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simple inexpensive tablet for portable use where there is wifi available

 
Posts: 7972
Location: Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep clay/loam with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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We are working towards unshackling ourselves from our internet bill...there is only one service here and they have doubled the monthly cost from when we first signed up a few years ago.  

Our son is going to add us to his cell phone plan so we will have a relatively cheap phone service with texting and no data.

My husband has a laptop that we can take it to the library to use their wifi or take when we visit someone with wifi.
I would like something to browse information, check email and permies and facebook when I'm where there is wifi available.
We don't do any bill paying on line and rarely order things.
I have a few kindle books but have not been able to access them on this Macintosh machine so I might want to be able to on a tablet.

Is a Amazon fire what I want?  Is there something without all the bells and whistles and ads and ties to Amazon?

I've been happy with this Macintosh pc so not opposed to Apple products except for the kindle lack.

something under $100 and preferably lots less.  My last tablet was a refurbished one that lasted well past it's lifetime and survived backpacks and train trips...haven't been able to find one similar.  a Dell windows 8.5 I think.

Would love some advice and options
 
pollinator
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Location: RRV of da Nort
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Last year when my wife was interested in getting a Kindle, we ended up splurging for our first tablet.....an Apple iPad which came in new at $400.  I can't speak for the screen or hardware chops of the older ones, but I see them running for $70 - 500 on Facebook Marketplace.  Also, although I'm not in the know of screen advances, it appears that the iPad that we bought has some improvements for reading text.....hence my recommendations to wife to go for a tablet PC of this nature rather than a Kindle.  The iPad is 10.2" (screen size?.... or total?) has most of the functionality of a standard portable computer, and my wife devours Kindle books on the think using the Kindle eReader for iPad.  Because I went with the cheap version of this iPad, you can only use WiFi for internet access; -- other versions of the same iPad, for a bit more $$, can use your cellular data for internet access.  So if down the road you had access to a cell phone plan with moderate/unlimited data, this may not be a bad way to go, assuming you ended up using that feature a fair amount.  For both of us, we are more accustomed to old-school keyboards and mouse/pointing devices....touch-screens are rather difficult for our older digits.  But given this, my wife is enjoying the iPad enough that she's learned to type on the touchscreen as well as use a keyboard case that I purchased for it that provides both protection for the tablet as well as a backlit physical keyboard that can be used for more traditional typing.

A last issue that I won't hide:  I did not like all of the "Apple ID" immersion that one needed to do to set the thing up for interfacing with Amazon Kindle services, but it was the compromise needed for my wife to stick with Kindle book format that she desired.  Hope this is of some use.....
 
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Location: Tip of the Mitt, Michigan
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Hi, I've seen tablets and laptops at the 2nd hand stores like Salvation Army, Goodwill, and Habitat for Humanity. They were all under 25.00 dollars. You might pick one up there.   Also try internet resale sights. It's just a thought.  My laptop cost 15.00 and is only 3yrs old.
 
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Location: Southeast corner of Wyoming
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I do love my iPad.  I can surf, read mail, and I have the app for the kindle on it.   Mine is/was more expensive as we got it brand new but it is part of our phone bill and I can use either Wi-Fi  or cell phone data on with it.   My suggestion is if you can see the tablet you are looking for in action.  My iPad was the oldest version the store had but for my eyes had the easiest to read screen and truest color.   I also think my iPad takes better photos then any of the Fire Kindles we have.    We use it a lot when traveling not just for maps but to help find restaurants, etc we may want.   IF you can find on you can afford that can go on the phone plan it is really nice.  Especially if going on trips.
 
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Location: Suffolk, UK
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Samsung tablets are good choices for basic inexpensive/reliable wifi-based devices with access to the kindle app. When we were staring down an overseas move (and quarantine! Ugh!) with kids during covid, it’s what we ultimately went with as a splurge for them to use during inevitable cranky/cooped up time. They work great on wifi, and if for some reason internet access was needed without it available, we could “tether” it (basically make a personal local wifi network to share phone data plan, most smart phones have this feature now) to either my apple phone or husband’s android, so if you ever do decide to go back to a plan with data that option would be availble to you too.

Mama’s spoiled with her ipad, though - I won it in a drawing, and love it, but the price tag was high enough I probably wouldn’t’ve bought it for myself.

You could also try and get a hold of an older smartphone someone doesn’t need/use anymore - they don’t need a plan or sim card to work as wifi-only small tablets.
 
pollinator
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I don't know anything about tablets, but I have an old kindle I use all the time. I absolutely refuse to register it with amazon. I stick with the older models because they don't have the backlit screen. If you're okay reading on one of those, then a tablet would be fine. I would never be able to read for very long on a tablet, though.

What I wanted to say is about ebook file formats. I download mostly epub, but sometimes other formats. I download them onto my macbook and transfer them to the kindle using a free program called calibre. It automatically converts the file to the kindle format when it transfers. You can also use it to read any ebook file on the macbook.

