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Old 05-01-2019, 07:38 PM   #1
anoukaimee
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Cheap, largish tablet for color ereader to use w/ calibre, ideally easily modded?

I have an old Kindle Paperwhite which is sufficient for reading fiction and such, but I have a lot of nonfiction in full color (magazines, garden books, etc.) that I am currently reading on my OnePlus 3 phone (with MoonReader and Calibre_Companion), and just find it too small.

My basic needs:
  • cheap ($150 or less);
  • supports PDF, EPUB, MOBI, at the very least;
    Expandable memory (ability to take a 256 GB or larger SD card ideal);
  • Android preferred;
  • At least 10" screen (I think);
  • Full color, though I'm not picky about the quality--LCD fine;

Additionally, if there is an older model that is supported by alternative development ("hackable") that would be ideal. Is there one that everyone uses (looked at the wikis but they're kind of out of date). I would love to be able to put it in a "semi-kiosk" mode, to limit the availability of a browser to what is needed to access Wikipedia, a dictionary, and possibly in the future RSS feeds and the like (although I think that can be done through Calibre using Calibre companion, I just don't use that feature). The reason being, I tend to get distracted by the web and it would be nice not to have the alternative of doing anything but reading. At the same time, being able to install a PDF editor and the likes of PrinterShare, Send Anywhere, Clipboard + Notes, and other apps that allow for the easy export of notes taken is needed. I'm pretty good with Android hacking (rooting, alt ROMs etc), but thought before I posted to XDA I'd check here since you are the experts in e-readers and might know immediately a good match. I know from experience that some brands make it easier or harder to mod, so this is a consideration. Being able to eliminate a browser is not a deal-breaker, though.

If there's a Fire, Nook, or the like that is cheap and supports full color (and doesn't try to prevent you from installing and easily organizing books downloaded from sites other than the source of the ereader; looking at you, Amazon) then would love to know. Or links to comparisons that are current.

Thanks for any guidance!
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Old 05-02-2019, 11:38 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anoukaimee View Post
I have an old Kindle Paperwhite which is sufficient for reading fiction and such, but I have a lot of nonfiction in full color (magazines, garden books, etc.) that I am currently reading on my OnePlus 3 phone (with MoonReader and Calibre_Companion), and just find it too small.

My basic needs:
  • cheap ($150 or less);
  • supports PDF, EPUB, MOBI, at the very least;
    Expandable memory (ability to take a 256 GB or larger SD card ideal);
  • Android preferred;
  • At least 10" screen (I think);
  • Full color, though I'm not picky about the quality--LCD fine;
You clearly do more with Android than I do. But as far as a cheap but good tablet, I'd suggest the Lenovo Tabs. You can get the Tab4 for $148 at Amazon US.

For $289, Lenovo will sell you the Tab 4 Plus, which is a bit better and has a much better screen.

I have an old Tab2 Plus that I've had for years and it still runs like a champ.
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Old 05-02-2019, 12:51 PM   #3
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amazon fire HD10 - wait for the next regular amazon sale, when they are dirt cheap.

easy to add google play store and then epub readers like Moon, Bookari
Sd cards are supported.
you will not get anything cheaper in that size
use Fire OS which is amazon's cusomisation of android 6/7
lenovo are good but check pixels count for each model you shortlist , some of their cheaper models are only 720p which will look a bit rough for text at 10 inch display. you want full HD 1080p or better .
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Old 05-02-2019, 02:49 PM   #4
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amazon fire HD10 - wait for the next regular amazon sale, when they are dirt cheap.

easy to add google play store and then epub readers like Moon, Bookari
Sd cards are supported.
you will not get anything cheaper in that size
use Fire OS which is amazon's cusomisation of android 6/7
Right now a Fire HD10 runs right at his price ($150).

I can't badmouth the Fire's hardware, but I hate, hate, hate the launcher (which can no longer be changed, last I checked) and the ads on the sleep screen.

Quote:
lenovo are good but check pixels count for each model you shortlist , some of their cheaper models are only 720p which will look a bit rough for text at 10 inch display. you want full HD 1080p or better .
Yeah, typically, the Lenovo Tabs are 1280X800 and the Lenovo Tab Pluses are 1920X1200 (the same as the fire HD, but the price is higher).
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Old 05-03-2019, 01:53 AM   #5
anoukaimee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZodWallop View Post
Right now a Fire HD10 runs right at his price ($150).

I can't badmouth the Fire's hardware, but I hate, hate, hate the launcher (which can no longer be changed, last I checked) and the ads on the sleep screen.



Yeah, typically, the Lenovo Tabs are 1280X800 and the Lenovo Tab Pluses are 1920X1200 (the same as the fire HD, but the price is higher).
Thank you both! I surveyed the XDA independent development forum threads and was surprised at how much is going on (or was, at one point) with Amazon Fires. And I totally agree that the 10 is a steal compared to other Android tablets with the same specs.

I really have to review what the state of firmware "updates" (read: attempts to limit customer options) because of the nature of the materials I read--if they've done what they did to my PaperWhite, then it's pretty much a no go.

Anyway, going to review what's going on and will report back on what I find in terms of the most "moddable" devices: looks like Samsung leads the pack--don't know whether that's just because of their dominance of the market or because they refrain from anti-jailbreak measures (like OnePlus and Google have, generally speaking, but which would be weird, cuz I'm fairly certain Samsung tend to block development on their phones). Also, Xiaomi and other Chinese brands are reliably hackable.

Anyway, I'll post what I find here; maybe it can help others out.

Thanks for your help
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Old 05-03-2019, 02:17 AM   #6
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most people ( me included) are able to add google apps and serives following instructions at XDA and other places. of course, amazon could lock it down more in the future but they are unlikely to block anything you have already added.
some people get into a mess with that sideloading, there are a couple of long threads on here, but in those we did establish that you can mod the latest 2018 version of the Fire tablet ok if you follow the instructions exactly.
i got all the google stuff to work except for the proper gmail app, so I use the supplied email app instead.
all the premium epub reader in the google play store will work once you add the store

amazon seem to be getting over their big spat with google, youtube is re-enabled for Fire TV and amazon are stocking chromecast dongles...
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Old 05-04-2019, 12:17 AM   #7
anoukaimee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stumped View Post
most people ( me included) are able to add google apps and serives following instructions at XDA and other places. of course, amazon could lock it down more in the future but they are unlikely to block anything you have already added.
some people get into a mess with that sideloading, there are a couple of long threads on here, but in those we did establish that you can mod the latest 2018 version of the Fire tablet ok if you follow the instructions exactly.
i got all the google stuff to work except for the proper gmail app, so I use the supplied email app instead.
all the premium epub reader in the google play store will work once you add the store

amazon seem to be getting over their big spat with google, youtube is re-enabled for Fire TV and amazon are stocking chromecast dongles...
That is looking more and more like the way to go, then. I just resent Amazon for making my fiction-reading life so tough when they locked down my PaperWhite in the name of an "upgrade."

Thank you.
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