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.
This is what currently has my attention on my Kindle Jelly Bean (originally a Kindle Fire, I rooted it, and installed Jelly Bean):
It’s a fun pixelated RPG game. It has some issues right now, though they seem to mainly be for players on phones. The development team is working to fix everything, but of course, these things take time.
Anyway, you pick your player, who has a passive ability. For exmaple, Mr. John gets the ability Lived, which grants him a 10% bonus to all XP he earns, while Hipster gets Too Cool To Wait, making blacksmith crafting 50% faster for him.
You also get to pick the class for your player, and each class has 4 skills you can level up with skill points. You get 1 skill point every time you level up, and you can apply it to any skill. Once you’ve put 10 points into a skill, additional points only increase the skill by about 50%.
You start with access to 12 different players, and 6 different classes. You can unlock 5 additional players, and 6 additonal classes, for a total of 17 players & 12 classes. I’m not sure what unlocks the additonal players, but each class unlocks as a quest reward.
At the start of the game, you have 1,000 Gold, and are prompted to make up to two characters. Your first character is free, and your second one costs 10 Gold. You can have a max of 3 characters at the start, but once you get enough Gold, you can unlock an item that lets you have a max of 5 characters. Each additional character costs more Gold to add than the last.
Gold is the only currency of the game (though your stash of Gold is listed with a dollar sign…), and is earned by defeating enemies, selling items, and completing quests. There’s a little + icon to the right of your Gold total, but it only pops up a message saying that the option to buy more Gold isn’t working yet. There are no other IAPs (In-App Purchases), so the only real money you actually pay is the $1.99 to buy the game. Your stash of Gold is universal, and is used by all three save files.
Once you beat the starting campaign, you unlock the option to buy the Arena campaign, again using your Gold. I tried it, and got my ass handed to me. You pick a new set of characters, start at Level 1, have a quick little battle, and then you can start Arena Mode: You face off against 15 waves of monsters.
The Campaign Selection Screen says that more Campaigns are coming soon. I expect they’ll launch after the iOS port of the game is finished.
It does suffer from broken English, but the developers are Brazillian. It’s clear enough to understand what’s going on, so (for me, and other’s I’ve talked to) it’s not really an issue.
All in all, it’s a pretty fun game, and I’m enjoying playing the starting Campaign again with new players and 4 new classes. I used Warrior, Mage, Cleric, Rogue, and Druid for my first playthrough, and now I’m using Bard, Necromancer, Barbarian, Rogue, and Hunter, and pretty much slaughtering whatever I face.
Just a simple test of how things go when I post here. In theory, it should show up on Twitter and Facebook, but I expect some kind of loop, thanks to If This Then That posting Facebook stuff to Twitter, and then Twitter posting it to Facebook…
Yeah, I finally decided to set me up a WordPress. I have no idea what I’m doing, so expect the usual from me!