Take Two Tablets And Call Me In The Morning

It’s the end of the year again, and that means it’s time to get serious about Christmas shopping.

This year, tablets seem to be a big thing. That, of course, leaves the question:

Which Tablet Should I Buy?

I am the owner of a Kindle Fire. The Wife™ purchased one for herself as a Christmas gift last year, and after bringing it home and playing with it a little, I wanted one too.

Up until that point, the high tech-iest gadgets I owned were my desktop PC, my Nintendo Wii, and my semi-smart phone (It runs on Java, so it’s a step up from the dumb phone I had before, but not much…).

It worked fine as an entry into the world of tablets for me, but I quickly found that it was pretty underwhelming. It runs an old version of Android (v2.3) that was heavily customized, and very locked down. You can’t even use the Google Play Store. You HAVE to get your apps from Amazon’s market, and it’s months behind.

I ended up rooting mine, and installing a custom Jelly Bean ROM on it (made by twa_priv of the XDA Forums), and I’ve been VERY happy since.

So if you’re looking to get a tablet, let me just say this: Do not get a Kindle Fire.

The new model, while it uses a more recent version of Android (version 4.0), is even MORE locked down, and attempts to root it have so far bricked it. That is, it killed the device, and made it about as useful as a brick.

Ultimately, the Kindle Fire isn’t a real tablet. It’s an e-reader, with some tablet features. A pseudo-tablet, if you will. If you only intend to read e-books, your best bet is to get a Kindle Paperwhite.

So, where does that leave you for tablets? Well, it really depends. First, do you want an Android table, or an iOS tablet? Actually, the first question is how big is your budget? Apple’s products are all ridiculously overpriced, but if you’re space-rich, and have so much money that it’s a burden, by all means, get an Apple iPad.

My personal suggestion is to get a Google Nexus tablet. They have a 7″ and a 10″ version. They come with the very latest version of Android, and the 7″ costs $199 (USD). It’s the same size and price as a Kindle Fire HD, but it’s not locked down. Apple’s 7″ tablet, the iPad Mini, is $329 dollars.

I know I sound like a Google/Android fanboy, but I own a modded Kindle Fire, and an iPod, and I enjoy my Android device a lot more. I have a lot more freedom. For one thing, Google doesn’t care if people modify the Android OS. They encourage it by releasing the source code. Apple, on the other hand, will gladly sue you for even thinking about the idea of maybe wondering what the source looks like. I find a lot more fun (and free) apps in the Google Play store. Free apps (that are good) in the Apple App Store are few and far between. On the other hand, Apple’s iOS does seem to get a lot of apps and games before Android does.

In the end, the choice of what tablet you buy comes down to one thing: How much money you can/are willing to spend on one.

Just do yourself a favor: Don’t buy a Kindle Fire/Kindle Fire HD.

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