Do You Need a Tablet If You Have a Smartphone?

Kindle Fire HDX 7

Do you need a tablet if you have a smartphone? The short answer might be no, assuming  you also own a computer, but maybe I’ll pique your interest today in owning a tablet. Last week’s post, part of the 2016 Byte-size Series, explored the possible costs and uses of the affordable 7″ Kindle Fire, currently offered at $49.99.

Let’s continue the brainstorming from last week for how to use tablets. I came up with the following additional ideas for the Kindle Fire (these will work in a similar way on other tablets, too).

Possible Uses for a Tablet


  • Share your VACA, ministry videos, and family photos easily during your MPD appointments. I keep these on cloud-based Box, where I also put various MPD spreadsheets I’ve created through my TntConnect (the new name for TntMPD) database. These files can also be downloaded for offline use on the Fire.
  • The Fire has rear and front-facing cameras, allowing you to use Skype. (also, free texting, anyone?)
  • Go to the Staffweb to work on a reimbursement or use the Expense Manager app for tracking your trip costs.
  • Plan your destination directions on Google Maps in the hotel before you head out for the day. On the road, your Fire won’t have Internet access, so take a screenshot of your map beforehand by pressing both the power and the volume down buttons at the same time. (I look at all files, including these screenshots, using the ES File Explorer Manager.)

Other Travel Uses

  • TripIt will track your itinerary for flights, rentals, …
  • Set the Weather Channel app to the cities you’ll be visiting.
  • Again, Skype could be amazingly useful for international travel. Here’s the coverage map for Amazon’s Whispernet.
  • Don’t pack four books to read on your trip, pack your Kindle Fire.
  • Taking a long car trip for MPD? Use OverDrive for seamlessly checking out all kinds of media from your local library wherever you are, including video, ebooks, and audio books. I check out audio books to play through our car’s speakers with a 3.5mm auxiliary audio cable and the auxiliary port.
  • Also play music through the auxiliary port.
  • Kids in the back seat will appreciate the Fire.
  • Especially with the wi-fi, location, bluetooth, etc. turned off while on the road, your battery should last for the day, or plug it into your car’s power.


You’ll like the family-friendly Fire, which comes with FreeTime Unlimited and the ability to set up personalized accounts for up to four children. In FreeTime, they’ll have:

  • Children’s books, games, and educational apps
  • Parental controls – choose what content each child sees, and set educational goals and time limits


Besides the usual free apps you might have on your smartphone, let’s consider a few more (for the Fire, you’ll be downloading Android apps from Google Play store):

  • Battery Doctor (or others) baby your battery for longer life (read how).
  • Bitdefender Antivirus checks your apps when you download. I also run a scan of my tablet regularly.
  • Clean Master and CCleaner are both powerful apps for keeping junk files cleaned off, again, do this regularly.
  • ES File Explorer Manager transfers files between devices and more.
  • Evernote  or ColorNote for notes (Skitch, too, for handwriting with Evernote).
  • Feedly for RSS feeds (Flipit also possible)
  • Hootsuite for social media management
  • Pocket saves content from your laptop to read later on your Kindle Fire.
  • Sketchbook – I haven’t tried this, but looks like a great drawing tool.
  • Swype app, an intuitive gesture and voice keyboard for 99¢ and a must-have. Watch this video to see why I recommend it.
  • WordPress has a full-feature app (I haven’t used it yet).
  • ToDoist syncs across email, Chrome, my phone, and my Kindle Fire so I easily keep tabls on what I should be doing next.
  • Unreached of the Day – pray for unreached people groups daily.
  • YouVersion Bible – download a version or two so you’re not dependent on having wi-fi for reading (also has audio versions).

Some Android apps won’t be available for the Fire unless you allow it. So far, I’ve stayed with mostly Fire-friendly apps. I also don’t use the Facebook app on my Fire because I read that it really eats up battery life, so I check in on Facebook through the Silk browser.

The Evernote, Feedly, Hootsuite, Pocket and ToDoist apps also have extensions for Google Chrome. Sync these apps with your phone, laptop and tablet.

The Cru apps which download to the Kindle Fire are:

The other Cru apps cannot be added to the Fire through Google Play, which is the only way the apps are offered.  I’ll have to look into another option and report back later.

I’m thinking about getting a $20 Bluetooth speaker to listen to an audio book, music or a podcast while gardening. The Fire would stay inside and the speaker could move about the yard with me.

Did I say I love my Kindle Fire? I do read books on it, too. At night, I turn on the Blue Shade feature so blue light won’t interfere with my sleep.

What are your thoughts about tablets / smartphones / laptops? Do you prefer one over another?


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.