The Macalope Daily: Fair to middling

The reviews are in and the Kindle Fire rates a “+++AAA WOULD BY AGAIN” or a “meh,” depending on who you talk to.

PC Magazine’s Sascha Segan gives it a pretty positive review:

The Amazon Kindle Fire puts the Apple iPad on notice.

BOOM. YOU’RE ON NOTICE, IPAD. BOO-YAH!

Now if we only knew why.

Then there’s the price: Android along with amazing specs for just $199.

Sascha probably didn’t mean to suggest that Android was part of the price that you have to pay to use the Kindle Fire. But maybe he should have.

That cloud storage is very important. With only 6.5GB of free, onboard storage, you can only store three or four movies and some choice playlists on the tablet at a time.

So good luck at that beach place you go to with no Wi-Fi. Not that anyone is ever without WiFi in the “always-on Internet” future we live in as we fly about in our rocket-propelled helo-cars looking so smart in our silver jumpsuits with our ray guns and such.

At the end of a list of bugs that includes sluggishness, buttons that don’t react, and bad error messages, Sascha concludes:

Overall, though? Pretty great for a $200 tablet.

So, cheaper products should just naturally be slow and buggy? Since when? It’s not unreasonable to expect that early adopters will experience bugs, but cheaper devices should not simply be buggier and slower. That’s ridiculous.

Apple recognizes that if a device can’t complete a task with a reasonable user experience, that device really shouldn’t be trying to perform that task. Which is why the company sells the MacBook Air and the iPad instead of netbooks. And, consequently, why every other tablet and laptop maker is scrambling to catch up.

Certainly we can excuse the Kindle Fire for having some early fits, but if these don’t get fixed, that’s on Amazon, not the user for buying a lower-cost device.

It doesn’t replace the Apple iPad: It complements the iPad, which is bigger, more powerful, more expensive, and has far more apps.

Well, we’ve come a long way from the salacious lede, haven’t we, Sascha? What was the iPad put on notice for again?

Wired’s take is slightly less enthusiastic than Segan’s:

Is it tablet [sic] that people will grab again and again for web browsing, book and magazine reading, casual gaming, and more?

No. It’s not that kind of tablet.

Wow. That’s kind of a letdown. Particularly after that big comparison page.

While Amazon touts the Kindle Fire’s browser, it’s Web browsing where it falls down, according to Wired. Apparently, there’s a reason that Amazon’s trying to move more of the heavy lifting of Web browsing to the cloud: It’s because its mobile browser sucks. Who knew there was heavy lifting in Web browsing? Certainly not iPad users.

The one thing that all the reviewers seem to agree that Amazon really gets right with the Kindle Fire is the shopping experience. That is, of course, the Kindle Fire’s raison d’être. So, if you’re looking for a more stylish, mobile way to buy more things from Amazon, this is definitely the tablet for you.

The world is big enough for both the Kindle Fire and the iPad, even if Amazon itself doesn’t think so. Is the Kindle Fire a good value for the price? Sure seems like it might be, assuming that Amazon gets the user experience ironed out. Is the iPad still a good value for the price? Sure seems like it.

[Editors’ Note: In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]

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