Kindle fire HD 8.9 vs Google Nexus 7, Tablets of 2013

Specifications Amazon Kindle fire  HDX 8.9 Google Nexus 7
Operating System Android 4.2.2 Android 4.3
Weight 384.34 297.67
Dimensions 9.09 x 6.22 x 0.31 inches 7.9×4.5×0.34 inches
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064
Processor Speed 2.2GHz 1.5GHz
Screen 8.9 7.0
Resolution 8 megapixels, 3264 x 2448 5 megapixels,  1920×1200
Technology LCD IPS LCD
Touchscreen Capacitive touch Capacitive touch
Features Light sensor Light sensor, Scratch-resistant glass (Gorilla Glass)
Camcorder Yes 1920x1080p (HD)
Front Camera Yes 1.2 megapixels
Video 1280x720p
RAM 2048MB 2048MB (dual channel)
Storage 16GB 32GB
Wireless charging Built-in

The next wave of high-quality, low-cost Android tablets are here. The top competitors are the Google Nexus 7 (2013) and the new Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9.

The two offer great specs at a reasonable price. But which is the right one to go for?

The Nexus 7 2013 keeps its design as simple as possible. It’s covered in black plastic and it bears little in the way of eye-catching bits beyond the Nexus logo on the back.

It’s no style icon but it’s a very practical design that looks decent, will offend precisely no-one means the tablet doesn’t weigh much. It’s just 297g – which is feather-light for a tablet.

Kindle fire HD 8.9 vs Google Nexus 7 states. 

The design issue we had with the first generation UK Kindle Fire tablets was that they were very heavy. Amazon has resolved this with the HDX range. The smaller 7-inch tablet is just 303g – only 13g heavier than the Nexus 7 2013, while the 8.9-inch tablet edition is 384g. It’s significantly heavier but this remains lighter for a tablet of its size, for example the iPad Air is 1.2-inches but weighs 469g. It’s lightly larger for breezy one-handed use – but no more so than an iPad mini 2.

Kindle fire HD 8.9 vs Google Nexus 7 (2013) – Screen

The screen quality competition between the Amazon and Google tablets is very difficult to judge. They all have high quality screens, with similar high resolutions that make images and text about as sharp as they can possibly be.

Kindle fire HD 8.9 vs Google Nexus 7: LCD’s.

These two uses the IPS LCD screen type, which is great for angled viewing.

However, there have been some reports that the Kindle fire HD 8.9 vs Google Nexus 7 tablets have imperfect colour duplication, with a tint to the display that can come from less than perfect screen optimization/quality assurance. We didn’t see anything like that in the Nexus 7 (2013).

Kindle fire HD 8.9 vs Google Nexus 7 (2013) – CPU/GPU/ANDROID.

The Amazon tablet is much more powerful than the Nexus 7 (2013). They use Qualcomm processors, but in Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 use the Snapdragon 800 chipset, which is advanced and faster than the Snapdragon S4 Pro of the Nexus 7 (2013).

Kindle fire HD 8.9 vs Google Nexus 7 processor:

These two are quad-core CPUs, but the Nexus 7 (2013) is clocked at 1.5GHz whereas the Kindle HDX Fires 2.2GHz – they also use more advanced processor cores, giving them an extra advantage. Each tablet has 2GB of RAM.

Kindle fire HD 8.9 vs Google Nexus 7 are the tablets which provide real-world performance is dictated not just by the specs, but by software too. The Nexus 7 2013’s performance is superb, despite having a lightly behind-the-curve processor. It uses a vanilla version of the upcoming edition of Android, version 4.3 as a result there’s little-to-no lag here.

The Kindle Fire HDX tablet uses Android too, but with a thick custom interface dumped on top. Amazon calls it the Fire UI and it views nothing like Android.

It’s designed to get you to consume Amazon content, from its music store, book store. You do not get approaches to Google Play, but Amazon’s own app store – yep it’s another way for Apple to make a few pennies off Kindle Fire owners.

In the past we have found the Fire UI to be slow and little bit lagg and to not have quite the app selection we expect from an Android tablet. The HDX 8.9 is not a tablet for app friends, but the Amazon App Store does offer a pretty reasonable selection these days. For the ‘full’ Android experience, though, the Nexus 7 (2013) is the only choice here.

We’ll be back with more attention on the Kindles’ performance once we’ve spent more time with them but – at best – they’ll be on-par with the Nexus 7 (2013).

Kindle fire HD 8.9 vs Google Nexus 7 (2013) – Storage/Battery life.

None of these tablets offer expandable storage. You have built into the thing.

The Nexus 7 (2013) comes in two capacities, 16GB and 32GB. The Kindle Fire HDX tablet offers these and a 64GB version.

But which offers the best value when ramping-up storage? You pay an extra £40 to go from 16GB to 32GB with a Nexus 7 (2013). It’s just £30 to do so with a Kindle Fire HDX 7 – but this is bumped up to £40 in the 8.9-inch version. There is no real justification for this, but it’s hardly the most oppressive charge.

Kindle fire HD 8.9 vs Google Nexus 7 storage problems.

To go from 32GB to 64GB costs – once more – is an extra £30 with the HDX 7 and £40 with the HDX 8.9.

Amazon tablets significantly outlast the Nexus 7 (2013) because – simply enough – they have larger batteries. The Nexus has a 3950mAh battery, the Kindle Fire HDX 7 inch 4550mAh one.  The exact size of the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 battery has not been released, but it must be comforting the largest of the three at Amazon says you will get a full extra hour of charge compared to the smaller HDX 7. Amazon has clearly made battery stamina a focus and that is a good thing.

Kindle fire HD 8.9 vs Google Nexus 7 (2013) – Camera.

Tablet cameras are a tricky thing. They are taunting but some people do use them. The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 has camera 8 megapixels with a front 720p video chat camera that sits above the screen.

Both the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 and Nexus 7 (2013) have the full complement of cameras – one on the front, one on the back. The Kindle’s has an 8-megapixel sensor where the Nexus 7 2013’s is a 5-megapixel sensor. Nor yet the camera has a flash, making them fairly useless in low-light conditions.

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