For a tablet, 7 inches seems like the perfect size. At that size, a tablet can fit comfortably in the palm of a single hand, in a large pocket of your pants or jacket, and in your bag. With a whole slew of 7-inch tablets coming out, there’s a world to choose from. Today we’re pitting the Amazon Kindle Fire and the Viewsonic ViewPad 7e against each other to see which of these tablets provides the most bang for your buck.
Design and Display
The Amazon Kindle Fire runs on a heavily modified version of Android 2.3. It’s 7.5 inches tall, 4.7 inches wide, about 0.45 inches thick, and weighs 14.6 ounces. Amazon’s stores have been integrated into the OS so that they come right out of the box and there is no need to install them as separate apps. It packs 1024×600 pixel display resolution on a wide-angle IPS screen.
The Viewsonic ViewPad 7e, in turn, is 7.6 inches tall, 5.16 inches wide, and 0.6 inches thick. It weighs 15.87 ounces–definitely heavier than the Kindle Fire and maybe a little difficult to hold in a single hand for a long period of time. It comes with 800×600 display resolution and a resistive touchscreen, which may annoy users. The display is also appears washed out, which disappoints a lot of users. Like most Android products, the ViewPad 7e has 4 physical buttons running along the bottom of the screen: Home, Menu, Search and Back.
Amazon’s Kindle Fire boasts a dual-core processor. Its multitouch screen doesn’t register more than 2 fingers at a time, although typing or scrolling and flipping through pages don’t really show this limitation. The Kindle Fire also boasts good audio quality, though it doesn’t come with headphones. Video playback on it is also quite good.
The Viewsonic ViewPad 7e runs on a single-core 1 GHz processor, which is not as impressive anymore by today’s standards.
The battery on the Kindle Fire seems to perform better. It can provide up to about 8 hours of reading time, with Wi-Fi turned off. The ViewPad 7e can last only up to about 5 hours.
Software and Services
To make up for the Amazon Kindle Fire’s budget price tag, you’ll need to get all your entertainment from Amazon’s services. You’ll also need to download your apps from the Amazon app store. Though it has an Android OS, a lot of the key Android apps are missing. The Kindle Fire’s native Web browser called Silk splits the work of loading Web pages between the device and Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) system. Not only does this lead to faster page loading times but also to predictive loading of content and websites you access often. Silk also supports Adobe Flash Web content and can force webpages into desktop view, if you dislike mobile-optimized websites.
Although the ViewPad 7e runs stock Gingerbread, it does not come with the useful Google mobile apps that we’ve come to expect from most Gingerbread devices. So, there’s no Android Market, YouTube, or Gmail. Instead, it comes with the Amazon App Store preloaded to supply ViewPad users with their Android app needs. The tablet uses Viewsonic’s custom ViewScene 3D UI, which is a visual pleasure in itself, especially with its 3D carousel.
The Amazon Kindle Fire has 8 GB internal memory but no microSD slot for extra memory, which can be a rather large point against it if you’d like to carry much more storage space around with you.
The Viewsonic ViewPad 7e, on the other hand, only has 4GB of internal memory but can be expanded up to 32 GB using a microSD card.
Because of its budget price, the Amazon Kindle Fire has none of the following: GPS, Bluetooth audio or keyboard support, cameras, microphone, gaming graphics engine, video output, compass, gyro sensor, and calendar. Rather disappointing, in terms of functions.
On the Viewsonic ViewPad 7e, Bluetooth 2.1 support is included. There’s also GPS support that works with the included Navigation app. The ViewPad 7e’s calendar and e-mail apps can readily connect users to their Gmail and Exchange accounts. ThinkFree Office comes pre-installed, which allows for viewing and editing of Microsoft Office documents.
The Amazon Kindle Fire does not have a camera. Certainly winning this round, the Viewsonic ViewPad 7e boasts two cameras; a front facing 0.3 megapixel camera which is compatible with chat applications such as Fring, and a 3-megapixel camera at the back. Though the rear camera lacks flash, two cameras are certainly better than none.
The Amazon Kindle Fire Amazon sells for about US$200, an agreeable price for users who’d like to watch videos and to read. Though it doesn’t have a number of hardware functionalities that the VIewPad has, its faster Web page loading makes web browsing convenient.
On the other hand, the Viewsonic ViewPad 7e is priced at about the same price point and has a wider range of hardware capabilities than the Kindle Fire provides.
Between these two wallet-friendly tablets, which one is the better pick for you?