Tablet PC News

Archive for Tablet PC News


HP Steam 7 Review

Posted by: | Comments (3)


The HP Stream 7 is one of the first of a new breed of seven inch tablets that have a full version of Windows and at $99 price point. Combined with Bluetooth and expandable storage via SD, you can really turn this into a fully featured laptop. Is this worth it to spend? It depends, you won’t be able to run any graphically intensive games, but would make simple stuff from Steam play well. You also could run a ton of emulated content, use it as an e-book reader or just watch videos.



The HP Stream 7, is seeking to make Windows 8.1 relevant in a seven inch frame. The resolution is 1280 x 800, and underneath the hood is an Intel Atom Z3735G with Intel HD Graphics (1.8 GHz, 2 MB cache, 4 cores), 1 GB RAM and 32GB of storage. Of course, this device has WIFI, Bluetooth, a Micro USB and Micro SD support to enhance the memory further. You can also listen to music with the 3.55 mm headphone jack or the single speaker.

I know lots of people that are buying this tablet and hooking up a Bluetooth keyboard or buying a Beats Pill portable speaker and using it to bring to the beach or use it as a portable entertainment device.

This tablet does not feel very high end has simple shell, sort of like a lower overall build quality than Acer employs on their current generation of mobile devices. It also cannot be charged while be hooked up to your PC via the USB cable, you definitely need to use the wall charger that comes with it.

To be honest, this tablet is the best $99 you can spend. Walmart, Best Buy, Future Shop and a number of electronics stores all have cheap and cheerful tablets. They are often underpowered and running Google Android, they feel like Chinese tablets that sell, only because they are so damn inexpensive. If you would put the HP Stream 7, head to head with any of the cheapo stuff you would find at a big box retailer, it would slay it completely.



The HP Stream 7 comes with Windows 8.1 and Microsoft sells it without any bloatware installed on it. This means, you will conserve precious memory by not having a ton of HP branded apps everywhere. I think the only app by HP it had, was a cloud printing one that hooks up to most WIFI enabled printers.

This tablet runs all of the mainstream apps you would find in the official Microsoft RT store, many of the top apps you would find on Android or iOS have all been ported. You will also be able to use this as a solid e-reader, since Amazon, Kobo, Comixology and a myriad of others all have the ability to buy and read content.

What makes this tablet truly exceptional is the ability to run traditional legacy Windows apps. Want to download and install Steam to play your backlog of content? You can do it. Need to install Firefox, Chrome, and your favorite internet browsing plugins, sure, no worries. Do you find yourself needing to use Photoshop and use the tablet to draw on via a stylus? This does that too, but a stylus does not ship with it, so you need to buy one extra. Finally, it will run the full version of Microsoft Office so you can bring your work with you, on the go.

This tablet is not brimming with super high specs, so you likely won’t play any of the cutting edge games. It struggled with Star Craft 2 and Day Z. The New SIM City actually played fairly well, but anything made in the last few years that has shaders and runs in 3D might not be ideal.

I would say the Stream 7 does well if you want to install the Native Windows Apps, there are all small in size and take up little to no memory. If you need legacy apps, I would install traditional productivity, business and art related stuff. If you need to game, try for more 2D experience or download some emulators. Oh, Hot Line Miami worked very well!

Wrap Up

Microsoft is trying to compete more in the tablet and smartphone space by either eliminating or severely discounting the licensing fees to use their OS. In effect, they are trying to pull a Google by not making money from their software, in a bid to gain market share.

The HP 7 I think is the best tablet to really come to market using this new license strategy and the customer ends up with a solid device for a paltry $99. I would NEVER pay this amount of money for an Android tablet, because at Good e-Reader we have reviewed a ton, and they all sucked. This is the first cheap Windows tablet that is totally amazing.


Cheap as hell
Bluetooth and SD support
Audio Quality is solid
Runs Native and Legacy Windows Apps


Needs Wall charger
Does not come with a Stylus
Build Quality feels cheap

Rating: 9/10


Welcome to another Good e-Reader unboxing video! Today we take a look at the very affordable HP Stream. This is a $99 Windows 8.1 PRO tablet that has very respectable hardware specs and a price tag that is hard to beat. Today, we take it out of the box, and power it on for the first time to give you a sense on how it looks and functions.

