Categories: Kindle Fire HDX

5 Decisive Specs- Kindle Fire HDX vs Apple iPad vs Google Nexus

Kindle Fire HDX 7 vs Nexus 7 vs iPad Mini with Retina Display

In life, some things matter more while others matter less. Tablet computers are no exception! You could compare dozens or even hundreds of features/specs between the Kindle Fire HDX and the iPad Mini with Retina display or the Kindle Fire HDX and the Google Nexus tabs, but at the end of the day, the buying decision comes down to a handful features.

 

Before we get started with the comparison proper, here’s an interesting statistic.

Localytics comparison 600Credits: http://www.localytics.com/blog/2013/kindle-fire-drives-us-android-tablet-dominance/

Highlights from the above study…

  • The USA leads the race: The pie-chart on the left side says that 59% of the Android tablets (e.g. Kindle Fire, Google Nexus, Samsung Galaxy etc.) in the whole world are in the USA. Pretty impressive huh?
  • Amazon Kindle Fire is the most popular Android tablet in the USA:
    • The graphic on the right-hand side shows that 33% of Android tablets in the whole world are Amazon Kindle Fire tablets.
    • It also shows that the Kindle Fire is a much more popular model than the Nook, Samsung Galaxy or Nexus 7 in the USA.
    • It also indicates that over 55% of the Android tablets in the USA are Kindle Fire tablets (33/59 X 100 = 55%) 
  • Nexus 7 is the least popular: The Kindle Fire (33%) is 4X more popular than the Nexus 7 (8%) and 3.5X more popular than the Samsung Galaxy tablets in the USA. I bet most of you didn’t expect such a big difference between the Kindle Fire and the other Android tablets.

The Kindle Fire is the most popular Android tablet in the USA.

Is the Kindle Fire that good?

Let this Kindle Fire HDX vs iPad Mini vs Nexus 7 comparison answer that question!

 The Carousal View on the Kindle Fire HDX Home screen

Let’s start by comparing the 5 Most Decisive Specs

1. Price Comparison

Kindle Fire HDX vs Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad Mini Price Comparison

Click to Enlarge

Highlights…

  • The iPad is more expensive than the Kindle Fire HDX and Google Nexus
  • Even the iPad Mini (iPad Mini 2, the new model with Retina Display) is more expensive than the 8.9″ Kindle Fire HDX tablet
     

The Price differences?

Kindle Fire HDX vs Apple iPad Mini Retina vs Google Nexus 7 Price Differences

Click to enlarge

 
  • 16GB Wi-Fi only 7″ model – the latest iPad mini with Retina display is $170 more expensive than the 7″ Kindle Fire HDX and Google Nexus.
  • 32GB Wi-Fi only 7″ model – the gap widens – the iPad mini is $220 more expensive
  • 64GB Wi-Fi + 4G LTE 7″ model – the gap widens to $320
  • Ironically, the price difference is smaller for the comparison of the larger tablets (ranges from $120 – $250)
  • Even the 8.9″ Fire HDX is cheaper than the new iPad mini!
 

 

1. Price Comparison

Kindle Fire HDX and Nexus 7 are joint winners!

 

We lied! The 3rd Generation 7″ Kindle Fire HD is even more cheaper at just $139. However, it’s not in the same league as the Fire HDX or Nexus 7. This $139 tablet will fulfill the tablet-needs of MOST tablet users.

