Not that long ago, we reviewed the Kindle Fire, and one of our biggest complaints was how lousy the browser is—but we’ve discovered the trick to making it actually fast. Here’s how to fix it.
What’s the problem?
The browser, in the default settings, is essentially attempting to be a desktop browser on a little 7” screen that doesn’t exactly use your screen space very well. As part of this silliness, the browser is set to “Desktop” mode, and Flash is enabled by default. Because of this, the browser stutters, dies, chokes, skips, and is generally a pain to deal with. Oh yeah, and there’s that “Silk” optimization that hasn’t lived up to the hype.
That’s all a thing of the past.
How to Make the Kindle Browser Actually Fast
Here’s what we’re going to do, and as usual, it’s a matter of disabling Flash. While we’re at it, we’re going to disable the page “accelerate” feature, and change the browser to mobile mode. There’s no reason to access sites in the desktop interface when it’s a little 7” screen—you just end up trying to zoom on every single page load, so what’s the point? Finally, the optimization is hardly necessary when you’re on a fast home Wi-Fi connection, so we’re going to turn that off too. I’m sure it’s useful for some people on some networks, but in our testing it was slow.
To do this, just open up the browser, hit the menu button at the bottom of the screen, hit the Settings button, and then find the following options:
- Enable plug-ins: off
- Accelerate page loading: Unchecked
- Desktop or mobile view: Mobile
You don’t have to change the browser into Mobile view, though we do recommend it. Just disabling Flash and the “accelerate page loading” made a big difference while browsing. You can also change the plug-ins to allow them on demand, but that usually ends up with a lot of annoying prompts, so it’s not usually worth it—it’s worth noting that YouTube still works just fine without the Flash plugin enabled.
Once you make these changes, your browser will suddenly be very fast. You’ll start seeing the mobile versions of most sites, which is not a bad thing, since everything will be speedy.
Programmer by day, geek by night, The Geek, also known as Lowell Heddings, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on Google+ if you'd like.
- Published 11/17/11