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So, your thinking about getting one of the new Kindle Fires to use for the meeting or field service! You probably have some questions on how well a $50 tablet is going to work. So did I!. I’ve now bought a couple of them, my family also has a couple of the Fire HD and my main tablet is a ipad so I thought I would give you some pros and cons, tips on setting it up, comparisons with some of the higher end tables and tips on what to do when there is a problem like the tablet locking up.
My main reason for the table is to use in the service. We show the videos a lot in the DR and there are a lot of times where I can’t read my bible due to poor light, or simple a bad eye day for me. In ether case I can read the Kindle fine. I have a better tablet that I use for the meetings. In my area it is a little more dangerous to carry around expensive electronics so I don’t like using my iPad in the service.
Kindle Fire 5th Generation
Where I would love to say I’m an expert on all the generations of Kindle Fire I’m not. So the majority of the information and tips, while they might apply to other Kindles is aimed at just this one version. The reason the 5th generation caught my eye is the price and one very large feature, the expanded memory. It’s hard to beat a $50 tablet, that is unless it doesn’t do what you want. Therefore I will be mentioning some of the benefits this tablet has for the ministry and meetings as well as its drawbacks.
Pros of the Fifth Generation Fire
- Price! This is one of the lowest priced tablets on the market. For the price it does a remarkably good job. It can’t however compare to my iPad Air (at over 10 times the price) or a Samsung Galaxy (at about 5-7 times the price).
- Expanded memory – This is a big one. I work with three different languages and use all of the kids videos a lot. You can imagine how much memory I need for all that content. This Kindle is expandable with up to a 128g micro sd card. That is way more memory than I should ever need. Be careful when choosing your Kindle, only select models have this feature. The next model up does not!! How much memory you actually need will be dependent on if you are only needing the tablet for spiritual activites or you also plan on loading music, videos etc outside the JW Library. If you are just using the JW library, likely 16 to 32 gig of expanded memory should be plenty, even with multiple languages.
- High Resolution, high contrast screen. I base this feature on readability, not on a comparison of other tablets. While this tablet is not considered a HD tablet it does a very good job. I have vision problems, to the point that I have a hard time reading the magazines and other printed text. I can adjust the tablet so I can read quite well. It has a bright, high contrast screen that is very easy to read. It also does a very good job playing the videos. Because the screen is small I usually download the videos on JW Library at the lowest resolution of 240p.
Cons of the Kindle Fire 5th Generation Tablet
- Can be slow. Especially when you first turn it on and load JW Library. The JW library app is a large resource intensive app. It is right on the edge of what this tablet is able to handle comfortably. Expect to have to wait at times. Once the application has opened it usually works pretty good and can switch between screens quickly. However the first time you go to a screen there is often a delay as if it is updating it’s database with the items. You will see the circle in the screen moving around (in a circle), telling you that it is trying to work something out. Once you have been to the page once it usually stops doing that.
- Small Screen. While it is much better than most smart phones it is a little small for the meetings, at least for me. However it still does a good job of displaying the bible, as well as the new guide, even the pictures. I just prefer a little larger screen so I don’t have to scroll as much. I do however also use a larger size font.
- It will lock up at times. One of the main reasons for the Kindle Fire 5th gen to lock up is the memory cashe for the application. I’ll go over some of the fixes I have found for dealing with these errors in a different article.
- It needs to be registered with amazon. Not a huge Con, but that does mean that if you plan on giving one as a gift to someone in the congregation that can’t afford one you will likely need to register it for them. I created a separate amazon account for if I want to give one away, that way I can register it using an account that does not have a credit card attached. That keeps someone from accidentally buying apps on amazon and charging your account.
Instead of trying to get every tip into one article I will be writing a few. That way you will hopefully be able to find what you are looking for a little quicker. Here are some of the future articles I plan to write. As I get the articles written I will link to them from this list.
- Setting up your Kindle (amazon account) and Installing the JW Library.
- Settings to get the most out of your memory
- Common issues and complaints about the Kindle and what to do about them
- Using features like bluetooth.
So in short should you buy a Kindle Fire 5th Gen for your spiritual activities? There is no one answer. If it is difficult to afford a better tablet than this one will work quite well for service and the meetings. You will however need to be patient and times when the screen hangs. I would be very careful about using it for a public talk. It’s one thing to have you tablet hang when you are in the audience or out in service, it is quite another when you are relying on it to give your talk. Personally I like to use my better tablet for meetings, talks and normally even studies. However it is awesome in the service.