From the Cheapskate: Amazon's ludicrously affordable tablet is now even more ludicrously affordable. Plus: an extra 2GB of Google Drive storage, free!
Rick BroidaSenior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
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OK, I'm calling it. Amazon wins the tablet wars. Sorry, Apple. Sorry, Samsung. Sorry, Lenovo, Sony and everybody else who makes tablets. Because how can you compete with this?
Until Feb. 13, Amazon is selling its 7-inch Fire tablet for $39.99 shipped. That's $10 off the already impossible-to-beat regular price, and very close to the single best tablet deal I've ever seen. Shut up and take my money, Amazon!
Whew, OK, deep breath. Kind of got overexcited, there. Amazon did sell the Fire for just $35 back on Black Friday, and if I'm being totally honest, it's not the greatest tablet in the world. In fact, it has its issues.
Let's start with the screen: a 1,024-by-600-pixel display is definitely on the low side, especially when it spans seven inches. Now that we're all spoiled by our ultra-high-resolution phones and, frankly, most other tablets, the Fire does seem a little grainy.
That said, I didn't notice the resolution one bit when playing games or watching videos; that stuff looked absolutely fine. Books and other reading material? Eh. Not great, but definitely not terrible. It's acceptable.
Same goes for the processor. This tablet is a slowpoke, at least by today's standards, and graphics-heavy games can get sluggish. Don't forget the headphones, either: The Fire's single, rear-facing speaker sounds pretty mediocre.
But come on: $40 out the door for an expandable (via microSD) tablet with Amazon's awesome ecosystem? One you can give to the kids without (much) worry about sticky fingers or pesky gravity? One that's perfectly good for consuming the likes of Netflix and Prime and Monument Valley?
To be fair, wringing maximum potential from the Fire requires an Amazon Prime subscription. Of course, even after that $99 investment, you're staying paying at least $100 less than you would for a low-end iPad Mini.
Bonus deal: Could you use a little extra Google Drive space? Who couldn't! CNET's Nicole Cozma explains how you can get 2GB of bonus Google Drive storage for free. All you have to do is complete an account-security checkup, which for me took about 30 seconds. When you're done, presto! An extra 2GB on top of whatever plan you already have.