Here we compare 10 specs of the Apple iPad Air, Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″ and Google Nexus 10 tablets.
1. Price Comparison
The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″ is $120 – 250 cheaper than the iPad Air depending on the options you choose (The Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ is available from $199. Offer valid as of 11.30 am CST March 4th 2014)
The question to ask yourself is “If I buy an iPad paying an extra $120 – $250, would I get extra value for the extra money I pay?” We hope you’ll be able to answer that question once you go through all of the 10 specs.
* DisplayMate technologies tested a variety of specs like Color accuracy, contrast accuracy, display calibration, reflection/glare, maximum brightness, contrast ratio, color temperature, color gamut, color error etc. etc. before coming into that conclusion!
The difference of pixel densities between the Fire HDX is and iPad Air is considerably big. However, like we show in our iPad Mini with Retina Display vs Kindle Fire HDX 7″ vs Nexus 7 comparison, the iPad Mini has a higher pixel density than both its competitors.
Q: What is the device with the HIGHEST pixel density?
Disclaimer: Even though quad-core 2.2GHz processor looks a lot better than a dual-core 1.4GHz processor on paper, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the former will be superior from a performance standpoint. However, it’s very unlikely that the A7 processor of the iPad Air will do better than the Snapdragon 800 processor of the Fire HDX, given the huge differences of processor speed, number of cores and RAM. A scientific comparison of their actual performances has not been done to-date, to our knowledge. Once such data becomes available, we will be sure to update this space!
4. Comparison of tablet weights
95 grams! Big Deal or not?
Tablet weight is not something to sweat about too much. However, it will matter if you plan on using it for long reading sessions. The 95g difference between the Kindle Fire and the iPad Air will be noticeable if you read a book holding it with one hand. When reading, usually a tablet is held in portrait mode (vertically) and you may want to free one of the hands for turning pages or to hold a cup of coffee. This brings the whole weight to that one hand. This is what makes the ‘light-weight’ an important factor to consider. In case of a movie, a tablet is usually held in landscape mode and you usually hold it with both hands. That’s why weight is not such a big issue when watching a movie.
Side note: For reading, you may be attracted to this 9.7″ device given it’s relatively cheap price tag. However, we recommend the smaller version with a higher resolution.
5. Comparison of storage options
NO SD card slot!
None of the 3 tablets have microSD card slots for memory expansion. If there was a microSD card slot, you could have bought a 16GB tablet and added microSD cards later on as and when the need arises. But now, without a memory expansion slot, you have to decide if you need a 16GB, 32GB, 64GB or even a 128GB right at the beginning! That shucks!
HUGE MONEY SAVING TIP!!
Expand memory as much as you want! Much cheaper than buying the 32GB – 128GB versions. Also have additional benefits like being able to use with up to 8 devices simultaneously!
6. Comparison of battery life
I wouldn’t base my decision to buy or ditch a tablet based on its battery life. The differences are just a matter of 1-2 hours, nothing earth shattering in our opinion. However, if you do a lot of reading, the Kindle Fire HDX may have a slight edge here. Again, for reading purposes, this device with weeks-long battery life is best!
7. Comparison of the cameras
Again, I wouldn’t base my purchasing decision based on the mega pixels of the cameras. I’m buying a tablet here and not a camera. My primary use of the tablet is not as a camera. So as long as the camera/s are decent, I wouldn’t sweat too much. Most people will only use these photos to post on Facebook etc. and the 5 MP cameras on the iPad and Nexus are plenty for that purpose. However, it doesn’t hurt to check on the available photo editing apps. We recommend #1 Best Seller, Photo Editor+
8. Comparison of ports and connections
- The 2nd generation Kindle Fire HD had a micro HDMI out. You could connect your Kindle to your TV right away and play games, watch movies etc. But the 3rd generation HDX does NOT have a micro HDMI out. It only has the micro USB. To be able to transfer/watch movies from your HDX to your TV, you have to either have this gadget certified for use with Kindle Fire HDX, a Sony PlayStation 3 or 2013 Samsung Smart TV (honestly, why make it complicated by taking the HDMI out?)
- For the iPads, if you have Apple TV, you can do AirPlay Mirroring
- For the Nexus 10, you can use Google Chromecast HDMI Streaming Media Player or this SlimPort HDMI Adapter to play content on your TV
9. Comparison of the operating systems
This is very subjective. If you’ve been using Android or iOS for a long time, it would be very difficult to adapt to a different system. The Fire OS and iOS have often been described as ‘walled gardens’ while Android OS has been described as an open garden referring to its openness to be customized.
10. Comparison of the content eco-systems
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!
(B) 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
- one movie every weekend at an estimated rental of $2.50/movie: $2.50 x 52 weeks = $130/year
- 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
* 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
Reference: Huff Post
- 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!
Summary of the 10 comparisons – who is the ultimate winner?
- Price – Kindle Fire HDX
- Display – Kindle Fire HDX
- Processor, RAM – Kindle Fire HDX
- Weight – Kindle Fire HDX
- Storage options – Apple iPad
- Battery life – Kindle Fire HDX
- Cameras- Kindle Fire HDX
- Ports and Connections – Google Nexus
- Operating system – Google Nexus/iOS?
- Content eco-system – size; iTunes, price- Kindle Fire HDX
Kindle Fire HDX comes up 7 times in the above list. Can you justify spending an extra $120 – $250 for an iPad Air, when its display, processor, RAM, price of content, battery life etc. are inferior to that of the Kindle Fire HDX?