A New Toy
Sunday I wrote a bit about my troubles with Amazon and shipping recently, and I guess maybe that complaining worked. Not only did I get additional prime subscription time added to my account to appease me, but yesterday mid day my new Amazon Fire 7 inch tablet showed up. As a result I spent a good deal of last night fiddling with it, and I figured I would write a little bit about it as a result. The tablet I am talking about is the one that has been widely advertised as being sold in six packs…. and singles go for only $49.99 so that the marketing can say “under $50 dollars”. Over the recent holiday consumer madness… they were selling the tablet for $34.99 which finally got me to jump on buying one just to see what it is like. I already have owned several android tablets, and even got a used ipad 2 since my wife loved hers so much. After all of that I had pretty much decided I simply was not a “tablet” person. If I have time to use a tablet… I am probably at home and could just play on my PC, PS4, Vita, PS3… you are getting the idea. What I lacked though was a really good device to read on… because the iPad and Android tablets were just too bulk to use in bed comfortably without nodding off every so often and whacking myself in the face.
The first shocker is the size, because really when you think about it… 7 inches sounds like a large size. The tablet as a whole feels more like a large phone… so something along the lines of a Samsung Note and less like a tablet. The build quality is solid, and the device feels nice in your hand… but the plastic back makes it feel a little on the cheap side. Then again this is a tablet that I just paid $34 for… and in the past that would have gotten me some shanzhai reject and not a perfectly viable device. There are some caveats to know going into it. Firstly there is no Google Play store on the device by default, and in theory it is set up in a way to keep directing you at the Amazon ecosystem for music, movies and everything else related. This is good in one aspect, especially if you are a Prime user… since well it has one of the better interfaces for actually watching the free streaming with Prime. The whole lack of Google Play would have potentially been a deal breaker since, as someone already embedded in the Android world… I already own pretty much all of the apps I need to function there and have zero interest in repurchasing them from Amazon. Thankfully I did a bit of research before jumping into this device and apparently it is a relatively trivial experience to load the Play store, it simply involves loading four different android apps on your device in a specific order. Luckily however the above video shows you the appropriate order and provides what seems to be a clean link to the downloads. I personally just downloaded them from my device to save having to try and swap them over through a computer.
It Plays Hearthstone
The other thing that I would really like to do with a tablet is to be able to quickly get into Hearthstone and play it from bed. Previously most of my Android devices simply performed like crap in Hearthstone, with the best possible version being on my Samsung Galaxy S5… and even then it was super sluggish. This device however, took a bit of time initially to boot into Hearthstone and sign into Battle.net the first time, but from that point on I have been able to get in and doing stuff pretty quickly. The interface ends up being a little small, so things like the settings gear can be a bit awkward to click on at first, but the base interface of the game performed smoothly. I played a few games last night, and experienced real issues, and even as multiple effects were firing on screen I didn’t see any noticeable lag. So for my purposes the device passes with flying colors when it comes to gaming. At some point I will throw other games on it and test those out as well, but since I was mostly concerned about running what is normally a fairly intensive mobile game like Hearthstone… that is what I went with first. Please excuse the kinda crappy photo but I wanted to take a photo of me running hearthstone ON the device… which meant taking a photo with my phone since I have not figured out how to do a screenshot on Kindle Fire OS yet and the normal methods from my phone did not work at all.
As far as the other purpose of the device, it also passes with flying colors. Any device can read a book, so that wasn’t really what I was concerned about… so instead I booted into my Marvel Unlimited account and attempted to read some comics. I wanted to see if a full comic page was readable with the small screen size and my less than perfect eyes. I have to say I was pretty happy with the end results, and the slightly strange format as you might expect fits a page size perfectly. Laying in bed last night I read around a dozen or so comics and my eyes never felt like they were being strained. The only time things got awkward is when I needed to read a double panel spread, at which point I had to mostly zoom in and move around the screen to read the panels. These were still awkward as shit on my full sized iPad, so I am not really too shocked about this. These are one of those things that only really works well in a physical book. The next step will be to load the puppy up with books, since right now our Amazon account is loaded up with quite literally thousands of books that I have zero interest in… since my wife and her mother are the primary users of that account. In the past I always preferred reading through Aldiko so I will have to install that and test it out as well. All told though… I am really happy with my $34 purchase… which after using some built up Discover cash back bonus… ended up covering the entire cost.
Best Laid Plans
Last night I had every plan of running a bunch of LFR in the hopes of getting a main hand weapon. However in the middle of piddling around in Tanaan jungle I got a Baleful Armament to drop for me. Unfortunately… it turned into the lowest possible version I could get. That said it is better than nothing and matches the 650 shield that I have as well. I am at the very least “viable” as a tank, though I need to do some stuff to set up my bars. It is my hope that at some point I will get a decent sword and shield to drop in normal that I will roll offspec on. In the meantime I need to get used to tanking as a Paladin, and this at least gives me the ability to run the daily heroic relatively easily for Valor. As to how much pug tanking I will be doing… that is an entirely different question. The main problem with last night however… is that I did not really sleep well Sunday night. So by the time I spent awhile fiddling with the Kindle, my wife suggested that it was bedtime… and for once I agreed. Admittedly I went to bed and continued to play with the Kindle, but sitting on the couch was invoking the most furious of yawns. At the very least tonight I want to run the Black Gate on both characters, in the hopes that Tuesday night LFR is still the best possible time to run it. In theory I should probably do the entire LFR on Belghast in the hopes of getting an upgraded weapon before the Wednesday night normal raid with Jed and crew.