Pretty much every computer I've ever owned has been a Mac (not counting a Commodore 64, one Mac clone and a netbook I hacked to run the Mac OS). But when it comes to mobile devices, I've had many before I first purchased the iPhone 3G. I had a pair of Blackberries and a number of basic cell phones, too. When it comes to tablets, though, I've only owned two iPads: the original and the iPad that came out in April.
That is, until last week, when I picked up the dirt-cheap Kindle Fire for $129 via Amazon.com's Cyber Monday sale.
I figured, for that price, the tiny tablet would be a good iPad backup, and certainly more apt to withstand any drops by the clumsy fingers of a kindergartener. Plus, I was intrigued to see what this Android operating system was all about.
A week later I can report that the Kindle Fire, which costs one-third of an iPad Mini and one-quarter of a full-sized iPad, is no iPad.
It's not even close.
I'm not complaining, because I didn't have especially high expectations for this little tablet. It's thick, heavy and devoid of physical buttons like volume or "home." The screen resolution is poor by today's standards. The speakers are tinny. Web pages are slow and sluggish, and the Fire doesn't render HTML 5 fonts. The modified Android OS is clunky and unintuitive.
Yet, the tablet is useful – once you adjust your expectations.
Most of the apps I use on my iPad and iPhone are actually available for the Kindle, and if they're not, reasonable facsimiles are. So, in a sense, the Fire is a tremendous bargain for someone who wants an iPad but doesn't want to spend $500 (or $350).
But it's not an iPad.
I rarely take for granted the details Apple has baked into its hardware, how iOS has become an extension of the creative process. But after seeing, hands-on, the invention that infuriated the late Steve Jobs because it was such a blatant rip-off, I understand what he meant. The Kindle Fire and the Android language it runs, lack that certain something that makes using them feel ... seamless.
I understand how vague all of this sounds, and that's not an accident. The difference isn't just pixels and processors. It's something more sublime. It's not about being an Apple "fanboy," either. I bought this Kindle Fire expecting a bargain-basement tablet, and for its price, it's amazing. It's certainly more than half as good as the iPad Mini.
But for me, mobile computing is about the entire experience. The details matter when it comes to my productivity and my creativity.
And so I'll use the Kindle Fire. But only when the iPad is otherwise occupied or out of juice.
Try both and tell me you don't agree.
kindle owners know exactly what they are missing.. nobody expects a 150 dollar item to perform as well as a 600 dollar one. The need for this article is completely nonexistant. How about a review of the Ipad verses an equally powerful tablet like the Galaxy Tab 2?
I'm shocked that the ebook, that doubles as a weak tablet, and costs 1/3rd the price isn't as good as your ipad mini...
You know, come to think of it.. the Toyota Carolla I owned wasn't nearly as good as my BMW 535is, equally shocking, right?
3 comments about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Andy Tarnoff
Published April 17, 2014
For some inexplicable reason, I've never visited a Dogg Haus location until today. Well, I've learned my lesson.
Published April 10, 2014
Whether you support the e-cigarette industry or not, one thing is indisputable: it's a phenomenon that's growing rapidly. And while the companies that produce cigarette alternatives are based all over the world, one exists right in Milwaukee's own backyard. Hartland's Johnson Creek Enterprises, which makes Johnson Creek Smoke Juice, has quietly grown to an $8 million business and is expanding rapidly.
Published April 8, 2014
It's hard to believe that the classic baseball comedy, "Major League," is 25 years old. Filmed largely in Milwaukee, everyone here of a "certain age" seems to have a story to tell about the making of the movie.
Published April 7, 2014
Jason Gorman, the chef most Milwaukeeans know from his time at Dream Dance and Iron Horse Hotel, is returning to Wisconsin to Kenosha's newly remodeled Mangia Wine Bar.
Published April 5, 2014
I wanted to see the hubbub first-hand, so I joined the throngs of crowds checking out the brand new Mayfair Collection today. The parking lot was packed, but the two stores I visited weren't too chaotic. And once things settle down a bit, I'm sure I'll be back.
Published March 31, 2014
Opening Day has always been a special day for me. It was 16 years ago, on April 7, 1998 that I celebrated my first day of self employment (and the birth of OnMilwaukee.com) at County Stadium. I haven't missed many since then.
Published March 24, 2014
In an industry where positioning a brand as retro vintage is suddenly new and trendy, Milwaukee's Lucky Tiger doesn't even need to even try. Trademarked in Kansas City in 1935, the iconic men's brand actually stretches back to a barber shop from the 1920s, when it was a very large line of tonics and hair products.
Published March 18, 2014
And just like that, the trip is over. The one that I spend 360 days a year daydreaming about. The one that almost didn't happen. On one hand, it feels like we just got here. On the other hand, when I look at myself in the mirror right now, it feels like I've been here for a month.
Published March 17, 2014
When I last left off, it was Saturday night in the desert and we were starving. After a little pool time at the Camelback Inn, we headed to Old Town Scottsdale to see what awaited us.
Published March 15, 2014
When I left off last night, we were heading out to dinner, our first actual meal of this year's spring training trip. It's really been a great 24 hours in the Valley of the Sun, and we're all now in full-on Cactus League mode.