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Picture of Get started with a Kindle Fire
The Kindle Fire is a pretty cool device, especially for just $200. No, it's not an iPad, but it does come with enough to stand on its own. What it doesn't come with, however, is a clean set of instructions. Basically, there's just a card inside that says "plug it in and be amazed!"

Sure, you can dig around in the ebook pre-loaded to figure it out, but here's a collection of things I wanted to know right away and had to figure out.
 
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Step 1: Change the volume

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The Kindle Fire only has one button, the power button. Tap it to turn the Kindle on and tap it again to put it to sleep. Longer presses actually turn it off.

That's great, but no volume buttons? Nope, it's stuck in the settings menu. To get to those, tap the little gear on top. Now you can change the volume by selecting "Volume" and sliding the volume control.

Step 2: Locking the screen

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Also in the settings menu is the screen-lock so that it doesn't change orientation if you turn it on its side.

OK, fine, that makes sense. Still annoyed with the lack of volume controls.

Other controls in there do what you'd expect as well.

Step 3: More settings!

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Tapping the "More" button will get you ore settings. No big surprise there, but to save you the time of digging around here are the two main uses: security and keyboard. Security lets you lock your Fire and the keyboard settings let you turn off auto capitalization or auto-correct.

Step 4: How to put ebooks on your Kindle Fire

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Sure, you can buy content from Amazon. I've done it plenty of times myself. And then there are other files that you will want on there such as PDFs or other ebooks.

Here's a total list of files you can transfer over: DOC, DOCX, PDF, HTML, TXT, RTF, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, PRC, and MOBI. One format that is NOT here is EPUB so you will need to convert these to MOBI with a program like Calibre before transferring.

To do this you will need a micro USB cable and it didn't come with the Fire. If you have a previous Kindle, the same cable will work. Otherwise you can get one online for just a few bucks.

to transfer the files over, just plug the Kindle Fire in to your computer and transfer files into the appropriate Kindle folder. So put books in Books, and pictures in Pictures.

Alternately, you can email the files to the email address on the screen. It should look name_number@kindle.com. Your email address that is your Amazon.com account will automatically be able to do this. You will need to authorize other email addresses, however.

Step 5: How to take screenshots

Taking pictures on other devices can be insanely easy. Not at all with the Kindle Fire. While the iPad lets you take a picture by holding a couple buttons, you'll need to follow this 22-step tutorial for getting screenshots.And even then your Kindle Fire needs to be connected to your computer and the screenshots are always in landscape orientation.

So unless you really, really want screenshots, don't bother.

Step 6: That's It

OK, that about sums up what I wish I knew about the Fire when I started it up. If there's anything else you're wondering about, feel free to leave a comment.
Phil B3 years ago
Thank you for the introduction. I know people with a Fire, but know very little about how it works or compares to other models beyond some obvious things.
mcshawnboy3 years ago
If you wanted the functionality of the iPad are you pleased with Kindle Fire or do you recommend saving up for the real thing? I have a Nook and am underwhelmed at how it navigates simple tasks & the Internet. I hoped it'd be less bulky & more useful than my MSI Wind that needs repair.
fungus amungus (author)  mcshawnboy3 years ago
Which Nook are you talking about? I've used the Nook Color and have just started testing out the Nook Tablet. So far I haven't seen a reason to recommend the Nook Tablet over the Fire.

As for the iPad comparison, if you wanted the iPad functionality I think you'll be very disappointed. The app selection is very small and like I mentioned I'm not thrilled with the one button approach.

That said, I think it's very cool for what it is. I like the smaller size and the price is ridiculously low. For general media consumption and web browsing it works just fine. So far I've used it for watching videos, reading books, reading websites, and listening to music.

The other key factor is that it has great integration with the Amazon content. If you have a Prime account, like I do, then you have lots of movies and TV shows you can watch. It's also nicely integrated with all of the Kindle content so you can grab new books to read.

For PDFs it's a little bit squinty on the smaller screen, but totally doable.
I totally disagree. It has better hardware than the iPad 2 , and with 5 minutes of hackery, you can put Android 3.2 on it.
I am going to try my best to sound unbiased here.

It is impossible to say whether the Kindle Fire has better specs hardware wise then an iPad 2 or really anything else short of taking it apart as Amazon have kept the hardware specifications private.

You actually can not install Android 3.2 on it. Why? Because it is already running a customized version of Android. If you were to "install" Android on it you would be essentially reinstalling the OS, however you would be installing a version that is not optimized for the hardware (which again is unknown).

Now you are probably thinking "That is ridiculous! What are your sources for those claims?", Well PCWorld has an article about it here on Amazons Kindle Fire page here the only information that they give about  it hardware wise is "Kindle Fire features a state-of-the-art dual-core processor".

On PCMag's page here they say it has a "Dual-core TI OMAP 4" processor which means that the processor speed is anywhere form 1-1.8ghz so it could potentially rival the iPad in raw processor speed but again the actual speed of the processor in the Kindle Fire is unknown.

If you do reply please include links to your references, ThankYou for you time, sincerely ElvenChild.
sredmon3 years ago
You can always just use calibre ebook management to convert the ebook files to a format it will use.
vfbaby033 years ago
I want to add an ebook to my Kindle fire & it says the format is EPUB MOBI which is really confusing me since I knwo the kindle does not support the EPUB but does the MOBI. Help please!
fungus amungus (author)  vfbaby033 years ago
Where is it saying this? They're different formats.
hey i have the first kindle, i think w/ the free wifi and was wondering on if i could trade it in and get the kindle fire. or would it be better to just save up and keep the old one for a x-mas present for cousin or who-ever?
fungus amungus (author)  flyingfox5673 years ago
Amazon doesn't offer a trade-in system. Your best bet is ebay where 1st gen kindles are going for $60 used, which surprises me. After all, you can get a new one with more memory and lighter for $79.

It's up to you for what you want. If you want it for reading, just keep what you have. If you want to have a full color screen and watch movies, then go for the fire.

Of course, it's always good to pass on items that still have a lot of use in them. Especially if you can load it with a lot of books you think your cousin would enjoy.
thanks for the info, now all i hav to do is decide on what to do