The 5 Specs that matter MOST – Kindle Fire HDX vs Apple iPad vs Google Nexus
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 should be based on what matters the most.
This comparison is 2 fold
- MAJOR spec comparison – your decision on which tablet to go with should be based on this comparison!
- MINOR spec comparison
Which tech specs actually matter the MOST?
We’ve always stressed that some specs are MORE important than others. Some specs carry more weight than others. Given below are a few examples.
- Lets say that one tablet has a super high resolution HD display and the other doesn’t. Now that’s something with high weight/importance in your comparison.
- Another feature that matters a lot is the processing power. How quickly an app launches or how smoothly a movie plays depends on the processing power. Therefore, CPU, RAM, and GPU have a lot of weight.
- It’s not just the hardware specs, software and content also matter – how big are the content networks? How cheap/pricey are apps, songs, movies on one store compared to the other?
- Price may not be a ‘tech’ spec. But if you can buy 2 tablets with an overall score of 8/10 OR 1 tablet with a score of 9/10 for the same price, that carries a lot of weight too, wouldn’t you agree?
So which specs DON’T really matter a lot?
Everything obviously matters, but these ‘minor’ specs shouldn’t have a big impact that it can influence your decision on whether to buy it or not! Here are FEW examples.
- Here’s a CONTROVERSIAL one! 8MP rear camera of the Kindle Fire HDX vs 5MP rear camera of the Google Nexus! If someone says “Oh I’m going to get a Kindle Fire HDX because its rear camera is 8MP and has a LED flash, whereas the camera of the Google Nexus 10 is only 5MP and it doesn’t even have a flash….”, we say that’s SILLY! Consumers have been ‘forced’ to look at the camera specs of these 9-10″ tablets. But seriously, how much will you use this camera? Are you going to carry your 10 inch tablet in central park taking pictures of pigeons? Over 56% of the US population owns a smartphone whereas about 1/3rd of the US population owns a tablet. So the chances are, if you own a tablet, you already own a smartphone, which you will most likely use for everyday photographing purposes! New smartphones like this one have 41MP cameras, so why bother taking pics with your tablet camera? Now do you agree that the rear-camera is over-rated? In our book, the rear-camera quality should not influence your buying decision WHEN YOU’RE BUYING A TABLET! If you were buying a camera, hell yes 5MP vs 8MP makes a big difference.
- Any more? Yes, how about specs like wireless charging? lack of a micro-USB port etc? There’s more, read on!
- Price Comparison
- What’s the most expensive tablet? It’s unanimous… it’s the iPad.
- The Retina display on the iPad Mini costs an extra $100!!
The Price differences?
- 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 gets smaller for the comparison of the larger tablets
- Even the 8.9″ Fire HDX is cheaper than the new iPad mini!
And the WINNER is?
- Well… the 3rd Generation 7″ Kindle Fire HD is the cheapest by far at just $139. This $139 tablet is perfect as a kid’s tablet or as 2nd rough-use tablet. Highly recommended for kids because of the availability of unlimited access to thousands of games, apps, books, and movies for as little as $2.99/month. A highly recommended investment for anybody with young kids!
- However, if you can afford to spend the extra $90, the Fire HDX or the Nexus 7 are definitely better options.
- However, comparing the Fire HD model with the Fire HDX or the Nexus or the iPad with Retina displays is not an Apples to Apples comparison because the latter three are far superior as far as the display and processing power are concerned.
- Among the tablets with Retina/HD displays, the Kindle Fire HDX and Nexus tabs are priced WAY LESS THAN the iPads – as much as $320 less!
- Display Comparison
- Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″ has the highest resolution/pixel density
- The 1st generation iPad Mini has the poorest resolution/pixel density
- All new 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
- Did you know that, at 386 ppi, this has a higher pixel density than the Fire HDX and Nexus 7?
- This is the only modern tablet with a poorer resolution than the 1st generation iPad Mini
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.
- You can’t see what’s left of the AA’ line and what’s right of the BB’ line
- 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 model is the best when it comes to using under the sun.
- Processing Power Comparison
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!
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 vs Apple A6X processor comparison – Bottom line? The Snapdragon 800 wins over the A6X processor on all specs. Their conclusion is that they are “not aware of any important advantages of the Apple A6X (APL5598)” compared to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800.
- Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro (one on the Nexus 7) vs Snapdragon 800 (one on the Fire HDX) – Bottom line? The 800 is the newer better model according to the manufacturer himself and independent sources.
- How about Snapdragon 800 vs Exynos 5 Dual/5250? Bottom line? According to this source and this source, the Exynos 5 Dual/5250 on the Google Nexus 10 “loses miserably”
And the WINNER is?
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor found on the Kindle Fire HDX wins by a mile!
- Content Eco-System comparison – this is a BIG ONE!
References: Reference 1
VERDICT: Amazon wins based on price and iTunes wins based on the size of the library. However, it is reasonable to assume that the audio tracks missing on Amazon music are ones that are pretty old and rare. So if that is not the kind of music you listen to, Amazon will likely have everything you want!
- Video (TV shows and Movies)
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:
- Amazon Instant Video – Unlimited streaming of movies and videos – Check out “Prime Eligible” Movies” and Prime Eligible TV shows
- One free e-book to borrow every month from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library
- 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
- The regular 1 month FREE TRIAL
- A special one with a 3 month FREE TRIAL (not everybody qualifies, conditions apply)
- 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
- TV Models and other Devices Compatible with Amazon Instant Video
- Amazon Instant Video on TiVo
- About Streaming from Your Computer and Downloading videos
Reference: Huff Post* 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
- 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!
- Operating system comparison
Why is the OS (operating system) a major spec?
- Some of us like to highly widgetize/personalize our home screen like this one
- 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 a MAJOR spec because some people NEED tablets with unmodified Android purely because they want to make use of those core-Android features
Conclusion after the Major Spec Comparison?
The answer seems to be pretty clear! The Kindle Fire HDX has a pretty good advantage over the other two as far as the MAJOR specs go!