The HP Stream 7, is seeking to make Windows 8.1 PRO relevant in a seven inch frame. The resolution is 1280 x 800,  and underneath the hood is an Intel Atom Z3735G with Intel HD Graphics (1.8 GHz, 2 MB cache, 4 cores), 1 GB RAM and 32GB of storage. Of course, this device has WIFI, Bluetooth, a Micro USB and Micro SD support to enhance the memory further. You can also listen to music with the 3.55 mm headphone jack or the single speaker.

Its hard to find any kind of fault with such an affordable Windows tablet, although the Kindle Fire HD6 or HD7 might be a more viable investment because of the slick Amazon UI and deep ecosystem.

Comments (5)


The restaurant industry is starting to embrace tablets to not only to provide digital menus, but also entertainment, reading and the ability to pay your bills. Many start ups and established players are trying to take advantage of the billion dollar US industry.

Silicon Valley-based E la Carte scored a big win last year when it signed an agreement with Applebees to provide 100,000 tableside tablets. Customers can use the Android-based devices to browse and add items to a cart, as if they were online shopping, and then pay their bill when the meal is over. In November the company negotiated a deal with  200 U.S. Johnny Rockets locations.  One of the interesting things about this deal was not only can customers pay from the tablets, but replace the original tabletop jukeboxes with the new digital solution. During the pilot with Rockets, the restaurants saw an 11.2% improvement in table turn time – one of the key factors restaurants are looking at when considering a tablet investment.

Chili’s Grill & Bar have also embraced tablets provided by Dallas company called Ziosk. The restaurant chain was so happy with their trial at 180 locations last year that they have implemented 48,000 tablets at most of its 1,266 U.S. restaurants. Ziosk says that their terminals can boost impulse orders at the start of the meal by 20%—especially when photos of appetizers are streaming across monitors. They are also boosting dessert sales with vibrant  pictures of molten chocolate cake and other sweets pop up while diners are still on the main course. Dessert sales are up about 20% at Chili’s and customers are ordering more coffee, too.

Tablets in restaurants are going far beyond allowing people to order digitally and to get a visual indication on the menu items. They are starting to provide the ability to keep small children occupied with all of the games they want to play for .99 or keeping solitary individuals with reading solutions.

One of the quintessential activities at a restaurant is to read the local paper. Keeping yourself abreast of the latest local news, is important, but many locations have suspended carrying the local paper due to the sheer amount of people bringing in their own e-readers, smartphones or tablets.  Vancouver based PressReader has developed a two prong solution, one retro and one fairly modern. The one I really like is a print on demand service that will allow restaurants to order any of PressReaders 3,000+ newspapers and have them delivered every day. This is a cost effective solution if they want to carry international editions such as the Washington Post, Business Traveler, South China Morning Post and Le Monde. The more modern service is hooking locations up with a wireless hotspot, giving customers access to thousands of newspapers that they can access on their own devices.

One of the exciting things about the PressReader solution is that people who love reading the paper on their lunch break don’t actually have to subscribe to the print or digital edition. As long as they are visiting a restaurant with an active PressReader subscription, it adds extra value.

Categories : Tablet PC News
Comments (1)


The Amazon Silk Browser is fairly innovative because it can buffer in advance websites you visit on a regular basis, to cut down on the load times. One feature that has sorely lacking is private browsing, so you can cut down on the footprint you leave online and avoid some of the cookies that tend to follow you around. Today, Amazon has announced that this critical feature is now available.

In a statement issued on the official Silk Blog the lead developer said “In response to customer feedback, we are excited to announce support for Private Browsing. With Private Browsing, you can surf the web without saving a record of your visits. For example, if you use Private Browsing while researching travel destinations for a surprise trip or shopping for presents, these sites will not show up in your browsing history when someone else uses your device. Private Browsing is now available on our 2012, 2013, and 2014 Amazon Fire tablets as well as the Amazon Fire phone. Pages you view during a Private Browsing session do not remain in your browser’s history, cookie store, or search history after the session is over.”

In order to download the new update for your Amazon tablet or phone you have to download the largest update. This is normally pushed out via WIFI, but if you want to get it right away see the Software Updates page on the Fire & Kindle Support site.

Comments (0)


When you think of tablets doubling as an e-reader,  Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo or even Apple may come to mind. Seldom do you think of HP as being relevant when it comes to reading any sort of digital material. This might change with the advent of the HP Stream 7, a fully fledged Windows tablet that costs $99.99.

