Amazon has set the world, and we’ll ask for your forgiveness in advance for this pun, afire with the announcement of its entry into touch-screen tablet market called Kindle Fire, and like almost every failed tablet that has come before it, many are dubbing it an iPad killer.
At $199, it’s less than half the price of Apple’s entry-level iPad 2, putting it within reach of many more users than Apple’s $499 (and up) device. On the other hand, it’s smaller, runs a forked version of Android, doesn’t have a camera, runs a subset of the tiny number of Android apps that “work” on other Android tablets, and is really more of a tablet wrapper for Amazon’s services than it is a media tablet.
That makes any comparisons an apples vs. oranges effort (pun intended), but the reality is that many people will want and need to do just that. There’s no doubt that iPad 2 is a far, far more capable device, but at $199, the Kindle Fire could well be the definition of good enough, and comparing the specs will make that decision easier.
Accordingly, we present the physical specs as well as some of the software-oriented features in the comparison chart below. Looking at those features, it’s easy to see that the iPad 2 presents far more bang than Amazon’s Kindle Fire, but the subjective question is which one offers the most bang for the buck. The answer to that question will be as personal as “Boxers vs. Briefs.”
For instance, some people will look at the Kindle’s much smaller form factor and think back to then-Apple CEO Steve Jobs making the case that a 7” display isn’t big enough for a proper multitouch interface. Other people will point to the fact that you can grip the Kindle Fire with one hand and count that as a plus.
Looking at the software, iOS 4.3.5 (and soon iOS 5) is far more capable than the Amazoned version of Android 2.3 the Fire runs. Other people will look at the vastly more limited and simple interface of the Fire and find it less intimidating and easier to use.
Camera vs. no camera? People that pick the Fire probably don’t care about this feature. Gyroscope vs. no gyroscope? Some people just want to read books and shop on Amazon and don’t care about racing games and the other awesome uses that iPad developers have found for that device’s gyroscope.
What’s important to you, may be irrelevant to your neighbor, but this chart makes easier both of you to pick the device that’s right for you.
(Even though the iPad 2 is obviously far more bitchin’ than the Fire—we’re just sayin’.)
Note that the images below are presented as close to scale as we could get.
iPad 2 vs. Kindle Fire Specs
|Product||Apple iPad 2||Amazon Kindle Fire|
|OS (current)||iOS 4.3.5 (as of 10/3/2011)||Android 2.3|
|Apps||iOS Apps on Apple’s App Store|
(90,000+dedicated iPad apps)
|Amazon Appstore for Android|
|Ebooks||Kindle, Apple’s iBooks||Kindle|
|Magazines & Newspapers||√||√|
|Browser||Safari & Other Webkit Browsers||Amazon Silk|
|Dimensions (in.)||9.5 x 7.31 x 0.34||7.5 x 4.7 x 0.45|
|Weight (lbs)||1.33 (Wi-Fi)/1.35 (GSM)||0.91|
|Display size (in., diag)||9.7||7|
|Display Resolution||1024 x 768 (LED bklight)||1024 x 600|
|Processor||A5 (dual core)/ 1 GHz||TI OMAP dual core/ 1 GHz|
|User Storage (GB)||16/32/64||8|
|Front Camera||0.3 MP||x|
|Rear Camera||0.7 MP (720p)||x|
|Audio/speaker||mono spkr, stereo headphone||stereo jack & spkrs|
|Wi-Fi||802.11 a/b/g/n||802.11 b/g/n|
|3G Radio (GSM)||UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA/GSM/EDGE||x|
|3G Radio (CDMA)||CDMA, EV-DO||x|
|Bluetooth||2.1 + EDR||x|
|Battery Life, hours||10 (25 watt-hr)||8|
|Video out||HDMI (w/ accessory),|
Wireless AirPlay for Some Apps
|Colors||Black or White||Black|
|Price US$ (Wi-Fi)||499/599/699||199|
|Price US$ (3G)||629/729/829||x|
John Martellaro greatly assisted with this article.