Android Central

Alright, we've rounded up just about all of the specs on Amazon's new Kindle Fire HD tablets, now let's see how they size up against the competition: Apple's new iPad, the Google Nexus 7 by ASUS, Microsoft's upcoming Surface RT, and RIM's LTE BlackBerry PlayBook. 

At the lower price points, only the Nexus 7 is really competing. We're still waiting on more information on RAM, but the new Kindle Fire HDs offer a lot more local storage further up the ladder. Next to the new iPad, the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD with LTE doesn't look so hot. Sure, the new iPad with data starts $130 higher, but it includes a much higher-resolution screen, a rear camera, and few more key bonuses. 

In any case, what do you think of the Amazon Kindle Fire HD when sized up against these other major tablets? Does it stand a good chance at holding onto its major share of the U.S. tablet market? How about abroad?

Be sure to stick around for a hands-on comparison from Kevin, who handled our most excellent liveblog earlier today.

Pre-order New Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD 7 and Kindle Fire HD 8.9


Reader comments

Amazon Kindle Fire HD vs. iPad vs. Nexus 7 vs. Surface RT vs PlayBook


Aside from the Kindle devices (which are the main focus of this comparison), there is only one device representing each plaform. So when choosing a tablet to represent Android, it's logical to choose the Nexus 7 since it was developed by Google.

The PPI between the iPad3 and Fire HD 8.9 are effectively the same... Many people think a 10 inch tab is too big, personally I think the 9" is perfect. The Kindles are not for me but its a good value compared to an iPad3 for an LTE device and completely blows away the iPad3 on value for a Wifi device.

Wow... I knew AndroidCentral was really "anti-Samsung"
but I had no idea the hate was this bad. (based on
the ratio of negative/positive Samsung comments in
AndroidCentral forums during the last 15 months)

To completely ignore Samsung's current Android tablets
on that list is simply inexcusable. I guess this
is official confirmation that Samsung should not
invite AC editors to the launch even for the GS4
next summer? :)

There's only one model of each OS, apart from the Kindle which is the focus, so of course they'd have the Nexus. No Asus Transformer Pad Infinity either, which I would have put in there ahead of the Samsung. I read AC every day and have never noticed an anti-Samsung bias, quite the opposite really. I don't read the forums but what does that have to do with the views of AC editors?

Tegra 3 is substantially better... 2 times the cores, and a much better GPU prolly about 3 times faster than the 4430.

The TI OMAP 4470 i have not seen benchmarked, but from what i have read, should beat out the Tegra 3 and S4.

TI OMAP 4470 might beat the S4 in GPU performance but no chance against the Krait cores. CPU-wise, it's almost the same as the 4460 in the Galaxy Nexus. It might not even match the Exynos in the Galaxy S2, depending on how it's clocked.

Edit: Just seen that it's clocked at 1.5Ghz. Might be slightly ahead of the old Exynos 4 Dual in the S2 performance wise but not by much. Certainly old tech in terms of CPU.

Theoretically, it should be slower, being a dual-core with slightly lower clock speed (stock, of course). The 4430 is the same one as in the Galaxy Tab 2 and the Droid Rarz. Day to day tasks should run about the same. Although, since Kindles run a heavily-customized version of Android, I'm not sure how much those customizations will affect performance. The only noticeable slow-down might be in some HD gaming.

But for $160, I don't think it's going to be a great concern...

I still think the Nexus 7 out of all of those for the money is the best. Now if adding Galaxy Note 10.1 and Asus Transformer prime/pad to that list I think the Note and the Nexus 7 are the best.

To be fair, the Samsung tablets were probably not included because their tablets don't seem to capture mindshare. Microsoft tablets will be on TV and store everywhere, Apple iPads is obviously popular, and Google is the maker of the core OS and has a big ad on their homepage. I don't think anyone outside tech enthusiasts really knows anything about Samsung tablets besides from what they heard in the recent lawsuit (that has been all over the news).

I would have agreed with you, if the Playbook wasn't included on the list. As a former
Blackberry fanboy(and also Apple fanboy), I cannot understand why anybody in their right
mind would even consider the Playbook. My current status is a certified Android fanboy,
by the way. (but if the iPhone5 turns out to be more awesome than my current Gnex and
GS3, I'll jump ship in a heartbeat... sorry... I do not have loyalty for any one mobile
OS. I switch to whichever happens to be the best at the time.

From what I've seen with the first hands-on videos of the Fire HD, the device lags like crazy. Crazy as in, my Galaxy S variant from 2010 was less laggy on stock Samsung TWed Froyo. That's bad news. There should be no reason why any reasonably maintained (software-wise) device in late 2012 with those specs should lag like that. You can give a tablet all of the nice hardware and a beautiful screen all you want, but if the software sucks, the entire tablet experience will suck.

