Google Nexus 7 vs Amazon Kindle Fire

June 27, 2012
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nexus 7 vs kindle fire

Now that the much awaited and heavily rumored Google Nexus 7 tablet has been officially revealed by Google a few moments ago at the I/O conference, one question has made its way to everybody’s lips: how does the Nexus 7 tablet compare against what seems to be its direct competitor, the Amazon Kindle Fire. Does the Nexus 7 tablet have what it takes to become the best budget tablet ever created? Let’s find out as we poise these two contenders against each other in the following segments: OS, display, internal hardware and design.

OS & Software

google-nexus-7

While the display and internal hardware are obviously a big deal, the real game-winner for Google’s tablet might be the fact that it runs on the newest version of Android: 4.1 JellyBean. We’ve updated this article with a link to the full analysis of JellyBean, but what you really need to know is that the Nexus tablet is fully optimized for Google play, meaning magazines, movies and sometimes even web content are all perfectly displayed on the tablet.

Furthermore, all Nexus devices have been the first devices to get new OS updates, since the updates are issued by Google themselves, without the intervention of third-parties such as manufacturers or carriers. If you’re an Android fan, you’ll definitely want to get your hands on a tablet that brings you the full Android experience, and not the highly forked version of Android offered by Amazon on their Kindle Fire.

Full-fledged vanilla Android vs Amazon’s closed, forked OS and slightly unintuitive interface? That’s not really a fair fight from an end-user perspective, is it?

Winner: Google Nexus 7 (we’re an Android website, so this one was easy!)

Display

The Google Nexus tablet and the Amazon Kindle Fire both showcase a 7-inch screen, although the differences between them are quite evident, even on paper. While both tablets use an IPS display, the Nexus 7 runs at a 1280×800 resolution while the Kindle Fire runs at 1024 x 600. The Nexus tablet is able to display 66% more pixels than the Kindle Fire, and given the same size of the displays, the Pixel Per Inch (PPI) density is also 66% higher.

But what about the aspect ratio, you ask? The Kindle fire has a 17:10 aspect ratio and that’s that. But with the Nexus 7, the menu bar takes up 48 pixels from the bottom most of the time, leaving you with an aspect ratio of 17:10, but full-screen apps (video players mostly) will display content on a 16:10 ratio.

Winner: Google Nexus Tablet

Internal Hardware

kindle-fire

Google, rumored to have designed the Nexus tablet specifically to compete with the commercial successful Kindle Fire, knew that they had to deliver on the hardware front, and that’s exactly what they did as the hardware inside their first tablet completely trashes the silicon found inside the Kindle Fire. Why on earth would you go for Kindle Fire’s 1GHz dual-core TI-OMAP 4430 processor and 512MB of RAM instead of the 1.3 GHz Quad-Core Tegra 3 processor and 1GB of RAM on the Nexus tablet? Just in case you’re wondering, the Nexus Tablet’s 12-core Nvidia ULP GPU is also significantly better than the PowerVR SGX540 (single-core) GPU inside the Kindle Fire. To put it bluntly, the Kindle Fire’s TI SoC is a fair match to the Tegra 2, while the Nexus tablet uses the much-improved Tegra 3 SoC.

[Correction] In the first version of the article, we incorrectly stated that the Nexus 7 features an SD card slot. We have removed the statement.

Winner: Google Nexus Tablet

Design

The Kindle Fire features a decent design (although there are some who consider it to be waaaay too Blackberry Playbook-esque for their liking), with a soft-touch plastic case on the back and sides and a rectangular shape. The Nexus 7 tablet isn’t the sexiest tablet around, that’s for sure. We must also mention that the tablet is lighter than the Kindle Fire. We’ll have to wait to get our hands on a Nexus 7 to properly judge its build quality, but the tablet certainly looked awesome during the official presentation.

Winner: Since the Kindle Fire’s design isn’t actually that bad, and considering the fact that looks are subjective, we’ll call this one a draw!

Pricing

The Kindle Fire is currently priced at $199, while the Google Nexus tablet will set you back $199 for the 8GB version. In addition, Google will throw in $25 for spending in the Play store as well as a bundle of free premium content, including the Transformers: Dark of the Moon movie. A 16GB version of the Nexus 7 is also available for $249.

The Nexus 7 will be released in mid July in the US, the UK, Australia and Canada, with more countries to be added to the list in the near future.

Winner: Google Nexus 7

Note: Many expect Amazon to lower the price for a Kindle Fire now that the Nexus Tablet has been announced. Although this is the way the market usually evolves, I wouldn’t count on a significant price cut, given that Amazon doesn’t make a lot of profit from the tab itself (some reports claim that the components cost roughly around $160-$180).

Conclusion

Before Amazon fans start bashing up on this article for comparing a 6-month old tablet against one that was just announced, let me just say that I have nothing against Amazon and their business, as I have only compared two tablets that are currently equally priced. Until Amazon steps up and releases the Kindle Fire 2 (some rumors claim that will happen during July, although there would probably have been a lot more leaks about it if that were the case), the Kindle Fire and the Google Nexus are direct competitors. And the Nexus 7 turns out to be significantly better in all departments.

Google did a perfect job in delivering a budget tablet. From where I’m standing, this is the first Android tablet that really counts!

Comments

  • AndroidVesti

    The Nexus 7 is without a doubt better, but I am not sure if it will sell as good as the Kindle Fire…
    The FK 2 will come out in August and you can get a good glimpse of what it will be like on this website http://kindle-fire-2-news.blogspot.com/ though those are still rumors. Personally, I would still go for the Nexus 7, but Amazon always makes the better offers!

  • Eddie

    There’s no SD card slot in the Nexus 7

  • AppleFUD

    Anyone that is even slightly tech savvy will buy the Nexus 7 over the KF. . . unless they want to save just a few buck as the KF will most likely drop in price.

    Personally, after using the KF I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone other than someone heavily invested in Amazon Prime.

    • Keith Tyler

      There’s a point to be made that Amazon’s media offerings are better than Google Play’s. So, even if you don’t have AMZN Prime, you’ve still got a bigger library available. Does Google Play offer an elite tier where some material is free for an annual cost — analogous to Prime? If not, I’d have to say that Prime (cheaper than a Sirius XM subscription, FWIW) plus KF is a combination that a Pure Google device (for all its benefits) can’t match.

      That being said, AMZN Market does suck for apps, which are mostly games or un-useful branded data pushers. (Yay for sideloading.) And I would like to be able to opt-out of Carousel. And Swype or Graffiti4Android would be nice to have…. sigh.

      • Tom E.

        Wouldn’t Amazon Prime content be made available on the Nexus 7 via its browser and/or an Amazon app?

        • http://profiles.google.com/keithdtyler Keith Tyler

          No, video content is only available on Kindle or PC.

  • JoeJags

    Unfortunately wrong on one count……..there is NOT a SD slot on the Nexus 7 either…….would have been great if it had though…….

  • TareX

    Is there or is there not an SD slot? Yes = Pre-order.

  • Tommy NYC

    No SD = No go.

    • AppleFUD

      neither have an SD?!?!?!?

  • Christian Auldridge

    It may not be considere dbetter than ipad 3 but when it comes to speed this wins mean come one dual core cpu vs quad core cpu, quad core gpu vs 12 CORE! gpu! WOW1

  • justaguythatknowsalot

    The iPad3 processor out performs the tegra 3 still in benchmarks, its not the number of cores, its the quality. tegra 3, 5 cores for cpu and 12 for gpu. iPad, 2 cores cpu and 4 gpu… and yet the ipad hardware still outperforms the tegra.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FWLOJXUR7ZHEU6YEOQVG6J4PD4 Arthur

      The A5x outperforms the tegra in GPU performance alone. The Tegra 3 beats it in raw processing power, has a better memory controller, and is literally 1/3 of the size of the A5x SoC.

    • Tomi Golob

      It seems you are a guy who doesn’t know a lot… Get it?

  • http://AndroidAuthority.com/ Bogdan Petrovan

    The Nexus 7 does not feature an SD slot. We have corrected the article, sorry for the mixup!

  • justin

    nexus 7 is better as far as specs go – but what about prime subscribers – will prime work on the nexus 7?? anybody

  • drdoug


    Google did a perfect job in delivering a budget tablet.” No way, without SD card slot it is far from perfect.
    Is the Asus 370t now dead, or do we hope to see it as an upmarket Nexus

    • http://profiles.google.com/keithdtyler Keith Tyler

      Bud. Get.

      • quadtronix

        LOL

  • Lukas Torret

    “Does the Nexus 7 tablet have what it takes to become the best budget tablet ever created?” i don’t like this kind of statements :D I walways belive there is something better waiting to be created. Sure it was Kindle now it would be Next 7 and something new will come short after :)
    btw. there are giving Kindle for free here if your lucky enough http://tinyurl.com/cxavlkx

  • Matthew Cotter

    Is it just me or does it seem like that nearly everyone is biased towards the Google Nexus 7! Firstly, the Kindle Fire HD has a better screen with anti glare technology which is better than the Google Nexus 7; despite the same resolution. Secondly the Kindle has a HDMI output, which was one of the cons of the Nexus so you can view movies videos and pratically anything on a TV. Finally the other con of a Google Nexus was that it had limited storage. For the same price the Kindle Fire HD has double the storage for the same price!! And on top of that you get unlimited Amazon cloud storage for hundreds of HD movies or songs. This also makes up for the lack of an microsd card slot!!! Taken all these things in to account, it seems to me that the Kindle is better, even if the interface is not as customizable as the Google Nexus.