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Old 06-03-2019, 10:22 AM   #1
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Walmart Takes on Amazon

Walmart vs Amazon

I have been, and remain, a big fan of Amazon Fire Tablets starting from the original Fire Tab 7 and up to the current Fire Tab HD 8. They have been price/performance terrific values. Solidly built, and well integrated with Amazon's prime services for ebooks, video and music. I have found the screens suitable for reading books and watching video. They are nowhere near "top of the line" but neither is the price.

The only competition in the price range has come from "Black Friday" specials that were never that special....or other ebook platforms like the Nook. Those looking for a decent "Android Tablet" at that price range have been out of luck...until now.

Walmart has come out with the Onn Tablet, an 8" Android Pie tablet for $64. The hardware is almost identical to the Kindle Tab HD 8. The screen is suitable for reading books and watching video. At least to my eyes. Walmart has some preinstalled "bloat ware" that is actually reasonable: Walmart app, Sams Club app, Vudu, Walmart Grocery and Walmart eBooks (tied into Kobo book store). And there is a Walmart button next to the Android buttons (not a physical button). I find it MUCH less intrusive than the full screen ads you get on a Kindle (unless you pay $20 more to turn them off).

For those that have wanted a general Android tablet and not a heavily skinned "ecosystem delivery tablet"....your ship has come in. Other than the previously mentioned apps and button, the rest is vanilla Android 9/Pie. You can load Amazon's apps, or anybody else's. You have the Google Play Store.

While the screen appears the same to me for both....there is clearly some advantages due to Android 9. The OS is smoother than Amazon's Adroid 7.1 derived "Fire OS". I can finally write fb messages, tweets, and web posts by typeing on the tablet. The keyboard response is quick and smooth. Typing on the Fire Tab's have always been janky and frustrating. I found the Walmart tablet just a bit quicker and smoother over all. Probably wouldn't appear in performance testing results...but I could feel the difference. A difference "in the same class", not a completely "much better, class above" way.

The battery saving features are upfront and easy compared to "burried in settings" of the Fire Tab. Frankly, I didn't know the Fire tab had the battery saving options until after discovering the ones on the Walmart tablet and then going and searching for them. There are supposed to be some AI backed battery saving features due to Android 9...but you'll have to look to other types of reviews to find out how effective they are.

I did put the tablet in "battery saving mode" with 40% battery left and went to bed. This morning the Walmart tablet still had 40% battery left. A nice improvement over my Amazon Fire Tab experience. Which, again, maybe now that I know where those features are on the Fire Tab, I'll be able to do that as well.

These tablets are more equivalent than different. If you are an Amazon prime member, and aren't as interested in a generic Android tablet...then the Fire Tablet would likely be a good choice. I know that I will still give Fire Tablets to friends and family that aren't all that tech savvy.

If you've been wanting a real Android tablet experience at a great price, I think the Walmart tablet is the choice. It is less money, and pure Android.

Last year I felt Amazon punted with the newest HD 8. Added Alexa always on feature but didn't upgrade the cpu. Maybe Walmart will light a little fire (no pun intended) under Amazon to not rest on it's laurels this year. Clearly Walmart is dancing to Amazon's tune with this tablet and I bet intends to continue copying Amazon's playbook. However, Amazon has the mind space and marketing muscle behind it's tablets. Amazon with Kindle books and Prime Video and Amazon Music is just far ahead of Walmart with it's new book tie up with Kobo and it's Vudu video service. But, you can get the Walmart table and still consume the Amazon content...which wouldn't hurt Amazon's feelings one bit.
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Old 06-03-2019, 11:30 AM   #2
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Hmnn. This is interesting. I'll take a good, long look at this should it become available in Canada. 1.3Ghz processor + 2GB Ram + Android 9 + 8" Screen + SD Card slot = a nice, low cost PDF reader to replace my obsolete Blackberry Playbook.

Wish they were revealing the exact SoC... I'd love to know if it has a GPS.
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Old 06-03-2019, 11:52 AM   #3
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Hmnn. This is interesting. I'll take a good, long look at this should it become available in Canada. 1.3Ghz processor + 2GB Ram + Android 9 + 8" Screen + SD Card slot = a nice, low cost PDF reader to replace my obsolete Blackberry Playbook.

Wish they were revealing the exact SoC... I'd love to know if it has a GPS.
It found me on Google maps...but maybe it was able to do that with wifi.

In addition to reading (which I focused on due to this forum's purpose), I was able to put on my VPN and download materials from the interwebs using a torrent client. I prefer to avoid doing such activities with any of my pc's to keep the occasional "you shouldn't get files from strangers on the internet" problems away from my real computers. I also have a raspberry pi that I use in a similar fashion. One of the nice advantages of Android over iOS is this use case. Much easier to work with a file system that's accessible.
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:16 PM   #4
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Now....do I think Walmart has a chance against Amazon? I don't see it in the near term. Amazon has a very nice and compelling content story. You think of Amazon when you think of books, ebooks, and online shopping. Amazon Prime is a VERY nice perk that is nearly on par with Netflix for no more than you are already paying for Amazon prime.

