Monday, February 20, 2012

What I Love About the Kindle Fire

by Jennifer AlLee

I am not usually one to jump on the latest/greatest techno fad. I was late getting an iPod. I was one of the last people in my circle of friends to get a smart phone. I still don't have GPS in my car. But... when I heard about the Kindle Fire - Amazon's answer to the table - I jumped on it. For the first time, I pre-ordered the latest/greatest gadget. And what fun it has been.

The Kindle Fire is a full color, touch screen tablet. It's smaller than an iPad, and in all honesty, doesn't have quite the range that the iPad does. However, at $199, it's much cheaper than the iPad, and it does everything I want it to do. And what DO I want it to do? I'm glad you asked...

Being that it's a Kindle, you know it's an e-reader. And while I have read some books on it, I still prefer reading books on my original Kindle. I find the e-ink display of the original much easier on the eyes. HOWEVER... I am loving reading magazines on the Fire. I currently subscribe to the paper version of Entertainment Weekly, so by downloading the free app, I can read the e-version on my Fire. Let me tell you... IT IS AWESOME! There are lots of interactive features, like being able to touch part of the screen and see additional information. Of course, the marketing genius in this is that you can be reading a music review and with a tap of the screen be taken to the Amazon store where you can buy said album. To quote the soon-to-be-eaten velociraptor hunter in Jurassic Park... Clever, girl.

It it has a web browser, so I can check my email and Facebook and any other stuff I want to, as long as I can connect to WiFi. But I don't surf the web that often. I spend enough time doing that on my laptop, thank you very much.

My number one, most fun thing to do on the Kindle Fire is... play games. Yes, I admit it. I purchased the Kindle Fire strictly for fun, and that's what I'm having with it... fun. My favorites are Plants VS Zombies and Angry Birds (original, Season, and Rio versions). Yep, I'm a simple gal. Between my games and my paperless magazines, I'm a happy gal.

So, is there anything I don't like about the Fire? Oh sure.
  • It's heavy. I'm not sure of the exact weight, but it feels heavier than the original Kindle (and I have the deluxe, bigger one of those).
  • The back of the Fire has a smooth, slick feel that makes it a little difficult to hold on to.
  • The On/Off button is located on the bottom of the tablet, right where your thumb hits when you're trying to read. I turned it off by accident a few times when I first got it. This is easily remedied by turning it upside down (the screen orients accordingly).
  • There is no volume button. Seriously, I searched and searched before I discovered where it is. (You have to hit the little gear icon at the top right hand corner of the screen to access volume control.)
Despite these little issues (and they are little to me) I'm loving my new toy. I will admit, I worry about how many people may be put out of work once electronic magazines gain popularity, but perhaps that will create more jobs in the forest service to take care of all those trees we'll be saving. At any rate, I'm a Kindle Fire fan.

How about you? If you have a Fire or other tablet, what's your favorite thing about it? Or have you sworn off the tablet/e-reader craze?

JENNIFER ALLEE believes the most important thing a woman can do is find her identity in God – a theme that carries throughout her novels. A professional writer for over twenty years, she's done extensive freelance work for Concordia Publishing House, including skits, Bible activity pages, and over 100 contributions to their popular My Devotions series. Her first novel, The Love of His Brother, was released by Five Star Publishers in November 2007. Her latest novel, The Pastor’s Wife, was released by Abingdon Press in February 2010. Her next two novels are The Mother Road (April 2012) and A Wild Goose Chase Christmas (November 2012), both from Abingdon Press. She's a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, Christian Authors Network, and the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance.
Visit Jennifer's website at


  1. I'm loving my FIRE. I actually won a Kindle Touch online (thank you Seekerville) and after it was on its way to me, I decided to upgrade. My excuse was that I could use it for childrens' books -in color!

    While it's still a bit awkward for some things (like doing a lot of keypadding to post comments or email) I use it to browse all the time, play WWF with a few 'ahem' smart chicas, and of course, I read books on it.

    Having a much larger screen than my IPod Touch is wonderful.
    My one and only complaint (I am used to turning it off by mistake while I'm holding it...) is that I thought I'd have a Reader built in, like the other kindles. I guess they dumped that option for other capabilities.

    My favorite fire moments:
    1. watching streaming netflix with headphones.
    2. reading my WIPs as if they are 'real' eBooks.

    Somehow reading a chapter on the kindle removes it from me enough that I can read it and judge it and edit it as though it was someone else's work!

    and I say EDIT, not to actually change the document but to add notes of my thoughts. I later flip through the pages on the Kindle and make changes to the MS when a highlighted word tells me I need to. That highlighted word pops open to show my notes for changes.

    that's what I LOVE about my Kindle Fire. So, the 100.00 I spent on it was worth the entertainment and capabilities.
    (although it does enable my WWF addiction)

    WWF Words with Friends. Come on over, Jen!

  2. I don't have a Kindle, Fire or otherwise, as I'm still eReading on my Sony 700 eReader.

    I would really like an iPad, but want all the bells and whistles and I need to sell a book or something first.

