Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire

BrianKeith513 asks in our forums a pretty important question when it comes to purchasing a tablet for kids.

I'm asked a lot about mobile devices from friends and families, because I've worked in the mobile industry for many years now, in various capacities. However, I'm stumped over one thing; The Nexus 7 vs Kindle Fire for kids.

Now I know that the Nexus 7 is a better value, in that it is superior in just about every way than the Fire. The thing is, is the Kindle Fire easier to use for an elementary school-aged child? She uses my iPad 2, and loves it, but her mom wants her to have her own tablet, no more than $200. What do you think?

An excellent question. I've already weighed in on the Nexus 7 versus the Kindle Fire, and there's a clear winner. But that's for me. A (relatively) grown adult. I've got kids, and my kids use tablets. A lot, actually.

But here's the thing: My 6-year-old doesn't particularly care which tablet she uses. Hell, I'm not even sure she knows the difference. For her, it's all about the apps. Which does the tablet have Where's my Perry on it? Can she play Ski Safari? (Yes, I got her hooked on that, too.) How about PBS Kids or Netflix? So long as it has the apps that she uses -- and that she knows she's allowed to use -- hardware doesn't really matter to her. "I like them both the same, Daddy," she just said to me. Of course, she's 6, but a girl's allowed to have an opinion, amiright? And we're talking about bouncing between the Nexus 7, iPad 2 (and 3) and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. (She rocks a Chromebook, too, if you must know.)

Back to me, though, since I'm the one buying these things. If I had to choose between the Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire for my budding little techie, I'd go with the Nexus 7, hands down. A few reasons for that:

  • Better screen resolution: Hands down, that's a major factor.
  • Ecosystem and flexibility: While I'm still amazed at how well the Amazon Appstore has done, there's nothing like the depth and flexibility of Google Play. Now, you have to balance the fact that Google has more apps with the fact that Amazon has better video. But Netflix takes care of a lot of that, and hopefully Google will one day catch up.

Now, make no mistake, my kids don't actually know all the minutiae when it comes to comparing the Kindle Fire to the Nexus 7. They know where the power button is. They know how to unlock the tablet. They know how to find their apps -- and there's a big difference, actually, since the Nexus 7 has proper homescreens with app icons -- and they know how to return to the homescreen. But, c'mon, they're 6 and 2. Tablets, at this point, are the same to them. At this point, the purchase needs to be about you, the parent. 

For me, those two reasons are enough to push me toward the Nexus 7 when it comes to my children. That might change when we see an updated Kindle Fire, so we'll have to revisit that. 

More: The Android Central Kids Section