The HP Stream 7, is apart of a new range that is seeking to make Windows 8.1 relevant. It features a seven inch screen with a resolution of 1280 x 800, as well as Intel Atom Z3735G with Intel HD Graphics (1.8 GHz, 2 MB cache, 4 cores), 1 GB RAM and 32GB of storage. Of course, this device has WIFI, Bluetooth, a Micro USB and Micro SD support to enhance the memory further.

HP is starting Black Friday early with a new exclusive to Microsoft Store, the Stream 7 Signature Edition variant. It comes protected with premium, free anti-virus software that never expires. And best of all, it comes without any annoying junkware or trialware, giving you peace of mind that your tablet will always be clean, fast, and protected.

Developers have slowly been adopting the Microsoft Store with a ton of apps for reading eBooks, comics, manga, digital magazines and newspapers. This might be a totally viable tablet that costs $100 less than the new Kindle Voyage.

Categories : Tablet PC News
Comments (3)


Amazon has just released their 3rd generation flagship Fire 8.9 tablet and it has a new naming convention. The company has dropped the name Kindle and the device is just known as the Fire HDX 8.9, a bit simpler.

The 8.9 edition has always cost the most money and this time around it is a staggering $379, which puts it in the same territory as the iPad. The question is, if you have last years HDX model, is this worth upgrading? Additionally, many Fire HD owners may want a bigger screen to play games, read books and watch movies, is this a viable investment?



One of the benefits of the entire Fire 2014 product line is that it is fully compatible with the Fire TV. IT has a feature called the second screen, which allows you to replicate exactly whats on your tablet on the television. This is similar technology that the iPhone and iPad employ to build synergy via Air Play to the Apple TV.

The 8.9 slate has a resolution of 2,560 x 1,600 pixels and 339 PPI. The screen composition is IPS LCD and features a capacitive touchscreen, able to display about sixteen million colors. One of the new graphical enhancements was the inclusion of “Dynamic Light Control”, which changes the white balance of the pages in reading mode to make it look more like paper depending on the ambient light conditions. That means it can go from cool to warm, from blue to nearly yellow.

Underneath the hood is Qualcomms Snapdragon 805 chip, which is top of the line. It clocks in at a staggering 2.5 GHz via the quad-core processor and has 2 GB RAM. Raw performance aside, Amazon is claiming 12 hours of runtime this year, roughly similar to its predecessor. In addition to that 805 chip, this is also the first tablet with Dolby’s Atmos surround sound technology.

In a side by side comparison with the 2013 edition of the Fire HDX, this new model blows it away with sound quality. You can really hear the difference and if you have solid Noise Cancelling headphones or high-end headphones you will notice an immediate difference with the clarity. You will NOT get the same audio quality using ear buds though, so don’t even try. I always thought the HDX 2013 model had the best sound in ALL tablets, but the 2014 version now takes the crown. If you want the best tablet audio experience, buy this ASAP.

The overall design has just changed from the one released in 2013 and the 2014 model. Side by side it looks exactly the same, all of the Micro USB, speakers, headphone jack, cameras and speakers are positioned the same. I could tell that it was a little bit thinner, and 30% lighter due to the lightweight nature of the new components.

To be completely honest, this is a solid tablet on a fundamental level. On paper the specs are crazy and can compete with anything currently on the market. The inclusion of a new line of Kindle Keyboards that attach to the Fire, much akin to the Microsoft Surface is welcome. The Sound, the design, resolution blow away anything Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Samsung or Google have done this year.



Amazon has never provided a cookie cutter vanilla Android experience like most of its competitors do. Instead, they have their own skinned version which builds upon familiarity the more time you spend with it. Previous Fire owners will feel right at home with Sangria, the name of the Android 4.4 OS.


There are a number of software enhancements not found on any other Fire HDX model. The first is Firefly, one of the core features that helped sell the Fire Phone. It basically uses the rear facing camera to scan books, UPC, or bar codes and pulls up the Amazon listing for it. Additionally, it borrows a page out of Shazam’s playbook and helps identify music.

Amazon has built quite a media empire with with their movies, television shows and music. They are really trying hard to compete against Netflix by doing a ton of original programming. One of the unique things that they do is invest in a series of pilots and then have the crowd determine what is good enough to warrant a full season. Building on this, the company has developed Advanced Streaming And Prediction (ASAP). What it does is buffer advance content you are watching. Lets say you are you watching Alpha House on Instant Video and check out episode one. It will buffer episode two and three in advance so you will not have to wait, and will be able to view the entire episode immediately.

