Monday, August 1, 2016

Tech Break: Amazon Fire 7 5th gen with Nexus ROM

Yes this has nothing to do with miniatures, or wargaming, but it is my other hobby. I have had this Amazon Fire 7 5th gen for 7 months now, and have to say this has become my primary device at home. I will pick it up over going to my laptop, or desktops to check on the world. I read most of my email and social media from this little device. I also watch Netflix, YouTube, and other media and even stream to my Chrome Cast. This is also a great device to take this with me when I travel to watch movies on the plane, and such.
                                                 

Lets start with the device.
Amazon Fire 7" 5th gen, Click this link. It now comes in colors, and has a 16gb version. It goes on sale from time to time for $30. and is worth it. This is a simple quad core tablet with 8GB of storage, and a slot for a micro SD card up to 128GB. It will run most apps well, but does bog down on some 3d games. I move as many apps to the SD card as I can to keep the internal storage as free as I can.

Now lets look at the Fire OS.
Well I ran it long enough to get rid of it and its ads. Here is RootJunky's play list of all his Amazon Fire videos link . These videos will guide you through setting up the tablet with Root access no ads, and a new ROM (OS) if you decide to do that. It is not very hard, just takes a bit of time, and I recommend using a Windows 7 computer to work on this tablet.

You can start with this video Link, and all the files from this site Link RootJunky's download site. Once you have finished with this video you will have a device that is now rooted, ad free, and google play store installed.

To install a ROM or OS on the Fire tablet, install FlashFire from the Rootjunk download site. You can move the file over via the USB cable or as I do I place the files in my Google Drive and then download to my device. With this file on you tablet you can install a new ROM, OS right from the tablet while it is running Fire OS. I have done this a number of times and not had any issues.RJ shows you how to use FlashFire in his videos.

I started with SlimLP ROM and updated it as new versions came out. Here is the XDA forum link a ton of great info and help here.Yesterday I did the latest version, as my tablet was getting slow, but once I did the update I decided to try the Nexus ROM for the Fire tablet.

The Nexus ROM. Here is the link to the XDA froum post for the Nexus ROM. Here is the direct link to this RJ video.
I ran this yesterday, and am totally impressed with this ROM. Every thing is crisp and clean. There is almost no lag when switching between apps, and the web. But it is a very stripped down ROM, just like the Nexus devices. I have to install every thing just like RJ had to.

I did have an issue with the ability to move apps to the SD card to save space. But a little work on my end and that is addressed and working well. To do this I needed to take the micro SD card and create a partition on this for the linking of apps. I did this under Linux and created a 10GB ext4 partition on my 32GB card. Then I installed Link2sd and I paid for the pro version. From the image below you can see I have 2.2gb free on the internal storage, and 19.6 on the SD card. The part that is missing is the EXT4 10GB partition for my apps, that is hidden.

Ok if you do not have a Linux machine how can you create a partition for ext4 on the micro SD. This MiniTool Partition Wizard can be used for free on Windows systems. Now I have never used this tool as I love to play with Linux, and find it easy to boot Linux from a USB drive, to do what I need.

Now that I am on this new ROM what can I do. Well I figured out how to move apps to the micro SD card. Then I decided to test what was working before. I have an OTG micro USB cable, and I plugged this in to the port on the Fire 7. Now lets see what works with it. In the photo I have the cable, a USB flash drive and a USB mouse.
I was able to use both of the above devices, I copied a movie from the drive to my tablet, and I was able to mouse around on the tablet (try that iPad).
Here is a small Video I made of the device.


I will say this under any version of Android I found that some apps would not install from the play store. This is partly the fact this is a Fire OS device. To get around this I have an old Android phone, I install the app I want on this phone, then I back up the APK using Es File Explorer. I think the free version will back the APKs up. I then copy the APK to Google Drive and open them on the Fire Tablet to install. 

If this is some thing you like and want to ask me questions please leave a comment and I will do my best to answer them.

Noel


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