Categories: Kindle Fire

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 comes down to a handful features.


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

Localytics comparison 600


Highlights from the above study…

  • The US 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.) are in the USA
  • Amazon Kindle Fire is the most popular Android tablet in the USA: The graphic on the right-hand side shows that 33% of ALL Android tablets from all over the world are Kindle Fire tablets from Amazon. It also shows that the Kindle Fire is a much more popular model than the Nook, Samsung Galaxy or Nexus 7 in the USA.
  • Nexus 7 is the least popular: The Kindle Fire (33%) is 4X more popular than the Nexus 7 (8%) in the USA. That was likely a surprise for most of us!

Let’s start by comparing the specs that matter most

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

    Click to Enlarge


    • The iPad is more expensive than the Kindle Fire HDX and Google Nexus
    • Even the iPad Mini 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 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!
    • Click here for a comparison of the Kindle Fire HD vs HDX Tablets
    • 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!

    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.

  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

    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 model is the best when it comes to using under the sun.


    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.

  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!

    And the WINNER is?

    The Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor found on the Kindle Fire HDX wins by a mile!

    Disclaimer: On paper, the numbers of the Qualcomm Processors with e.g. Quad-core 2.2.GHz processor looks a lot better than numbers on the A7 processor e.g. dual-core 1.3GHz processor. However, real performance tests are yet to be carried out by independent third parties because the A7 is still very new! However, 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!

    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. 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!

    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


      • 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!
  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) a major spec?

    • Some of us like to highly widgetize/personalize our home screen like this one
      • Some of us are so used to stock Android features like Google voice, turn-by-turn navigation etc.
      • If you want these on your tablet, then you have to go for a Google Nexus or something like this tablet. Neither Kindle Fire nor this one is good for personalization.
    • 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 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.

Conclusion after the Major Spec Comparison?

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

Click to enlarge

Bottom line:

  • Can you justify spending an extra $170 – $320 on an iPad when its display and processing power are inferior to those of the Kindle Fire HDX?
  • 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.

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