It’s not always as easy as just buying whatever you see on Amazon.
Sure, it sounds silly. But with the super-cheap Amazon Fire Tablet also comes an important decision on how best to expand the storage capacity. You can slot in a microSD card and make a small, cheap tablet have a lot more space to keep your apps and media.
So, let’s try and help you make the buying process a little easier by covering some key points to consider.
Onboard storage is low on the cheaper models
If you go for the cheapest model, it’s sold as an 8GB tablet. Out of the box you get about 5.5GB give or take to actually use for yourself. And that’s not a lot at all. There are larger options available, such as 16GB at the 7-inch level, up to 32GB at 8 inches and up to 64GB at 10.1 inches.
If you get a 64GB 10.1-inch Fire Tablet you might not even need a microSD card, but that will depend on your use case and some of the things we’ll look at below.
Apps and games
The Fire Tablet runs regular Android applications, just without the Google Play Store or any of Google’s associated services. And many apps are getting bigger and bigger. Five years ago, having 5.5GB free on your phone or tablet would have felt like something you could never fill with apps alone, nowadays it won’t get you that far.
With Amazon Underground, too, you get a good selection of premium, paid apps completely free. Here are a few examples of how much storage you need for some popular titles on Amazon’s Appstore:
- Goat Simulator – 486.2MB
- Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse – 592MB
- Terraria – 104.7MB
- Minecraft Story Mode – 1.1GB
It doesn’t take long to realize that onboard storage won’t go very far. How many apps and games you anticipate using will be a big part of the purchase decision. You’re better to overestimate than to have to keep removing and re-downloading your content.
Amazon Prime Video is likely something you use if you’re buying a Fire Tablet. It’s one of Amazon’s core content offerings and you can download videos to watch when you’re away from a network connection.
The good news is that you can download this content to a microSD card. You should also adjust the quality settings for downloads to ensure you maximize your storage potential. If you’re on the base, 8GB tablet there’s no reason to download everything at the highest available resolution. It’s pretty wasted!
The Fire Tablet is a great travel companion, and if this is in your buying decision then go for as big a memory card as you can afford.
The good news is that despite its cheap starting price, Amazon didn’t cut back on the ability to use the very highest capacity memory cards. It may seem like a waste to consider putting a 200GB microSD in a tablet that cost less than the card, but mass storage is mass storage whatever you use it in.
The Fire Tablet is listed as being able to expand its storage by “up to 200GB,” but that’s likely just because that was the largest available at the time of print. The SDXC standard is being observed which means you, in theory, could try any card adhering to it.
A general rule of thumb is to over-estimate how much you think you’re going to use. Perhaps go one size up. The prices of microSD cards are a lot more affordable than they once were, and doubling your storage might only cost a few dollars more in some cases.
It’s less likely if you’re buying a microSD card right now that you’d be buying a really old, really slow model. You’ll see a number 10 on most lower priced cards, meaning Class 10 and these are perfectly fine for the Fire Tablet. In fact, Amazon stocks a few Class 10 cards it has “tested and certified” for Fire Tablet and Fire TV from SanDisk.
The cheapest of these, the SDHC models, have a write speed of up to 48MB/s. Amazon says this is perfectly good enough for the Fire Tablet, so anything above this will be even better.
So which should I get?
It sounds silly, but get the biggest you can afford that will also meet your needs. It’s much less painful than continually having to delete content and apps and re-download things. A good solid choice to get great “bang for your buck” would be a 64GB card, and you can often pick those up for as little as $20.
And one of the best places to find them is the same place you bought your Fire Tablet from (probably): Amazon. MicroSD cards are a commodity item so there’s not a lot to be gained from comparing prices across multiple retailers. Amazon does a good job price matching anyway and the selection is plentiful.