The perfect tablet – Kindle Fire HD or iPad Mini?
If only there was a simple straightforward answer to that question! The Kindle Fire HD is NOT perfect. The iPad Mini is not perfect. The Google Nexus is not perfect… I could go on forever. Simply put, no tablet is perfect. Each one of them has strengths and weaknesses. For example, the iPad falls short of the Kindle Fire in certain aspects while the Kindle Fire HD (7 inch or 8.9 inch tablets) falls short on certain tech specs behind the iPad. Therefore the ultimate question is not “is the Kindle Fire HD or iPad Mini perfect?”, but rather “which of the two meets your specific needs better”.
Before we dig deep, please check out the following comparison tables..
- The 7″ Kindle Fire HD vs iPad Mini – some say this is biased, what do you think?
- The 8.9″ Kindle Fire HD vs iPad Mini
We recommend you glance through the above comparison tables first and then come back to this page.
Kindle Fire vs iPad Mini comparisons are flawed – WHY?
Many Kindle Fire HD vs iPad Mini comparisons found online are unfortunately flawed for 2 reasons.
- Most comparisons focus on the hardware specs ONLY: Many so called expert reviewers base their comparisons solely on the hardware specs: 1GHz processor vs 1.2Ghz processor, 7 inches vs 7.3 inches, 1280×800 vs 1208X900 etc. etc. Sure, this is important, but you cannot leave out the content ecosystem. What if you had a ultra-high resolution HDTV with all the bells and whistles but you only had 2 TV channels with poor quality signal transmission. You will not be a happy camper! Similarly, you can have the most powerful tablet with technology from the year 2018, but if the content you can watch/read/listen to on it is crappy, all that high-end technology is of no use. This is why it is EXTREMELY important to look at both hardware and content aspects of a tablet before you buy one!
- They give the same weightage to each feature: For example, let’s say they compare 10 features between the Kindle Fire and iPad Mini. Kindle Fire won 6 of them and iPad won 4 of them, so the overall winner is the Kindle Fire. WRONG! Some features are not so important compared to others and therefore should be weighted less. For example, a processor that is 1 GHz and 1.1 GHz may not be significantly different and such a subtle difference should not be considered in the major equation!
- Looks at hardware specs as well as the content ecosystem
- Considers MORE important and LESS important features separately
So that, you can easily make up your mind on which tablet suits you the most!
Deal Sealers and Deal Breakers
As we said earlier, some features/specs are WAY MORE important than others. In our detailed side-by-side comparison, we compare over 15 specs. However, only a handful of them are VERY important and thus should influence your decision. As for the rest, they’re not so important. Their presence or absence doesn’t make a whole lot of difference to your tablet.
There are 5 features that are really important. Your decision as to whether you will go with a Kindle Fire HD or iPad Mini should be based on these features. Of these 5, three favor the Kindle Fire HD while two favor the iPad Mini.
3 main features that swing the balance towards the Kindle Fire HD are
- The price
- The High definition display
- The content
1. Price: Kindle Fire wins (UPDATED to reflect latest price changes as of March 2013)
What do you see?
- The 7″ Kindle Fire HD is up to $180 cheaper than the mini iPad
- The 8.9″ Kindle Fire HD is up to $330 cheaper than the full-sized iPad 4
- Even the 8.9″ Kindle Fire HD is up to $160 cheaper than the mini iPad
Here’s another table that shows the exact price differences
The price difference ($130, $180 or $330 depending on the model you’re interested in) tips the scale in favor of the Kindle Fire HD in most people’s minds. With $180 one could purchase a 1st generation Kindle Fire (and some change left) or a Kindle PaperWhite AND a basic Kindle eReader.
Even if you went with the 16GB model, that’s $130 in savings and there will be plenty more things one could do with an extra $130!
Hell… even the 8.9″ Kindle Fire is cheaper than the iPad Mini. But, keep in mind that the 8.9″ is not as portable as the 7″ model. BIGGER is NOT always BETTER
BUT, if you were interested in the bigger model, note that the $269 full-sized Wi Fi Kindle Fire HD is $230 cheaper than the $499 full-sized Wi Fi only Apple iPad. The Wi Fi + 4G LTE 32GB Kindle Fire HD is $330 cheaper than the full-sized iPad with similar specs. We highly recommend this particular model because of the special offer of $50 for a whole year of 4G LTE. Together with the monthly savings on 4G LTE, the total savings with a 4G LTE Kindle Fire are astronomical.
So what do you want to spend your money on?
A single Apple iPad Mini OR 2 Kindle Fire tablets OR Kindle Fire HD + PaperWhite + eReader for the same price?
2. High Definition Display: Kindle Fire HD Wins
The non-HD resolution of the Apple iPad Mini was very disappointing to many Apple fans that were eagerly awaiting its release. The iPhone 4 has a retina display, the iPhone 4S has a retina display, the iPhone 5 has a retina display, 3rd generation and 4th generation Full size iPads have retina displays. But no retina display for the iPad Mini. Explain that!
