This holiday season is the year of the tablets. Almost every single hardware manufacturer in the mobile and electronics market has a tablet out for consumers. Recently we took the top four tablets and compared them by lifestyle, but a lot of our readers asked about the choice between the Kindle Fire and the Kindle Fire HD from Amazon. As well as the differences between the Kindle Fire HD options.
Amazon recently announced the new line of Kindle Fire HD tablets earlier this year, since then the lower-priced tablets have been getting some pretty terrific reviews from leading sites. On the surface the two tablets are very identical, and in fact, the Amazon services that are available on the Kindle Fire are the same that are offered on the Kindle Fire HD. Don’t be mistaken though, the $40 price-difference on the two tablets does not mean the two are equal in performance or in functionality. The differences are so dramatic, you can probably expect the Kindle Fire to be retired after the new year. While the Kindle Fire HD will soon be its permanent replacement.
Both the Kindle Fire and the 7″ version of Kindle Fire HD are tablets made by Amazon. The first difference is right in the name, the Kindle Fire HD offers High Definition, while the Kindle Fire does not. Actually, even the iPad Mini’s screen does not compare to the Kindle Fire HD’s resolution and clarity. While the Kindle Fire has a resolution of (1024×600) the Kindle Fire HD can support (1280×800) with up to 720p if the movie or show is available in that format. The other major difference is sound. While the Kindle Fire may not have terrible sound with its ‘stereo speakers’, the Kindle Fire HD has Dolby Audio certified, dual-driver stereo speakers which are incredibly more clear.
Both tablets also feature Wi-Fi, a standard feature in any tablet nowadays. The Kindle Fire HD features the new Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi that Amazon made standard in their tablets moving forward (or until it is replaced with a new technology). It will offer faster downloading and internet speeds when using the Kindle Fire HD over the older model Kindle Fire.
Now all of Amazon’s tablets offer free cloud storage for all Amazon content. That is one of Amazon’s greatest features. Tablet memory can be very expensive when you are moving from a 16GB model to a 32GB model, the cloud feature helps you save that precious memory by storing any of the movies, music and books that you purchase from Amazon in the cloud. This will leave more space for pictures, home-movies and other personal content on your tablet for you to use. While we are talking about memory, I wanted to touch on the difference between the two generations. The Kindle Fire is available in an 8GB model, while the Kindle Fire HD is available in a 16GB or 32GB option. That right there is enough to make the switch, even if you aren’t including the HD screen or the Dolby speaker system. Basically you are doubling the tablets free space for only $40 more.
If you are interested in processing power there isn’t a dramatic difference in the chips used between the two tablets. The Kindle Fire has a Dual-core 1.2GHz OMAP4430 processor, while the Kindle Fire HD has a Dual-core 1.2GHz OMAP4460 processor. When it comes to capabilities and speed, both are about the same, though the newer chip is a bit more energy efficient and allows for a longer battery life.
There was also a significant upgrade in the touch-screen capabilities in the Kindle Fire HD. over the Kindle Fire. The older model offers a “Two Point” multi-touch interface, while the Kindle Fire HD offers a “Ten-Point” interface. Without jumping into the technical aspects of how the sensors are made, the difference is in how accurate the device reads your movements. It also affects the gestures that are capable on the tablet. The higher the touch-point, the more data can be read from the tablet’s surface, allowing more interaction possibilities.
Choosing between the different Kindle Fire HD options.
Now that I have gone through the differences between the Kindle Fire and the Kindle Fire HD, the next step is picking out which Kindle Fire HD might be right for you. This is actually all about preference and lifestyle, as many options are the same, or equal, on the two devices. Both tablets offer an HD LCD screen, the main difference is the Kindle Fire HD 7″ model we mentioned before has a resolution of (1280×800) while the larger 8.9″ Kindle Fire HD has a resolution of (1920×1200). The 7″ model can go up to 720p while playing movies or shows, the 8.9″ model can do full 1080p. Now both models have the same wifi and sound systems that I talked about before, and both have a 16GB and a 32GB option. Only the 8.9″ model has a 64GB option to choose from.
The 8.9″ model is also heavier (20 oz) compared to the 7″ model (13.9 oz), that’s only about half of a pound however, and probably isn’t a deal-breaker for most consumers. The 8.9″ model does have a faster processor (Dual-core, 1.5GHz OMAP4470) but that does come at the cost of battery-life. Amazon shows a one-hour difference between ‘normal’ use on the two tablets. With the higher processor offering an average of only one-hour less per charge. The average battery life is 10hrs on the 8.9″ model and 11hrs on the 7″ model.
4G or Wifi only:
I tell this to everyone that asks me about 4G/Wifi vs. Wifi-only products, unless you are consistently on the road or your job demands it, the cost just isn’t worth the 4G service. Today’s environment supports wifi anywhere you might want to use a tablet. They are offered in malls, coffee-houses, schools, offices and of course your home (assumably). With our phones we need to have them available in any emergency, but tablets are used when we are free or working. Most of that time is spent at home or at the office, and both of those places usually have a wireless network that you are connected to.
In the end, the difference between the Kindle Fire HD and the Kindle Fire is dramatic and well worth the $40 upgrade. The differences between the Kindle Fire HD line is more luxury-based. If you want the biggest screen or the highest resolution possible, then the 8.9″ tablet is the best, and it will only cost you $100 more.
You can check out the availability and technical specs for yourself on Amazon’s official Kindle Fire store on the company’s website below.