    Until then, my iphone does the trick except that it's only 16GB which only leaves me 14GB for storage. At the moment, I can't even download the update for my Audubon Guides for Birds, Mammals, Trees and Wildflowers because I don't have enough space. :(

    Probably my biggest space taker is 2 yrs of the conference workshop audios and the Tiger Woods golf game. When I'm done with the golf, I'll delete and add the Audubon update.

    Of course, I could finish the golf game faster except someone invited me to play Scrabble and now I'm playing that and Words With Friends (WWF) instead of golf.

  3. Deb, I knew you had a Fire, so was looking forward to your comments. Streaming via Netflix is one of the things I want to do, but haven't yet. And how do you work on your WIPs? Do you upload your doc to the cloud? See, I know there are lots of things the Fire can do that I haven't taken advantage of yet. As for WWF... yep, I need to head the call... but how? Is it an app? I'll have to go hunt it down :)

  4. Anita, you've been ahead of the curve for a long time!

    Jen, I just email my doc to my kindle address and it pops up under the docs menu. I don't use the cloud much. I do have one album on it for music and not that many apps.

    WWF is an app and it works nicely on there. BIG LETTERS for old eyes. I haven't tried it on the Ipod.

    I may never get an IPAD I'm just waiting for the chance to get a new Mac Air or whatever is new by the time I can afford one. (ha ha)

    I think that if you havc an IPAD you are going to think the Fire isn't that great, but for most of us it's quite nice. I loved my IPod Touch and I still use it for music and browsing. I don't take the Kindle with me in my purse!

    Sometimes I even READ on my Kindle. Can you believe it?

  5. I don't have an ipod or a smart phone...but I do have a Kindle Fire.

    I probably play games more on it than anything else, too. But I also use the Kindle fire for editing--emailing the manuscript to myself and highlighting anything that needs to be changed. Then going back to my computer to actually make the changes.

    And I like reading at night (in the dark without a book light)--or being able to go online at the local coffee shop or Barnes and Noble without dragging my laptop along.

    I joined Amazon Prime and I do stream some video--but only in the middle of the night when I have trouble sleeping, since my lousy Hughesnet internet has unreasonable download limits--except in the middle of the night.

    But I hate that it doesn't have text to speech like the Kindle keyboard, which I think also works better for daytime reading.

    So they're both in frequent use. And I keep them in the same case.

    Best addition to the Kindle fire is a capacitive pen. Best surprise? You can download the Nook app to the Kindle Fire, giving me access to all the books I downloaded on my original Nook.

  6. Barb, what's a capacative pen? Sounds cool.

    Okay, I just downloaded the WWF app, and I signed in through Facebook. Now what?

  7. Inquiringly minds want to know. Will it reduce my typos?

    Jen I'll email you my User name

    Sent to you via my kindle fire.

  8. A capacitive pen is a "pen" with a curved finger-like tip, only smaller, that you can use with any touchscreen device. Sometimes it's called a stylus.

    That's especially good if you have long fingernails or fat fingers. Or both.

    They're low tech and very inexpensive.

  9. I don't think the tablet phenomenon is a craze or a fad that will go away. I have an iPad and I love it. Have a bunch of games as well as Netflix, music, the Bible complete with concordances and commentary, Shazam, Skype, maps and both the Kindle app and iBooks. I've downloaded movies and watched them on airplanes. Use it to take and share pictures, access email. I use Pages to take notes on meetings for work work. I used it to take notes at ACFW. I use it to work on stories as well. But only first draft stuff. I wouldn't try to do any actual editing on it, but definitely reading for other issues of grammar, missing words, etc.

    In short I love my iPad and wonder now, how we survived without tablets.

  10. Lisa, from what I can tell, there's no good way to use the Fire to take notes or pound out a first draft. For that reason, I would LOVE to get an iPad one day. It would be so much easier than hauling my laptop to conference! But for now, I'll keep hangin' with my Fire.

  11. There is an app that you can buy for about 10 dollars that is supposed to be able to created and edit word documents. Only they size of the keyboard makes it awkward to type, and it bottoms out when you try to open a large word document--like a novel or even a novella.

    And apparently they will never be able to design a keyboard for it like they have for the Ipad--something to do with the way the USB is designed.

    But I don't know that you can use word on an Ipad either. I'd really love a device that size that runs a full version of word (with track changes)--and that has an external keyboard.

  12. Barb, that would be perfect... a full version of Word and an external keyboard. I heard the same thing, though, about the Fire... no external keyboard ever.

    BTW, Barb's wiping the floor with me on WWF.

  13. My favorite feature on my kindle is the text to speech capability, so I don't think I could give that up for the Fire. I also have kindle on my android phone which is nice because it's always with me.

  14. I have the Nook Color, which is also a tablet. It does everything the Nook Tablet does, but the tablet has a faster processor. Not that the Nook Color is slow, by any means. I have a Word program, and it's easy to edit on. I can check my email, browse the web, stream music and netflix (though I've not done this, I know others who have). I can also play games, but had to delete them because I have no willpower where puzzle games are concerned. Oh, and I can read on it, too, but I usually use the smaller nook for reading because of the e-ink.


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