The whole idea of a 7″ tablet is to enjoy the picture/video quality and in 2012/2013, you don’t want to settle for anything less than an HD display. The Kindle Fire HD has one, the Nook HD has one, the Google Nexus 7 has one, but the Apple Ipad Mini doesn’t have an HD display!
To make things worse, consistent with the non-HD resolution, the aspect ratio of the display is 4:3. So if you try to watch a True HD movie/video, it gets letterboxed and you will only see a 1024X576 screen (1024:576=16:9).
3. Content: Kindle Fire Wins
SD stands for “standard definition” and HD stands for “high definition”
Here’s a more detailed comparison of the Amazon Digital Store and Apple iTunes (this comparison was done in December 2012, therefore it may not be valid anymore! We will do a fresh comparison of the two digital stores soon, Until then, please consider the comparison of movie rental prices below invalid/expired and do your own careful comparison. We apologize for any inconvenience caused)
A comprehensive comparison of the two digital stores would require you to compare 100s if not 1000s of movies/MP3s/ebooks/apps etc. on a side-by-side table to come to a statistically accurate answer. That is almost impossible to do on a manual basis and we have not seen anybody do that on the web. Generally, people (webmasters) just randomly thought of a few movies and compared their prices within the two stores. The comparison we’ve done below is NOT comprehensive, however, we did better than most others that randomly picked movies. We could have randomly picked several movies and compared prices, but then, there will be people that accuse us of picking movies that were cheaper on our favorite store.
To avoid any bias as such, we got the Top 10 Videos On Demand published by Rentrak for the current week (week of December 10th – 16th 2012), and compared their rental and purchase prices between the two stores for the top 5 movies.
What we basically found was that movie rentals were on average $2 cheaper on Amazon and movie purchases were more or less the same price.
Movie rentals are $2 cheaper on Amazon (this comparison was done in December 2012, therefore it may not be valid anymore! We will do a fresh comparison of the two digital stores soon, Until then, please consider the comparison of movie rental prices below invalid/expired and do your own careful comparison. We apologize for any inconvenience caused)
Four of the top 5 movies were cheaper on Amazon Instant Videos: both standard definition and high definition. Kindle Fire wins this comparison. You’re saving $2 when you rent a movie. Depending on how many movies you rent, the savings can certainly add up.
Purchase prices are not different (this comparison was done in December 2012, therefore it may not be valid anymore! We will do a fresh comparison of the two digital stores soon, Until then, please consider the comparison of movie prices below invalid/expired and do your own careful comparison. We apologize for any inconvenience caused)
In contrast to the huge difference in price of rentals, there was hardly any difference between the movie purchase prices. Of the top 5, only “Men in Black 3″ HD version was $1 cheaper on Amazon while all other movies were the same price between the two stores.
And the Winner is? It’s a TIE
We have taken screenshots of all above movies on iTunes as well as Amazon Digital Store. We’re not going to include them all below, but here’s just one of them, so that you know we didn’t pull those numbers out of thin air You can check out the rest of the screenshots here, if you wish!
Image credits: Amazon digital store and Apple iTunes
Disclaimer: All prices are based on information available as of December 25th 2012. The simple test that we did by testing the top 5 movies is not scientifically 100% accurate. Such a statistically accurate test would require comparing prices on 100s if not 1000s of movies/MP3s etc. We have tried our best to be as accurate and unbiased as possible, however, we make no warranties as to the accuracy of above prices/features on a large scale.
Overall winner for content?
We think there’s a clear winner. Based on the above data we collected, we’re going with Amazon digital store. But don’t take our word, you should be able to come to your own conclusion; we have shown all the info you need to make that call.
- Content – over 22 million movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, books, audiobooks, popular apps and games (some are free, some are not). There are many benefits including gazillions of Free Kindle books, Free MP3 music downloads, 30 day Free Trials on leading magazines, movies starting at $0.99 etc. etc.
- Amazon Prime – you get access to the Kindle owners’ lending library, Prime instant video etc. etc. However, please note that only the first month is free. Then it’s $79.99/year. That is slightly cheaper than NetFlix which is $8/month and comes to $96/year. Update: Now 3 month FREE TRIAL available
- Free app everyday – you have to pay for these apps on any other day. But everyday, Amazon picks one paid app and offers it for free. Check out the daily free app here and get an idea about the kind of apps you get for free. Typically these are priced around $2.99, but we have got apps as expensive as $14.99 for free thanks to the “Free App of the Day“
Unless you already have Apple TV and/or you’ve been a iPhone user since the beginning of time and/or you’re used to iTunes already, the Amazon Digital Store seems to be the better choice here. Especially if you’re already signed up to or considering signing up for Amazon Prime, the decision seems to be anonymous.
NOTE: even though there are SD (standard definition) and HD (high definition) prices for the iPad, you cannot really watch any HD movies on the iPad mini because its display is not HD.
