Buying a Kindle Fire for Europeans. Worth the trouble?

Dear reader,

This might be an interesting article for European e-reader friends. I found it and thought it good to share:

“Recently, a friendly colleague brought a Kindle Fire back to the Netherlands after his US trip. I had bugged him for weeks to buy this tablet for me because I really think the Fire matches my needs: “reading books and blog articles on a back lit tablet that is small enough to hold in one hand for one to several hours”. Also, I am Dutch, so yeah, low prices will score bonus points with me ($200) 😉 As an avid tablet user I also own a Ipad 2 and, although a fantastic machine, it is not ideal for e-book reading. Too bulky. Still. So I decided purchase the tablet with the second largest market share ( http://goo.gl/mJJWJ ) in the world.

Frankly, I am also quite the Amazon fan. I already own a Kindle Keyboard (based on e-ink, a bliss to read in well lit environments) and purchased several books on the Amazon store that are smoothly synced with my Kindle apps and tablets. Through whyspersync, I can always continue reading where I left of on any Kindle app or Kindle tablet. Its ecosystem truly works like a charm.

Unpacking the fire, I noticed how thick it is. Although much smaller than the Ipad, it feels solid even borderline clunky. Not too heavy to hold in one hand for several hours though, so that’s good.
Its screen is great and crystal clear. I was surprised that watching high quality movies/series is actually above all expected standards.

The Amazon UX layer for Android is fully content driven. On iOS or Android you start by opening a program. The kindle expects you to start with content, e.g., a movie, mp3, magazine or book. It is geared that way. No suprise with the world’s biggest content merchant behind it.

Watching movies & reading books works great on the Fire. But if you are expecting a regular Android / iOS user experience you might get disappointed. Yes, you can “root” the Fire to get such an experience but you will lose your guarantees and some of the “Amazon experience” build in the Amazon UX.

A big, no huge, disadvantage is you need a US address/credit card and IP address to stream movies or series delivered by Amazon. This is the reason why the Fire isn’t sold outside the US yet: there are too many content rights issues for non US citizens. It is simply not sold beyond the US yet.

My conclusion/friendly advice to you, European or non US citizen, is that you should not get a Kindle Fire right now. The tablet works great, is relatively cheap but is not worth going through the troubles of importing UNLESS

  • You may use a valid US address;
  • You obtained a US credit card;
  • For movies/music consumption: you have access to DNS utilities that can change your ip address to a US ip address (and your ISP does not block this);
  • You are an Amazon fanboy/girl like me.

4 thoughts on “Buying a Kindle Fire for Europeans. Worth the trouble?”

  1. I didnt know about this. I just bought kindle for the same reasons as you gave. now i am stuck. Now what do i do? i live in Pakistan and just reached back from USA.

    kindly please help.

    1. I’m sorry, Yousuf, there is nothing I can do to help. Except hope for you that it will get easier to get content for your Kindle.

  2. My problem is a bit opposite of yours. I am from the US, have a US credit card and US address. But I am currently living in the Netherlands. I’d like to purchase a kindle fire HD, but I am unsure if it would work here, even though I have a US credit card. I have encountered that amazon prime does not work outside the US while being over here, so I’d assume it wouldn’t work for the kindle either. Does that go for books too, I wonder? Also, would it be any different if I bought it from the Netherlands, or would that just complicate things when I move back home to the US? Just throwing out questions, if you know any answers that’d be appreciated. 🙂

    1. Hi Kristin,

      I am also an American living in the Netherlands. I took a trip to the US for the holidays and was going to purchase the kindle fire, but it seems that it may not be worth it. I believe we can get books, most likely in Dutch, but apps, music, and movies are limited. I don’t think we can purchase them. Anyways.. sorry for the late reply. I wish you luck!

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