  • What is the $139 Kindle Fire HD Good for?
    • Do NOT underestimate this ‘Budget’ tablet.
    • It has a Dual-Core 1.5 GHz processor and 1GB of RAM – even the new iPad Mini with Retina Display has a Dual-Core 1.4 GHz processor and 1GB of RAM. So it shouldn’t be belittled just because it’s specs seem very inferior to the Kindle Fire HDX. It should be able to handle 99% of the things most of us do on a day-to-day basis with a tablet computer.
    • It has a very good high definition (HD) display with 1280 x 800 pixel resolution (216 pixels per inch/ppi pixel density). That’s the same resolution as the 2nd generation Kindle Fire HD of 2012/13. In comparison, the first generation iPad Mini only had a 163 ppi display.
    • It’s more than enough for the regular web-browsing we do, regular email checking, reading ebooks, watching movies, listening to audio-books, managing to-do lists, managing the daily planner/calendar, playing games, social networking etc. etc.
    • It’s also a highly recommended investment for anybody with young kids! You don’t want to spend too much on a Kids’ tablet, but at the same time, you don’t want to deprive your child of all the educational, memory boosting, apps, games, reading material it comes with. If you buy this for a child, we also highly recommend this source because of the availability of unlimited access to thousands of games, apps, books, and movies for as little as $2.99/month.
      Free Educational Kids Apps
  • What is the $139 Kindle Fire HD NOT Good for?
    • It doesn’t have a camera or mic – it’s a deal breaker for those of you that want to use it for video chatting/Skype
    • It doesn’t have Mayday – It’s unlikely to be a deal breaker because there are plenty of other ways to get support
    • It doesn’t have the 4G LTE option – this can be a deal breaker if you’re a frequent traveler and you want to be ‘online’ even when you’re on the go. However, if you must have this and you need 3G/4G LTE, you can use a device like this to get 4G LTE on the go
    • May not be ideal if you do a lot of multi-tasking and/or use CPU intensive applications – but most of us don’t do that!
    • It doesn’t have a “beyond HD” (HDX) resolution EXCELLENT display that the Kindle Fire HDX, Nexus 7 and iPad Mini with Retina Display has – deal breaker or not, you be the judge because as we mentioned earlier, it has a VERY GOOD HD display! It’s just not EXCELLENT!
  • 8GB $139 Model or 16GB $169 Model?
    • This mostly depends on what you use it for, but generally, we recommend the 16GB model because 8GB tends to run out quite fast. The first generation 8GB Kindle Fire that I bought back in 2011, which my kids use for games, is kind of ‘full’. Every time I install a relatively space consuming app, I have to uninstall an existing one (some of these kids’ game apps are up to 500MB in size).

      We recommend the 16GB tablet because 8GB can fill up fast

    • If you do decide to go with the 8GB model, you can always get a Wireless Device like this one that works with this Free App to expand the memory!
  • Bottom line…

     

 

Any other Good-Quality Budget Tablets?

If you’re after a budget tablet like the $139 Kindle Fire HD, also check out the specs of this ASUS tablet. It has a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, HD 10-point multi-touch panel, 5MP autofocus rear camera 1080P video recording, a 1.2MP front camera for video chatting, a micro-SD card slot etc. etc. We won’t recommend it over the Fire HDX or Nexus 7, but for those who want a budget tablet, this ASUS tablet released in July/August 2013 may be a better option than the basic $139 Fire HD without cameras! The ASUS tablet has the micro-SD card slot and 2 cameras that the $139 Kindle Fire doesn’t.

Do you know what the most expensive tablet is?


2. Display Comparison

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX vs Apple iPad Mini vs Google Nexus 7 resolution pixel density Comparison

Click on the image to enlarge it

The Highlights…

  • Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″ has the highest resolution/pixel density
  • The 1st generation iPad Mini has the poorest resolution/pixel density
  • All of the newest generation tablets, with the exception of the iPad Air, have PPIs of 300 – 326 – thus no big differences
  • The exception among new generation tablets – iPad Air has the lowest PPI/resolution – the 9.7″ iPad hasn’t received a PPI upgrade since the 3rd generation.

Do you know which devices have the highest and lowest pixel densities?

Kindle Fire HDX

BEST overall picture quality according to independent testing

Overall picture quality CANNOT be determined by pixel density alone. You need to measure all of the following and more to determine the overall quality of a display/screen.

  • Color accuracy
  • Contrast accuracy
  • Display calibration
  • Reflection/glare
  • Maximum brightness
  • Contrast ratio
  • Color temperature
  • Color gamut
  • Color error
  • And more….

