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Kindle Fire HD, will you get one?

posted Sep 6, 2012, 7:48 PM by Vu Nguyen   [ updated Sep 7, 2012, 7:17 AM ]
Let's face it: the tablet market got super hot when Apple's iPad was introduced in 2010. I was in need of a device portable enough to replace my laptop, but also act as big GPS, video player, and book (magazine and comics, in particular) reader. My first gen 32gb 3g model is showing its age and if I could afford it, I would replace it with the third gen/same model.

I wouldn't buy a 7" iPad version (if that's coming out), remember, the size has to be large to display a whole comic book page without having to zoom in and out - so the larger the screen, the better. 10" is not exactly "portable", but it's the right size for a magazine page.

Anyway, Amazon announced their competitor to the iPad, so let's break it down with a side-by-side comparison.

NEW IPAD (3rd Gen)
  • Size: 8.9 inches
  • Size: 9.7 inches
  • Price: $499
  • Price: $729
  • Display: 1920x1200 HD at 254 ppi
  • Display: 2048×1536 at 264 PPI
  • Speakers: Dolby audio and dual stereo
  • Speakers: Single grill
  • CPU: 1.5Ghz dual-core
  • CPU: 1 GHz Apple A5X
  • Graphics: Imagination PowerVR 3D
  • Graphics: PowerVR SGX543MP4
  • Storage: 32 or 64 GB
  • Storage: 16, 32, or 64 GB
  • Memory: 1 GB DDR2 RAM
  • Memory: 1 GB DDR2 RAM
  • Camera: "HD"
  • Camera: 1080p rear-facing
  • Battery: 8 hours (based on old Kindle Fire)
  • Battery: 10hr
  • Weight: 1.25 lb
  • Weight: 1.46 lb
  • Wireless: Dual-band/dual-antenna Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS
  • LTE: $50 a year for 250mb a month
  • LTE: $179.88 a year for 250mb
  • Advertisement screensavers
  • No advertisements

  • Keep in mind the comparison is with the "new iPad", which was released one year ago. Apple has yet to announce a new, new iPad for 2013, but I suspect they will upgrade and surpass the current model.

    Right off the bat
    The LTE pricing is awesome. It's $50 a year to stay connected. Granted, 250mb is not a lot of data, but it's really useful if you just want to check your email or update your status, etc. On the other hand, the iPad is no-contract, so you can turn off the internet anytime you want.

    No GPS on Kindle?
    I don't think there's GPS services with the Kindle. I don't have the old Kindle, does that also mean no Google maps on the Kindle? The other bad news is that Amazon has their own app store, which isn't as big as the regular Android store… and less big than the Apple app store. Most games also appears on iOS before other stores - and they're generally cheaper (average iPad app price is $2.99).

    Movie playback
    I can't comment on the new Kindle - but the old Kindle Fire does not support softcode subtitles or multiple audio tracks. Even the first gen iPad will playback 720p content with softcode subtitles and multiple tracks. The new iPad supports 1080p content, but to be honest, because of storage issues, I downscale my Blu-Rays to 720p. Also, if you stream content within your home, 1080p does tend to choke, especially if you're using older Wi-Fi band (like the PS3's wireless).

    Anyway, it should be interesting to play around with the Kindle HD when it comes out to see what it can and can't do. Right now, based on pricing and connectivity, the Kind HD is pretty hot. However, this could all change when Apple announce something this September 12th.

    Other things to consider
    Amazon does not support Epub, which is a popular e-book format. Amazon has its own DRM book format called AMZ, which no one else uses. Amazon also tout their prime service, but if you're an iPad user, Amazon does offer an iOS app.

    Amazon puts "special offers" as a special feature. It's not a feature, these are advertisements. How would you feel if your computer's screen saver started showing Microsoft ads?

    ALSO: Kindle Fire HD has a built-in HDMI out. You have to buy a $30 dongle for the iPad. I would imagine iPad4 will have its own built-in output.