All new Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet announced

Amazon has announced an all-new Fire HD 10 Tablet. The 10.1″ tablet comes with Alexa Hands-Free and features a 1080p full HD Display (224 ppi). At only $149.99, Amazon has shaved over $80 to $100 off the price of the old Fire 10.

This tablet is a huge improvement over the old one:

  • The previous generation only had a 1280 x 800 display (149 ppi). The new tablet is 1920 x 1200 (224 ppi).
  • The old Fire had 1.5 GHz processor, the new one is a faster 1.8 GHZ.
  • Old tablet cost $229.99 to $259.99, this one is $149.99.
  • The previous generation required you to push the home button for Alexa, the new tablet will be voice-activated and hands free (after an update).
  • The new Fire weighs 2 ounces less and is marginally thinner than the first version.
  • It also promises better battery life.

In order to bring this tablet in cheaper than the previous version, Amazon did seriously downgrade the cameras in this device. The new version has VGA Front-facing camera and a 2 MP rear-facing camera with a 720p HD video recording. The previous Fire had a 720p HD Front-facing camera + 5 MP rear-facing camera with full 1080p HD video recording. Since most people do not buy these tablets for the cameras anyway, this will probably not be a deal-breaker.

(You can find the specs for the previous generation here if you want to compare.)

I passed on the previous tablet model because at only 149ppi, it didn’t offer a good enough resolution for reading and watching video for my tastes. This one may be a different story. There are no third-party cases and covers for the new tablet available yet, but given past experience, new one should be popping up soon.

The new Fire 10 HD will be released on October 11, 2017. Amazon is offering the tablet on a payment plan of 5 monthly payments of $30.00.  You can pre-order the tablet here.

What do you think of the new tablet?

So I finally bought a Kobo e-reader…

I finally bit the bullet and bought a Kobo Aura One. (Yes, I know I am not exactly new to the party, LOL!)  I had been thinking about this purchase for quite a while. I really, really love my Kindle Paperwhite but the Aura One had several features that sounded really attractive, including a larger screen, and more choice in font sizes, weights and styles. As I have been reading a lot of library books, the feature that sounded the most interesting was the integration with Overdrive for library books. I also wanted a device that would work with books purchased from the Google Play bookstore that I can’t read on my Kindle.

First, a few unboxing pictures:

The Kobo Aura One has a really nice box within a sleeve:

Sleeve

Box Front

Box Rear

The Kobo is nicely packaged inside the box:

 

The cable and inserts are underneath a tab in the box:

I like third-party covers that I can affordably swap out when I am in the mood. Rather than the Kobo branded cover, I bought the HUASIRU Ultra Slim Case from (ironically) Amazon.

The cover fits well and has a sleep-wake feature.Here’s a picture of the cover alongside the e-reader.I found the setup of the WiFi and the Overdrive to be a little tedious, but that is probably because Amazon makes set up really easier on their devices.

While I am still putting the device through its paces, here are a few early thoughts:

First, the WiFI on this device is just wonky. Maybe its my setup, but even after several updates, the WiFi is still a problem. It can’t seem to find the connection and doesn’t remember the network passwords unless reboot my router. That makes downloading content inconvenient to say the least. This is probably my biggest frustration with this e-reader.

I had also hoped for more out of the Overdrive integration. Unfortunately, the Overdrive feature only allows you to have one library account connected. Since I have accounts with three different libraries, this doesn’t offer the seamless experience that I had hoped for. The first update to the device changed the search the library catalog feature and has made it harder to use. If I have also sent a book to my Paperwhite or Kindle app, then I can no longer return the book from the Kobo.

In my opinion, I also found that the promise of better font weights did not live up to the hype I’d heard in the way I had hoped. While you can do some customization of fonts and sizes, the overall darkness of of Kobo Aura One fonts left a lot to be desired for me.

Both the Kindle Paperwhite and the Kobo Aura One have 300 ppi screens. The Paperwhite screen seems clearer to me, possibly because of the font weights.

Here is a picture comparing the screens on the KIndle Paperwhite (left) to the Kobo Aura one (right). The book is Thin Air from the Shetland mysteries series by Ann Cleeves. Both device are set to maximum brightness. The Kindle font is Helvetica and the Kobo font is set to Avenir Next. There is a decided difference in the lighting between the two devices.The font on the Kobo appears lighter than that of the Paperwhite, even though the Kobo font is set at almost the maximum weight.I am enjoying the larger screen size a lot. The larger size works really well on a stand so that I can use it without having to hold it. Since I am vision impaired and use a fairly large font, I also like having more text on the screen before a page turn.

I am still getting used to the interface on the device and have yet to try out some of the other features like the orange light and the waterproofing.

While I have been a bit disappointed in some of the extra features of the device, the actual reading experience has not been bad. I will get more of a feel for the device after I have read a couple of books on it.

So, what do you think?