Amazon has just launched a new, larger version of its Kindle Fire tablet with a high-definition display, in a move by the retail giant to take on the Apple iPad and also a smaller 7 inch to compete it against the Nexus 7. How do they stack up? Value for money? And judging by specs alone, the Kindle Fire HD is the better buy.
|7-Inch Kindle Fire HD||8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD||Google Nexus 7|
|Display||7-inch LCD IPS||8.9-inch LCD IPS||7-inch LCD IPS|
|Resolution||1,280 x 800||1,920 x 1,200||1,280 x 800|
|OS (Skinned)||Android 4.0||Android 4.0||Android 4.1|
|CPU||Dual-core 1.2GHz TI OMAP4 4470||Dual-core 1.5GHz TI OMAP4 4470||1.3GHz quad-core|
|Graphics||IT SGX544||IT SGX544||Tegra 3|
|Memory||TBA (likely 1GB)||TBA (likely 1GB)||1GB|
|Storage||16GB, 32GB||16GB, 32GB, 64GB||8GB, 16GB|
|Cellular||N/A||AT&T 4G LTE||N/A (3G coming)|
|WiFi||Dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n||Dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n||802.11 b/g/n|
|Bluetooth||Yes (TBA)||Yes (TBA)||Yes|
|Dimensions||193 x 137 x 10.3mm||240 x 160 x 8.8mm||198 x 120 x 10.5mm|
|Weight (WiFi)||395 grams||567 grams||340 grams|
|Battery||“11 hours”||TBA||“10 hours”|
|Ports||microUSB, microHDMI||microUSB, microHDMI||microUSB|
|Price||$199 (16gb), 249 (32gb)||299 (16gb), 349 (32gb)||199 (8gb), 249 (16gb)|
Clearly, Amazon is pricing the 7″ Kindle Fire HD aggressively. You get more storage for the Fire HD, better battery life, and HDMI output as well. In terms of playback, the Nexus 7 is only equipped with a mono speaker but the Fire HD is equipped with stereo. Currently, there are no real world experience or results that pitch the Nexus 7 processor vs the Amazon Kindle. The Kindle processor in benchmarks released by Amazon states that it is faster but I would take the usual marketing releases with a pinch of salt. I would expect the quad core Nexus 7 to better it in other performance tests.
For the Nexus 7, you get a lighter tablet (15% lighter!), better “official” software, without waiting for 3rd party ROM releases. Amazon might be stuck with their proprietary software and limited to applications from their app store. Apparently, their screen saver would display paid advertisements as well. From the get-go, you would not have access to some of Google features like Google Now and Wallet, but this features as of today may not be that important to most of us. Furthermore, the Kindle Fire HD has no GPS, no gyroscope so maps or location aware apps would not work well. Also no NFC. Also, the Amazon app store has only 50,000 apps compared to 600,000+ for Google Play. I believe the Kindle Fire is limited to the Amazon App store without loading a custom ROM or rooting it.
The Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ version is actually quite valued for money if you were to compare it against the $499 16gb iPad. Apple boasted about the iPad revolutionary retina screen but now Amazon were able to launch a full HD 1920 x 1200 resolution tablet at $200 cheaper.
End of it all, it all boils down to what you are going to use it for, and which ecosystem you are currently using. The Kindle Fire HD would be the pick if you are going to use your tablet quite a bit as a media device. Although in this case, I would recommend that you just get the 8.9″ version instead. The better screen, larger storage and microHDMI output are useful features. The one huge selling point for the new Fire HD is the micro HDMI. I have that on my Optimus 2X, and it’s a great thing to be able to watch content in my living room or TV full size.
On the other hand, the N7 would be the pick if you value reading and portability as the N7 is more versatile. The 15% weight difference is significant if you are going to be bringing it out frequently and using it for reading. For books, you aren’t limited to Amazon Kindle store and you can still access the Amazon book stores and also other distributors like Barnes and Noble. Google Play also have a pretty well stocked magazine and book library. App and software access is also not restricted. However, it is very likely that the Kindle Fire HD would be rooted and custom ROMs made available and that would allow full app and software compatibility. Still considering? Don’t forget the possible iPad mini launching in October.