One of the features that proved to be critically popular in the last generation of tablets was MAYDAY. This feature gives you free access to By 24/7, 365-days-a-year tech support at a click of a button. A small video chat window appears to a rep in the call center to assist users with hundreds of small issues. It is important to note that you can see them, but they cannot see you, only hear you from the built in microphone.

Lets talk about the main UI that the Fire HDX provides. First of all, there is a small carousel of apps, books or any type of new content you have accessed for the first time or stuff you bought from Amazon. You can quickly navigate to the store of your choice and access eBooks, music, videos, apps, audiobooks and other useful stuff like Cloud Photos.

Amazon has their own app store, which is your gateway of getting new content. This tablet is not compatible with Google Services, so Google Play is out. The Amazon App Store is growing, but it still does not have apps from people who compete against their own core business model. You won’t find Comixology, Kobo, Nook, Moon+ Reader or thousands of awesome e-reading, eBook, manga or comic book apps. You can load in your own apps by installing a 3rd party app market, like our own Good e-Reader App Store.

One of the drawbacks on the Amazon store is the data files, or OBB files. Amazon makes developers physically host them and this can rack up the bills with games that have 1.2 GB of extra assets to download. Many of the top developers simply don’t upload their content to Amazon, and instead use Google, which is on more devices.

e-Reading Experience


When it comes to eBook discovery and search engine algorithms, nobody in the e-reader space can touch Amazon. They account for over 70% of all digital book sales in North America and similar stats for the United Kingdom. One of the ways they have been so successful, is cornerstoning specific markets, like Audiobooks.

Audible is the most successful platform to ever be bought and incorporated into everything Amazon does. They not only have the largest library but they also are the ones that feed Apple content. When you browse the iTunes store for audiobooks on any iOS device, everything is sourced by Audible.


One of the ways Amazon has built synergy between audiobooks and their tablets is WhisperSync for Voice. You can purchase an eBook and the corresponding audiobook and actually read the book and play the audio edition at the same time. While you are doing this, the words get highlighted, which is excellent for someone learning how to read or learning a new language. Amazon also built technology that remembers where you are in the eBook and you can pick up where you left off while listening to the audio edition.

The core of any Amazon mobile device is reading. The entire process of reading is much akin to the Kindle App for Android, if you have used it. There are options to change the size of the font, change the font type completely or adjust the line spacing or margins.

X-Ray is one of the seminal Kindle reading features that is severely underrated. It basically gives you a rundown of the people, places and things in a an eBook. This is really useful for non-fiction that may throw a bunch of terms you have never heard before or historical fiction that will inevitably make reference to terminology that is beyond you.

GoodReads also plays a small role in your daily reading life. I find that reading digitally is a solitary endeavor. You aren’t going to a real bookstore and interacting with fellow book lovers. You buy and read by yourself, but GoodReads attempts to make this social. There are virtual bookclubs you can elect to join or even engage in Q/A with your favorite authors. There is also an option to develop your own reading lists and set personal goals for yourself.

Not only can you read eBooks, but there is a rendering engine for magazines and newspapers. Reading them have animated page turns with curl, which means you can swipe to peak whats on the next page. You can also initiate scroll mode, which gives you all of the pages within a certain issue to jump to a specific article or news item.

Wrap Up


The Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 may cost a pretty penny, but it is the best tablet they have ever made. It plays nice with the Fire TV and has enough innovative features that it makes a worthy upgrade from older models. This is one of the best Android tablets ever made and Amazon really hit a home run with their 3rd generation model.


Hardware is Amazing
FireFly and ASAP are welcome additions
Audiobooks and eBooks have the biggest selection anywhere
Audio quality is the best in class in ANY tablet


Amazon App Store lacks in specific areas
No SD Card
Can’t access the files via USB if the Tablet is in standby mode

Rating: 9.5/10

Comments (2)


Barnes and Noble has been making tablets since 2010 and designed all of them in-house with their RND team in California. After four generations and $1.2 billion dollars in loses they decided to outsource the hardware to Samsung and focus on developing apps. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook 10.1 is the offspring of this new partnership, giving people the safety and security of being able to walk into their local Barnes and Noble bookstore to buy the device, but also take it back for tech support.

The bookstore as a primary vehicle to sell e-readers and tablets has always been B&N’s greatest strength. Often when you buy things from eBay or from Amazon, it is quite difficult to return products or get any type of warranty. Many users have stuck with the Nook brand over the years because if anything goes wrong, from a cracked screen or a faulty battery they often swap it out on the spot or assist you with common issues or firmware updates.

