Get an Amazon Fire 7 Tablet for $35

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/09/19/get-an-amazon-fire-7-tablet-fo.html

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@frauenfelder what’s the battery life like? I just may might have found my new travel tablet.

(I don’t like to take my personal phone/laptop on trips if it can be avoided)

Fire owner here: battery life is less than the dedicated Kindle readers, but still OK. Will work as a reader for pretty much any flight in the world, but i get only 6-8 hours of video viewing or game playing. Instead of doing one thing really well, it does a bunch of things mostly adequately.

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I wonder how these would be as a gift to a few friends in the Philippines?

They have wi-fi at home and cell service through sim cards.

They don’t have:
Computer or laptops for side loading content or apps
Amazon
Amazon prime
Any subscription services like Netflix, Hulu, etc…

This price is tempting but I worry this might be lesson in futility. My understanding has been the fire tablets are primarily for consuming Amazon content.

I just got a Fire HD 10 and find it very handy. I am considering picking up an HD 8 for about $50 https://www.amazon.com/Certified-Refurbished-Tablet-Alexa-Display/dp/B01J94TEAE

To play with show mode. Strangely the most compelling feature is that it constantly shows me the temp outside.

I was able to get the google play store on 7th gen HD10 to use any Android app. I registered the serial number with google before following the directions for downloading four files that are all over the web.

I believe they can be hacked to run other stuff but i don’t own any Amazon devices so i can’t really talk knowledgeably about it

I used to love my Fires, I have a a 7" and an 8". But oddly they’ve gotten so slow they’re almost unusable. Spotify for example takes a full 5 seconds or so to load. Have any other Fire owners noticed this by chance?

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I’ve had several generations of Kindle Fire tablets and while Amazon content is certainly optimized on it, I haven’t had too much trouble running Android apps on it. For instance, I use a library access app called Overdrive to download and listen to audiobooks all the time, and my grandson plays a lot of the same games he has on his iPod Touch (and his grandmother’s phone). The only problem I’ve had, and it’s been consistent with two out of the three, is that after about a year and a half of heavy use they start to have problems charging. But for the price that I was able to get each one for, a year and a half or so of life is pretty reasonable.

I bought a Fire HD 8 about a month ago and one of the first things I did was to install Google Play and a different launcher to make it more Android-y. There are many articles online showing how to do this and it’s pretty straightforward. That’s hidden most of the Amazon stuff but even if you use Amazon’s own app store a lot of the same apps are available.

What I can’t remember is whether I had to log in to my Amazon account when I first turned it on, but if that’s the case you could probably create a dummy account.

Don’t know if it’s the same on the kindle fire series, but on normal android devices as long as you can get the checkbox in the settings enabled to allow manually install APKs, no computer is needed, the inbuilt browser will be fine for downloading and installing things manually*.

*I do this for my brother ALL THE TIME on his android phone for the pokemon TCG app. it’s restricted to tablets on the android store, but installs fine via the inbuilt broswer on phones, you just have to manually redownload it for every single update…

Thank you @Grey_Devil and @failquail. That’s about what I thought. I have no issue altering devices but since these will be on the opposite side of the planet with non-tech people and I only visit a couple times a year, sounds like this would be a big headache in this situation.

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With the Fires, I had to connect to a computer and run some ADB commands. Here’s the instructions I used to install the Play Store:

It was complicated enough that when I gave them as gifts I’d set things up first and then give them to friends. That said, the two people I gave them to never use them anymore since they’re just far too slow now. Oddly they started out great, but as the result of some updates (I think), they’re almost unusable now. Which is a shame, they were awesome media players for awhile. And they have SD card slots so they can hold a ton of off-line movies and music.

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Ah, fair enough.

Once you can get the lockdown bypassed android is great.

Does make me wonder if an app could be developed to do this though: enable an unlocked android device access to another device via an USB OTG cable. In theory i don’t see a reason why not…

Agreed. The Fire was my first Android gizmo. I loved the device at first and wanted to get to know Android better so I switched phones to a Samsung S9+, which I mostly love. But before that I bought a cheapie Samsung phone, which I was hoping to make good through software, but that was a doomed effort. Software can’t fix terrible battery life, insufficient RAM, no haptic feedback, bad screen, etc. And the Fire suffers from some of those hardware deficiencies too (as you’d expect from a $30 tablet, ha). I think it only has 1 gig of RAM for example. It’s sloooooow.

Been eyeing this guy though:

Very promising reviews, don’t have to fight manufacturer lockdown every step of the way, and possibly best of all is that it won’t tell me I need to manually install an Amazon Alexa update every other time I open the device.

And all that said, I super love the Samsung S9+. I’ll love it more after I jailbreak it and stop being harassed by “Bixbie” for example (I disabled it and remapped the key but it still lurks).

It can a little actually, if you don’t mind installing custom ROMs.

My previous android device was a samsung S3, that i used for near 4 years straight until the point it was literally falling apart from wear and tear*. What saved it for the latter two years was a custom ROM and a linux kernal with ZRAM to allieve the lack of RAM problems. I had it running games, just, that had 2GB ram requirements :slight_smile:

I don’t know if a similar thing exists for the fire series, but there are ways :wink:

*At the end, superglue was involved :wink:

Very good point. When I last checked, that wasn’t possible for Fires, but I have a feeling it would fix it. And then at $35 it will be an absolute beast of a cheap gizmo.

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