Nov 20 2012 - Amazon's Fire tablet was a major shakeup to the electronics world by making tablets affordable. What once was just an ereader now offers much more since the move to a tablet. If you happen to know someone who has one of the Amazon tablets, check out my suggestions for some gift ideas to help protect, clean and expand the tablets.
For the first generation of the Amazon tablet, they didn't really produce a case but just a zipper sleeve. While it protected it well in transport, it wasn't something you could leave the tablet in while you used it. The Belkin Verve Tab Folio is a nice classic book style case that uses a leather like finish and features a magnetic clasp closure. It is available in black, purple or red colors. Priced around $25.
While the original Fire didn't receive a real official case, the Fire HD 7-inch model did and the case is a superb match for the tablet. The leather case has a remarkable feel and fits the tablet very snug so that it won't slide out at all. Like the iPad, the case features a magnet that will sleep and wake the tablet when the cover is closed. Ports and buttons are fitted into the case to allow easy use of the power and volumes switches while allowing the great speakers to shine through. The only real downside to the case is that it only has a single standing position which is a bit limited as it tends to keep it at a high angle that is good for viewing but certainly not for typing. Priced around $45.
This is essentially the same case design as the one for the Kindle Fire HD but meant to fit the larger 8.9" version of the tablet. The larger size does come with a higher price tag of $55 though. It uses the same leather exterior and a snug design that holds the tablet firmly in place. The magnetic clasp will sleep or wake the tablet when it is closed and opened. It can be used as a stand by folding back the cover but it is limited to high angles best suited for watching and not for typing.
One way that Amazon keeps the prices low on the Kindle Fire tablets is to limit the number of accessories that ship with them. One such accessory that is missing is a power adapter. Instead of providing an AC adapter to charge the tablet, buyers must rely on connecting the tablet's USB cable to a computer. This is relatively slow at charging the tablet and not very useful if you don't have a computer around to connect it to. The Kindle PowerFast is essentially an AC to USB power adapter that can be used for more than just the Kindle devices but it is relatively compact and specifically meant for the tablets. Priced around $20.
Touchscreens are incredibly easy to use but they do have their drawbacks. First, the screen can get dirty very quickly from the oils on our fingers that get placed on the glass. Second, people with larger hands may have difficulty getting precise placement on the screen, especially smaller higher definition screens like the Kindle Fire HD. A stylus is a specialized sort of pen or pointing device that are used to mimic the capacitive nature of human skin for touchscreen displays on the iPad. The styles are quite diverse from standard looking pens to ones that look like paint brushes. Prices range from as little as $10 to over $100 but most tend to be around $30.
The smaller screens of the Kindle tablets are not the most conductive to writing, whether it is an email or a novel. After time, the small virtual keyboard will become difficult if you have to write more than a few sentences. There are plenty of Bluetooth keyboards on the market that are compact but many just aren't very useful for typing on which is the whole point over the virtual keyboard. The i-rocks Slim and Compact Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard is a nice compact size that is affordable yet still provides a nice typing surface. It is a bit more compact than the more expensive Apple keyboard but still much larger than the Kindle Fire which is something to consider. Priced around $38.
Tablets feature touchscreens which obviously means that users put their hands all over them. With this comes the collection of dirt and oils from our hands. Eventually, they cause the images on the displays to cause glare or reflections especially in bright sunlight. A good cleaning cloth is invaluable for keeping the glass clean such that it provides a pristine picture for reading, watching or playing. The 3M microfiber cloth is designed to work with sensitive optics for camera lenses. This makes it particularly well suited for cleaning the glass surfaces of touchscreen tablets like the Kindle. Prices range from a few dollars to $15 based upon size.
While Amazon Prime is a very good streaming video service for owners of the Kindle, it still doesn't have quite as much as the number one streaming company, Netflix. Netflix also offers streaming services to the Amazon tablet via a native application on the Amazon Application store. To fully use it, you must be a subscriber of the streaming service which is priced at $7.99/month. Gift subscriptions are offered by the company in increments of one, two, three, six and twelve months. This is for the streaming only service but it can be used on other devices and computers but only one at a given time.