Why I Bought a Kindle Fire and not an iPad

by steve

I have been asking the deep, existential question haunting so many of us this shopping season: Kindle Fire or iPad

 

And why NOT get an iPad? It’s fluid, beautiful, intuitive–it’s an Apple! My kids use them at school. I haven’t met anyone who didn’t like theirs. So why not?

 

I pulled the trigger on the Kindle Fire the other day. Now, I’m no tech expert, and I’m not the earliest of adopters–more like the 2nd wave, letting the first group work out the kinks. I’m a mild technophile on a modest budget. So take this assessment for what it’s worth. I’ll leave the technical comparisons to those more qualified, and just describe here why I went with the Kindle Fire, in case it helps you make your own decision.

 

1. Price

Duh. If the iPad you really need starts at 32 GB for $599 (which numerous people told me), that makes it 3x expensive. That’s a big deal. But I’ve splurged for MacBooks, and never regretted it. Price is an issue, but not the only one.

 

2. Functionality

This isn’t really about the Kindle Fire competing with an iPad. That’s oranges vs. Apple. They’re different devices, designed to fill overlapping but ultimately different needs. The Fire is a souped-up e-Reader/media device with some nice app/internet capability. The iPad is a full-on tablet. But not everyone needs a tablet. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple offer an “iPad Mini” with a 7″ screen one of these days, as has been rumored. I’m not a high-end gamer, and I rarely have occasion to watch movies on the go. To the extent that I do, I’m happy to do that on my laptop or on the Fire. In terms of reading, I kind of like the idea of the smaller screen, and the ability to hold it easily in one hand. As a media consumption infotainment device, the Fire meets my “needs.”

 

What about workday functionality? I get up and talk in front of people multiple times a week. I know some preachers are starting to use an iPad for preaching/teaching, but I can’t see myself doing that. At least not yet. For one, my talks are never static, even until the minute before I start speaking. I’m constantly tweaking with pen on paper, crossing things out or writing in the margins. I don’t want to have to worry about typing on an iPad to do that. I’ve heard the size of the iPad makes it more difficult to type on using the touch screen, thus the keyboards you see people toting around…which begins to mitigate the reasons for having an iPad in the first place, I think. For GTD, the Amazon appstore has the two productivity apps that I LOVE and use most often: Evernote and Wunderlist. (I’m writing this in Evernote, as I do most all of my blog posts, talks, and sermons these days).

 

3. The Amazon ecosystem 

We use Amazon all the time, for everything from buying books to most of our Christmas gifts to specialty foods that we can’t find locally–and we love it. I already use Kindle across all my devices. We’ve had Prime for years for the free shipping, and I’m thinking about getting a Roku box so we can watch Prime video on our TV at home and possibly dropping Netflix. When it comes to mobile apps, Amazon’s app store has plenty of games to keep my kids happy, and it has the productivity apps I use.

 

4. I like Apple and “Oranges”

I really, really like my Apple MacBook Pro (I’m typing on it now), but I’m not enough of an Apple fanboy to insist on Apple across all my devices. I have a Droid phone, and while it’s no iPhone, it gets the job done. It’s another case of not being the best, but being good enough for a heck of a lot cheaper. Because Android is open, you can certainly find crappy Android products out there. But the good Android products are quite good, and by all accounts, Kindle Fire is one of those. Little glitches like the carousel spinning too rapidly are already being addressed by updates. The positive reviews of the Fire by techie enthusiasts like Chris Brogan and Michael Hyatt were helpful as well.

 

My Kindle Fire arrives tomorrow, and I’m eager to start trying it out. I may change this assessment a few weeks in. But I think I’ll be happy with the Fire, and put the money I saved towards my next MacBook…or an iPhone 5…or iPad3, or whatever else they churn out in 2012. 

 

Thoughts on the iPad, Kindle Fire, and other tablets and e-Readers? I’d love to hear them!