Displaymate Technologies who are “devoted to the calibration, testing, evaluation and optimization of displays, monitors, projectors, HDTVs, mobile devices and display technology”, generally considered the authority of evaluating display quality, tested and compared these parameters on the 7″ Kindle Fire HDX vs iPad Mini vs Google Nexus 7. After analyzing their test results, they concluded that “The Kindle Fire had the best color accuracy and overall picture quality“…. “The Nexus 7 was a close second” … and that “The iPad mini Retina Display came in a very distant 3rd place finish“.

Now this doesn’t mean that the iPad Mini display is crappy. It’s VERY GOOD, but not as good as the displays of the Kindle HDX or Nexus. Average people like you and I probably won’t even notice this. The take home message is that one should not belittle Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX just because it’s not a Samsung, Apple, Sony, ASUS etc.

Is the lack of a 4:3 aspect ratio on the Apple iPad a big issue? We took the following two ‘exaggerated’ images from here and modified a little bit to stress a point.

 

When you watch a movie that is meant to be watched on a widescreen 16:9 display on a 4:3 display one of 2 things happens.

      1. You can’t see what’s left of the AA’ line and what’s right of the BB’ line
      2. You can see everything, but at a much smaller size

So then, in an era of 16:9 video content, why did Apple stick with an aspect ratio of 4:3 for both the full sized iPad and iPad mini?

Nobody knows for sure, but most likely because books, magazines, the web browser and certain apps look/work better at 4:3 than at 16:9. However, even the Apple fans seem to agree that 4:3 ratio is NOT good for watching movies!

WTH is sRGB? Amazon boasts 100% sRGB accuracy on their Fire HDX

If you stare at all those TVs at BestBuy, you’ll realize that the Reds, the Greens and the Blues are slightly different on each of those TV sets. To minimize this variation, a standard level of Red, Green and Blue (sRGB) has been defined. What Amazon says is that the Kindle Fire HDX display is an 100% sRGB display meaning that what you see on their screen are the exact shades of RGB (100% accurate) that the photographer/videographer wanted you to see. According to DisplayMate, the iPad 4 has a 99% sRGB accurate screen, even though Apple doesn’t market it that way! (If you ask me, I wouldn’t give **** about that extra 1% on the Fire HDX, however, I’d still buy a Kindle HDX for other more important reasons mentioned on this page)

WTH is Dynamic Image Contrast? Amazon also boasts dynamic image contrast

In laymen terms, when you take the Fire HDX outdoors, its ambient light sensor detects that you’re now in bright conditions and automatically increases the screen contrast. Together with backlighting which also increases when you step outside, dynamic image contrast gives very good visibility even under bright sunlight. However, this high-resolution, ultra-low-glare eReader is the best when it comes to using under the sun. But it can’t do everything a tablet with an LCD screen can. What you need to realize is that an LCD screen can never be “completely free of glare” like an eReader. But as the DisplayMate comparison shows, the Kindle Fire HDX does pretty well in the glare comparison.

 

 

2. Display Comparison

Kindle Fire HDX Wins!

 

 

3. Processing Power Comparison

Kindle Fire HDX vs Apple iPad Mini vs Google Nexus 7 CPU RAM GPU Specs Comparison

Click to enlarge

Here are the references that went into making the above table! Ref 1, Ref 2, Ref 3, Ref 4, Ref 5, Ref 6, Ref 7, Ref 8, Ref 9, Ref 10, Ref 11

 

Let’s leave aside the CPU, GPU, MHz Mumbo-Jumbo aside and speaketh some plain ol’ English!

Those who want to know more info, please refer to the following pages. Those who want to skip the detailed hardware specs, just read our Bottom line!

 

 

3. Processor/RAM/GPU Comparison

Kindle Fire HDX Wins!

