According to Nielsen Co., for the second year in a row, the most wished for holiday gift is the iPad. The prices-starting-at-$499 iPad, that is. Up until now, there haven’t been many good alternatives.
Until lately, I haven’t been very impressed with Android tablets. I test drove a bunch of them, and briefly owned the Samsung Galaxy Tab, but returned it after two frustrating months. Then, two weeks ago, I got a Kindle Fire.
I still prefer my iPad, but if I were buying my first tablet (or a gift, either for an adult or child) this holiday season, I’d totally go with the Kindle Fire. Here’s why:
1. It’s compact
I love how easy it is to slide the Kindle Fire into a purse or carry on bag. At 7.5 x 4.5 inches, it’s about the size of a trade paperback and much, much thinner. Even kids can hold it with one hand (though mine grip it with two, the better to prevent their sibling from grabbing it and running).
2. It’s tough
The iPad screen is gorgeous, but glass. The lightweight, chemically-strengthened Kindle Fire display is some kind of plastic that is allegedly 20-30 times stronger than plastic. I have no hesitation throwing it into a bag with keys, a phone, and all my other junk.
3. It’s affordable
At just $199, you can buy two Kindle Fires for less than the price of a single iPad 2. How many kids do you have? If you have more than one, it’s a total slam dunk. The Kindle Fire battery doesn’t last quite as long as the iPad’s, but it’s in the same league. You can stretch it farther by turning down the brightness and turning off the wifi.
4. The Amazon Appstore for Android is just so great
Amazon knows how to make shopping easy, intuitive, and fun. It’s a real pleasure to browse apps, games, and movies on this device. And they offer one paid app free every single day, which is totally fun. Who doesn’t like free stuff?
5. It’s also got books, email, and web browsing
Of course you can also read on it, check your email, and browse the web. I appreciate the versatility, but honestly I seldom get the chance to use these features when my kids are around. I’d rather read on my regular Kindle anyway. Since it’s not backlit, it’s a lot easier on the eyes. Magazines are nice on the Fire though, since you can see them in color.