An E-Reader Battle: Kindle Fire vs. Kindle

My boyfriend completely surprised me this year when we exchanged gifts and I unwrapped a Kindle Fire. Only last Christmas, his parents had shocked me by giving me a traditional Kindle so I was not expecting the newest product in the Kindle line. Though in the past few months I was aware of the release of newer versions, the novelty of my traditional Kindle had certainly not worn off. Admittedly, when I first received my Kindle last year, I was hesitant. I was (and still am) a staunch supporter of libraries and physical books. I had never enjoyed reading on computer screens and wasn’t sure I would like reading on an e-reader. However, after downloading and reading several books, I was completely won over by the format.

Because the Kindle has an e-ink screen, it feels exactly like reading a physical book (none of those sore-eye-inducing back-lit screen problems associated with Nooks, for example), with bonus features: it was easy to get newly released books that my local Barnes and Noble hadn’t yet put out for sale, the books were generally cheaper (at the time I was a broke college student who had a hard time sustaining her reading habit), and I was stunned by how much lighter it made my suitcase when we packed for our Savannah vacation–one Kindle is significantly lighter than an assortment of five paperbacks and two hardback books, because I can never tell what reading mood I’ll be in once I have free time, so I pack a sizable travel library. Also, I love that I never have to relocate my place in the book because the Kindle bookmarks my page for me.

The Kindle Fire has received a slew of mixed reviews, so I wanted to give it a thorough testing before I shared my opinion. To cut to the chase, I love it!

Good Things about the Kindle Fire: It’s everything, all in one device! Music, Books, Magazines, Newspapers, Videos, Web. The Kindle is excellent for the purposes of reading basic chapter books, but doesn’t serve much in terms of other functions.

  • Magazines and Graphic Novels: It’s in color so now I can read color-centric publications that I couldn’t read before on my Kindle. I’ve already subscribed to Better Homes and Gardens magazine (I should finally own my very own New Jersey condo by January 20th, cross your fingers for me!) for decorating ideas and, even though it’s more expensive to subscribe on a tablet than to the paper version, I so much prefer reading magazines on tablets! The bonus videos that show exactly how to do DIY projects and the imbedded apps in which you can change the colors on the walls with a simple touch are incredibly useful and exceed the possibilities of a print publication.
  • Videos: It’s so much more convenient to bring around than my laptop (especially because my laptop battery is dead so I need to trail the power cord behind me and set-up near an outlet) and, using the free trial of Amazon Prime, I’ve already watched the entire first season of Downton Abbey (a 1910s-period British television show that is amazing!) for free while on the treadmill.
  • Web: As long as I can connect to Wi-Fi, I can check my email, facebook, twitter account, blog–everything.
  • Books: The layout of books is more attractive on the Kindle Fire than on the Kindle–it includes headers and less typos/spacing errors.

Less than Ideal Things about the Kindle Fire:

  • Books: Back-lit screen makes it feel like I’m reading on a computer. Also, the screen is so sensitive that sometimes is jumps forward a huge amount of pages and often when I go back to read a book after doing something else for awhile, it failed to hold my page and I need to go searching through to find where I left off. Also, because the screen is not e-ink, there is a definite sun-glare when reading outside or in the wrong light.

So, in conclusion, I still love my traditional Kindle for book-reading purposes, but am super excited about the opportunity to read magazines and graphic novels–and enjoy other media–on the Kindle Fire. Even though I know the Kindle Fire was probably designed to replace and expand upon the other Kindle products, I plan on carrying both around with me, so that I’m prepared for whatever reading experience–books, magazines, blogs, web–I’m in the mood for.

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