 

 
Disclaimer: The above is not based on an actual performance test. On paper, the Kindle Fire HDX’s quad-core 2.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor clearly looks a lot better than the dual-core 1.4 GHz A7 processor of the iPad Mini and the quad-core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor of the Nexus 7. However, real performance tests are yet to be carried out by independent third parties because the A7 is still very new! Nevertheless, if the Kindle Fire, with twice as many cores and twice as much RAM, doesn’t at least match the performance level of the Apple A7, that will be very surprising.

4. Content Eco-System comparison – this is a BIG ONE!

As we have always emphasized, even the Best of the Best hardware is worthless if there isn’t complementary software and content that goes with it.

 

Food for thought!

An ultra-powerful tablet with a 4 GHz quad-core processor, 4GB RAM, 4K ultra-HD display, a 5.1 Dolby digital audio system and a sleek aluminum body is WORTHLESS if the apps, music, videos and ebooks that are compatible with it are 3 times more expensive than content from the iTunes library, Amazon Digital Store or Google Playstore. Wouldn’t you agree?

This is why the Content Eco-System (music, videos, apps and Ebooks) and the Operating System (Android/iOS/Windows) are very important pieces of this tablet comparison.

 

    1. Music
      Amazon digital store vs iTunes vs Google Play Comparison for Music

      Click to enlarge

      References: Reference 1

       

      VERDICT: Amazon wins based on price and iTunes wins based on the size of the library.

       

      Music is generally cheaper on Amazon according to a study

      Image credits: Apple iTunes, Google Play Store and Amazon.com. Disclaimer: the prices were valid as of November 2013. May have expired by the time you read this. Also, this situation does not apply to every music album

       

    2. Video (TV shows and Movies)
      Amazon instant video vs iTunes vs Google Play Comparison for Movies and TV shows

      Click to enlarge

      References: Ref 1, Ref 2, Ref 3, Ref 4

      VERDICT: Amazon wins based on purchase price, diversity of apps/platforms to access videos, frequent discounts/sales, and the Prime membership.

      Amazon Prime deserves special mention:

      1. Amazon Instant Video – Unlimited streaming of movies and videos – Check out “Prime Eligible” Movies” and Prime Eligible TV shows
      2. One free e-book to borrow every month from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library
      3. Free 2-day shipping on millions of items even if they don’t meet the minimum $25 limit – Learn about Amazon Prime Eligible and INELIGIBLE items and addresses on this page

      How much can you $AVE with Amazon Prime? The more you watch movies and read books, the more you get stuff shipped, the more you save!

      • one movie every weekend at an estimated rental of $2.50/movie: $2.50 x 52 weeks = $130/year
      • 1 ebook every 2 months @ $9.99: $9.99 x 6 = $60/year
      • how much do you spend on shipping stuff from Amazon every year? $50/year, $100/year, $300/year?
      • You do the math and see how much you’ll save – your savings could be $100 or even $1000 depending on how much you use the above free services that come with it. Before the introduction of Prime video and Kindle eBooks, people still had Amazon Prime, purely to take advantage of the 2-day FREE shipping. Now that video and ebooks are included with it, the membership is even more valuable!

      There are at least 3 types of memberships available

      1. The regular 1 month FREE TRIAL
      2. A special one with a 3 month FREE TRIAL (not everybody qualifies, conditions apply)
      3. Another special one with a 6 month FREE TRIAL and then 50% off regular membership (not everybody qualifies, conditions apply)

      Important resources – read and be aware of these

      More resources

    3. Apps
      Amazon app store vs Appple Appstore vs Google Play App Comparison

      Click to enlarge

      * On Amazon App Store homepage, if you scroll down to where it says “For Kindle Tablet”, you’ll see the number of apps that will work with different versions of the Kindle Fire tablets.

       

      VERDICT: You can’t give a concrete answer to this one. There’s no arguing that Amazon is far behind Apple and Google with app numbers. However, it’s not just a numbers game. Even though Amazon has a relatively low number of apps, you’re most likely to find any of the major apps you’d be interested in. Especially with Amazon boosting its use for office-related work with the latest model, you’ll find an app for almost anything you want. >80,000 apps optimized for use on the Kindle Fire HD is quite a lot when you consider that the average tablet user only installs about 50 apps!

