Kindle Fire & Chord Charts

NEWS

I just got the new Kindle Fire tablet and was interested in seeing if I could use it to play chord charts. Churches are starting to use the iPad for charts but it’s $300 more than the Fire.

I’ve read just about every Kindle Fire review out there and here’s my summary: it’s no iPad, but it doesn’t want to be. The Fire is a media consumption device. I love the size of it – similar to a paperback book – and the iPad seems big to me in comparison.

It isn’t as elegant as an iPad – menus and screens are a little touchy but I assume this will improve as the software is refined (Amazon’s own version of the Android operating system.) I’ve wondered why anyone would ever need a tablet, then I found myself lying on the couch for an hour here and there reading news on my large screen Sprint Evo phone. The Fire is great for reading news as well as magazines, books and video. Games are beautiful. And it’s only $199.99 (the sales guy told me they’re selling like crazy.)

The smaller size makes it ideal to stick in your coat pocket, but is it big enough to read charts?

I took it to band rehearsal and church last week to test it out. I created a single PDF file of all our charts for last week, saved it to Dropbox, then opened them from the Dropbox app on the Fire (you have to “side load” the Dropbox app onto the Fire since it isn’t in the official Amazon App Store – Google “Kindle Fire Dropbox” for easy instructions – it only took a minute.) Holding the Fire in portrait mode will show the full chart but it’s too small to read. Landscape mode worked nicely but only about half the chart will display.

The stock Fire PDF reader is lousy. With a little research I found good reviews of the ezPDF Reader and bought it for $2.99. ezPDF let me navigate the charts easily – tapping the bottom of the screen scrolled to the bottom of the chart, tapping on the top of the screen scrolled to the top of the chart. Tapping left or right let me switch charts.

PraiseCharts.com’s new ChordShark feature lets you create chord charts in a 2 column format, allowing you to fit more info on the smaller Fire screen.

The small footprint of the Fire was perfect to sit on my keyboard. I also purchased the rooCASE Dual-View Multi Angle Leather Folio Case which has a stand built-in (see pics below of the Fire propped up on my keyboard.) It’s best to perch on a keyboard – guitarists might as well use an iPad on a stand.

The Fire wouldn’t work for sheet music but for charts it was pretty good. Praise songs aren’t rocket science and I usually have the songs memorized, but just having the first verse/chorus appear on the Fire screen as reference helped keep me on track.

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