Is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 a viable investment? If you own the Nook HD+ or Nook Tablet, is this a good upgrade? Today, we evaluate this 10.1 inch device and answer all of your questions.



The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook 10.1 edition has the largest screen found in any Nook device in the past. The Bookseller often just sold seven inch tablets and broke the mold with the HD+ which was nine inches. Having a largest screen displays more characters in an eBook and makes media content really shine. The resolution is only 1280 x 800 pixels at 149 PPI, which is a bit of a downgrade on paper from the Nook HD+ which had 1920 x 1280 pixels. In reality, if you put the two tablets side by side, the Samsung variant actually has a better screen. You simply don’t notice terrible resolution, in-fact the new model looks better.

Underneath the hood is a 1.2 GHZ Quad core ARM Cortex-A7 processor and 1.5 GB of RAM. This keeps things rather speedy overall, but I did find that some of the apps created by Nook actually took a few seconds to load, which was abnormal.

Nook owners have been clambering for years for the inclusion of a camera to be able to take pictures or shoot video. Their pleas have been heard and you now have a 1.3 MP front facing camera and 3 MP rear facing. This certainly won’t win any awards as more companies are touting their super high-end cameras, but at least you will be able to use apps like Snapchat, Instagram and Vine.

Make no mistake about it, this is a Samsung tablet with no Nook branding on it at all. The only thing that makes it feel like a Nook is the logo on the boot screen and some of the customized widgets and apps that are on your home screen. It may have made economical sense to source the hardware to Samsung, instead of developing it yourself, but its at the expense of brand recognition.



The Samsung Nook 10.1 tablet is running Android 4.4, otherwise known as Kit-Kat. There is no word on whether or not it will receive the latest Lollipop update to provide further enhancements to the OS.

When you turn on the tablet for the first time there are two main widgets on your home screen, one that accesses your library and the other to visit the store. This provides easy access to all of the new purchases you have made, but also if you are upgrading from an older tablet or even the Nook line of e-Readers, everything is stored in the cloud.

There are three app stores packed on the device, the Nook App Store, Samsung Galaxy App Store and Google Play. All three require you to register and make a new account, but I think Google is the logical choice. There simply are better quality apps available, chiefly because the Samsung store is fairly woeful and only has a few thousands. The Nook App Store does not allow any apps that compete its core business. You won’t find Comixology, Amazon, Kobo or any other magazine, newspaper or e-reading app.

There are a few customized apps that Barnes and Noble has made to give distinctiveness to the user experience. Lets take a look at all of them.

Nook Library


The Nook Library houses all of the purchases you have made from Barnes and Noble. This includes eBooks, comics, magazines, newspapers, television shows. There is a shop button on the top right hand corner, which opens up their online store that sells all of the content.

eBooks are opened by the quintessential Nook app for Android, which has been available on Google Play for years. One of the things I always liked about reading on the Nook is the different backgrounds. Kobo and Kindle have always just had three different background colors, but Nook has six. You can easily change the bright white background to Sepia or different shades of off-white. This makes it easier to read in the dark, without having to strain your eyes. I also dig the way Nook handles animated page turns, wikipedia lookups and built in dictionary.

Magazines and Newspapers are opened via a special Nook for Magazine app that has been completely revised for this new Samsung model. The one thing I really like, aside from the animated page turns is “article view.” This strips away all of the images and CSS and turns a magazine into an eBook.

Nook Shop


The Nook Shop was designed as a standalone app that lets you browse books, magazines, movies & TV, Kids, Apps, Newspapers and Comics. The only thing international users cannot access is media content, but all others are completely viable. The Home screen is curated content by the Nook team, currently they are hyping “Passion for Passion” and “Your Favorite Heroes.”

Nook Search


Nook Search is a standalone app that allows you to type in key terms that you want to look for in the shop. You can look at specific keywords, such as “post apocalyptic” or “Potter.” It will then give you a huge list of titles matching your search results in everything B&N offers in their store.


Nook Settings


The last unique aspect of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook is the customized Nook Settings. Now it is important to note that you do have access to traditional Android settings too.

Nook settings allows you to control the way all of the dedicated Nooks apps behave. You can download alternative dictionaries and make them your default. Right now there is only six, but I was told more are on the way.

