The Daddy of them all. This isn’t really an e-reader at all, but Amazon’s answer to the Apple iPad…the question is though, how do they compare?
I’m comparing the Kindle Fire version 1 with the Apple iPad version 2. I’m going to give you my opinion on the question that’s on everyone’s lips right now…which is better, the Kindle Fire or the Apple iPad?
Disclaimer: Just wanted to say that this isn’t really an e-reader, but Amazon have chosen to launch their tablet computer under the Kindle name so I felt that I ought to include a review and my thoughts on it, for completeness sakes. It’s still a great product, though if you are looking for just an e-reader, you’d be better off with one of the other Kindles that uses eInk.
The Kindle Fire has a 7″ screen, capable of showing 16 million colors at a resolution of 169 ppi (pixels per inch). The Apple iPad has a 9.7″ screen (both measurments are taken on the diagonal) with a resolution of 132 ppi. So, although the iPad has a larger screen, Amazon’s Kindle Fire has a better screen resolution and I have to say it looks wonderful! Amazon have also considered practicalities too and they’ve chemically strengthened their screen to be 20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic, making it extra durable…I have to say that this is a huge plus for me having small children… I know that the Kindle Fire can withstand a few knocks!
Size and Weight
The size of the Kindle Fire is 7.5″ x 4.7″ x 0.45″, compared to the iPad’s 9.5″ x 7.3″ x 0.34″. This makes the Kindle Fire much more portable…in fact, because it’s not much larger than the rest of the Kindle range, it’s still quite easy to get the Kindle Fire to fit into your purse or briefcase if you wanted to use it on a commute. The Kindle Fire is 14.6 ounces compared to 21.3 ounces for the iPad, so the Kindle is the one to choose if you’re going to be lugging it around a lot!
Amazon states the battery on the Kindle Fire lasts for about 8 hours, compared to Apple’s 10 hour. I guess that’s one of the reasons why the iPad is a bit bigger…they’ve added a bit more juice.
The iPad comes in a number of different versions, from 16gb, through 32gb to 64gb whereas the Kindle Fire has only 8gb of space. At first glance it looks like Apple win this round hands down, but wait…one of the things that Amazon offer is free Cloud Storage. The Cloud allows you to store all your movies, books, apps and data with Amazon rather than holding it on your Fire, and it doesn’t cost you anything…you do need access to the internet to be able to get at it though.
Games and Apps
Ok, I’m guessing that everyone knows about Apple and iTunes and the vast number of apps that are available for the iPad. Lots of people don’t know much about the Kindle Fire though. The Kindle Fire runs on a different operating system (for the non-techies like me, that’s the software that actually makes it all work). The Fire uses Android as it’s operating system but it’s still hooked into the Amazon online store so it’s easy to get new apps (including free ones) and get them loaded onto your Fire. You can play all the favorites like Angry Birds, Plants vs. Zombies, plus you can get The Weather Channel apps and more, plus, Amazon have pledged to give a great paid app for free every day! (Not something that Apple’s ever likely to offer!)
Kindle Fire uses Amazon’s Whispersync technology to automatically sync your library of books, last page read, bookmarks, notes, and highlights across your various devices. But on the Kindle Fire, Whispersync extends to video too. You can start watching a movie on your Kindle Fire, then pick up right where you left off on your TV – no having to find your spot.
One of the major advantages about Android is that the writers of it are not so ‘uptight’ as Apple…it’s open source which basically means that everyone can develop for it which means that there are a lot more apps available, and a lot of those are free too. Because so many people are developing the Android operating system it means that it’s going to move forward faster as well, which can only be a good thing. And, there’s a lot more competition to develop apps…the developers don’t have to jump through Apple’s hoops to get their app out to the public so you’ll get a lot more versatility.
As you’d expect, books are right up there. The Kindle Store offers over 1 million books to buy and more than a huge 2 million books for free!!! Amazon is also busy pressuring publishers to offer e-book readers better value and you’ll see that Kindle e-books are considerably cheaper than a lot of rival e-reader books.
