It seems like ages since Amazon introduced us to the $199 Fire at a hectic New York City event, but in truth that was only about six weeks ago. Maybe our perception of time is warped because we've been hearing talk about this 7-inch Android tablet for months now. Maybe it's because Amazon launching a tablet seemed like such a natural thing to do after Barnes & Noble paved the way with its Nook Color. Or, maybe it's just because the gadget Amazon shipped looks nigh-identical to the 7-inch BlackBerry PlayBook that we've had for, well, ages.
For whatever the reason, what Amazon has delivered is a device that is intimately familiar yet mysterious -- a simple, minimalistic exterior design hiding a flashy, seemingly quite trick customization that's sitting atop a decidedly ho-hum Android Gingerbread build. Our questions leading up to this review were many: How will it handle sideloading? Are the battery life and performance better than the PlayBook? Can a tablet that costs two hundred bucks stand a chance against those that cost two and three times as much? C'mon baby, click on through to find out.