Reading Experience


This tablet really shines when reading the average eBook title. Ideally, you want to read eBooks in portrait mode because in landscape it gives you a two column view. To be honest, I prefer to read in landscape mode, but was disappointed that there was no way to  remove the two column reading experience and instead was relegated to reading in portrait.

There are eight different font sizes to choose from and six font types. There are plenty of options to optimize the line spacing, margins and themes. I like the way the themes work on this device. I am sure we have all tried reading on a smartphone or tablet and the black text on bright white background can be straining on the eyes. The inclusion of themes mutes the background color into all sorts of off-whites that remind me of vellum and Sepia.  Switching between any of the reading options is really inutitive and easy to determine what setting you want to tweak. This is a stark contrast to the new of Fire Tablets where nothing is labeled, and you have no idea on what setting does what.

This tablet falls off a cliff when it comes to comics, magazines and newspapers. The rendering engine they use does not really give you much zooming options, and often the text is too small to read. You will have to rely on ArticleView, which is the option to strip away all of the CSS elements, and give you pure text. This is useful, but for example with a newspaper, you have to do this every single page, and gets really tedious.

I think the problem is that it is using the magazine rendering engine for all content and  newspapers and comics are not optimized properly. I would firmly encourage everyone to not buy this content from Barnes and Noble and instead do business with a company specializing in it. If comics are  your thing, Comixology. Marvel, Dark Horse, Made Fire and plenty of others have excellent user experiences. If you are into Manga, Chrunchyroll Manga and VIZ are two solid ecosystems to buy and read. For newspapers, I would firmly recommend Press Reader, as they  have replica editions of thousands of newspapers from around the world. Finally, if digital magazines are your bag, Zinio continues to be the best value for Android.

So aside from eBooks, you ideally want to do business with different companies, but what about audiobooks? Barnes and Noble has just unveiled their new Nook Audiobook app that is available on Google Play, Good e-Reader and the Nook App Store. It has 50,000 titles, which has something for everyone. The app is really solid, has a great interface and another reason to buy into the Nook ecosystem.

Wrap Up

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook 10.1 edition costs $319 dollars and provides huge screen real estate for all of your reading needs. There is more text on the screen at once when compared to the seven inch version released last month.  The speakers are actually really nice too,  they are placed on the top right and left corners,  ensuring that you will never be muffling them when holding the tablet with two hands.

After using this 10.1 inch tablet for a few weeks, I have actually grown to really like it. Living in Canada the only restrictions that Nook places on me is the ability to rent or buy television shows or movies. This content is geographically locked, so you can’t access content unless you live in the US or UK.  Really, I wouldn’t even buy this type of content from Barnes and Noble anyways because I have a subscription to the WWE Network, Netflix and Crunchyroll. If I need to buy a movie, I’ll just get it on iTunes and sync it to my iPad or Apple TV.

The question is, should you upgrade to this model if you have an older Nook tablet. I would, it is very modern and will easily last you a few years of constant use. Nook HD and HD+ owners will get value, but if you have any of the older models, this will be a night and day experience.


Giant 10.1 inch screen
Great Speakers
Excellent eBook experience
Google Play makes it easy to download new apps
Two Cameras
Huge Keyboard makes typing easy


Exclusive two column view on eBooks
Comics, Magazines, Newspapers viewing is weak
Takes 8 hours to charge it from max power when battery is drained
Does not feel like a Nook Tablet, no Nook branding

Rating: 8/10

reading outdoors hdx

Amazon has released their next generation Fire Tablet lineup a few weeks ago. This includes the Fire HD6, Fire HD7, Kids Tablet and Fire HDX 8.9.  They range in price from $99 all the way to $379, which are all significant investments.  Many people who read eBooks, newspapers and digital magazines tend to not always be cooped up inside the house, but are doing it outdoors. How well do these tablets perform in direct sunlight? Today, we check out the entire line of Amazon tablets to give you a sense and the results are surprising.

Comments (0)


The Blackberry Playbook is still relevant for a small segment of tablet owners. It was the only tablet Blackberry ever released and even though its getting long in the tooth, people still swear by it. One of the most common tasks any longtime user will have done is sideloading their own apps. When you use 3rd party tools like DDPB or the Chrome plugin some apps don’t work and you get errors. The most common ones is -9 and -12, but does that even mean?

Blackberry ceased to support the Playbook with firmware updates and does not maintain their app store anymore. This puts the tablet owners in a position of having to convert the the files themselves and manually load them on their device. The process is easy with the online tools we downloaded, that allow anyone to take an APK file and convert to a Blackberry friendly BAR file.

