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CNET First Look
Amazon Kindle FireIs Amazon's $199 Kindle Fire tablet too good to be true? CNET's Donald Bell gives his assessment along with a tour of the device and its features.
-Hey, I'm Donald Bell and this is a first look at the Kindle Fire, Amazon's $199 7-inch tablet. With 199 bucks [unk] here is a dead simple way to access digital entertainment. At the here, you will see categories for news stand, books, music, videos, docs, acts, and the web browser. With the exception of docs and the browser, each of those categories are going to toggle between the collection and Amazon's digital store for that content. Another interesting feature is that when you're looking at your collection, you get another toggle here between what stored on the device and the stuff you bought in the past that backed up to the cloud. This is really dramatic and the music views since amazon allows you to upload you entire music library to their cloud where you can stream your music and select songs our albums download. All the navigation is on the screen, and when you're in app or menu, you'll see controls on the bottom. Settings are accessible at the top of the screen around the main menu beneath the categories. You get a nice big view of your recently used apps and files along with the shelf of your favorite stuff. This can be your favorite apps, books, albums or websites and add them by just holding down the icon up here. Beyond entertainment, you also get an e-mail client and a web browser. E-mails fairly straightforward and get some help from Amazon on custom keyboard, which I personally liked. The web browser is typical for 7-inch android tablet, [unk] time is swift and I'm glad to see that there's a setting here that will force the browser into loading standard webpages instead of those smaller mobile versions made for cellphones. Still, in general, I'm not a big fan of browsing the web on a 7-inch screen. It's better than a smart phone, but still leaves you doing more zooming and scrolling than you would on a larger tablet like the iPad. As for what's missing, well, there is no GPS, no maps, no Bluetooth, no cameras, no microphone, no video output, no calendar, no card slot for extra memory, and I'm probably forgetting a few things, but let's go back to my original point. It's $199. At that price, I think it's a slum dunk. You're getting more entertainment options that on Barnes and Nobles' Nook tablet, more screen than Apple's $199 iPad touch, and an ease of use you really not gonna find at any price. Would I rather have an iPad, absolutely, but for $300 less, the Kindle Fire is a good enough option for those who are mostly looking entertainment or workable way to e-mail and browse the web from the couch. So, that's the kindle fire. It's all the fun stuff on a simple tablet with the great price, CNET.com, I'm Donald bell.