I was lucky enough to receive both a kindle fire and an ipad 2 for christmas this year. I also have a nook color that I use for testing apps for work. I have an abundance of tablets at my disposal. I use them all for different things. The nook is used primarily for testing and I find it to be the most klunky of the the tablets. The interface is not set up as nice or seem as well thought out as the kindle fire. The kindle fire was, for the week that I had it before I got the iPad, my comics tablet. I used it primarily for reading older comics that I can’t find in graphic novel or collection form at the library or online (Marvel 2099 I am looking at you).
I use Comic Reader Mobi for this. It reads .cbz and .cbr nicely. It keeps track of where you are in a series allowing you to switch between series easily and go back to what you previously read. The only problem I found, which I am not sure if it is a Fire problem or a Comic Reader Mobi, is that at times the selection of different folders doesn’t work and there have been occasionally crashes that force you to reopen the app. Not a deal breaker but annoying none the less.
Overall the kindle fire has been enjoyable. Surprisingly I haven’t actually read a book on it… I have a regular first generation for that. My one complaint is that the kindle fire is the menu system. Amazon seems super obsessed with the whole book shelf thing. I don’t really need book shelfs on a tablet. I need app icons. It also seems that most of the applications I have downloaded don’t have properly sized icons. I think that amazon neglected to tell developers to make a large sized icon when developing for the kindle fire. Super disappointing as it just looks bad. When I first received my kindle fire I was able to use a free month of amazon prime to watch movies etc. It was nice and quick but it certainly not a deal maker. Overall the amazon fire is a poor man’s ipad.
The iPad 2 is an unfair comparison but unfortunatly for teh Fire and Nook color they have painted themselves as being just that. The iPad is quicker, prettier and overall smoother to operate. Here are a couple of examples. On the kindle fire I needed to take a screenshot. The only way I found to do that is to install the Android SDK and work trickiness. Pain in the Ass. On the iPad 2 it is simple and just like doing it on my iPhone.
Comics on the iPad 2 are very different then on the Fire. There isn’t a better way to load .cbr/.cbz on to the ipad that I have found and I primarily us the fire for those tasks. However new comics are so much easier. Finally there is a way to get comics that is actually easier then downloading .cbz/.cbr. Sure you have to pay for it but as someone who has to drive 30+ minutes to get to a comic books shop I am fine paying for comic downloads as long as I can get them at the same time as they are released in store. It is magic. I use graphicly for all of my comic needs, partially because I work there but mostly because it just works.
One of the apps I use most is Air Video. It is great app that lets you stream videos from your computer to your iPad 2 to watch anywhere in your house… or with a little extra work you can stream from your computer to your ipad anywhere that it is connected to the internet. Sarah and I use this all the time to watch movies in bed and I use it to watch movies whilst I work.
If you are thinking about buying a tablet don’t be enticed by the lower price point of the kindle fire or nook color, save your money and buy an iPad 2. It works better, runs faster and is much prettier.