cheap tablet for comics
October 4, 2020 5:49 PM   Subscribe

Good, cheap tablet for reading comics?

I like to read comics. I'd like to read them on a tablet. I don't want to spend a lot of money on this. I don't want to do anything else on the tablet except read comics. What's the absolute cheapest I can go and still have a good experience?
Mostly .cbr files, comixology and marvel unlimited.
I'm in Chile, and would be willing to get something on AliExpress or Wish, even though it'll take a few months to get here.
Even without taking into account the price, I'd rather avoid an iPad because of how painful it is to move files to them.
posted by signal to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You can get an Amazon Fire 7 for $50 plus shipping

Comic reading app is $3. Does what it says on the box.
posted by ananci at 5:54 PM on October 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

I read a lot of comics on my tablet too. For that reason I would not go smaller than 8" screen size as those tablets, while cheap, end up making it hard to read them. I would go with a refurbished or used Galaxy Tab from a couple years back, aim for the 10" or 8" version. You can find them on Swappa, and I don't see any reason why you shouldn't be able to get it shipped to you.

I would aim to spend USD$100 plus or minus 20, get an 8-10" screen, no older than 4 years and no newer than a 2019 version.

If you do happen to get a line on a cheap iPad, though... I had a 3rd gen (i.e. 8 or 9 years old) that I read comics happily on for years and would be still if I hadn't gotten a newer one from work. I use the app ComicFlow and if you pay for it (like $3) you can add files wirelessly very easily, I feel your pain on file transfers and believe me this is as easy as it gets.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 6:00 PM on October 4, 2020

For exactly the same purpose, I bought a Dell Venue 8 7000, from Dell's dalliance with Android. It has a 2560x1600 OLED display which is simply breathtaking. The tablet is kinda sluggish, without much RAM or storage, and it's a dead-end technologically (it uses an Intel processor and there will be no more firmware upgrades) but dat screen doe. I paid $129 for it in March of last year. You may have some trouble tracking one down these days but if you can, and if the price is right, it's exactly what you want.
posted by kindall at 6:15 PM on October 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

As the owner of a ridiculous number of tablets ranging from 7" to 15", I don't like reading comics on anything smaller than a 1080 or better 10 inch tablet. If you're willing to deal with the Amazon ecosystem and it'll work properly in Chile, the Kindle Fire 10 is that and can be had pretty cheap. I'm striking out on finding where I saw it, but I've seen refurbs of the previous generation advertised for $60 or so recently.
posted by Candleman at 7:13 PM on October 4, 2020

Thanks for the answers so far. Yes, I also think it should be 10" or larger. I can probably go up to about $200.
posted by signal at 7:14 PM on October 4, 2020

Candleman: ". If you're willing to deal with the Amazon ecosystem "

Can you use the standard Android play store, etc, or are you locked in to some amazon app store? Can you load CBRs directly?
posted by signal at 7:18 PM on October 4, 2020

I asked more or less the same question here, though I haven't committed to one yet. If you buy an Amazon tablet you have to side-load the Google Play store to access other apps like Marvel Unlimited, which is the main reason I haven't just bought a Fire yet.
posted by skycrashesdown at 7:59 PM on October 4, 2020

Historically you've been able to get the Play store to work on Kindle Fires. It's not officially supported so at some point they might take steps to block it working but if they haven't done so by now they're probably not going to.

You can probably find something that will load CBR files in the Amazon store. You can copy or download files directly into the device - it's not locked down the way iPads are.
posted by Candleman at 8:07 PM on October 4, 2020

Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 - $179

I have the 2016 version of this tablet, and reading comics is pretty much the only thing I use it for. You can transfer CBRs/CBZs directly to it, and I read them via Moon+ Reader (but there are many other options in the play store.) The one I linked only has 32GB of storage, but it has a microSD slot, so cheap expanded storage is an option if you need a bigger library on-device.
posted by namewithoutwords at 8:55 PM on October 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

I use an 8" kindle, stepping up from the 7 and I read a fair amount of comics. I use comixology, which is free to download, or the amazon kindle app, also free. Whether the comics read well is often a function of how the comic has been set up. A mainstream comic, Marvel for example, will be set up to be pretty smooth between frames, so you don't lose info out at the edges of a panel and can easily follow the story, some others are less so. There's a range of quality basically.
posted by biffa at 4:19 AM on October 5, 2020

namewithoutwords: "Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 - $179"

Would you say the screen is large enough for a full page of a standard marvel comic?
posted by signal at 5:13 AM on October 5, 2020

A similar question, from a couple of months ago.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 5:38 AM on October 5, 2020

I would. screenshot from my 2016 Tab A reading issue 1 of Nova The Human Rocket from 1976. A full page easily fits and is legible.

A photo of same next to an actual comic for scale
posted by namewithoutwords at 9:16 AM on October 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

Beautiful namewithoutwords, thanks.
posted by signal at 12:01 PM on October 5, 2020

Follow up: I bought the Tab A and love it.
posted by signal at 1:24 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]

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