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Thinking about buying a Kindle Fire

This is a discussion on Thinking about buying a Kindle Fire within the Amazon Kindle Fire Help forums, part of the Amazon Kindle Fire Forum category; I am going to be buying my beautiful wife a tablet soon. She is currently using an OG Droid (as in the plain ol' "Droid" ...

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Thread: Thinking about buying a Kindle Fire

  1. #1
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    Thinking about buying a Kindle Fire

    I am going to be buying my beautiful wife a tablet soon. She is currently using an OG Droid (as in the plain ol' "Droid" from Verizon... the one from November 2009) as a tablet. It has no cell service, she just connects via WiFi when available.

    We have narrowed our choices down to the Nook Tablet and the Kindle Fire. So I have some questions, and I hope some people will be so kind as to help me out with some info. Don't worry, I wont be asking about the Nook Tablet here - at least not on purpose.

    My wife's main use will be (not in order of importance, for that, consider them all "the most important thing" - a 5 way tie):
    1. Reading books
    2. Watching Netflix
    3. Using Excel type spreadsheets (she is in charge of the family budget and does the financial stuff and a coupon database on her laptop and would like to be able to use them on her tablet and have them sync both ways)
    4. Email & Web
    5. Texting

    and also maybe installing some apps here and there, maybe some games. That's not something she spends a great deal of time on - but she loves Angry Birds and Greedy Spiders lol

    Given that list, how happy will she be with the Fire?

    I understand that the Nook can be rooted - something I am rather familiar with - I owned the OG Droid and the Droid X and rooted both and tweaked them in every way I could (I am a geek lol). Can the Fire be rooted? If so, what advantages does that open up?

    We have several movies on my computer - I rip our DVD's and store them on my PC so we can just watch them on our TV's (via PlayOn), it saves time searching for DVD's. Is it possible to put those on the Fire so she can watch them? Along the same lines, what about music and mp3's? For instance, we have a large collection of sermons from some of our favorite preachers, and she would love to be able to listen to them on her tablet.

    On her Droid, she can access the Amazon App Store and install Android apps. Can she do the same with the Fire?

    Her and I are both long time gmail users - and Google Calendars. Obviously the integration with gmail and google calendars is fantastic with the Droids - but I have recently switched to the iPhone, and was able to get my contacts and calendar synced just fine without having to leave google at all. I just have my iphone set to constantly sync my contacts and my calendar. How 'bout the Fire? How well does it integrate with Google services?

    What is the battery life REALLY like with the Fire. Advertisements and "spec sheets" are useless, and reviewers RARELY have a clue on this part - it's the actual users who are the sole source of reliable intel on this aspect.

    She messed with both today in Best Buy and thought the Nook had a better looking screen. Over time, how is looking at the Fire screen? Does it cause much eye strain? Or is the screen "just fine?"

    I look forward to learning more about the Fire - it's currently "in the lead" as it were.

    Thanks in advance,
    Rob

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    1 - YES
    2 - YES
    3 - I don't know can we run Excel on the KF, this is an Android OS not Window Microsoft OS.
    4 - YES
    5 - Once , I read on someplace, they mention about an apps that you can link KF to your cell phone then you can do the texting. I never try it so I don't. know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bolsa View Post
    3 - I don't know can we run Excel on the KF, this is an Android OS not Window Microsoft OS.
    The KF has quickoffice preinatalled. The will allow, at the very least, viewing of Microsoft Office files. I am not sure about editing but I would imagine that you can.



    Sent from my DInc2

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    Quote Originally Posted by supahrob View Post
    ...

    My wife's main use will be (not in order of importance, for that, consider them all "the most important thing" - a 5 way tie):
    1. Reading books
    2. Watching Netflix
    3. Using Excel type spreadsheets (she is in charge of the family budget and does the financial stuff and a coupon database on her laptop and would like to be able to use them on her tablet and have them sync both ways)
    4. Email & Web
    5. Texting

    and also maybe installing some apps here and there, maybe some games. That's not something she spends a great deal of time on - but she loves Angry Birds and Greedy Spiders lol

    Given that list, how happy will she be with the Fire?

