Tablet Comparison: Kindle Fire vs iPad
This article was written just a few days after the original Kindle Fire was released in 2011. For the updated version, please go to our Kindle Fire HD vs. iPad page.
Amazon has released it’s very own tablet and gadget lovers are now loving the Kindle Fire. Meanwhile, Apple’s iPad has been the undisputed king of tablets since its release in 2010. It catapulted the company further as the leading mobile technology provider in the world. Is Kindle Fire a threat to the reign of iPad? Let us find out as the two tablets go head to head in our Kindle Fire vs iPad showdown.
Apple has been known for its industrial design and it poured all its talent into designing the iPad 2. The first generation iPad was thin but the iPad 2 is thinner. The thickest part of the device is only 0.34 inch. The Kindle Fire is not too far behind at 0.45 inch but is lighter ( 14.6 oz.) and smaller (7.5 by 4.7 inches). However, the iPad 2 has that look and feel that you will have a hard time explaining. It was built to look good in your hands and your hands feel good holding it. The Kindle Fire is rumored to have the Blackberry PlayBook as its template so it might inherit the perks (as well as the problems) of that design.
Amazon’s Kindle Fire features a 1 GHz processor, 8 GB of storage and a screen resolution of 1024 by 600 pixels. This would be impressive if the iPad 2 did not exist. It is up against a superior A5 processor with 512 MB of RAM. The iPad 2 is available at a minimum capacity of 16 GB with variants of 32 and 64 GB. The screen of the iPad eats up most of its 9.5 inch front and has a resolution of 1024 by 768 pixels.
The Kindle Fire was supposed to be an entertainment device but the absence of a camera makes it look like a simple e-reader. The iPad has front and rear cameras which, although not that good, are enough for video calls and photos.
The Kindle Fire’s battery life is at par with iPad’s at 8 hours but traveling with it would not be as convenient because it only has WiFi for internet connection. As of this writing, there are no reports or rumors that Amazon will be releasing a 3G version of the device.
Although essentially an Android device, the Kindle Fire lacks the luster that entices consumers who buy Androids. The apps that support it currently reaches 17,000 but it is still dwarfed by the 200,000 android apps available and the 500,000 at the Apple App store. Its lack of hardware features such as cameras, a microphone and bluetooth might be the cause of it. It also has no GPS support, erasing the advantages of the Google Map and other apps. Compare this to the iPad’s ambient light sensor, accelerometer, and a three-axis gyroscope and then the difference between the two in terms of hardware is amplified.
As an Amazon Product however, the Kindle Fire has the inherent advantage of linking to the largest retailer online. Amazon’s cloud storage makes up for Kindle Fire’s limited storage by backing up media content purchased by the user. The included Cloud Drive offers an additional 5 GB of space. The Kindle Fire’s built-in browser named Silk promises faster web page loading through the EC2 system. EC2 or Elastic Compute Cloud works hand in hand with the device to hasten the process of loading web pages with some predictive content loading of the sites users often visit. The Kindle Fire is the only device as of now to have this kind of technology.
It seems that Amazon is eying to match Apple, not its hardware but the Apple system itself. It already has the largest online store to match up with Apple’s iTunes and App Stores. All it needs is a device that will give users easier access to its cloud storage system. But Apple has that too and the iPad is much more advanced in terms of specifications and features than the Kindle Fire.
The single most important advantage of the Kindle Fire over the iPad 2 is the price. At $199, its more than half the price of the Apple tablet. That is a $300 difference between it and the iPad’s cheapest model. This could be a good reason to buy a tablet for people who already own a laptop and don’t want to spend $500 for a computer duplicate. It will be the cheapest “iPad competitor” as of date. People who buy tablets just to read e-books or surf the internet will find the Kindle Fire as a wiser and more practical choice. Check out the prices:
|Kindle Fire, Full Color 7" Multi-touch Display, Wi-Fi|
Too Low to Displayused from: 169.99
Go to Store
|Apple iPad MC705LL/A (16GB, Wi-Fi, Black)|
$496.99used from: $385.00
Go to Store
Only time will tell if Amazon can keep the Kindle Fire’s price so low. They may have had some inspiration from HP’s TouchPad tablet which was fated to be discontinued. HP slashed the prices so low that it became an instant hit. This prompted the company to make more rather than discontinue the product.
EDGE: Kindle Fire
Summary of Specs:
Kindle Fire iPad 2
Available Apps 16, 600 + 90, 000 + (for iPad only)
Screen Resolution 1024 x 600 pixels 1024 x 768 pixels
Dimensions 7.5 x 4.7 x 0.45 inches 9.5 x 7.31 x 0.34 inches
Screen Size 7 inches 9.7 inches
OS Modified Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) iOS 4 (upgradable to iOS 5)
Capacity 8 GB 16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB
3G No Yes (model specific)
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth None Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
Camera None 0.7 MP rear, VGA front
GPS None Yes (model specific)
Processor Dual Core TI OMAP 4 Dual Core Apple A5
Battery Life 8 hours 10.5 hours
Speed Test and Performance:
Apple’s iPad is still the undisputed king of tablets. It dwarfs the hardware specifications of the Amazon Kindle Fire considerably plus it offers more entertainment and function with its built-in features. The cloud storage of the Kindle Fire is something worth mentioning but it is still not enough to topple iPad out of its place. The main reason one would buy a Kindle Fire is its price. But in return it lacks the fire power that has made iPad the best tablet as of today. So if price alone is not your motivation, here is our verdict in the Kindle Fire vs iPad debate. The Kindle Fire could possibly compete with the NOOK Color but not with the iPad. The only tablet that could oust the iPad could be another iPad.
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