You get to enjoy your favorite magazines with glossy, full-color layouts, photographs and illustrations. Access over 100,000 movies and TV shows, including thousands of new releases and all your old favorites.
The Kindle Fire has top mounted stereo speakers and a 3.5mm standard headphone socket. The Apple iPad has the same, but I have to say the sound quality is better on the iPad…I guess that’s because Apple’s primary business prior to the iPad was it’s range of MP3 players, so I guess they cut their teeth on those. Saying that though, if you are planning to use your Fire to watch movies or TV, the sound is more than adequate…I just wouldn’t crank up the volume quite as high as I would on my iPad otherwise it gets a bit ‘tinny’.
Should you buy a Kindle Fire?
Smaller screen than the iPad 2 so it fits into your bag easier.
Higher resolution than the iPad 2.
Much cheaper than the iPad 2.
You are not tied into Apple and iTunes which can in turn give you considerable savings on apps, movies and books. (Did you know that Apple charge the developers 33% of each app sale!?)
You can view Flash on the Kindle Fire which means that more websites are available to you, although more and more websites are moving away from Flash because of Apple.
There’s no camera, so no face-to-face communication.
Smaller screen than the iPad 2.
You can get a 3G version of the iPad, which although it isn’t free, does give you the flexibility of downloaded apps, games and movies without having to be attached to a Wi-Fi network.
There’s no microphone, so you can’t use your Kindle Fire with Skype type applications
The iPad has all sorts of neat toys like the digital compass and they gyroscope.
All things considered, the Kindle Fire is a decent little tablet and I guess whether you go for a Fire or an iPad is up to personal choice. If you are looking for a device primarily to watch movies, collect email and play games, and you have a wi-fi network at home then the Fire would be great. If you want to be able to do face-to-face communication, webchats etc. or you need the 3G then the iPad is going to be the better option.
I guess, if money was no object then, although I really like the Kindle Fire, I’d still say to go with the Apple iPad…at least for the moment. I think that the next version of the Kindle Fire will be one to watch though!
Check out the latest prices on Kindles at our affiliate partner Amazon.com.
Do you have a Kindle Fire?
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For the techies out there…
|Display||7″ multi-touch display with IPS (in-plane switching) technology and anti-reflective treatment, 1024 x 600 pixel resolution at 169 ppi, 16 million colors.|
|Size (in inches)||7.5″ x 4.7″ x 0.45″ (190 mm x 120 mm x 11.4 mm).|
|Weight||14.6 ounces (413 grams).|
|System Requirements||None, because it’s wireless and doesn’t require a computer.|
|On-device Storage||8GB internal (approximately 6GB available for user content). That’s enough for 80 apps, plus 10 movies or 800 songs or 6,000 books.|
|Cloud Storage||Free cloud storage for all Amazon content|
|Battery Life||Up to 8 hours of continuous reading or 7.5 hours of video playback, with wireless off. Battery life will vary based on wireless usage, such as web browsing and downloading content.|
|Charge Time||Fully charges in approximately 4 hours via included U.S. power adapter. Also supports charging from your computer via USB.|
|Wi-Fi Connectivity||Supports public and private Wi-Fi networks or hotspots that use 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, or enterprise networks with support for WEP, WPA and WPA2 security using password authentication; does not support connecting to ad-hoc (or peer-to-peer) Wi-Fi networks.|
|USB Port||USB 2.0 (micro-B connector)|
|Audio||3.5 mm stereo audio jack, top-mounted stereo speakers.|
|Content Formats Supported||Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively, Audible (Audible Enhanced (AA, AAX)), DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, non-DRM AAC, MP3, MIDI, OGG, WAV, MP4, VP8.|
|Documentation||Quick Start Guide (included in box); Kindle User’s Guide (pre-installed on device)|
|Warranty and Service||1-year limited warranty and service included. Optional 2-year Extended Warranty available for U.S. customers sold separately.|
|Included in the Box||Kindle Fire device, U.S. power adapter (supports 100-240V), and Quick Start Guide.|