    I understand that the Nook can be rooted - something I am rather familiar with - I owned the OG Droid and the Droid X and rooted both and tweaked them in every way I could (I am a geek lol). Can the Fire be rooted? If so, what advantages does that open up?

    We have several movies on my computer - I rip our DVD's and store them on my PC so we can just watch them on our TV's (via PlayOn), it saves time searching for DVD's. Is it possible to put those on the Fire so she can watch them? Along the same lines, what about music and mp3's? For instance, we have a large collection of sermons from some of our favorite preachers, and she would love to be able to listen to them on her tablet.

    On her Droid, she can access the Amazon App Store and install Android apps. Can she do the same with the Fire?

    Her and I are both long time gmail users - and Google Calendars. Obviously the integration with gmail and google calendars is fantastic with the Droids - but I have recently switched to the iPhone, and was able to get my contacts and calendar synced just fine without having to leave google at all. I just have my iphone set to constantly sync my contacts and my calendar. How 'bout the Fire? How well does it integrate with Google services?

    What is the battery life REALLY like with the Fire. Advertisements and "spec sheets" are useless, and reviewers RARELY have a clue on this part - it's the actual users who are the sole source of reliable intel on this aspect.

    She messed with both today in Best Buy and thought the Nook had a better looking screen. Over time, how is looking at the Fire screen? Does it cause much eye strain? Or is the screen "just fine?"

    I look forward to learning more about the Fire - it's currently "in the lead" as it were.

    Thanks in advance,
    Rob
    One through Four. No issues. Should be noted, though, that while the KF comes with QuickOffice pre-loaded you must purchase the app to edit the documents (e.g. spreadsheets.) The app is about $15 as I recall. Either QuickOffice or Documents To Go enable creation/editing of Microsoft Office documents. Neither is perfect for handling complex spreadheets or other documents, but for the sort of use you're likely to need on a device like the KF, either is quite good.

    Popular games such as Angry Birds are no problem, either. I don't text from the KF but there are third party apps that simulate texting via wifi. (See Text+ available in the Amazon App Store.)

    Rooting the KF is relatively straightforward, especially if you have experience in that area. The advantages are similar to those of other Android devices including access to the entire Android Marketplace. Short of rooting, however, thousands of apps not available in the Amazon App Store can be side loaded to the KF via importing ".apk" files available from several reliable sources.

    Yes, you can rip movies and put them on the KF. Keep in mind that you have about 6gigs of available local storage so that's a limitation unless you purchase a separate storage system that can communicate with the KF via wifi. (Several are available at about $100 as I recall.) The Nook provides more internal storage but all but 2 gigs are reserved for content purchased from B&N. I'm no expert about the Nook so there may be a way around that limitation but I'm not aware of it.

    Yes, of course she can download apps from the Amazon Android apps. In fact, that's the approved/supported approach. Integration with Google email/calendar etc is relatively straightforward.

    You're correct that battery life is always a difficult area to estimate. My experience is that (not surprisingly) use of wifi, especially in conjunction with streaming video, is the biggest battery drain. Since that also involves a drain on the battery from the screen, you can deplete a fully charged battery in about 3-4 hours. Otherwise, for reading, playing games, and turning on wifi occasionally for browsing and other net-required activities, a battery life of about eight hours is normal. And if you're doing something else with your life for at least a few hours a day, recharging overnight (much like a smartphone) works fine.

    As far as the screen is concerned, I find it superb. As an aside, I'd only note that trying to judge the quality of a device's screen in an environment like a Best Buy is very difficult. And since I haven't had the opportunity to view a Nook Tablet outside of that sort of environment, I can't compare them realistically. I would say, though, that for personal viewing (one person), the KF compares favorably with my iPad 2. In fact, the 16x9 aspect ratio of the KF compared to the 4x3 iPad makes the KF at least as good for watching movies. (Though not for creating content.) I've also added a "Screen Dimmer" app to the KF. It enables independent control of brightness and contrast on the screen and makes adjustment especially easy.