This is where the Nexus 7 has and will always have a major advantage over any customized, forked version of Android that Amazon can throw together. Stock Jellybean runs like a dream, and not only that, but there is no advantage that the Fire has in terms of content as the Amazon and Kindle app environments are available to run on the Nexus 7.

All in all, it's a mediocre-at-best tablet covered with an admittedly really nice display.

The only Samsung tablet that should be here with the low cost tablets is the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0. Tho it's really on par with the revamped $159 Kindle SD.

To be honest, the Windows tablets are the only real competition for the Kindle line as far as the average consumer will be concerned, and only because it's a proper Windows tablet and people are used to Windows. No one outside of these tech blogs knows or cares about Nexus or "naked Android". Nor do they need a quadcore chip to play a video or read an ebook.

WOW!!! I can't believe how Amazon just punched Google in the FACE!!! The Nexus 7 just went from being the hottest 7 inch around to being basically an afterthought. I love the Nexus 7 form factor but there is no way I can pass up on the specs of the Kindle Fire HD. The only thing that gives me pause is the relationship between Kindle and the Google's Play store. With Kindle running some kind of Android hybrid, can you interact with Play store on your Kindle? Or does Kindle lock you into the Amazon market. I love Google and the Play store, so this one is kind of big for me. It, however, might not be a deal breaker. Kudos to Amazon for a serious power grab.

I was just thinking this about Amazon droppin' the bomb!!! I have two Nexus 7's (8 and 16) and love 'em, BUT!!!! If the Kindle Fire HD was available when I got them - might of had two of them!! Amazing prices on these techno wonders, but I think its best to set back and wait a couple months to see what is next!!

You must really have no clue or are interviewing for some dramatic role in a chick flick! First of all the KFHD 7 really has nothing on the N7 other then a slightly better price. On the negative side you get a forked version of Android that by the sounds of it is not every optimized and possible already several versions behind. So in the end you get what you pay for... You want a smooth, flexible, first to upgrade to the next version of Android, with a ton of developer support or a device that similar specs (some slightly better) that is locked down tighter then a nun! Arguably I would consider the KFHD 7 over the N7 if it turns out it's easy to root and the developer support is there to bring CM10 to it. No way I would even consider one without support for CM10 or similar AOSP (AOKP) ROM.

The Kindle line doesn't access to the Google Play Store, at least not full access. That's a deal breaker for me, to be running Android but losing all the great apps.

Are you serious?

First : a slow CPU and no GPS? Are you kidding me? It's 2012!

2nd : if you don't hack the kindle:

No play store
No jelly bean
No Google +
No Google voice search
No Google now

NO - thank you.

If you want a games/music/video player/reader then the Fire is fine. The Fire range is relatively closed, meaning that you cannot configure it the way you can with devices like the Nexus 7.

Don't try using any location based apps on a Fire, don't think your photos will be auto-tagged with the location and don't even think about navigation or NFC apps!

The Fire range look good for what they are: media consumption devices. They are in a different league to other Android devices like the Nexus 7. Neither one is better or worse, it depends what your uses are.

I feel that despite some great specs and prices, some people will be very disappointed when they discover the limitations of a locked down device that, even once it's hacked, will still lack vital sensors like GPS.

I agree that the kindle range is designed for media consumption, but:
- You don't need a GPS to get a location.
- The camera is there for chat, not taking pictures
- NFC is for next year, when it will be mainstream.

It really shows how much the iPad and PlayBook are overpriced and I'm sure most punters looking for a 4G device will be happy saving $230 and go with a tablet with a slightly lower resolution than the iPad, given all the benefits.

It's all about PPI not resolution and they are arguably the same (254 vs. 264 or something like that). NO ONE could tell the difference in pixel density between an iPad3 and a KFHD8.9!

Wrong. It shows how easily AC can bend te facts to make you come to that wrong conclusion.

Comparing a 16 GB Fire wifi only to a 32 GB PlayBook 4G on price? Totally apples and oranges. The Playbook is far more capable, real security, more memory, and 4G. Of course it is more expensive. Lobster is more expensive than canned tuna.

I many be just a low need user; but my Xoom seems to be equal to all of those devices. Decent camera, GPS, Jelly Bean, no noticeable lag, 32GB with 32GB microSD. I just don't get the why it never got the love....

Agree on the Xoom. Purchased it on release day, and have used it daily since. With Jelly Bean, the Xoom is as smooth, and lag-free as any tablet I use including the grossly over-hyped new iPad. The Xoom, and an iPad are docked within a foot of each other, yet I choose the Xoom 90% of the time. It may not be as slim, or light as the older iPad, but I find it more comfortable to hold for longer durations than the iPads particularly the new iPad which gained a couple of ounces. I am grandfathered-in to unlimited data on the iPad so I took the new iPad with unlimited LTE on vacation. I am not sure the retina resolution is worth the extra bulk vs iPad 2, or 10" Android tablet when carrying around all day.

I also took my latest toy, the Note 10.1, with me. The Note is lighter, thinner, easier to hold, has better speakers, and although not retina resolution, a very nice screen. Can't wait for the Jelly Bean update. When using the Note 10.1 after using the heavier new iPad, I don't really miss the higher resolution of the iPad particularly at the type size I prefer. I don't enjoy reading aspirin bottle fine print text sizes which is the area where the higher resolution shines. I respect other opinions, but IMO, the retina display is immensely over-rated media hype, an improvement, but not the massive increase many tech sites, including some Android sites, rave about consistently. I feel similar about the HD display on the Transformer Infinity (which is also part of my toy box), an incremental improvement, but not a game changer.

Nexus 7:
+ Google Apps (many of Android Users love the Google services)
+ Play Store has 600.000+ Apps
+ NFC is nice in combination with a NFC Phone
+ latest Updates and very smooth
+ with its 12cm it fits barely but well in a jacket pocket

Kindle 7":
- 13,7 cm so won't fit that easy in the pocket or palm of the hand
- Amazon App Store has "just" 50.000 Apps
- no Google Services
- ICS (as fasr as I know)
- first reported it's a bit laggy in 3rd party apps and multitasking..may memory with bad i/o performance or it's just their custom skin
- not the latest android and barely updates
- ad supported with ads in the lock screen.
+/- we still don't know if it will have a locked bootloader. Since they pushed the price that much down because of their ads in the lockscreen the chance is high that they've locked the bootloader so people can't remove it..but we'll see

Just my first impressions. At the and the Nexus 7 is the better deal for most people I think. The good thing is that this will put much pressure on other tablet manufacturer regarding to their price.

The final question would be, and maybe you guys can make a poll: "How do people feel about a device with a lower price if it is supported by ads in the lockscreen and maybe locked down so you can't put another rom on it to keep the ads in place?". This is something Google could do as well since Ads are there business, but would people like to see that?

Amazon has made the best true ereader for users who will not ever fully understand the potential an Android tablet such as nexus or note....the list goes on. The more limited app store would be crippling to me(as i just started using a kindle fire and hating the no play store) but for others it provides just enough to have what they need. It will have plenty of games, apps, and the best way to use an ebook. So the market it aims at will mist likely be very pleased as i am impressed comparing the kindle sitting next to me to these other devices.
However anyone who has used the google play store will hate the amazon app store. Its not anything close at this point. If I had to chose a tablet it would be a nexus...maybe. the price and power of a nexus sound so inviting. Other tablets to me seem like way too much money. If prices dropped I am positive android tablets would take off. The amount of tablet optimized apps rises daily and I want tablet more each day.
And as for the iPad...... not a hater of apple but the people who use iPhones and iPads barely know what a widget is. They don't get the power of customization android users have. Apple and Amazon ( more apple) have their users so locked into the greatness of their product that they can't see what cool things they're missing. I also think that an iPhone is somehow a 'cool' thing to have for some people. Yes it was, years ago before numerous companies started pumping out powerful and amazing phones and tabs. I really wish amazon stepped away from the apple ways and they could be much more popular to all android users.

How do you forget the Asus Transformer Infinity??? It wipes the floor clean of all the tablets mentioned in the picture yet it is forgotten. I would understand if this was a $199 - $299 comparison but you threw the new iPad in there. It is only fair to include the Asus Transformer Infinity. As far as raw performance and hardware it is the tablet to beat. SMH

What's missing is what it does. A tablet is a worthless gadget without software. Business by the scores are returning Pads and delaying purchases of Tablets. Because A laptop is the preferred tool of business users. And has proven it after the pad has been mainstream for a few years.
A pad is useful yet it's not the same as a laptop regardless of how you spin it. Which is exactly why Laptop manufacturers are going ga-ga over ultrabooks. They know the pad is an extension of not a replacement for a laptop. And if you combine the pad and the keyboard case you just created a laptop.
You can make an Ipad, Asus, Kindle... do a number of things. But once you pick up the google pad you see it's brillance quickly. It's highly useful. The OS, the UI offer so much. It's tied to google services so search, navigation, email, music and movies are all right there. And the amazing Google NOW makes Siri look like an child. The Google Nexus 7 reins supreme in the 7 inch $200 market. Not because of what it is, because what it does. What it offers to the average person is superior.