Instapaper creator reviews Amazon’s tiny screen Kindle Fire: Bad game player, bad app platform, bad web browser, bad video player and bad Kindle

“I expected the Kindle Fire to be good for books, great for magazines and newspapers, great for video, and good for apps and games,” Marco Arment, creator of Instapaper, blogs.In practice, it’s none of these.”

“I expected the Kindle Fire to be a compelling iPad alternative, but I can’t call it delightful, fun, or pleasant to use. Quite the opposite, actually: using the Fire is frustrating and unpleasant, and it feels like work,” Arment reports. “It’s not an iPad competitor or alternative. It’s not the same kind of device at all. And, whatever it is, it’s a bad version of it.”

Arment reports, “Almost the entire interface is sluggish, jerky, and unresponsive. Many touch targets throughout the interface are too small, and I miss a lot. It’s often hard to distinguish a miss from interface lag… It’s a bad game player, a bad app platform, a bad web browser, a bad video player, and, most disappointingly, a bad Kindle. If I didn’t need the Fire for Instapaper testing, I’d return it.”

Much more detail in the full review here.

MacDailyNews Take: The bottom line: Amazon’s Kindle Fire sucks. Hard.

Any positive review you read of Amazon’s Kindle Fire was either:
a) bought and paid for; or
b) conducted by an idiot who’s never spent even 30 seconds with an iPod touch, much less an iPad.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Jax44” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
PCWorld reviews Amazon’s tiny-screen Kindle Fire: Flawed, unimpressive, subpar; can’t hold a candle to iPad – November 16, 2011
Mossberg reviews Amazon’s tiny-screen Kindle Fire: Frustrating, clunky, much less capable and versatile than iPad – November 16, 2011
Apple iPad 2 vs. Amazon Kindle Fire: Bootup, browsing, and Netflix streaming (with video) – November 16, 2011
Wired reviews Amazon’s tiny-screen Kindle Fire: Web browsing sucks, emotionally draining, makes reading a chore – November 14, 2011
NY Times’ Pogue reviews Amazon’s tiny-screen Kindle Fire: Sluggish, ornery, unpolished – November 14, 2011
The Verge reviews Amazon’s tiny-screen Kindle Fire: Uninspired, confusing, incredibly unoriginal – November 14, 2011
Engadget reviews Amazon’s tiny-screen Kindle Fire: Sluggish, clunky, too limiting and restricted – November 14, 2011

PC Magazine reviews Apple iOS 5: The best phone and tablet OS, Editors’ Choice – October 15, 2011
The Guardian reviews Apple iPad 2: Ahead of the pack – March 25, 2011
The Telegraph reviews Apple iPad 2: Does everything better; now’s the perfect time to join the iPad club – March 25, 2011
Computerworld reviews Apple’s iPad 2: ‘The Holy Grail of computing’ – March 16, 2011
Ars Technica reviews Apple iPad 2: Big performance gains in a slimmer package
Associated Press reviews Apple iPad 2: Apple pulls further ahead – March 10, 2011
PC Mag reviews Apple iPad 2: The tablet to get; Editors’ Choice – March 10, 2011
Associated Press reviews Apple iPad 2: Apple pulls further ahead – March 10, 2011
PC Mag reviews Apple iPad 2: The tablet to get; Editors’ Choice – March 10, 2011
Pogue reviews Apple iPad 2: Thinner, lighter, and faster transforms the experience – March 10, 2011
Baig reviews Apple iPad 2: Second to none – March 10, 2011


  1. … Hiawatha Bray in the 17 Nov Boston Globe was much more positive. Not so much so as to suggest it might compete directly with the iPad – not even close! – but fairly capable in its own right. Its own LIMITED right. Some of the things it does, it does “better” than the iPad … mostly, though, “not”.
    If the Fire were not, in effect, an analog for a “store front”, it would have to cost more and do more. It still might be one of the best non-iPad tablets. That would make it – at best – second best.