    All in all, I'd say that the KF and Nook Tablet each have advantages and as long as you're not looking for all the functionality available in more expensive tablets either would be at least adequate. Obviously, I'm more inclined toward the KF and have found it to be a great complement to iPad in our family (two adults and a seven year old). If you're going to root the device, my guess is that there is almost no difference between the two. (Though I have no experience with the complexity of rooting the Nook.) If you're not planning to do that, however, I'd opt for the KF on the basis of the larger (and faster growing) set of curated apps in the Amazon Android store.
    Last edited by jsh1120; 02-06-2012 at 07:46 AM.

  5. #5
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    1. Absolutely
    2. See #1
    3. See below
    4. Of course, with several options.
    5. I've read it can be done via tethering, but have no firsthand experience.

    Although the Fire comes with QuickOffice installed, it is not the full version you require for editing of Excel documents (as well as Word and Powerpoint). QuickOffice Pro (not free) is the one you will want for full editing capabilities. Also be aware that used stock, you can side-load apps purchased from the Android Market as well as purchasing directly from Amazon's Appstore. (If rooted you can install the Android Market)

    Another excellent option for your Excel files is Documents To Go. It was even a "free app of the day" in the Appstore not too long ago.

  6. #6
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    Would someone mind explaining what "rooting" is to me. I found this thread really helpful in determaining what I can/can't do with my KF. Thanks!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fire4me View Post
    Would someone mind explaining what "rooting" is to me. I found this thread really helpful in determaining what I can/can't do with my KF. Thanks!!
    "Rooting" is a term that's derived from years ago in the context of UNIX systems where a particular "user" was called "root." That login had "superuser" privileges, much like the "administrator" in a Windows system, but even more powerful. In effect, a "root" user can control the operating system in almost any way up to and including the power to delete the OS, itself. (Sort of like the snake consuming itself by eating its tail.)

    The Android OS is a descendant of the UNIX design and "rooting" amounts to assigning superuser privileges to the regular user account on the device. (It's analogous to "jailbreaking" an Apple iOS device.)

    In general, I don't recommend rooting an Android device unless you have at least some concept of what you're doing at a deeper level than a naive user. You're unlikely to "brick" your device but you can do so. Furthermore, along with the benefits of gaining greater control of the OS, you're also buying yourself more maintenance and management. If you find that to be an enjoyable hobby (and many folks do), then go ahead. But recognize that you are now potentially assuming responsibilities for tasks that would otherwise be fully managed by the OS, itself. Be prepared to devote some time and effort to searching forums and websites for answers to your questions and for software to behave unexpectedly at times.

    The very short answer to your question is that "rooting" means you remove virtually all software restrictions that were engineered into your device. Some were put there to protect you. Some were put there for other reasons including reducing the support costs for a manufacturer dealing with customers who don't understand what they're doing.
    Fire4me likes this.

  8. #8
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    Jsh, you summed up exactly why I don't root, hack or jailbreak. Doing it is easy and quick, maintaining is not

    Support Our Troops!!!
    <><
    Sent from this Galaxy via Blue Tapatalk
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    Curious, what dimmer are you using?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainbikermark View Post
    Jsh, you summed up exactly why I don't root, hack or jailbreak. Doing it is easy and quick, maintaining is not

    Support Our Troops!!!
    <><
    Sent from this Galaxy via Blue Tapatalk
    My sentiments exactly, Mark. I have no quarrel, whatsoever, with folks who decide to root their Android devices or jailbreak their iOS devices. And I've administered more than one UNIX system in my life where I had to have the "root" password for much of the work I did. And I have to admit that I sometimes find it frustrating that I'm blocked from accomplishing tasks that would be a snap if I were a "superuser" on my phone, my tablet, or even the Windows laptop my company provides to me.

    On the other hand, I LOVE the fact that my KF and my iPad require virtually no maintenance or management. I just turn them on when I need them and they work. And on the rare occasion when that is not the case I don't have to ask myself if the problem is the result of some non-standard software I'm running from god-knows-where. I don't have to ask myself if I should accept an update from Amazon or Apple because doing so might trash software I rely upon. In short, I can be blissfully ignorant.

    One has to choose one's hobbies, of course. Mine involve motorcycles and being a spectator (and sometimes participant) in politics and technology change. With that in mind, I prefer to have tech devices that give me insight into what average consumers experience. By keeping gadgets like the KF and the iPad bone stock I have a better notion of what that experience is like.

 

 
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