I have a dream of being able to use a tablet as a personal computer. I bought an Amazon Fire tablet to see if it was possible. This is my first time buying either an Android or Amazon product. I gave the tablet a good going over. I had a good experience and thought I would share my observations to people new to the Amazon Fire or could use a few tips.
- the display is pleasant to look at, it has good color reproduction and a wide viewing angle
- the glass is hardened, though I’ve been good to it it has more to do with the thoughtful quality of the construction
- the CPU runs the apps reasonably fast and the graphic animation is usually smooth
- a SD card slot
- the files can be organized (either by plugging in the tablet to a personal computer or by a file manager app)
- the price of $50
- many apps are available, some quite good
What I would like to see improved
- built-in storage if it can be done, it is currently four gigabytes after OS updates
- memory, it is 500MB which makes apps usually have to save states rather then be retained in memory
- edge tapping, this might be my big, clumsy fingers but I have a hard time with buttons recognition on the edges
- SD card write access for third party apps for conventional file saves, this would be nice though I know is currently prevented because of a security precaution
- file organization by folders only, currently Android OS tries to index all the files into four libraries (Documents, Images, Movies, Music) and some apps use these libraries; knowing all file types is a big task and folder organization would mean my family photos don’t get grouped with my web development photos
- the calendar app to get a notification daemon, currently the app needs to be open to display reminders
- a setting to define the Text to Speech (TTS) default app; I selected the online TTS app by accident and now when I want to hear pronunciations I have to be online
The tablet has a great reader, for both books and the newsstand. It has easy to look at text and is enjoyable to use. I get the feeling the Amazon tablet was created with the intention of expanding on the Kindle stand-alone reader. The Kindle app behaves just like a Kindle product: intuitive to use, responsive, and the standard extra features. The tablet is worth the price, IMHO, if used just for reading.
Doggie in the window
I like the Amazon store and use it occasionally. The first time I bought something I used the web browser, but I learned since the Shop Amazon app provides a better interface: increased font/image size, good organization, a shelf to compare products… it made it kinda fun. I also found it good to write the reviews in.
Battery discharge time depends on screen brightness and wireless. I’ve noticed that using Bluetooth uses a good amount of power. With a slightly dimmed screen and no wireless, I will get about eight hours from the battery. Recharge time with slightly dimmed screen and no wireless takes about four hours to charge; with Bluetooth it takes about seven hours. When not in use about four percent battery discharge will occur in about eight hours.
Accessories that will probably be needed
- a $10 stylus will help keep the screen clean
- a $10 cover will help with accidental bumps
- a $5 microfiber cloth will help clean the screen
- a $30-$50 keyboard will help typing a lot
- a SD card will help if planning to use for any amount of time
- to move/delete/categorize an app press the app for a few seconds
- to save home page space categorize the Amazon apps that have a content-page/tab
- to save home page space turn off to display “Recent Items”, these will still show in the “Recent” content page;
Apps and Games>
Amazon Application Settings>
Home Screen Settings
- to switch apps more efficiently with the app switcher touch the window’s title bar
- to help efficiency consider using the tablet with the orientation as upright – the Android OS is used on many phones where this orientation is common and many apps are designed with this in mind
- to help performance, it appears to me, it is improved with only a few apps open; apps can be closed in the app switcher by swiping them
- screenshots are done by holding down
volume downat the same time for two seconds, a click will sound if successful; it will be saved in
- the tablet will shutdown on its own on a low battery, it does so at zero percent
system: alt + tab app switch ctrl + t tablet notifications space page down (in browser or readers) shift + space page up alt + space search space + space lock screen quit typing: alt + left/rght cursor move to line beginning/end alt + up/down cursor move to doc. beginning/end ctrl + left/rght cursor move to word before/after shift + arrow cursor move and select text (+alt/ctrl use as modifiers) shift + backspace cursor erase forward character alt + backspace cursor erase line ctrl + x/c/v/a cut/copy/paste/all-select Silk browser (generally the same as Chromiums): ctrl + t tab new ctrl + tab tab switch ctrl + w tab close ctrl + l location bar ctrl + f find ctrl + h history ctrl + m menu ctrl + r reload apps: menu + b browser menu + c contacts menu + e email menu + l calendar menu + p player (music) menu + backspace desktop
Apps I liked
basic: Converter Free a unit converter Dictionary - Merriam-Webster offline, good defs DroidEdit a nice text editor File Commander + Cloud very nice file manager LastPass password manager MapQuest NPR News Podcast Republic Radar Express ruler(cm, inch) Stellarium Mobile Sky May a nice star chart for a few TK Music Tag Editor Weather by MacroPinch WordWeb - English Dictionary entertainment: IMDb TED Watch ABC games: CSI: Hidden Crimes Cut the Rope: Time Travel HD Doodle Numbers Geometry Dash Monument Valley Pocket Mine Quick Logic Puzzles Simple Mahjong Solitaire Survival Run by Bear Grylis Temple Run: Oz The Hunger Game Adventures The Secret Society–Hidden Mystery Where's my Water?
- Unicode, never could find a way to enter unicode characters… no character map and no key combinations possible
- are there finger covers I can buy to keep from smudging the screen?