Amazon Fire tablet on sale for $40

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Can I sideload my own mp3, mp4, and mobi files??

It’s a garbage tablet, no two ways about it. But $40 is a good price for even a garbage tablet.


Media files, yes. Applications, not so much.

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Nook HD is in similar situation in being a pretty OK tablet locked behind @ dumpster fire ROM. Fortunately there are ways around this.

Would it be any good for reading comics? I’ve got a crapload of CBR/Zs but I find reading them on my PC to be a bit of a hassle.

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I’ve not done a huge amount of comics reading on mine (I’d still rather have my comics in TPB), but I do use it for stuff I’ve gotten via Humble Bundles (and a few things that I haven’t been able to acquire via honorable means) and been pretty happy with it. It’s not a super high res screen, but good enough. Bear in mind depending on your preferred reader app (I like Challenger), you will need to sideload the Google Play Store onto it so you can get said app, but honestly, you wanna do that anyway.

Also, factor in the cost of a decent microSD card, because the 8gb onboard fills up fast.

For whatever it’s worth, I’ve had mine for over a year now and I keep telling myself I should get a better tablet, but it keeps being good enough.

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I picked up the HDX when it was 60$ for the 16GB, it records audio and has a camera which I rationalized I could record my sets with. Neither are great, also the device is finniky as hell. I admit to using cheap XD cards, but these cheap cars don’t cause problems in any other devices but the Kindle, less than two months into ownership and I’ve had to do a full factory reset despite having never installed anything that wasn’t published by Amazon. Amazon is terrible at software updates or informing the customer of the need for them or how you may have to do full wipes to get some updates to actually install.

Also you’re probably going to be stuck with advertising unless you pay like fifteen bux more.

Pros: The wifi receivers are actually pretty great, battery life for me has been great, screen looks good for Netflix and the like despite the cameras being shit, it has a good comic book reader app that was worth 2.99$ and your local library probably has books for the device that is only slightly frustrating to navigate.

Huh. So it’s a fire sale…


A pro tip is if you start a support chat and act confused enough about the ads they remove them for free


I think this is the problem of the whole tablet market.

Look how many manufacturers are now trying to revive tablet sales by making them a bit bigger and fitting them with a folding keyboard. I just had a bit of a clearout (a large black bag full of redundant, unsaleable IT kit on its way to the dump) and I realised it has never been worth buying anything in a fire sale because it gets so little use and ends up in recycling or landfill. One problem is that rather good recent Chinese stuff often costs little more than near-redundant stuff and the performance is as day and night.


I’ve been considering getting a tablet for casual internet browsing. Other than Amazon’s tablets (which i’ve never been keen on) and Apple (too expensive and i don’t like apple), what tablets are worth getting?

My wife has a Samsung Galaxy Tab A (8in) and she’s been pretty happy with that. She’s had that about a year, so it’s not super new, but that means it’s come down in price. There’s a couple different sizes, which obviously affects prices. The interesting thing about that tablet (not sure if this applies to all sizes) is that it has a 4:3 aspect ratio, instead of widescreen. Depending on how you feel about that, it’s either a selling point or not (it was for my wife).

I agree. Only I wouldn’t limit it to just tablets.

In my younger days, when I had more free time, I was always building and upgrading and tweaking computers. I didn’t have the money for all the latest and greatest components, but I was always looking for components at the price/performance sweet spot and basically building really good budget computers.

Now, a good chunk of that was driven by gaming. I don’t have time to do much gaming any more, so at this point, I’m just playing through old stuff on my PS3.

But I also feel that outside of gaming, as more and more stuff moved into the cloud, it matters less and less what the specs of your machine as long as it’s “good enough”. Android apps have to assume kind of a baseline level of performance, and most of them work fine on my Fire tablet and $30 Motorola phone.

A year ago, I moved my desktop computer into the basement and got a Chromebook. The Chromebook does 97% of what I need from a computer (because 90% of what I need from a computer happens through the browser anyway and I can boot into Linux for other stuff if necessary), and my desktop is primarily used for ripping and serving up movies.

Obviously, my anecdotal experiences don’t mean much for professional techies, but as the primary tech support person for my family, it’s so much easier now that I can just say “Find a Chromebook/tablet that you like and it’ll probably be fine.”


I use this same tablet to read comic books all the time.

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For the money, it’s a fine little tablet, and it’s truly amazing if you’re already part of the Amazon Prime ecosystem.

As Mark mentions, you can sideload Google Play into it, and start installing apps from the Play store, in <30 minutes.

It has it’s limitations - the CPU too damn slow, the camera is pretty much crap, and the modifications that Amazon makes to turn the AOSP distribution of Android into it’s proprietary “Fire OS” cause it to be slightly incompatible with a very small number of apps (you cannot use replacement launchers, for example).

But otherwise for $40, particularly if you then cram a 128GB SD card into the expansion slot, you get a great little tablet for all sorts of purposes, with the Google Play hack installed you can pretty much run anything you like (I use mine with a little Bluetooth keyboard/case I bought for it to run Microsoft Office 365 Android app suite that makes it into a tiny little laptop), and the screen is nice and bright and the quality is good enough and the WiFi is fast enough for Amazon Prime movies, Netflix, etc.

Can I run a secure operating system like iOS on it?

lol I kid.

Cyanogenmod that thing. The nook HD stock was slow and masses of incompatibilities. Even cysnogenmod 10.2 on the HD turned it into a far more useable device.

I assume the fire has a cyanogenmod variant because it is far more popular than the nook line so would get developer eyeballs.

This is a real benefit for tablets in my experience. It’s something Apple got right (though my wife has an Asus tablet because the colour rendition is somewhat better and she buys wool online.)

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