Three weeks after Amazon released the Kindle Fire, users have had enough time to notice its kinks. While the company predicts record sales for its supposed iPad killer, the user experience hasn't lived up to the initial hype, which won reviewers over with its cheap price tag and good enough specs.
Since the Kindle Fire came out mid-November, users have complained of WiFi connectivity issues on Amazon's forums. But it's now three weeks later and Amazon hasn't addressed or fixed the issue. The grumbles continue on the forums, which have 183 angry customer rants noting the inability to connect the device to WiFi networks or that the connection claims to work but doesn't actually link up to the Internet. While Amazon hasn't sent out a fix, some have fixed the issues with a simple software update to either 6.1 or 6.2, notes CNET.
Even though Amazon touted the Kindle Fire's special browser, Silk, as faster than anything else because it performs most of its functions on servers, rather than on the device, in reality the thing lags. New York Times reviewer David Pogue had noticed this issue back when he reviewed the Fire.
Most problematic, though, the Fire does not have anything like the polish or speed of an iPad. You feel that $200 price tag with every swipe of your finger. Animations are sluggish and jerky — even the page turns that you’d think would be the pride of the Kindle team. Taps sometimes don’t register. There are no progress or “wait” indicators, so you frequently don’t know if the machine has even registered your touch commands. The momentum of the animations hasn’t been calculated right, so the whole thing feels ornery.
But since then, others have chimed in on Amazon's forums as well as Jakob Nielsen, who conducted a four person usability test. All report slow scrolling, a lag in response, slow download times and slow page loading
Fat Finger Problem
Nielsen also points out this other, less technicaly, issue with the Kindle Fire. The seven inch screen is too small for finger navigation, compared to the iPad's luxurious 10 inch tablet. "You haven't seen the fat-finger problem in its full glory until you've watched users struggle to touch things on the Fire," he writes. "One poor guy spent several minutes trying to log in to Facebook, but was repeatedly foiled by accidentally touching the wrong field or button--this on a page with only 2 text fields and 1 button." Though his test only looked at four people, a handful of others have chimed in on the Amazon forums, suggesting chubby handed users purchase a stylus.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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