      Some useful resources

    4. Ebooks
      Kindle Book Store vs iBook Store vs Google Bookstore comparison

      Click to enlarge

      Reference: Huff Post

      VERDICT:

        • Kindle store is the cheapest for ebooks
        • Kindle store/books offer some additional features like book lending/borrowing, X-ray, Immersion reading, Popular highlights etc.
        • You can read all Kindle books you purchase on almost any device (iOS/android phone/tablet PC/MAC). However, you can’t read books you’ve purchased through your iOS device on a Kindle Fire. To read books you’ve already purchased on Nook, Kobo, Google etc., you have to install/side-load 3rd party apps – this is a potential limitation of buying a Kindle Fire HD/X. However, if you don’t already own any content from iBooks, Kobo, Nook or Google bookstore, you won’t run into this issue!
           

       

      4. Content Eco-System Comparison

      iTunes library is overall bigger

      Amazon is overall cheaper

      Amazon App Store is significantly smaller than iTunes and Google

       

5. Operating system comparison

Apple iPad vs Kindle Fire HDX vs Google Nexus Operating system comparison

Click to enlarge

Why is the OS (operating system) an important spec?

      • Some of us like to highly widgetize/personalize our home screens.
        • Having our kids’ photos on the screensaver is important to some of us
        • Some of us want to see the Gmail widget as soon as the tablet is turned on
        • These can only be achieved with the highly customizable OS, Android!
      • Some of us are so used to stock Android features like Google voice, turn-by-turn navigation etc.
      • Others couldn’t care less!
        • If you just want to watch movies, listen to music, play games, read ebooks, browse the web, check email, or let your kids use it as an educational device, then lack of stock Android on the Fire HDX, really doesn’t matter.
      • It’s an important spec because you use the OS every minute the tablet is turned on. Some people NEED tablets with unmodified Android purely because they want to make use of those core-Android features.

 

5. Operating System Comparison

Nexus 7 wins based on customization features

 

 

Conclusion?

Kindle Fire HDX vs Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad Major Spec Comparison

Click to enlarge

Bottom line:

      • If you analyzed this review closely, you will be tempted to say the “Kindle Fire HDX” is the winner. But let’s just say that the Kindle Fire HDX is at least as good as the iPad.
      • Can you justify spending an extra $170 – $320 on an iPad when its display and processing power are not as good as those of the Kindle Fire HDX? If you’re a CEO of a Wall Street company, yes you probably can justify spending that extra ca$h, but most of us aren’t CEOs and we can do so many other things with that extra $170-$320.
      • In addition, apps, movies, music and ebooks are also generally cheaper on Amazon digital store compared to iTunes saving you even more money throughout the lifetime of the Kindle tablet.

Now that you’ve read the facts, which tablet would you go with?

The $139 Budget Kindle Fire HD 7″ Kindle Fire HDX 7″ iPad Mini w/ Retina Display – Space Gray Google Nexus 7
Amazon Image Amazon Image Amazon Image Amazon Image

If you found this useful, which we’re sure you did, please share it with your friends. Thank you!

Posted on Oct 23, 2013

2 Responses to “Amazon Kindle Fire HDX vs Apple iPad Retina vs Google Nexus Spec Comparison”
Read them below or add one

  1. Richard says:

    This was a good review. Technical specs were clearly presented. And the importance of those specs were explained. I didn’t construe any bias. The article was a big help to my decision

    • GMak says:

      Unbiased? You are being facetious, right? I can live with the very pro-Kindle review as it points up the best features of the Kindle and downplays the shortcomings. it may in fact bring up some things the reader hadn’t thought of. Fair enough. Every manufacturer does this. However, when I go on the Apple site, I expect a very pro-Apple review. Ditto Samsung. But please don’t insult the readers intelligence by calling this “unbiased”!

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