By Martin Jansen, Owner of Jansen-PCINFO
Just recently, Amazon had another sale of the 10.1 inch Fire Tablet for around $75. My daughter (bless her heart) bought me one for Christmas last year. Since then I have used the tablet more and more. The specifications of the tablet are pretty good:
- 3GB Ram
- 32GB onboard storage
- MediaTek 8183 octa-core processor
- 1080p 10.1” Touch Display (works great with a Dollar Store soft tipped stylus)
- USB-C charging and connection (so much better than the old micro usb)
- Up to 1 Terabyte SD Card Slot
I bought a tablet case for about $15 on Amazon which fits nicely and allows for auto sleep when the case is magnetically closed. I also added a Samsung 128GB SD card for added storage. The battery life on this tablet is excellent, lasting at least two days depending on use.
In order to eliminate advertisements, I paid Amazon $15. Now when I open the tablet case I just enter the security code and start computing.
Added the Google Play Store
Fire tablets are based on a modified Android 9 platform. The App Store is somewhat limited (around 500,000 apps) and not nearly as robust as the Google Play Store with its 2.65 million apps. I followed these directions exactly as written. Don’t vary and download different versions of the play store .apk files for it could brick your tablet, making it unusable.
Of course, Amazon has a ton of books to read from their Kindle stores. Our family has been Amazon Prime members since 2001 when Amazon was just an online bookstore. I remember we preordered Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at the new fangled store since demand was so high at local bookstores. Who knew that Amazon would grow to be the retail behemoth that it is today? Amazon has plenty of free books for members so I never run out of things to read.
If you have a Library Card, many libraries offer books (both written and audio) through the Hoopla and Libby apps. You can even borrow older Movies which playback nicely on the 10 inch tablet. The apps are free to use, but time limits on the borrowed material do apply.
The dual speakers on the tablet are pretty good, not tinny, and plenty loud. It has a 2.5 mm headphone jack as well. Thanks to apps like MuseScore, Music Scanner, Librera and VLC, I can playback most media on my tablet. I wrote about this in a previous article. I can even use the included USB-C cable to connect to my Linux Mint computer and copy files between the devices. Go into Settings on the tablet, go to Connected Devices and set the USB Preferences to File Transfer. I mainly use the 128GB SD card for transferred media file storage.
The biggest entertainment buy for the buck is Plex. The Plex app is available on many smart devices like TVs, Tablets and Phones. I pay $40 per year to store my large amount of videos in .mk4 format. I use Handbrake to rip the DVDs that I own to my dual purpose Plex server and Linux Mint desktop computer. I have an extra 600GB Western Digital Hard Drive for storing all my Plex media like Videos and Music in .mp3 and .ogg format. This is all perfectly legal since copyright laws allow you to make copies of media you own.
Plex also has plenty of on demand movies, shows and live streaming channels. I have a Silicon Dust HDHome Run connected to my attic antenna which allows me to record live TV as desired.
With the Plex TV app loaded on the Fire Tablet I can watch my media and live TV anywhere with a WIFI connection.
I’m not a gamer (except for solitaire) so I really don’t know how many games are in the Amazon Appstore and the Google Play Store. Since games are the most popular on both stores, however, I bet the majority of apps are games. Candy Crush, Minecraft, SIMS, Angry Birds and their variations are available to download and install on the Fire HD 10. Resolution is great during play and provides hours of entertainment.
Believe it or not, my Fire came with a light version of Microsoft Office. It’s not great. A better app for productivity, that is Writing, Spreadsheets and Presentations, etc., is WPS Office. All I added is a bluetooth keyboard and mouse. The setup makes for a portable computer workstation.
To answer the question in the title, yes, the Amazon Fire HD 10 is a great buy. But before you go ahead and buy, ask yourself, “How will I use the tablet?” After all, buying technology for the sake of technology is not a good idea.