Amazon Kindle Fire HD vs Google Nexus 7

September 7, 2012
12

Yesterday Amazon announced their new Kindle Fire HD tablets, and while the 8.9-inch model might have stolen the show it's their smaller 7-inch model that could be the big hit. Amazon's new 7-inch Kindle Fire HD packs a pretty impressive spec sheet and a great price to match it. But is that enough for it to rival the Nexus 7?

The Kindle Fire HD received a pretty massive overhaul compared to last years model, but it still didn't quite hit some of those top end specs we've been seeing of late. We're not going to compare every last detail here and tell you what to buy -- especially since we've only managed a few minutes with the newcomer. Instead here's some details about the differences, as well as a few fun pictures. For a full breakdown head to our own device comparison tool by clicking here.

Google Nexus 7:
-Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
-7-inch 1280 x 800 IPS Display
-Quad-core 1.3 GHz Tegra 3
-8GB storage (no SD slot)
-7.8 x 4.7 x 0.4 and 12 oz.

Kindle Fire HD:
-Android 4.0 ICS (skinned)
-7-inch 1280 x 800 IPS Display
-Dual-core 1.2 GHz TI OMAP 4470
-16GB storage (no SD slot)
-7.6 x 5.4 x 0.4 and 13.9 oz.

Now a few things out of the gate you'll notice the Kindle Fire HD only rocking a dual-core while the popular Nexus 7 has a quad-core. Amazon mentioned the Texas Instruments 4470 was actually "faster" than the Tegra 3 -- although we doubt that. They also mentioned floating operations per second was better which helps with overall user interface performance. Then you'll also notice the Kindle Fire is a bit larger, has massive bezels, and weights a decent amount more too.

On the flip side the Kindle Fire HD is the first tablet to offer dual-band MIMO WiFi support that should seriously improve overall WiFi signal, speed, and performance so that is a big difference. It also has stereo surround with Dolby Digital Plus and HDMI-Out while the Nexus 7 has mono sound and no HDMI. Then for another win in Google's corner you have well over 650,000 apps in the Google Play Store vs about 55,000 from Amazon. The Nexus 7 also has NFC for Google Wallet and other sharing features as well as GPS, while the Fire HD has neither.

In terms of hardware they both actually feel quite excellent. Amazon really stepped up and refined their build quality over the original Fire, but I can't help but think it reminds me of the DROID XYBOARD tablets from Motorola for some reason. Both screens were pretty equal in terms of overall quality but I just might have to give a win to Amazon with this one. Their single layer touch sensor should help improve performance while reducing glare and keeping colors more accurate -- which seems like a fair statement given our quick time with it.

Obviously the big thing here comes down to ecosystem and the software. Being a diehard Android fan I've already made up my mind that I'd rather have the Nexus 7 simple for Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (or just stock vanilla Android in general.) Amazon's heavily customized skin basically sets the blazes on Ice Cream Sandwich and makes it completely unrecognizable. Obviously Amazon has made the entire experience customized around their own ecosystem of options, apps, and content -- and Google's done the same with their Nexus 7.

In general can the Kindle Fire HD "dethrone" the Nexus 7 from being one of the best tablets around? That question is ultimately up to you. I think there's room for both and neither will out-due the other. Amazon has a huge reach with their online store that can really help keep it in the eye of the public, but then so does Google when they put the Nexus 7 on their homepage.

Until we get the Kindle Fire HD in to review ourselves we'll reserve a true comparison and comment for later. For now enjoy a few additional images below, plenty of content regarding both devices, as well as our full device spec sheets at the end.

Which tablet would you rather own?

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  • Captain_Doug

    doesn’t compete… unless you put CM10 on it. Even then, the fire HD is kinda chunky looking compared to the N7. Very wide.

  • phor11

    Stereo sound and HDMI are BIG pluses (though they still face the speakers toward the rear which makes absolutely no sense).
    But the form factor makes it too wide to fit in my back pocket or jacket pocket, so you lose a TON of portability.

    Even if I could use CM to escape Amazon’s walled garden(which I hate), if I can’t fit it in a pocket then I don’t want it. If I’m going to carry something around with me in a bag, it’s going to be a laptop that is MUCH more versatile.

    Nexus7 still has my vote here.

  • Droidzilla

    Just throw the Kindle app and sideload the Amazon Appstore onto the Nexus 7 and viola! Best of both worlds. That’s only for software/ecosystem, but on the hardware front the smaller size and better processor (Amazon’s silly claims notwithstanding) trump the very slightly better speakers and screen on the Fire HD, in my opinion. Of course, I’ll have to see the Fire HD hands on, but I very much doubt I’ll like the forked Android UI out of the box. As for the increased touch sensitivity, isn’t that what Project Butter is for?

  • Paulus Net

    Having used the original Kindle Fire, I will take Nexus 7 any day. I ordered the 16 GB Nexus 7 all the way from the USA (live in Japan) and enjoying it :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/Nedeljko.Kovacevic Nedeljko Kovačević
  • daveloft

    Actually the Nexus 7 does in fact have stereo sound, just not the best stereo sound. During Amazon’s press conference they specifically called out the iPad for only having a mono speaker, not the Nexus 7. I would have to try the Fire HD in person to see if it’s stereo speakers are better.

    I’ve owned a few different tablets, some with hdmi and some without and have never used the feature so that’s not a selling feature to me. I also can’t stand the look of the Fire HD and the huge width. The Nexus 7 is the perfect width for holding in one hand.

    Then comes content. My wife uses Kobo for books and I share the account with her, we use Zinio for magazines, Comixology for Comics and Netflix for the rare times when we want to watch videos on the tablet. Apps and games are the most important content as far as I’m concerned and 600k vs 50k gives Google Play the easy win.

    So hands down Nexus 7. Hopefully by November Google will drop 8GB to $160 and 16GB to $200 and then larger a larger screen device in the price and spec range as the Fire HD 8.9.

  • Yoel Feuermann

    Y U NO SD SLOT????

  • http://twitter.com/nrbovee n.r. bovee

    Another thing you’ll notice out of the gate is you don’t have a
    lockscreen with ads that can’t be disabled on the Nexus 7. That makes it
    the winner in my book.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Foosa-Noble/100001939436588 Foosa Noble

    I am by no means wealthy or rich however the price of these two tablets will allow you to eventually own both. Why not have the best of both worlds if possible?
    If you’re looking at it for $499 device yeah I can say price constraints. but for what they’re asking for these two tablets. 400 clams for both not including taxes of course..
    It’s the same price for an iPad 2 or 100 bucks cheaper than the iPad 3
    Same goes for competing android tablets At that price range.
    So go ahead and have your cake and eat it too, hell can have two pieces of cake why not?

  • TechGuy

    Comparisons like this are pretty pointless.

    It’s like comparing a sports car with a pick up truck – short of them both having four wheels and an engine, they are aimed at very different markets. The “Fires” are mainly media consumption devices whereas the Nexus is more of a general purpose device.

    The Nexus has features like GPS and NFC that the “Fires” lack as they have no need for them as entertainment devices.

  • Tumpy Tumpy

    [quote]
    On the flip side the Kindle Fire HD is the first tablet to offer dual-band MIMO WiFi [/quote] correction, motorola Xoom is the first tablet to have 2.4 & 5.0 wifi band

  • CPA01

    N7. Hands down.

    N7 has simply more uses then simple media consumption. That said, if I was purely using it for Amazon streaming, I’d get a KF.