Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet

In between the fall and spring semesters, I realized I was bored.

Usually, I have dozens of activities to keep me occupied when I’m not in school. Visiting family and friends, day trips and short adventures usually keep me busy. Obviously, I can’t do a lot of those activities this year.

I decided that instead of spending my break inevitably scrolling through social media or binge-watching a television show, I would try to do something productive. I decided I would try to read more. To help me with this, I purchased an Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet.

Normally around $90, I was able to get this device on sale for about $70 at Staples. Amazon has a smaller version, the Amazon Fire HD 7 Tablet, for about $50 and a larger version for about $150. Prices also vary depending on whether you get 16 or 32 gigabytes (GB) storage. I opted for the 32 GB and have yet to reach a limit on the number of books or games I can download.

The Kindle store offers a wide variety of books in different genres. Several authors even elect to make the first few books in their series free to garner interest, which I have fully taken advantage of. Since purchasing this device about a month ago, I have read 17 books, all of which were free. My personal favorite was “The Watchmaker’s Daughter” by C.J. Archer. The store also offers several classics for free, including Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” and Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.”

Although I originally purchased this tablet to read books digitally, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could also get several apps, including Instagram, YouTube and Spotify. The Amazon Appstore offers other popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and TikTok. Netflix and Pandora are also some of the featured apps on this platform.

Unfortunately, the Amazon Appstore is not as extensive as other providers. Some apps, like Snapchat, are not available. The store is rife with poorly designed apps that have long titles or poor graphics. Oddly enough, these apps are often ranked higher in relevance than other, better-designed apps.

I dislike the internet browser application, Silk Browser. Silk Browser is unsupported for several websites, so the page layout is often distorted.

It is also hard to access bookmarked pages. There is no way to create a bookmarks bar, even though the design is very similar to early Chrome.

Essentially, using Silk Browser is like trying to use the computer version of Google Chrome on a tablet with no adjustments. The app store offers certain bookmarked websites as apps, such as Google Search, but this isn’t much help. I wish Amazon would make their internet browser more mobile-friendly, like Apple or Android’s internet browsing applications.

Despite some setbacks, the Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet is versatile and useful, especially for the cheap price tag. The books, apps and games available on this device offer several hours of fun. I would recommend this tablet to anyone looking for a way to combat boredom while at home or looking to unwind after a busy day.

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