Amazon Prime deserves a little note here. It’s not just unlimited access to thousands and thousands of movies/TV shows and Kindle books, it is also FREE 2 day Shipping. With Prime, you don’t have to fill up your cart till it hits $25 to get free shipping. Not only do you get Free shipping, but you also get Free 2 day shipping. The only downside of the Amazon Prime membership is the fact that you have to pay the annual membership fee of $79 upfront. But recently they offered a Monthly Amazon Prime membership and that is one awesome deal if you can still get it.
Convinced that the Kindle Fire HD is indeed the right tablet for you this holiday season of 2012? Read Full Specs of the Kindle Fire HD here
As we said earlier, the Kindle Fire is NOT perfect. In other words, several features on the iPad Mini are superior to those on the Kindle Fire HD.
2 main features that swing the balance towards the iPad Mini are
- The looks
- Availability of 3G/4G LTE models
Scratches on the iPad Mini?
The premium looks of the iPad mini are mainly thanks to its aluminum chassis. The only negative thing about the aluminum back panel is its vulnerability to scratches. This is NOT a HUGE DEAL if you use something like this. As long as you’re careful and don’t put it in your pocket together with coins or keys, you can keep it scratch free. However, if you search the web, there are quite a few complaints about scratches by users that there are also repair guides on how to mend the scratches. However, as long as you don’t scratch ‘em, you shouldn’t have to worry about repairing them.
The fact that the mini iPad comes with the option of3G/4G models can be very useful to some people. However, realize that these models are also very expensive. For those who need 3G/4G LTE, the 8.9″ Kindle Fire HD with 4G LTE might be a better option. You can get a 32GB 8.9″ Fire HD with 4G LTE for just $499. The 32GB iPad mini with 4G LTE is $559. With the Kindle Fire, you also get 4G LTE for a whole year for just $50 whereas with the iPad, you’ll have to pay monthly subscription fees for 3G/4G.
You can get 3G on your 7″ Kindle Fire
Nope, we’re not lying! It’s easy!
Read more on the $50 for 12 months of 4G LTE offer here (NOW EXPIRED)
As you can now see, both tablets have their unique strengths and weaknesses. Here is a comparison of the main strengths of the two tablets. You should base your purchasing decision on this table.
How did the two tablets fair with the TOP 5 Deal Sealers/Deal Breakers?
For us, the Kindle Fire HD wins by a mile
- People buy a tablet computer instead of an MP3 player because they want to look at pictures, videos, movies, TV shows, browse the web etc. The display is indispensable when it comes to these functions. So how do you convince yourself to go with a non-HD display, when there is a much better HD display available for over $100 less?
- It’s $130 or $180 cheaper depending on 16GB vs 32GB models. That’s a whole lot of money you could spend in other ways! If you were thinking of the full-sized models, then the savings are as much as $330.
- Cheaper content – in the long run, the little savings are going to add up.
- Put those 3 together – cheaper price, HD display, cheaper content – can you convince yourself to go with the mini iPad?
- The better looks of the mini iPad are great, but doesn’t beat the cheaper price + cheaper content + HD display of the Kindle Fire
- 3G/4G: hardly ever need it. Besides, the 3G/4G models on the iPad mini are very costly. If you really need 3G/4G, consider a 8.9″ Kindle Fire HD that gives you 4G LTE for a whole year for just $49.99. Alternatively, if you want 3G on your 7″ Kindle Fire HD, you can do that with a very cheap gadget like this one or this one
|Wi Fi 7″ Kindle Fire HD 16GB||Wi Fi 7″ Kindle Fire HD 32GB||Wi Fi 8.9″ Kindle Fire HD 16GB||Wi Fi + 3G/4G LTE 8.9″ Kindle Fire HD 32GB|
The iPad Mini suits you better
- If the cheaper price, cheaper content and the HD display of the Kindle Fire HD are less important to you than the overall better looks of the iPad Mini
- If the cheaper price, cheaper content and HD display of the Kindle Fire HD are less important to you than the availability of 3G/4G LTE on your tablet. However, don’t forget that you can get 3G on your 7″ Kindle Fire HD using this gadget or this one.
Don’t forget to check for Kindle Fire holiday deals on the following 3 Special Pages
There are 3 places that you forgot! Have you ever thought about checking for Kindle Fire Deals on the following 3 places? The Kindle Fire was sold for as low as $129 on some of these pages.
- 1st forgotten place
- 2nd forgotten place
- 3rd forgotten place (on the search box, type ‘Kindle Fire’ and press enter)
For a more detailed Kindle Fire HD vs iPad Mini comparison, read on. However, the most important features were outlined above and your decision should be mainly based on those. There are some minor pointers that we will address below that can certainly influence your decision about which tablet suits you best!
The Kindle Fire HD wins on the following specs and features
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The iPad Mini wins on the following specs and features
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|Wi Fi 7″ Kindle Fire HD 16GB||Wi Fi 7″ Kindle Fire HD 32GB||Wi Fi 8.9″ Kindle Fire HD 16GB||Wi Fi + 3G/4G LTE 8.9″ Kindle Fire HD 32GB|