Apple iPad Versus Kindle Fire
Can't decide whether to buy an iPad or the Kindle Fire? Both are hot selling mobile tablets that give you access to email, books, games and entertainment. The Kindle Fire is a couple hundred dollars cheaper, but will it do everything you expect from a tablet? Here's my review of the two popular devices, comparing price, features and some practical considerations...
Which Tablet Should You Buy?
Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet costs $199. The latest Apple iPad (called the "new iPad") costs about $500 to $800 depending on the data storage and connectivity options you choose. Both tablets let you surf the Web, check email, read e-books, watch movies, and play games. But there are significant differences between the iPad and the Fire, besides their prices. (If you want to read my comparison of the Kindle Fire and the Nook from Barnes & Noble, see Nook Tablet vs. Kindle Fire.)
Both tablets feature WiFi connectivity, but the iPad goes further with optional 3G or 4G mobile connectivity through either Verizon or AT&T. Of course, you will pay even more money to a carrier. Also, only the iPad supports AirPlay and Bluetooth, options which are important if you want to wirelessly stream content from your tablet to external speakers or an HD TV. The Fire lacks both camera and microphone, which rules out video conferencing and even VoIP phone calls. The iPad sports two cameras and a mic.
The iPad's screen measures 9.7 inches diagonally, while the Fire's screen measures 7 inches. The new iPad's screen resolution also beats the Fire's (2,048 x 1,536 vs. 1,024 x 600). The iPad2 has a screen resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels. If watching movies or playing games is your thing, bigger is obviously better.
On the other hand, some people complain that the iPad is too big, or too heavy. The Fire weighs 14.6 ounces, while the iPad weighs over 23 ounces. The Fire fits comfortably in one hand, in your pocket book, or even the pocket of your cargo pants. The iPad is about the size of a magazine, but you can't roll it up and shove it in your pocket.
The Fire's internal storage is limited to 8 GB while the iPad offers options of 16, 32, or 64 GB. However, both tablets store most content in the cloud, so local storage is not that much of an issue.
Other Considerations for Tablet Buyers
Battery life is about 9 hours on the iPad and 7 hours on the Fire. An iPad equipped with 4G connectivity will of course drain its battery faster.
The iPad runs Apple's iOS, while the Fire runs Google Android. However, the Fire's version of Android is heavily customized to provide a streamlined pipe directly to Amazon's e-commerce offerings. So the Fire is nearly as simple to use as the iPad.
iPad users have access to the Apple App Store and over 150,000 apps. Amazon's Appstore can't match that, but it does contain tens of thousands of apps and it's growing. You can root the Kindle Fire, which basically turns it into a generic Android tablet, to gain access to the entire Android Market, which rivals the App Store as far as sheer numbers go.
Amazon offers over 100,000 movies and TV shows to rent or buy, and Amazon Prime customers have unlimited access to about 10,000 titles. Apple has no program comparable to Amazon Prime. The iTunes Store contains more than 15,000 movies and 90,000 TV shows, but everything is purchase a la carte.
Want music? Both Apple and Amazon provide access to about 20 million songs. Amazon's album prices are often a bit lower than Apple's. But the biggest difference between the two is that Amazon lets you play your music on a broad range of devices, while most iTunes content will play only on Apple devices.
Amazon has the edge in books. There are over 1 million titles available for the Kindle. Apple iBooks offers about 700,000. You could also say that the Kindle is a better device for reading, since it's more the shape and size of a printed book.
Overall, you can do more with the iPad than with the Kindle Fire. There's no question that the iPad is bigger, badder and more beautiful. The Retina display on the new iPad is super crisp. The question is how much that extra capability is worth to you.
The older iPad2 is still available, and the price has been lowered to $399. The new iPad starts at $499. So you'll be paying at least an extra $200 - $300 if you opt for the iPad over the Kindle Fire. Personally, I tend to use my mobile devices for checking email, a few apps, and occasional web browsing. I've read books on both the Nook and Kindle, but still prefer the experience of a paper book to an e-reader. And I'll take my movies on the big screen HDTV, thank-you-very-much.
I've used an iPad, and while I think it's very slick, it's just too big for me. I've considered it as a replacement for a laptop while traveling, but the lack of a physical keyboard would be a downer for me. And again there's the cost factor. My last laptop cost $350. It has a full-size tactile keyboard, 15-inch screen, CDROM drive, USB and SD card slots, and runs all my Windows software.
Do you own an iPad or a Kindle Fire? Post a comment and tell me why you love it!
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 16 Mar 2012
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Apple iPad Versus Kindle Fire (Posted: 16 Mar 2012)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved