Home > Commentary > Kindle Fire vs. Nook Tablet! Fight!

Kindle Fire vs. Nook Tablet! Fight!

I pre-ordered the Kindle Fire when it was announced. Only to un-pre-order it when the Nook Tablet was announced. Today, after playing with demo units of both at the local mall, I decided on the Kindle Fire. Kindle fire wins. Read on to find out how I made my decision.

The Setup

I don’t have Amazon Prime. I don’t have Hulu+, I don’t have Nextflix. I also don’t have plans on buying digital content. Some reviews gleefully argue for the Kindle, saying that you get FREE content from Amazon when you have Prime. That’s ridiculous. How could it be free when you already paid for it?

Anyway, this means I will be comparing the two devices as they come straight out of the box. No extra services or add-on included.

Storage

6gb usable storage with Fire. 1gb with Tablet. Fire wins. Sure, you can expand the Nook’s storage with microSD, but then it’s not a out-of-the-box comparison. 6gb is plenty. I don’t like storing stuff locally anyways. The other many gigs of storage that the Tablet is storing for exclusive B&N content? Why don’t I have access to this? And why so much space?  B&N has the worse appstore between the two.

Price

If you have disposable income. $50 price difference isn’t that big of a deal. I would just buy the one I like better. But there’s no way I would let my nook sit with 1gb usable storage. If I plan on side loading anything, the price difference becomes greater. It’s not so much that microSD cards cost that much money, I just don’t like the idea that I have to make a purchase on top of a purchase to feel like I got a fully functional product. It’s like paying for floor mats when you buy a car. Shouldn’t that be included already?

On the other hand, I also feel that, from the majority of the other reviews out there, having Prime content on the Fire is an indispensable part of the experience. So after the month trial is up, what am I left with? Fortunately, my media consumption isn’t severely undercut with the absence of Prime.

Test Drive

I’m not special so I have to go to the mall to test drive the unit. This has no bearing on owning the unit, but after all the reviews and spec comparisons, I was still undecided. The hands-on is important.

Kindle Fire: I saw this at Target. The interface is different, but I can figure it out pretty quick. Settings, wi-fi, and the browser were all disabled for the demo unit. This is lame, because I really wanted to dig through the settings. There was quite a bit of software installed already. The navigation wasn’t silky smooth, but it wasn’t horrible.

Nook Tablet: I went to the B&N store to test drive this, and seeing it side-by-side with the Nook Color really made me wonder why I shouldn’t just buy the Nook Color for $50 less. and if I was going to do that, why wouldn’t I just buy a Kindle Fire? The demo unit was running low on battery. But it was on wi-fi, so I was able to test out youtube and flickr. The connection was a bit slow, but I think a lot of people are online.

Both units are pretty reading-centric. But the book-shelf metaphor seemed to work better than the ‘big pile of icons’ metaphor.

The Display

The Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet both have the same resolution and dimensions, but the Nook Tablet is supposed to have a Vivid View something something and be better at video playback. Honestly, unless you are going to be using both units side by side, all the time, and the only thing you are doing is to compare the two, the differences won’t make much of a difference. They are both good.

Hardware Design

This is a big one for me. The Kindle Fire just looks a lot better. The glass from the display extends all the way to the bevel, like the iPad, and the backing has a soft rubber coating on it. I feel as if the only thing I need to do is slap a screen protector on it and I can use the Fire as is.

The Nook Tablet, aside from looking too similar to the Nook Color, also feels plasticy and cheap. The Nook Color on display next to the Tablet was an older unit, and you can see the paint wearing off at the edges. It feels like I would want to buy a cover for this, because it doesn’t seem like it would wear well. having a physical button for home and volume is nice, but again, the buttons feel plasticy.

Kindle Fire wins.

Other Hardware Capabilities

In terms of hardware, Nook Tablet wins out. The ability to expand storage, and a microphone is nice. Too bad it doesn’t do anything for me. I am hoping for a skype app for the Nook Tablet, but out of the box, it doesn’t make a difference right now.

The Apps

Both devices offer a curated app store instead of the full Android Market. Amazon has more apps, and more free apps.

Kindle Fire wins.

The Verdict

So, it’s the Kindle Fire for me. More apps, better better looking device, lower price, and a supposedly better browser makes the Fire the winner!

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