accident now.

  10. #10
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    We have an iPad and KF too.

    Please add that the KF will support Flash Cookies. This allows me to login to the Bank of America web site with SafePass enabled. I can't do that with my iPad.

 

 
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