What's 7 inches long, weighs 14.6 ounces and is in your hands right now? Your new Kindle Fire! The long wait is finally over, and now the fun begins: figuring out what this device can do and how to optimally make use of it. Of course, Amazon has their own Getting Started Guide with important details about connecting to Wi-Fi and registering your device, but we're going to help you take the next step and really get into the machine's capabilities.
You're going to become an official Kindle Fire Department Product Tester. Ready?
Let's skip all the stuff about dropping your Fire from the top of the stairs or running over it with your car (unless you really want to). We'll also skip taking the thing apart with a screwdriver and poking at all the pieces. All in all, this whole test should take about 5 minutes.
First, you'll want to grab the new software update that Amazon has already released for Version 6.1. This will do a number of things for your device, but the most important one is that it will install the Facebook app on your Fire. Once you have the Facebook app open, take a moment to click around and see how the machine's response time is. Go ahead and update your status letting people know you're using your Fire, and bonus points if you Like and Share our page on Facebook.
Ok? Facebook: check. Moving on. Next on the hit-list is to examine the video and sound capabilities of the machine. That means you should grab a song from the MP3store or something from Amazon Instant Video. Start playing it. Turn the volume up. How far away can you be while still being able to comfortably hear? Turn on a video. How far away can you comfortably watch from? A 7 inch screen isn't huge, but check for clarity even at some distance. How's the resolution?
Of course, a big part of our focus is on apps, so let's check on that. Grab today's free app of the day or one of your favorite apps, like Angry Birds or Plants Vs. Zombies. How would you describe the responsiveness? Smooth? Is the touchscreen accurate? (For advanced users, I'll link to an article about sideloading Android apps from places other than Amazon here.)
Next, open the Silk Webbrowser and spend some time clicking around. Visit some of your favorite pages and check on the loading time. Click on a link and then see how high you can count--1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi etc.
Lastly, and this is a big one. Open up the Kindle App and peruse one of your favorite books. Turn the page. How's the readability of the screen? How's the page turning? Play with the fonts and the other settings.
There it is! You've just touched on a few of the key features of the Kindle Fire. How are you feeling about it? Think you'll be able to have some fun with it? We hope so, and we'll be helping you with all the tips we can find in the coming days, not to mention cluing you in to plenty of Free and bargain apps. Here are the ones mentioned in this article, but check back later today for more!
Facebook (link to software update page)
Angry Birds Rio Plants Vs. Zombies