So, finally getting down to write my review on the Kindle Fire (KF) – better late than never.

I got the KF for Christmas 2011 – was really excited about it. But since I’m using it outside the US, it came with some restrictions.

Things I Like About My Kindle Fire

1. The device has a nice feel – especially the rubber back. It fits nicely in my hands and portable enough to carry it around.

2. I like the home screen – bookshelf theme – easy to navigate and search for apps and books. Despite running on Gingerbread, it feels smooth and the applications run well with almost no lag.

3. One of the best attractions is the price – at USD199, it’s really a bargain.

4. I like that my favorite Amazon books are readily available on my KF. With Whispersync, my books gets synchronized readily on the device.

Things I Wish Was Different On My Kindle Fire

1. The KF was meant for the US – hence for people like me who got it as a gift, there are some restrictions when used outside US.

2. Mainly, the daily free apps given by the App Store is not available to those who don’t have a credit/debit card with a US billing address. I tried getting a gift card with Amazon but that didn’t work as well. So basically you can’t install any app from the App Store, even those free ones.

3. Video streaming is also not available outside US. It’s a shame but I guess its quite understandable (licensing issues).

Things I Did To Enjoy My Kindle Fire

1. So with all these restrictions, I had to root my device to gain super user access which then allows me to install apps. Watched 2 videos on youtube – followed the instructions closely and it worked like a charm.

– The videos I used are now obsolete as the software has been upgraded to v6.3.1.

– Found another website to root v6.3.1. – http://liliputing.com/2012/05/how-to-root-a-kindle-fire-with-software-version-6-3-1.html. Haven’t tested this yet.

2. The problem with rooting is that every time Amazon pushes an update for the KF, the root is reversed and you have to do it all over again (but it’ll be  slightly simpler the next time around cause you’d have the necessary drivers to connect your KF to the computer).

3. After a few times I got tired of rooting and decided to ‘side load’ (installing apps through other means beside the App store) apps to my KF.

4. Two of my favourites sites to do the side loading is www.apktop.com and apps.opera.com.  But first you need to ‘Allow Installation of Applications From Unknown Sources’ (go to Settings > Device). Once its ‘On’, you can go to the 2 websites on the browser of your KF, download and install the apps that you like. However, you loose out on the daily free apps given at the App Store.

5. Video streaming was still a no go after rooting. It doesn’t work on a rooted device. But even if it wasn’t rooted, outside the US, I could only watch the trailers. I read that you can use a proxy web to bypass this but haven’t tried it yet.

For the moment, I’m pleased with my un-rooted device since I mainly use my KF to surf the web, read news on Pulse (news reading application) and read Amazon ebooks. And if I need any apps, I’ll just sideload it. If in the future my requirements change, I may root it again.

So yea – that’s a brief write up about my Kindle Fire – I truly enjoy using it and is probably one of the best Christmas gifts I’ve ever received (despite it’s limitations :)).