While at Learning at School CORE Education generously gave me a Kindle Fire to play with for a bit and see what I thought of it for school use. I managed to convince them that I needed to take it home with me to give it a decent run.
So here are my thoughts on the Kindle Fire…
- On first look- it feels nice. It has a nice to the touch back on it and it’s a good size to hold in one hand. I am not so sure though that, for me that size is right. It was a stretch for me to get my delicate lady hands around it- I’m not sure.
- As soon as you register the device the books you have already bought on Amazon miraculously appear. I don’t have a Kindle but use the Kindle app on the iPad. I like the sepia type background rather than the black/white background of the ordinary Kindle.
- When you highlight text in a document it allows you to go straight to Google- I just noticed that the iPad will do the same thing as well as give you a dictionary meaning.
- I haven’t needed to recharge it yet so I presume the battery lasts a decent amount of time.
- Once I loaded some music the audio was good and strong and there is a headphone jack.
- YouTube videos fill the whole screen and play smoothly.
- As you bring up different books, music, apps or documents they nestle themselves into the OSX ‘cover flow’ look alike menu which is handy if you want to go back to something quickly.
- It multi-tasks- you can listen to music while you read your book.
- Once the photos load they look good and will rotate to fill the screen.
- It’s heavy- in comparison to an ordinary Kindle it is much heavier.
- Some of the downloaded icons are downright fuzzy- so low resolution that they make my eyes sore.
- It doesn’t have a camera- even a not so great one like an iPad.
- It’s not very intuitive- maybe I have been so well trained to the ways of Apple but I found navigating it annoying.
- As you register the device it gives you a month’s free Premium membership which is useless cos you can’t stream the movies in New Zealand any way. You can watch the trailers which looked to be a good.
- I wanted to see how it would cope with emailing a pdf to it that I had made. I thought I could just email it to the Kindle that had assigned me an email address but I had to go to the web and authorise the sender (myself) first. I suppose this is good in that you would only get emails from address you pre-approve but in a school setting that could be downright annoying as you would have to individually allow all senders on by one.
- Once I had the pdf on the Kindle Fire I was disappointed with the reading of it- an ordinary A4 font was too small to read and I had to keep sliding back and forwards across the page to be able to read the text.
- I tried to play Adobe Flash type games from my class blog and it wouldn’t. It didn’t offer to download a flash player so came to a bit of a dead end on that score.
- The keyboard is slow to the the touch- I kept waiting for it to catch up.
- I thought that it might have a USB hole for a camera but as far as I can work out you have to transfer the photos from the camera to your computer with one USB cord and then transfer them to the Kindle with another USB cord. I could soon get sick of that. To get the photos on to the Kindle you drag them into the pictures folder, like you would do onto a USB flash drive.
- I like to view my photos but to find them you have to work out which of the icons in the cover flow is the Gallery as the Home Menu Bar only has – Newstand, Books, Music, Video, Docs, Apps and Web.
- I could see there was already a movie in the video folder in a .mov format so I added another- I couldn’t find either of them again- I wonder if the video folder only holds downloaded movies which we can’t get in New Zealand.
- You can’t buy it in the shops yet but you can buy one on Trade Me for $380NZ.
- I couldn’t find an airplane mode for reading in flight but I assume there must be one- somewhere. I couldn’t find a way to switch the internet off.
- I couldn’t see any way to lock the screen – it kept on changing aspect on me which I found irritating.
- From the look of it you can, with one click, deauthorise everything on it which would be handy when passing it on to someone else.
- Can you download some kind of Flash player so you can play Flash games?
- I wonder if you can record audio onto it in some way?
- I wondering about the Terms of Service for books bought from Amazon for educational use. With Apple you are supposed to buy one copy of an app per device. Is it legal to buy one book and have it readable on multiple devices should a school buy a pod of Kindles?
Thanks CORE for the opportunity to test drive the Kindle but I am happy enough to hand it back.
I wonder what other people think of it but in my opinion I would save up and buy something that did more or stick with an ordinary lightweight Kindle that you can read books on and leave it at that.
BTW I made the movie below with Action Movie on the iPad.