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Kindle stuff

I posted this in a thread the other day, thought I would call it out again:

On a trip a few years ago with my Fire tablet, I discovered that the world of wifi tends to see only two colors - Android and Apple. It's true that Fire is a customized Amazon version of Android but it isn't always recognized as such. One airport in Connecticut just wouldn't let me online; the airport in Charlotte was very accommodating. While onboard American Airlines it wanted nothing to do with my tablet. So my overall advice is, while the world is now full of wifi, don't count on it always working. Download some books and/or videos on your Kindle at home so you always have a fallback loaded onto your device if the airwaves won't cooperate.

Posted by
3142 posts

One airport in Connecticut? I assume you mean Bradley because I can’t think of any others that are considered major regional airports in CT.

Wi-Fi can always be sketchy & weak depending upon the number of people accessing it. I download books and videos on my iPad which is Wi-Fi only before I leave on any of my trips. It would take forever to do that on airport Wifi at best.

I am impressed you had strong Wi-Fi in Charlotte. I find that major European airports have strong Wi-Fi.

Posted by
2499 posts

I don't think the OP was as concerned about WIFI speed as much as the ability to connect to the available WIFI. It could be that your device won't let you connect to an unsecured site? OP, had you already downloaded the airline's app before boarding the plane?

Posted by
520 posts

For my kindle ( ereader not fire) I always download a bunch of books before a trip. Some purchased and some library loans, then turn my Wi-Fi off. Partly to save battery life and partly for the loaners in case I don't finish them before they are "due" back. As the OP notes, you can't count on Wi-Fi everywhere.

Posted by
4695 posts

My Kindle Fire tablet seems to connect to WiFi everywhere I've wanted to. But...I did hack it slightly to add the Google Play store, so I can install most Android apps on it like any other Android tablet or phone. I've got Google Chrome, Skype, etc. And some of these apps might want you to login to WiFi (agree to conditions, continue as guest, etc. without a password) and assume you have an Android-compatible browser.

Posted by
622 posts

Very good comments above. I had a Fire tablet years ago, liked it well enough for what it was. But I moved on to an iPad and have never looked back. The Fire tablet is a niche item. I find the iPad mini is an unbeatable all-round tablet. Among other things it's my main choice for reading my Kindle books. The Kindle paperwhite gets so little use I'm sorry I bought it, but it is easier on the tired old eyes especially for late night reading.

As others have mentioned, I don't expect to be able to download books while on airport or other public wifi systems. If I can, it's a bonus, but I wouldn't expect it. Same for hotel wifi, unless it's a premium wifi service I've paid extra for. A couple of years ago my hometown hub, DEN, had the fastest airport wifi, but in 2018, Seatac knocked it out of first place, according to this article reporting on the fastest US/Canadian airport wifi systems as of January 2018.

Cj-traveler, thanks for the tip about turning off wifi on the Kindle if I take it traveling. I hadn't thought about the loaned-book issue. And, Doug, I agree: "I just can't imagine traveling without an iPad/iPhone or Chromebook/Android phone." In my case, a foot firmly in both camps, I have my iPad mini and my Google (Android) Pixel2 phone (with Google Fi mobile service).

Anyway, phred, I'm sorry about your bad experiences with the Fire tablet. Some of it sounds like weak public wifi networks, and it's hard to know why the tablet didn't connect in other situations. Did you attempt to research the issue after you returned from your trip, to pinpoint the reason(s) for the problems?

Posted by
4695 posts

We all have different needs for a tablet. My Kindle Fire cost me $40 back in 2016. I didn't actually buy it as a "book reader" - I bought it specifically for travel, to have something to watch movies on on a plane and use for travel books, something light to carry around besides a paper book. But I have become an e-reader convert, and this tablet has worked just fine for that. I use it constantly for reading now, daily.

My biggest problem with it is that it is a little slow. I have few apps on it. Adding a big memory card has helped - I moved every possible app to the card. I have an Android phone I use for most apps, anyway. I have Google Chrome on it - occasionally I use it with a bluetooth keyboard to do more than just casually read email. And as I said, WiFi has worked fine for me. But most of the time I use it just as an e-reader now and use my little laptop for everything else. If I needed something more powerful, I could certainly buy a better Android tablet than this one, but for now, it completely suits my needs.