If you like having devices synched, there are open source apps for android you can use so that you don't have to do everything through google, too.
 
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For bang for the buck it's hard to beat the Kindle Fire:

https://smile.amazon.com/Fire-Tablet-7/dp/B07FKR6KXF/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=fire+tablet&qid=1617475461&sr=8-3

There are a couple of caveats:

You have to work intentionally to get them to turn off... Kindles are always on ...and listening...and recording. Multiple cases have been prosecuted using Alexa recordings as evidence. A quality Faraday Cage will keep it under control .... but it also will stop the Fire from updating, uploading new content, and synchronizing your books. You can decline Alexa...but you can't turn of the mic...or the camera.

The default browser (Silk) is a screaming horror of advertising, as bad as Safari. You can easily install Firefox and with difficulty Brave...neither will auto update on the Kindle.

Amazons default is to burn up space on the Kindle no matter how much additional storage you opt to buy... Amazon declares almost no content suitable for removable storage. The intended default is for you to store everything on Amazons servers and retrieve it as needed, this includes any documents you create, any photos, videos and any collaborative work. As quickly as you  exhaust your free storage capacity (about two days of standard use) Amazon will hound you to buy more.

With the stock charging cord the USB interface is good for about a year...if treated with kid gloves. After mine quit working I found one with a 1 millimeter longer mini interface plug, and it has continued service for an additional 3 years. Because of the continual "additional features" Amazon pushes it now has constant notifications of low storage capacity...although beyond Firefox there are no optional programs installed.

Still for all the downs it's a clear reading, movie playing, web browsing interface suitable for bed and bath, cheap enough to not be catastrophic when a grandkid steps on it, and capable of delivering all the distraction from reality anybody could stand!
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 7972
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Bill Haynes wrote:For bang for the buck it's hard to beat the Kindle Fire:

https://smile.amazon.com/Fire-Tablet-7/dp/B07FKR6KXF/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=fire+tablet&qid=1617475461&sr=8-3

There are a couple of caveats:

You have to work intentionally to get them to turn off... Kindles are always on ...and listening...and recording. Multiple cases have been prosecuted using Alexa recordings as evidence. A quality Faraday Cage will keep it under control .... but it also will stop the Fire from updating, uploading new content, and synchronizing your books. You can decline Alexa...but you can't turn of the mic...or the camera.

The default browser (Silk) is a screaming horror of advertising, as bad as Safari. You can easily install Firefox and with difficulty Brave...neither will auto update on the Kindle.

Amazons default is to burn up space on the Kindle no matter how much additional storage you opt to buy... Amazon declares almost no content suitable for removable storage. The intended default is for you to store everything on Amazons servers and retrieve it as needed, this includes any documents you create, any photos, videos and any collaborative work. As quickly as you  exhaust your free storage capacity (about two days of standard use) Amazon will hound you to buy more.

With the stock charging cord the USB interface is good for about a year...if treated with kid gloves. After mine quit working I found one with a 1 millimeter longer mini interface plug, and it has continued service for an additional 3 years. Because of the continual "additional features" Amazon pushes it now has constant notifications of low storage capacity...although beyond Firefox there are no optional programs installed.

Still for all the downs it's a clear reading, movie playing, web browsing interface suitable for bed and bath, cheap enough to not be catastrophic when a grandkid steps on it, and capable of delivering all the distraction from reality anybody could stand!



this is so timely...after reading everything posted above and coveting the more pricy tablets, a good friend gave me her 'extra' amazon fire!

You describe it perfectly.

I worked at the settings and tried to delete some 'stuff'.  ...and signed out of Amazon each time, found the shut down button rather than just letting it sleep, etc.

as you say, there is only so much one can do as it's one big advertising machine

We won't be watching movies or buying or reading their books on it and it won't let me use a SIM card with my own books.  I put in a blank one and it won't let me store photos from facebook there either....this will be a battle of wills between me and Amazon!

It does the things I wanted one for though...checking into permies, facebook and email accounts.  
 
Bill Haynes
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You will find the Apple offering just as restrictive with the addition of it will happily accept all your media...and record it in a proprietary format that makes it a smoking beast to move onto anything but Apple next time.
For long term use a "netbook" running Linux is a good thing to keep your eye peeled for, (or just a netbook you can put a distro on!) These were small (usually less than 10") and far from powerful, but capable of light tasks one at a time without proprietary "apps" clogging the works.
Many web interfaces (Reddit for example) beg and beg and beg you to use their app rather than the web interface... but as soon as you install it, it starts to consume resources 100% of the time, and works to optimize your device for their use.
 
Hey, sticks and stones baby. And maybe a wee mention of my stuff:
Natural Swimming Pool movie and eBook PLUS World Domination Gardening 3-DVD set - super combo!
https://permies.com/wiki/135800/Natural-Swimming-Pool-movie-eBook
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