Reviewing The Kindle Fire HDX

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A few days ago, I got a Kindle in the mail from Amazon, allowing me to try it free for 30 days. I’d like to share a few thoughts on it.

First off, the package was fairly easy to open and setting up the kindle was pretty much done before I got it. I just had to setup the Wifi. There was a nice software update a day or two later that added some info on the lock screen. I chose to try the smaller kindle, because I wanted to see if I like the small screen more than my iPad 3’s 9.7″ screen.

The best features on the kindle is proably the size, weight, and sound quality. It boasts Dolby sound and has good stereo placement. One of the issues of the newer iPads is that the stereo speakers are on hey he bottom and work best holding the iPad in portrait. The kindle speakers are better in landscape, which tends to be better when viewing videos.

The kindle is less than a pound, making it even lighter than the new iPad Air. It’s so much easier to hold than my iPad third gen. This is probably the best selling point of the kindle fire, other than the price tag.

You can really tell how much faster it is than my iPad. The Simpsons Tapped Out and The Sims Freeplay run perfectly on the kindle. Music sounds nice and since it is an amazon product, your amazon cloud downloads are ready to go. Streaming works without a hitch. The screen makes reading e-books a bit easier with a blue backlight but the paper white kindle is still probably better for reading.

Now let’s talk about what I didn’t like about the Kindle Fire. First, there is only a front facing camera, no back facing camera. I suppose if you can only have one, the front camera at least lets you Skype and make selfies without getting the kindle in the shot. Still, having a back camera would be more convineient.

The Silk internet browser is nice, but there is no Chrome app for the kindle, which means I can’t sync my bookmarks and pages. The OS is nice and makes it easy to chose your apps, but closing apps is a pain. It’s no match with iOS7. However, amazon organized media access well, having the ability to chose music, books, videos, etc. at the top of the screen.

Apps work well, but some of them are limited. The TiVo app only streams to iOS devices, though that may change in the future. Apple tends to get the best apps first.

Overall, the Kindle Fire HDX is a good tablet if you are looking for a smaller, lighter tablet, and you prefer an Android based tablet. It’s also a good choice if you have a lot of amazon digital content. As for myself, I’m going to stick with Apple and I may upgrade to the iPad Air.

*Update* I should also add that the buttons are on the back of the Kindle. Not sure I like that. On the one hand, it means that you have just the screen on the front and saves some space. But, I like having the button placement on the iPad as it makes it easier to turn it on and off.

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Give Me A Kindle Fire HDX

various e-book readers. From right to left iPa...
various e-book readers. From right to left iPad (Apple、2010) kindle DX (Amazon、2009) kindle 2 (Amazon、2009) kindle 1 (Amazon、2007) PRS-505 (Sony、2007) PRS-500 (Sony、2006). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Apple released the iPad a few years ago, it was the beginning of the reality that I may end up buying a tablet computer one day. The first iPad seemed cool, but I wasn’t really sure I could justify the expense.  The iPad 2 gave me another urge to buy one. I resisted. By the time the iPad 3 (The New iPad) was available, I ran out of excuses. I had just gotten a iPhone 4s a few months ago and it seemed that it was finally the time to get a iPad.

I was happy with the purchase until a few months later when the fourth generation iPad came out. It seemed a bit unfair. Still, I like the iPad as I can use it in lieu of my laptop and take it anywhere I want. It’s easy to carry around and I can do pretty much anything I want on it (I have an Alienware 17″ notebook, great for gaming, but heavy). The only real problem I have had with it was that the USB cable didn’t last as long as they usually do. I like the lighting port my new iPhone 5s has and I was thinking about replacing my current iPad with either the Air or the mini.

Then an interesting opportunity entered my inbox. Amazon, a company that has made quite a bit of money off me through the years, gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse. A 30 day free trial of any Kindle I so choose. No risk to me, as I can return the kindle if I decide I don’t want it before the trial is up and I don’t get charged for it unless I keep it after the 30 days.

Seems like a good deal to me! I chose the Kindle Fire HDX, because it’s the newest model. It’s also the most affordable at $240 without the special offers and sponsor ads on the lock screen. The screen is 7″, so it is smaller than my iPad at about 9″. Since I am considering buying the new iPad Mini with retina display, I can see if I like a smaller screen. I like that Apple is sticking with smaller screens for the iPhone, but I’m not sure how I will like a smaller screen on a tablet computer. Now I can find out!

This is a win-win for me. If I really like the kindle fire, I can keep it and trade in my iPad to Amazon for about $200. That will cover most of the cost of the kindle. If I decide that I like the iPad better, well I can send back the kindle and I’ll have an easier time deciding which new iPad to get. I’m not really a fan of the android OS as I had problems with it when I had my HTC phones. The Kindle Fire uses its own OS that is based on android, so we will see how it works. It’s hard to see how it could beat iOS used by Apple mobile devices. Whatever the case, I am a happy Amazon customer! I look forward to see what this opportunity will bring. I’m planning on writing a review of the Kindle Fire HDX after I have some time to play around with it. Stay tuned!

Wii Fit U Is Here!

Wii Fit
Wii Fit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today is the release of Wii Fit U, a game that I have been looking forward to for a long time. Nintendo is offering a special deal for people who have the previous Wii Fit titles. If you have a Wii U and a balance board, you can download the game and try it free for 31 days. After that, you can have the full game if you purchase a Wii Fit Meter for $20. Not bad at all. It’s similar to when Wii Fit Plus came out, replacing the original game, it was also $20. Of course, Wii Fit U is a better value as now  you get HD and some neat new features.

One of which are the dance games included with Wii Fit U which allow you to try different types of dancing. Jazz, Salsa, and Flamenco are three of the styles that I remember off-hand. There’s also a new personal trainer feature that allows the game to design your workout if you don’t feel like doing it yourself. There’s a lot of new stuff to do and of course you can use the gamepad for most of it instead of using a Wii Remote, which I like since it has better speakers. You can totally play the game while watching TV now, which is great. Nothing like exercising while watching The Twilight Zone!

The Wii Fit Meter looks cool. I haven’t gotten mine yet, but I will be getting in the mail today. It measures the physical activity you make throughout the day by clipping it to your pants. It can also measure elevation along with motion. It’s small too, so it doesn’t look like it really  adds any weight. You’d probably forget it’s even there! It can sync to the gamepad so you can display all the information from it onto the Wii U or you can see the information on the LCD screen right on the meter.  I think the best part of having the meter will be not needing to actually play the game. You could exercise outside of the game, like literally go for a walk and then add the data later. This is nice as before if you wanted to keep track of your routine, you were stuck with the game.

I’m happy that I don’t have to go into Wii Mode anymore to exercise and the brighter and crisper colors of the game are a welcome sight. The trainers have also gotten an upgrade and are more pleasant to look at, and sexy! 😉 Maybe that will help you get a bit more motivated! The only caveat is that there aren’t any new yoga or strength training exercises. Just the same ones from before, though still a good variety.

If you are looking for some encouragement from other users, there is a community that you can access right from the game. It’s basically like joining a club and you can communicate with other members. You can get tips, share some encouragement, right from the game instead of having to go to Miiverse. I’m not sure that I will use it, but it’s nice to know it’s there if I feel like being social.

I’m satisfied with the Wii U so far. I know there are some that are disappointed, but I think there are a lot of great games still to come. As they say, haters going to hate. For me, I’m going to stick with PC games using my Xbox controller and Wii U. Especially now that I have my Wii Fit U!