Walmart you think of for "real life stores". Walmart WANTS people to do their online shopping on walmart.com instead of Amazon. Walmart has Vudu for video rental but it's nothing an "iTunes wannabe" than Prime Video as Netflix service.

Walmart is piecing together offerings where Amazon is growing them organically. Walmart could be pushing these via there stores, but they were just another tablet on the shelf when I went to buy mine. Amazon is always giving their tablets great advertising via Amazon's site.

Still....as a STEP in the direction of upping Walmart's game against Amazon, it's a nice step. And it's a nice option for those of us who couldn't care less about the battle between retail giants but would like an attractively priced and capable Android tablet.

We will see if I keep mine past the 15 day return window. Not that I don't like it, but I have an Amazon Fire Tab 8 already (several in the house).
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Old 06-04-2019, 10:55 AM   #5
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More updates...as I gain experience with the new tablet. I purposefully did NOT put "battery saver" mode on last night before going to bed, leaving the tablet on. Woke up with just about the same about of battery life still remaining. That is a very nice improvement over the Kindle Fire Tab's. Pretty sure it's due to the advances Google has made with Android 8 and 9 (Fire OS is based off 7.1, and only for a couple of the new devices....the rest are off of Android 4.4).

I find browsing with the Walmart tablet and Chrome to be superior to the Fire tablet with Sylk. I have put chrome on the Fire tab and the Walmart table is still a better experience for browsing the web.

It's odd, but I find myself missing the Amazon launcher. No doubt I'm going to be in the minority here. But for the purposes of consuming Amazon content, the FireOS is nice IMHO. Wish it were based on the latest Android.
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Old 06-04-2019, 11:20 AM   #6
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It's odd, but I find myself missing the Amazon launcher. No doubt I'm going to be in the minority here. But for the purposes of consuming Amazon content, the FireOS is nice IMHO. Wish it were based on the latest Android.
Can't you just create a folder on your home screen with all the relevant Amazon apps?

I'm asking from ignorance, as even though I'm a Prime member the only side service I use is Prime video and that is only on my TV. I hated my $50 Fire tablet.
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Old 06-04-2019, 11:57 AM   #7
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Moved to the Android forum.
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Old 06-04-2019, 11:58 AM   #8
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Can't you just create a folder on your home screen with all the relevant Amazon apps?

I'm asking from ignorance, as even though I'm a Prime member the only side service I use is Prime video and that is only on my TV. I hated my $50 Fire tablet.
Yes. It's not hard at all to run the Amazon apps. Work even better than they do on an iPad since you can order directly from within the app. Even so, the Amazon web site is still the best experience.

The FireOS is a whole skin/launcher. Who knows what else they've done to Android itself. But the home screen has your recent books and media at the top....suggestions on content you might like. Then a grid of app icons. It's not rocket science, but it is simpler - hiding away Android - for those who are really just reading kindle books and watching Prime Videos or Netflix.

I don't miss it like "I'm going to find a launcher for Android that looks just like it". The whole purpose of buying the Walmart tablet was to get that vanilla (for the most part) Android experience. I'm hoping Vanilla Android means even these cheap tablets will get OS updates (not just security updates). It's a lot to ask from a $64 tablet.

These both represent a nice "floor" to the Android tablet experience. Great price with acceptable functionality. I was disappointed Amazon didn't up it's game last year, but look forward to what they do with their Fire 8 HD tablet this fall. I've already explained how I think Walmart has a LONG way to go to put together the content package to make their tablet a real threat....but hardware wise, it's there. Cheaper, and s smidge better (due to Android 9).

I am an Apple fan. But I've long been a fan of Android on the low end as well. The low end gets better and better. These tablets are perfectly fine for reading, video, social media at prices below the cheapest eInk....for those who don't need or desire the eInk experience.

They have terrible cameras and aren't wonderfully fast like an iPad mini. But they are 10% of the cost
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Old 06-04-2019, 12:16 PM   #9
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This new Walmart tablet sounds like it might be most appealing to the following group:

People who run Linux, Android, have Raspberry Pi's, are developers/programmers themselves, run 3rd party firmware on their routers, are surrounded by half a dozen different computers and servers as they post on MobileRead, etc. In other words: people who like to be in control of their stuff, and would sacrifice interface presentation and polish for low level access, control and functionality.

This Walmart tablet sounds (slightly) less appealing than the Fire tablet for Windows users and iOS users.

Sometimes it's nice to have a tablet "that just works" (get an iPad). And sometimes it's nice to have a tablet you can fiddle with to make it work just like you want it to, not like some other developer wants it to (get plain-Jane Android or Linux). If you've got to "fiddle with it", it will (should) come at a much lower price than the "just works" option.