      1. The Boston Globe, most certainly. I don’t see where anything in his article reflects negatively on the iPad or provided undeserved support for the Fire or the Nook. In essence, I see no “evidence” he is anyone’s “stooge”. So … perhaps you should – minimally – moderate your comments, or support them, or even apologize. Just because he doesn’t kiss YOUR butt does not mean he is paid to kiss your opponent’s butt.

  2. I, along with the already several thousand positive reviews in Amazon and on the other ebook reader sites, am loving my Kindle Fire, it’s been great. No, I’m not in the least interested in having ‘apps’ on my Fire–I use my iPad 2 for computing–but the Fire has been terrific as a multimedia ereader. A big thumbs up!

    1. Wow, positive reviews on the seller’s website over which the seller has direct control. So much more convincing than independent reviews. (sarcasm)

      Most MDN readers have far, far higher standards than you seem to have, renaldo.

    2. If you have an iPad 2 (and I seriously doubt you do) and you’re not using it as a “multimedia ereader” then you’re doing your self a disservice. The one and only advantage the original Kindle had over the iPad was it’s e-ink. The Fire doesn’t have this and it’s worse in every other area then the iPad. It has a worse battery life, worse interface, it’s slower, and has less content available.

    3. I call BS. Owns a iPad but used the Fire as a multimedia ereader. Right., sure.

      Something with 6 gigs of storage, a slow interface and hardware that can’t even run netflix is a “good multimedia ereader”

      No, I am calling BS on this one.

  3. I bought one for my mom who is in her 60’s. She loves that it fits in her purse so she can take it out with her and use it whenever she is bored. The interface is not as clunky as the people are ranting about but it isn’t as smooth as an iPad. For it’s limited functionality the Fire is good. Would I trade my iPad2 for it? NOPE!

    1. that’s exactly why I bought my fire. Im not trying to watch a movie with someone else on it. If I wanted to do that, I’d watch it on my tv or at a movie theater. As for the rest of the IPAD people who seem to think if you don’t have an iPAD you’re clueless or missing out… I think the IPAD is great. but I’m not trying to spend that much money on it. and it’s way too big. I like the fact that I can put my fire in my purse. Get over yourselves. my fire does what I need and want it to do. the average person knows little of interface and clunky. IT WORKS FOR ME! If your IPAD works for U, fantastic!

  4. MDN Nails it again. Remember MSNBC saying “Yeah It’s that good” LOL

    “Any positive review you read of Amazon’s Kindle Fire was either:
    a) bought and paid for; or
    b) conducted by an idiot who’s never spent even 30 seconds with an iPod touch, much less an iPad.”

  5. To have all the reviewers I’ve seen (maybe 6-7) say similar things means to me that the KFire was dominated by a single person.

    That person never took working prototypes to any trusted tech reviewers or actual users of similar products for their thoughts.

    I wonder who was arrogant enough to decide that his vision was the only one that counted for the Amazon shareholders?

    Any guesses out there ???????????????

  6. Yawn. Surprise surprise. Another TechMage ripped on the Amazon Fire, the ‘iPad Killer’. 🙄

    Hey tech industry: The ‘OtherPad’ hype machine is D E A D. How about a REAL ‘iPad Killer’? Are you even capable of such a thing? I have to wonder. 😕

  7. B.S! B.S! B.S!

    I have no doubt the dozens of negative articles including the New York Times, Wall street Jounal, Wired, PC Word etc are all due to KICKBACKS from Apple.

    Silly complaints from reviewers: for example that the Fire does not render properly Magazines on it’s wrong sized low rez screen and terrible battery life can be REMEDIED EASILY:

    for example after i ordered this MAGINIFIER
    (also conveniently sold by Amazon :–10-OptiVisor-Headband-Magnifier/dp/B0015IP380/ref=sr_1_17?s=toys-and-games&ie=UTF8&qid=1321652185&sr=1-17)

    and an EXTENSION CORD to plug in when I’m using it I’m ENJOYING LIFE with my Kindle Fire.

  8. Funny…I bought an iPad and returned it after two days because it was so disappointing (and expensive), but I’m loving the Kindle Fire. It’s easier to carry and hold than the iPad is, and while it’s not as smooth its performance is acceptable. It can also be hacked easily enough into a full Android tablet. I disagree very much with the review.

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