The most common error code users see when installing apps is Error code -12. This means that the app was designed for a higher version of Android and will not work on the Playbook. The Playbook only has an Android 2.3 emulator, so anything that is not backwards compatible will fail to install.

Error code -9 means that specific libraries are not available and are required for the app to function. This can be due to the app needing an external Data file (OBB) or it may require Google Services to run.

If you are new to converting apps or sideloading in your own apps not only for the Playbook, but ANY Blackberry 10 enabled device, see what all of the fuss is about.

Categories : Tablet PC News
Comments (0)


Amazon has been focusing on making their entire lineup of tablets family friendly. In the last few years they have developed a system called Freetime, which automatically blocks access to the Silk Browser and Kindle content stores, disables location-based services, in-app purchases, or social features, and requires your parental controls password to enable or disable the feature. Amazon also unveiled Freetime Unlimited in 2012, which is a subscription based service that lets parents download thousands of movies, television shows, books and apps for a low monthly fee.

Amazon has packaged all of this into the brand new Fire HD Kids Edition, which spec wise, is exactly the same as the Kindle Fire HD6 and HD7. The main difference is the rubberized padding that spans the entire circumference of the tablet. This is an accessory that is shipped with the tablet and is not built right into it.

Today, we unbox a brand new entry into the Amazon product line, the Fire HD Kids Edition. We show you everything that comes in the box and power it on for the first time.


Apple seldom gives people a reason to upgrade to each new iteration of the iPad. The last major breakthrough was the Retina Display that made its way to the iPad Mini and iPad 4. This allowed readers to enjoy high-definition comics, magazines and digital media that Android users have been asking for awhile. Is the iPad 2 a worthy investment if you already have the one that launches last year?



The iPad Air 2 managed to shave off 18% off the thickness from the first generation Air; it’s now an almost impossible 6.1mm thick, and 1.4mm slimmer than the original iPad Air. At 437g, down from 469g, it’s one of the lightest large-screen tablets on the market.

Apple’s iPad Air 2 contains a new chip called the A8X, an SoC that’s faster than the A7 in the original iPad Air or the iPad Mini 2 and 3 and the A8 in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Apple would only say that the chip’s CPU is about 40 percent faster than the A7 and that it has a GPU that’s 2.5 times faster. It also has 2GB of RAM to keep things speedy on a hardware level.

In practice, the iPad Air 2 is capable of running programs usually seen on laptop computers. This includes the impressive video-editing capabilities of iMovie and the newly launched app Replay that synchronizes photos and videos to music. The processing boost also comes into its own when playing big-name games like FIFA 15, Modern Combat 5: Blackout, or the 1GB download Asphalt 8: Airborne.

One of the new features, not found on an Apple tablet before is Touch ID, the easy-to-use fingerprint reader introduced on the iPhone 5S, which makes security better and is needed to use the new Apple Pay service for buying things without using a credit card or typing in a credit card number. Apple Pay only works when making in-app purchases online, not in stores. Could you imagine waving your tablet around in a store? Anyways Touch ID is even more useful now than it was before; iOS 8 enabled third-party developer support for the fingerprint sensor, so you can use it to access sensitive account information or passwords.

When it comes to cameras, I can’t stand to take photos on my tablet. I have been using iPads since they first came out and buy each new generation. I don’t think I have ever taken a single picture, but than again I am likely not the target demographic. The iPad Air 2 steps up to 8MP resolution, whereas the iPad Air 1 only had a 5MP rear facing camera. The new camera has a Image Signal Processor (ISP) as part of the new A8X chipset. On the software side, the new camera comes with Burst Mode, as well as slow-motion video capture in 720p at 120fps. There’s still no LED flash on front or back this time around, however.

Here’s what the iPad Air 2 doesn’t have: A higher-resolution screen, a bigger screen, longer battery life, a snap-on keyboard, Beats Audio, better speakers,or a lower base price.

Apple Introduces new SIM technology


Apple has introduced a new way to change carrier companies for data plans without having the swap out the SIM card. This convenience is limited to just a few countries and carriers at launch — Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T in the US and EE in the UK — but over time, the selection of willing operators may improve.

The way this works is an option in the settings menu for internet access. You can change who you deal with on the fly and the SIM is automatically changed to the carrier you want to deal with. This may pave the way for incentives to keep people loyal or special events to get everything to switch to your company at once for a limited promotion.



