This weekend I spent some time getting to know the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ for the first time. We didn’t get along too well. At first glance I thought, “Hmm, this thing doesn’t look half bad.” It was a decent size and was not all too thick (or thin) and hey, it came from the people with the smile on the box (I make fun of that commercial every time I see it–it’s just funny the way he says smile). Anyway, that is about the full extent of anything nice I can say about this device (and I’m not the only one who doesn’t like the Kindle as much as the iPad). I’ve had an iPad in some form or another for years and I have to say at this point I could never ever make the switch to a Kindle Fire, even the HD. So, here’s my thoughts on the device:
First of all, the home screen is terrible, in my opinion. There is a text menu across the top (think File, Edit, Help, etc…) to help you navigate through the device. Little text is not a good user interface choice for a touch device. It works, yes, but it isn’t very visual… why not make an attractive target for someone to press? Underneath this text menu is a scrolling row of giant icons–the last programs you had open. To me, as a designer by trade, it just feels… unthought-out. It tells me: this device doesn’t do very much. It is very limited and, if I’m honest, not very easy to use. It’s just not intuitive.
Where’s the home button? There isn’t one… instead there is a home icon in the corner of the device that you have to make appear in order to press. I guess if you had never used an iPad before this might not be a problem… but again, it just feels like they could have made things so much easier to use than they did.
Web browsing was pretty mediocre. It just wasn’t as fast as I expected Silk to be, especially with the speed boost feature touted by Amazon.
Now for my biggest gripe (and mind you I only spent maybe 10-15 minutes with the device): video. A relative who got this as a Christmas present wanted to play video from ABC, NBC, etc… on the Kindle Fire HD and asked for ...