Amazon made quite the statement with the new e-reader and tablet arsenal it unveiled in California last night. The Kindle Fire HD was launched in 7in and 8.9in versions, the Paperwhite e-book was shown off, and updates to the original Kindle and Kindle Fires were also announced.
But let’s focus on what’s definitely hitting the UK, which is just the Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD as it stands. The latter will be Amazon’s flagship 7in model, and boldly takes on the popular Google Nexus 7 which impressed experts and consumers alike after its July launch. With the Kindle Fire HD set to arrive in the UK on the 25 October, should you be holding out for this slate, or diving in on the Nexus 7 right now? Check out our comparison below.
Size and weight
The Kindle Fire HD measures up at 193 x 137 x 10.3mm, while the longer, narrower, and dare we say more elegant, Nexus 7 measures 199 x 120 x 10.45mm. The bezel does appear rather large on the Kindle on images we’ve seen, and weighing 395g compared to the 340g Nexus 7, we could be dealing with a slightly clunkier model in the hand.
Without putting them side-by-side in the flesh, there’s no separating these two tablets in terms of displays, and even when we do get both in our hands, differences will be minuscule. Both sport a 7in IPS LCD screen with resolutions of 1,280 x 800 pixels (216 PPI). Though Amazon has been playing up the 'glare-reduction' on its model.
Storage and memory
The Kindle Fire HD offers more in this department, as 16 and 32GB models will be available compared to the restricted 8 and 16GB offerings for the Nexus. A drawback of the Nexus was the absence of a card slot for additional memory, so it’s slightly disappointing the new Fire hasn’t capitalised on this opportunity and expanded on potential capacity. The 32GB model should suffice for most consumers, however.
The Google-Asus manufactured Nexus 7 looks to have claimed a victory in terms of the processor, as its quad-core engine over-powers the dual-core TI OMAP 4460 in the Kindle Fire HD. The Nexus’s renowned NVIDIA Tegra 3 chip clocks in at 1.3GHZ, outdoing the 1.2GHz Kindle chip by a whisker.
Google claims software hegemony over these two as its Android OS features on both devices. But while the Nexus 7 runs the latest 4.1 Jelly Bean offering, Amazon’s Kindle has to settle for a custom version of 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. In terms of the apps available on each device, that may come down to the personal preferences of the user, rather than what’s necessarily ‘better’. Some will want to make the most of Amazon’s extensive media libraries of ebooks and music, but others won’t want to miss out on headline apps that are always likely to feature in the Google Play Store, but may not be available in the Amazon Appstore.
Amazon has thus far been suspiciously vague on the capabilities of its front-facing camera. Supposedly ideal for Skype conversations, it is simply described as ‘HD’, perhaps suggesting it isn’t too much to write home about. The Nexus 7 sports a 1.2MP front-facing cam that records video in 720p.
If we believe the claims of each maker, the Kindle wins the battery battle by a solitary hour, with 11 hours of life against Nexus 7’s 10. Though admittedly, this isn’t always a specification you can easily pinpoint.
Both tabs have 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi but the Kindle Fire’s dual-antenna is a world first on a tablet, with Amazon touting faster downloads and streaming as a result. Neither device has integrated 3G connectivity.
The Nexus 7 was noted for its excellent value on release, so the fact that the Kindle Fire HD has undercut its rival is quite something. The Kindle Fire’s 16GB tab costs £159, compared to the £199 16GB Nexus 7. Paying that much gets you a 32GB version of the Fire. The interesting inclusion of high-quality Dolby speakers on the Fire further bolsters the value for money claims sure to be lauded over rivals by Amazon.
Amazon Kindle Fire HD
Google Nexus 7
1280 x 800 pixels
1280 x 800 pixels
Processor and battery
TI OMAP 4460
NVIDIA Tegra 3
11 hours (claimed)
10 hours (claimed)
Storage and memory
16 / 32GB
8 / 16GB
193 x 137 x 10.3mm
199 x 120 x 10.45mm
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean