I really like my iPad. However, I don’t like to travel with it due to the potential damage and replacement expense, and I like a lighter tablet for reading. About a week after the Google Nexus 7 came out some guys at work got one. It was smooth and fast with Android Jellybean and worked very well so I got one.
Then the Kindle Fire HD came out. I liked the Nexus 7 but decided to keep the Fire HD. I buy content from iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon, but the bulk of my movies and music come from Amazon. The cross platform nature of their offerings appeals to me. In particular, I don’t buy books anywhere else, because I don’t want to lock in to one device to read them. The tablet hardware differences were pretty small, so the decision came down to content.
Comparison – details are everywhere, but here are the things that made a difference to me.
GPS – No GPS on the Kindle Fire HD and limited Google Nav on the Google Nexus 7. You can set a navigation route when you have WiFi data access with the Nexus 7, but in my experience when you get off the interstate not much data is available to the sides of your route. Nav still works, but no recalculating without data access. If you download offline maps to the Nexus 7 you can see your GPS dot on the offline map which is useful, but apparently these cached maps expire at some point.
Screen – Seemed about the same to me. Nothing gigantically different to my eye.
Size – The Nexus 7 is about 1/2” narrower. This is advantage when holding it in one hand like a phone. However, the wider border on the Fire HD is nice when holding it like a book or watching a movie. Definitely a matter of preference here.
WiFI – The Fire HD has some neat Dual band MIMO technology behind the WiFi, but I didn’t notice big differences when using the either device in areas with good signal.
HDMI Output – The Fire HD has a micro-HDMI output. This is cool, especially if you have a TV with an open HDMI port begging for a smart TV upgrade.
Customization – Very simple on this answer. Google Nexus 7 yes for customize, Amazon Kindle Fire HD no. The Nexus 7 can be made to look however you want. It is a fully customizable Android Jellybean device. Widgets and icons and whatever else you and the developers dream up.
The Fire HD has virtually no customizing capability outside of the favorites folder. Even the favorites folder now is hidden and you have to touch the star on the bottom of the screen to get the favorites to pop up. The favorites bookshelf that was on the original Kindle Fire is now a list of suggestions, mostly advertisements. This “feature” is the most annoying change in the Kindle offering and nearly tipped the scale to the Nexus 7 for me. I find it to be intrusive and a total waste of screen real estate. It is far more annoying than the lock screen advertisements I thought would bother me. The lock screen ads can be removed for a fee, but apparently the suggestions can not from what I have read so far.
Content – At this point, Google and Amazon both seem to have a billion apps and a billion songs and a billion movies. Not sure of the real numbers, but cross platform use of amazon content on my iPad, Kindle, Windows Phone, mini-Android Galaxy 5 Player, PC, and Mac is too hard for me to resist. With Amazon Prime opening a catalog of free movies and the Kindle lending library, my decision was made.
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