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Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 vs Apple iPad: Spec comparison

HardwareFeatures
by Eugene Kim, 27 Sep 2013Features
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 vs Apple iPad: Spec comparison

Amazon has made a name for itself in the tablet world, continually pushing the envelope when it comes to full-featured, bargain priced hardware. Its devices might cater to the more casual crowd, but the internal guts have always turned heads in the tech world as well.

This year's new Kindle Fires are no different, combining bleeding edge components with low prices and consumer focused services. The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 carries the torch at the high-end and will inevitably be compared to the latest iPad – so how does it stack up against Apple’s powerhouse tablet? Read on to find out.

Apple's iPad hasn't changed its design since the iPad 2. That's not a bad thing, as the aluminium design is as iconic as ever. But the slim and lightweight iPad mini, as well as its competitors, have been getting thinner and lighter. The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is remarkably light for a large-screen tablet, weighing only 382 grams. To put that in perspective, the original Kindle Fire, with its 7in screen, weighed 415 grams. The full-sized iPad tips the scales at 652 grams.

The Fire HDX 8.9 will likely be among the most powerful tablets available, boasting a quad-core 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800 processor and 2GB of RAM. It's Qualcomm's fastest chip yet and can be found in smartphone barn burners like the LG G2. The Apple iPad uses a custom A6X chip that provides plenty of power, but based on recent benchmarks, it's starting to look a bit dated compared with chips like the Snapdragon 800. The HDX 8.9 will also benefit from the Adreno 330 GPU, which benchmarked a bit better than Apple's quad-core GPU that's paired with the A6X. Of course, benchmarks don't tell the whole story and performance isn't solely dependent on pure processing power.

Amazon bumped up the pixel count on the HDX, from 1,920 x 1,200 pixels to 2,560 x 1,600 pixels. That raises the pixel density to a tack sharp 339 pixels per inch. The iPad's display comes in at 2,046 x 1,536 pixels, which is comparable, but not quite as sharp at 264ppi thanks to the larger 9.7in screen. Will you be able to tell the difference? Maybe if you have perfect vision and look extra close, but there's more to display quality than pixel count.

Then there's the ever-important operating system. Amazon's finally put a name to its user friendly Android skin, dubbed Fire OS 3.0 "Mojito," which runs over Android 4.2.2. Amazon takes user friendly design one step further with its new Mayday feature. Tap the Mayday button and you'll be able to chat with a real live Amazon expert who can help you with all your tablet issues. Apple's always had its retail stores and in-person support, but getting some of those benefits right from the comfort of your own home could be a big selling point for the tech-averse. Check Mayday out in action in the video below.

The iPad and Fire HDX also offer dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and 4G LTE connectivity. The big difference? Price. We can’t compare UK prices yet, as Amazon hasn’t revealed how much the HDX will run to in pounds. However, looking at the US prices, Apple's LTE-enabled 16GB iPad costs $629 (£392). The LTE-enabled 16GB Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 costs just $479 (£299). That's a sizeable difference, even if you factor in Amazon's "special offers" $15 (£9) discount.

The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 looks like it'll be a tablet to reckon with, but bear in mind that the new iPads are expected right around the corner. The HDX 8.9 is available for pre-order in the US now, and we’ll hopefully hear release details for the UK soon.

So which tablet do you think comes out on top? Let us know in the comments below, and stay tuned for a full review. Until then, check out our hands-on with the new Kindle Fires.

 

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9

Apple iPad 4

Display

   

Screen size

8.9in

9.7in

Resolution

2,560 x 1,600 pixels

2,048 x 1,536 pixels

Pixel density

339 PPI

264 PPI

Type

IPS LCD

IPS LCD

Processor and battery

   

Family

Qualcomm

Apple A6X

CPU

Snapdragon 800

Swift (ARMv7s)

Cores

Quad-core

Dual-core

Clock speed

2.2GHz

1.4GHz

GPU

Adreno 330

PowerVR SGX543

Battery

TBC

11,560 mAh

Claimed battery life (mid-heavy usage)

TBC

10h

Storage and memory

   

RAM

2GB

1GB

Internal storage

16GB / 32GB / 64GB

16GB / 32GB / 64GB / 128GB

microSD

No

No

Camera

   

Megapixels

8MP

5MP

Resolution

3264 x 2448 pixels

2,592 x 1,944 pixels

Flash

LED

No

Aperture

TBC

f/2.4

Video

1080p @ 30fps

1080p @ 30fps

Secondary

720p

1.2MP

Wireless

   

UK Network

3G, 4G LTE

3G, 4G LTE

Wi-Fi

802.11 a / b / g / n

802.11 a / b / g / n

NFC

No

No

Bluetooth

4.0 with A2DP

4.0 with A2DP

Connectivity

   

USB

Micro-USB port

No

HDMI

No

No

Dimensions

   

Size

231 x 157 x 8mm

241.2 x 185.7 x 9.4mm

Weight

382g

652g

Operating System

Fire OS 3.0 (Mojito) based on Android 4.2.2

iOS 7

Price

Wi-Fi only: $379 (£237) (16GB); $429 (£267) (32GB); $479 (£299) (64GB)

Cellular + Wi-Fi: $479 (£299) (16GB); $529 (£330) (32GB); $579 (£361) (64GB)

UK price and availability TBC

Wi-Fi only: £399 (16GB); £479 (32GB); £559 (64GB); £639 (128GB)

Cellular + Wi-Fi: £499 (16GB); £579 (32GB); £659 (64GB); £739 (128GB)

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