The Apple iPad Air 2 has a staggering resolution of 2,048 x 1,536 pixels. Nothing much has changed since the iPad 4 and this tablet is still the flagship model that companies turn to, for HD content.

For example, Comixology a few years ago developed a new HD comics standard called CMX HD. This dramatically increased the resolution and vibrancy of digital comics. SD comics often take up about 80 MB of storage, but HD editions often are as large as 300-400 MB. This is a privilege only Apple users enjoy, and has still not crossed over to Android, due to the fragmentation of screen sizes and varying degrees of resolution.

Apple was able to ultimately trim down the iPad by using a laminated, optically bonded, no-gap display similar to the ones used on the iPhone and even the Microsoft Surface tablets. Not only does the new panel save vertical space by eliminating any gaps of air between the display layers, but it also makes the screen significantly less reflective. This is meant to reduce the amount of glare hitting the screen, whether you’re reading in direct sunlight or watching movies under harsh fluorescent lights. I’m happy to report that it works as advertised

Wrap Up


The iPad Air 2 is not worth the upgrade if you already have the Air 1. Aside from the enhanced hardware, better camera and Touch ID, there simply isn’t anything compelling. The Absence of NFC relegates Apple Pay to being able to make App Store purchases, without having to type in your password. This might be useful for busy households with kids, who you don’t want them racking up thousands of dollars with Candy Crush micro-transactions.

The Air 2 is worth it to upgrade to, if you have a three or four year old Apple Tablet, you will notice a dramatic improvement when it comes to reading, but you are better off buying the iPad Air 1 if you can get a good deal on eBay or your local tech store.


9.7-inch, 2048×1546 display with 264 ppi
Antireflective coating
A8X 64-bit chip, M8 motion coprocessor
8MP iSight (front-facing) camera, 1.2MP FaceTime HD (front-facing) camera
Touch ID
802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
6.1 mm thick, under 1 lb
MSRP: Wi-fi – $499 (16GB), $599 (64GB), $699 (128GB); Wi-Fi + Cellular – $629 (16GB), $729 (64GB), $829 (128GB)


Anti-reflection screen coating
Faster processing
More RAM
Wireless Connection is faster
Touch ID


Very Minor Upgrade
No Mute button or rotation lock
Apple SIM does not work in Canada or Australia

Comments (2)


Google has announced a bevy of new products today, including a new phone. The most compelling new device is a tablet, dubbed the Nexus 9. It is made by HTC and the hardware will seriously give the Apple iPad Air a run for its money.

The Google Nexus 9 features a 8.9-inch display with IPS LCD technology, an 8-megapixel camera at its back, a 1.6-megapixel camera up front, and an NVIDIA Tegra K1 2.3GHz (64-bit) processor under the hood.  There is a staggering 2 GB of RAM, which destroys the iPad Air which only has 1 GB. Great sound is provided by the HTC BoomSound speakers, which is the same audio featured in the HTC One M8 and HTC One M7.

How exactly does Nexus 9 compete with the iPad Air? The PPI is higher than the iPad Air: 288ppi vs 264ppi. The Nexus 9 is also lighter than the iPad Air: 425g vs 469g and also more affordable.

Pre-orders will begin on October 17th and you can expect the tablet to start showing up in stores on November 3rd. Nexus 9 is available in either black or white and comes in three configurations: 16GB for $399, 32GB for $479, and an LTE-enabled 32GB model for $599.

Categories : Tablet PC News
Comments (3)


Jeff Bezos is the proud owner of the Washington Post and he is hoping to build some synergy between the newspaper and the Kindle. Within a few weeks a special version of the Post will be loaded on the new Kindle Fire line of tablets. it will offer a curated selection of news and photographs from the daily newspaper in a magazine style format.

According to Business Week the project has been dubbed Project Rainbow and is being led by Kerry Lauerman, the former editor-in-chief of Lauerman joined the paper as a senior editor in July to work on “an initiative focused on the fast-growing mobile readership,” according to a Post press release announcing the hire. Lauerman reports to Cory Haik, the Post’s executive producer for digital news.

Once the new Post app drops on the new line of Kindle tablets, it will also be available to read on the new $79 Kindle and Kindle Voyage. The app will also be ported over to Android and iOS, but users will have to pay a monthly subscription fee to access the content. Kindle owners of course, will get it all for free.

Will a free news app from the Washington Post be enough to convince people to buy the new Kindle Fire tablet? Likely not, the vast majority of newshounds do not pay for news anymore.