Best Tablet for Work and Play: Kindle Fire
For years, I stubbornly refused to consider an alternative to my big clunky computer. "I don't need more gadgets or electronic toys," I said primly. Then I noticed more and more friends happily toting around gadgets and electronic toys like Kindles, watching videos and reading magazines on them at the gym, and well, Miss Prim was proved wrong.
So I experimented with the iPad, visiting the Apple Store. The store was pretty but the iPad seemed like too much technology and not enough focus on what I wanted: Entertainment plus some work-related tools such as Skype for client contact.
Back to the gym to the friend who always owns the latest gadgets and gizmos (we'll call her Space Age Sally). I explained what I wanted, and Sally smugly showed me her Kindle Fire. And she had me when she said: "It's the best for free books and movies."
After checking out the options on Amazon, I waited only one day for my new Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch HDX to arrive. (I'm not sure how they manage to get everything to arrive so quickly and smoothly, but I suspect they have a secret link to Santa Claus, Elves and the Easter Bunny).
The problems with the iPad that I heard from friends (difficult to set up, challenging to find Apps without paying a bundle), do not exist with the Kindle. In fact, it was so easy to get started that I pressed the Mayday button, which provides help so fast that I felt like a combination of Mr. Spock and a character from "The Big Bang Theory."
The prompt, friendly, live help person (thanks, Dude!) didn't comment on my not-enough-coffee stupidity. He just answered my question (how to delete my accidental download of a game made for 4-year-olds) and politely asked if he could do anything else (well, more coffee would help, but probably that's beyond even Mayday).
In exactly two days, I had downloaded a variety of free books, from classics to mystery thrillers, tried out the easy-to-use camera on the cats and dogs (cats refused to pose, dogs wouldn't stop wagging their tails long enough to take a good picture, but they enjoyed the treats), and gotten so happily immersed in choosing free TV shows and movies to download that I was surprised when my elliptical trainer started to beep that my workout was over. Yup, I did all this on my Kindle at the gym (sorry, clunky old computer, but I can barely lift you high enough off the table to dust below your butt).
So here's what makes the Kindle Fire ideal if you love to read: You can borrow from more than 400,000 titles for free as part of the Kindle Owners' Lending Library. Whether you love biographies or suspense, romance or chick lit, nonfiction or classic fiction, it's all there. And my theory: Free is good.
I use the Kindle Fire for work-related activities such as Skype, and found it quick and easy to use. In contrast to my own PC, using Skype didn't slow down the Kindle, giving it an A in that column.
In addition, the Kindle Fire gives you access to Prime Instant Video, with a download button so you can view those videos offline as well.
Let's talk games. And yes, this is gaming beyond Solitaire (sorry, little virtual card deck). Games such as Iron Man, Despicable Me and Minion Rush are perfect for everyone from kids to adults who manage to sprain an ankle tripping over the dog (not naming names re the latter but her alter ego is Miss Prim).
As for music? You get Dolby Digital Plus sound that you can download,with entire playlists available for offline listening. (And if you're like me and need something to motivate you while you clean the house, try Barenaked Ladies.)
You can print from your Kindle Fire as well, set up email, save everything on Cloud, read and manage documents by syncing them from the Web with Send to Kindle, or just use the USB (included). And the Silk browser (also included) is ideal for everything from Twitter (hi Tweeps!) to watching YouTube dog videos (cannot get enough of cats stealing dog beds). You can find out more about the Kindle Fire HDX 7", HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB by clicking here.