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Kindle Fire HD – Mini Review

My Field Trip took me on to see the Kindle Fire HD that was setup, and it made me happy I have a Nexus 7 tablet. It did have some store app showing how things worked and I closed that because I don’t need it, and I went in to seeing how things looked.

The first thing I could see was that when swiping through the apps and content it would stutter and wasn’t all the smooth. This should be something that would always be nice since people are going to do that first thing. So I took note of how it was not performing well and went on.

I saw Cut the Rope was installed and having played it on my Nexus 7 though it would be a good comparison. But again the system was very slow to load the game; it took almost 30 seconds to load and also took some time to load the level. The game performed as it should and seems fine but the low-speed had made me not so interested in the device. I also was seeing that the price was just too close to a Nexus 7 where I could get a full Android experience.

With the modified Android OS that Amazon hides you miss out on a lot of things that the content doesn’t always make up for. Mostly missing those Google Apps that just add the full experience you would want such as good email, maps, and even the Google Now search that is way better than anything Siri can give you.

I would not recommend one of these for someone looking for a mid-sized tablet especially when you can get the Nexus for the same price but with more power and a better app selection. You do miss out on the Amazon Prime video and books but you can make up for that by getting the Amazon Kindle App and Netflix.

Second-Generation Nest Thermostat

Nest announced today that they have an update to the Nest Thermostat that makes it compatible with 95% of low voltage heating and cooling systems, along with a slimmer unit, and updated software. The Nest is a “learning thermostat” that is connected to the internet, it tracks your settings such as when you come home and want your house warmer or when you are gone and don’t want the heat up. You can also control the thermostat from an iOS device or Android device, the App shows things like current temperature, set the system to heat or cool, setup schedules, or see statistics of your heating or cooling use.

The updated software on the new Nest adds better controls for forced air systems that start in the morning, better energy savings on radiant heat systems, and support for heat pump systems and other extra add-ons to different systems. They also updated the mobile apps for the new features and support for Android tablets.

The new Nest can be pre-ordered for $249 and ship later in October, and will be available on Amazon.com, Apple online store, and in Lowe’s stores. The updated Nest Software 3.0 will be updating existing Nest thermostats tonight.

Amazon.com Now Ships More with Prime Free Two Day Shipping

Today Amazon.com announced they are shipping more products using their Prime free two day shipping then they do with the free super saver shipping. They also put out some numbers on how much you get by being part of Prime. These include the following.

  • 15 million items ship free with Prime
  • 22,000 free Prime unlimited streaming movies and TV shows
  • Watch Prime videos on Kindle Fire, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and iPad
  • 180,000 Prime Kindle Owners’ Lending Library books

Some other things they shared yet without any real numbers…

With the Prime membership you get the Free Two Day shipping on most things you are looking for, the movies and TV shows to watch, and the books. It is worth the $79 price per year just for the free shipping if you order items off of Amazon.com often. It has saved me lots of money in shipping and just having easy access to almost everything I could need, I have even seen the free two day shipping on fridges and beds.

Google Nexus 7 Hands On

Got my Nexus 7 a few hours ago and after spending some time with it I am very impressed with the performance and how nice of a device it is. First thinking after getting it out of the box, and no I didn’t have the hard time that every unboxing video seemed to show about how the box was a hard thing to open, I turned it on and it was saying I had only 6% battery. That is kind of a bummer because you will spend a long time waiting for it to charge up, after about 2 hours charging on my old Nexus One charger I am only at 32%, and it will charge my Galaxy Nexus in about 1 ½ hours. It may be faster now that I’m using the supplied charger.

As for the software you will have to update a lot of the stock apps right away, and there is an Android 4.1.1 update that you will need to do, but will have to wait until you get your device to above 25% battery. If you are an Android user already you will probably have a set of apps to install this takes time because you end up scrolling through a list of every app you have installed on any device using the Play Store to get the ones you want. I got a lot of news and reading apps loaded along with some video apps such as Netflix and Hulu along with my music apps like DI.FM and SKY.FM.

Because I got it from the Play Store I got a $25 credit that showed up in my email after I logged into the Nexus 7. It also came with Transformers: Dark of the Moon as a free movie to show how it works, and it streamed easy and fast over my Cable Internet connection. It also came with some magazines that you can look at. The Popular Science that they give you was nice, you can go to a page and then zoom in on a piece of text and it makes it look good, or you can just read the text in a different layout without the images though.

I did open the Kindle book app and look it over, it was nice on the bigger screen I have used it on a phone but didn’t seem to want to read much because it was a lot of page scrolling and not much reading, and on my big ASUS EP121 Windows Tablet it was nice but too big and heavy, but I did like it on the Nexus 7. As for Google Books I loaded the manual but it was spending a lot of time loading the next page trying to scroll though the book, that problem went away after letting it finish downloading the book.

Using apps like Flipboard and Currents was nice to read news and articles. Also using Chrome as a web browser was nice because it displayed content like a desktop but easily zoomed in when the text was too small to read easy. Google+ is also optimized for a tablet experience but Facebook was just an expanded mobile version.
The sound from the speaker was ok for watching YouTube and having some music playing but wasn’t that good that you wouldn’t want to have some headphones for longer listening sessions. The microphone was able to pick up my speech to text input easy enough using the Google Now cards and search. As for the camera you don’t get a full Camera app, but you can install other camera apps or use one called “Camera Launcher for Nexus 7” that will add an icon to use the Jelly Bean camera. Also some camera apps such as Camera ZOOM FX won’t install. The quality of the camera was ok and only good enough for video chat and things like that any ways.

As an update to the battery charging make sure you use the supplied charger it took me 45 minutes to work through this article and I went from 32% to 51% in the time I started to getting to this point, so the charge time isn’t that bad with the right charger.

Overall I like the Nexus 7 and expect to have lots of fun with it, I think I’ll get a case for it, Amazon.com had a few that have the magnets to make it wakeup and sleep depending on if the cover is open or closed like the iPad “not so” magic cover that only cost $20. So if you were thinking of getting a Nexus 7 go ahead and get it, the price is right at $199 and the hardware is good!

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