Amazon’s sub-$200 goes into boxes and trucks and airplanes and should reach pre-order customers a little earlier than expected. Reviewers have already received theirs and it looks like the review embargo got lifted last night because reviews started popping up all over.
Joshua Topolsky, writing in the Washington Post, says: Sure, the Fire is a proper tablet, with many (though not all) of the capabilities of something like an iPad. But the focus on this product is most certainly on lean-back experiences, and that’s reflected in its $199.99 price, too.
Engadget says that while it gets crushed feature for feature against real tablets, it’s not bad:
The Kindle Fire is quite an achievement at $200. It's a perfectly usable tablet that feels good in the hand and has a respectably good looking display up front. Yes, power users will find themselves a little frustrated with what they can and can't do on the thing without access to the Android Market but, in these carefree days of cloud-based apps ruling the world, increasingly all you need is a good browser. That the Fire has.
David Pogue in the Times echoes that:
Most problematic, though, the Fire does not have anything like the polish or speed of an iPad. You feel that $200 price tag with every swipe of your finger. Animations are sluggish and jerky — even the page turns that you'd think would be the pride of the Kindle team. Taps sometimes don't register. There are no progress or "wait" indicators, so you frequently don't know if the machine has even registered your touch commands. The momentum of the animations hasn't been calculated right, so the whole thing feels ornery.
Andy Ihnatko in the Chicago Sun Times takes a “glass half full” to the same issue:
The Fire is a marvelous device. And Apple and Amazon couldn't have created a more complementary pair of tablets if they'd colluded on it. Want a tablet that does everything, and which does books exceptionally well? Buy an iPad. Want something more compact, and you're not terribly interested in much more than content consumption? The Fire is aces. I feel as if every potential tablet consumer will recognize themselves in one of those two descriptions.