Does Kindle Fire HD Rival Google Nexus 7 Tablet? Which Is Best For You? (Video)
Amazon's unveiling of its new Kindle Fire HD Sept. 6 means consumers now have a wealth of tablet options. By the time the holidays arrive that will be especially true, with a possible fall release for Apple's iPad Mini. For now though -- as far as price and features are concerned -- two of the best bets on the market are the Kindle Fire HD and Google's Nexus 7. Let's take a look at how the two devices compare.
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Kindle Fire HD
The Kindle Fire HD is shaping up to be a surprisingly sleek tablet that's packed with power for an affordable price. One of the best advantages of the Kindle Fire HD is that you can buy various versions of it: one model will come with a 7-inch screen, and another will launch with an 8.9-inch screen. And those screens look fantastic, too, as the smaller one sports an 1820 x 800 resolution and the larger one has a 1920 x 1200 resolution. Amazon has also figured out technology to make its screens look good in direct sunlight, and respond well to touch.
The last Kindle Fire stood out because of its stellar price, most complaints centered on the device's underwhelming amount of power. That's not the case with the new Kindle Fire HDs, as these will have a powerful OMAP processor, and Amazon has spent a lot of time saying how much more powerful this is than the Tegra 3, which powers the Nexus 7.
Amazon is also touting the keen attention to detail the company has taken with the latest Kindle Fire HD tablets. Example: The new tablets have dual speakers with Dolby, and also feature two Wi-Fi antennas, which should provide a faster connection than the competition.
The company is also clearly investing itself in the app game.
The design for the Kindle Fire HD and the Nexus 7 are fairly similar. Both are well-built in a minimalist sort of way, and both have a front-facing camera for video calling.
Along with different screen sizes, there are multiple price points and configurations. You can buy an entry-level 16GB Kindle Fire HD for $199; the 32GB 7-inch model for $249; 16GB 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD for $299; a 32GB 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD for $369; and a 32GB 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD with 4G LTE for $499. If you want the updated Kindle Fire, the 8GB model can be had for $159.
If you're looking for a tablet to consume movies, TV shows and books, then the Amazon Kindle Fire HD is probably the device for you. Amazon has a great collection of books, movies and music that the Google Play Store just can't match yet, and the Amazon Appstore gives you one free premium app a day, something we think most people can get behind, especially when you consider innovative new apps like these:
"Immersion Reading" - Kindle books can be synchronized with Audible audiobooks allowing you to read and listen at the same time.
"X-Ray for Movies" - Users can tap the screen at any time while watching a movie to find out who the actor is. The feature uses the Amazon-owned IMDb database service to find the information.
"X-Ray for Books," and textbooks - Lets you tap a page in a book to find out more information on characters, places in a book or related YouTube content.
"Whispersync for Games" - Lets you pick up where you left off when playing games. There's also Whispersync for movies and books.
"Time to Read"- Uses your reading speed to tell you when you will finish a chapter in a book on the Paperwhite.
"Kindle FreeTime" - Lets parents create profiles for their children and choose what books, games, apps or videos they can access. They will also be able to set time limits. The feature will be available next month on each version of the Kindle Fire HD.
Amazon Prime users will also get free streaming access to thousands of TV shows and movies, along with the option to rent or buy new ones with a few clicks.
The new Amazon tablets will use a forked version of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with Amazon's custom, carousel user interface. It's simpler than the standard Android layout but it's also cut off from Google services like the Play Store.
The Kindle Fire HD tablets offer a variety of high-quality devices at good price points. The Amazon content ecosystem is also a bit better than what Google offers and Amazon Prime members will really get the most out of the latest Kindle Fire HD tablets.
The Nexus 7 is one best reviewed tablets of all time because this Android device provides a smooth computing experience on the go.
The Nexus 7 has a crisp screen with a 1280 x 800 resolution, is powered by the quad-core Tegra 3 chipset and perhaps most importantly, it runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Many report great satisfaction with Google's work on this version to make the Android experience fast, responsive and beautiful. The combination of hardware and software makes the Nexus 7 one of the smoothest computing devices.
You can also be sure that you'll get the best of what Google has to offer because the Nexus 7 is a Google experience product. That means things like the Chrome browser, YouTube, Gmail and other apps come preloaded on the device and all work extremely well on the tablet. You can still access some of these on the Kindle Fire HD via a browser but the experience is less integrated.
Having deep ties with Google has its advantages, as the Google Play Store is filled with many more apps than what can be found in the Amazon Appstore. You can also look forward to getting the latest software updates very quickly on the Nexus 7, and the same can't be said for the Kindle Fire HD tablets. Those really wanting to hack or root their devices will also likely want to lean toward the Nexus 7.
While the Play Store is great for the apps, the selection of movies, TV shows and books isn't quite as good as what Amazon delivers right now. Google's offerings have improved greatly over the years but they still lag far behind Amazon.
The Nexus 7 only comes in two storage options: an 8GB one for $199 and a 16GB version for $249.
The Nexus 7 is a powerful tablet that should satisfy techies and mainstream users alike. The Google Play Store is not as good as Amazon's in terms of movies and music but it offers more apps. The Nexus 7 will also likely continue to improve with quick software updates, and for hardcore Google users there's likely no better tablet product.