The one thing I would like to review about the Walmart tablet is it's quality of construction. If Walmart cheapened it to the same bargain basement level they do with other products they sell, that might make it less appealing. Walmart is well known for squeezing their suppliers to make cheaper and cheaper stuff, which may be OK for the WalMartians who shop totally on price, but not so good for other customers. Still, you can get some decent stuff at Walmart if you're knowledgeable, do you research, don't get sucked in by "it's so cheap here!", etc.
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Old 06-04-2019, 12:31 PM   #10
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The one thing I would like to review about the Walmart tablet is it's quality of construction. If Walmart cheapened it to the same bargain basement level they do with other products they sell, that might make it less appealing. Walmart is well known for squeezing their suppliers to make cheaper and cheaper stuff, which may be OK for the WalMartians who shop totally on price, but not so good for other customers. Still, you can get some decent stuff at Walmart if you're knowledgeable, do you research, don't get sucked in by "it's so cheap here!", etc.
Concur on Android for fiddlers. It's wonderful in that regard. Even though I'm everything ELSE you described, I have been just fine having phones and tablets that "just work" without needing (or being able to) fiddle with them.

Buuuut....it was cool to put a vpn on, a torrent app, and then grab some files...and have them on a card I can remove and pop into my other computer (or I could have sent it via the network).

As for build quality....it is apologetically plastic. Feels nice in the hands. It is not near the beautiful slimness and aluminum build quality of the iPad mini...but it's 10% of the price. It feels on par with the Kindle Fire Tab's. I've seen video reviews of folks dropping the Fire Tab over and over with no problem. I'm not going to try this for either my own Fire Tab nor this Walmart tab. But it FEELS like a quality build. So far I haven't even put it in a case.

It has open ports for micro sd card, micro usb charger and headphone jack. Ergo, it is not water proof. Oh, you will want that head phone jack because the speaker sucks. Worse than the Fire tab. Ok for an occasional youtube or facebook video --- but not good enough for listening to a book or watching a movie. Connected a nice bluetooth speaker and it sounded great.

It's $64 and has a 15 day return policy and a 1yr warranty. Worth a try.
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Old 06-04-2019, 01:42 PM   #11
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This new Walmart tablet sounds like it might be most appealing to the following group:

People who run Linux, Android, have Raspberry Pi's, are developers/programmers themselves, run 3rd party firmware on their routers, are surrounded by half a dozen different computers and servers as they post on MobileRead, etc. In other words: people who like to be in control of their stuff, and would sacrifice interface presentation and polish for low level access, control and functionality.

This Walmart tablet sounds (slightly) less appealing than the Fire tablet for Windows users and iOS users.

Sometimes it's nice to have a tablet "that just works" (get an iPad). And sometimes it's nice to have a tablet you can fiddle with to make it work just like you want it to, not like some other developer wants it to (get plain-Jane Android or Linux). If you've got to "fiddle with it", it will (should) come at a much lower price than the "just works" option.
I don't know about that. I'm looking to send my mom yet another tablet (I've learned to just buy cheap ones because invariably they are lost or broken, left on the floor, dropped in the washing machine...)

I'd buy her this tablet over a Fire tablet. Mom doesn't have a Prime account and if you aren't a heavy Amazon customer, Fires are just uglier Android tablets with lots of tacky ads. For their price, they have a nicer build quality than most competitors. But they are hampered by Fire OS.

In my experience, Android 'just works.' A Chrome OS tablet might be nice as well. She's seemed to like her Chromebooks well enough until she breaks them...
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Old 06-04-2019, 01:53 PM   #12
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I think you would be very happy giving this tablet to your mom. The $64 doesn't hurt so much when it's lost or dropped is certainly a big plus. My mom learned to work with an iPad and a Kindle Fire Tab....this Android tab is easy enough. It's not like one HAS to fiddle with it.

And if one isn't a Prime member, and hasn't bought much into Amazon's ecosystem...then this tablet, IMHO, is the better choice. Particularly if there is a "you or me" that can set it up for our parents, nephews and the like.

If one is an Android fan with an Android fan looking for an Android tablet at a good price that isn't a POS....then this Walmart Tablet is the best thing going that I know of.
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Old 06-04-2019, 01:57 PM   #13
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<<never mind>>

Last edited by leebase; 06-04-2019 at 01:59 PM.
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Old 06-04-2019, 02:03 PM   #14
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I think you would be very happy giving this tablet to your mom. The $64 doesn't hurt so much when it's lost or dropped is certainly a big plus. My mom learned to work with an iPad and a Kindle Fire Tab....this Android tab is easy enough. It's not like one HAS to fiddle with it.

And if one isn't a Prime member, and hasn't bought much into Amazon's ecosystem...then this tablet, IMHO, is the better choice. Particularly if there is a "you or me" that can set it up for our parents, nephews and the like.

If one is an Android fan with an Android fan looking for an Android tablet at a good price that isn't a POS....then this Walmart Tablet is the best thing going that I know of.
Thanks for the feedback. I hadn't thought of it, but I think I'll pick one up this week. I can sign her in with her Google account and send it on its way, along with an ancient Chromebook that I've managed to hold onto for years but will likely be broken within a year
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