Appearing on the tablet scene this week was the highly anticipated – yet somewhat clouded in mystery – Kindle Fire by Amazon. The feature-rich, full-color enhancement to the already successful Kindle; hopes were high for the nascent device and it inevitably engendered the question: “How does it stack up to the Apple iPad 2?”
Well I’ll tell you…
It doesn’t. But that’s not a bad thing.
We’re talking about two disparate classes of devices. The iPad 2 is a Porsche whereas the Kindle Fire is merely a Honda – with the accessible price point ($199) shattering the illusion that it’s anything but. There’s nothing wrong with this Honda though. For comparison purposes the base Kindle is a 1988 Ford Taurus so it’s a remarkable upgrade to what was long considered a one-trick pony.
At two C-notes, The Fire is a peacock-worthy device, giving you a lot of functionality found on its more expensive iPad counterpart, but the execution of said functionality – and hardware to support it – not surprisingly comes up short.
For example, Apple’s oft-imitated browser still reigns supreme with page load times considerably faster than the Fire while providing a slicker overall browsing experience to boot. Despite the battery-sucking 10-inch display, the iPad still manages to endure an extra 2 hours (10 hours vs 8 hours) of play time. The Fire is also Wi-Fi only device whereas the iPad takes it a step further with 3G connectivity in certain models. Plus, only to be found in the iPad are features like front & rear camera, bluetooth, optional video-out, lightning-fast A5 processor, and a 1024×768 LED-backlit display.
The Fire doesn’t come to the table empty handed though. Apple, with the release of the iPad erected a massive barrier to entry in the tablet market, however they left one door open and Amazon happily walked right through it by ensuring full Flash support in its Silk browser. You’ll also get a USB 2.0 port to import documents such as PDF and Word files which are natively supported unlike on the iPad where third party software is required. To spice up the deal, Amazon is throwing in a free month of Amazon Prime and unlimited Cloud storage for any media or applications you download from their online store.
And last but not least comes a simple matter of preference. With the Apple iPad 2 you are tethered to the Apple ecosystem which some find restrictive and burdensome. For those who look to the inimitable and all-encompassing Amazon marketplace for everything from gadgets to garden tools, the Fire will serve as an organic addition to your technology-aided lifestyle and at a mere 7”, it can follow you anywhere.
Again, if you don’t need the leather trim, extra cup holder, and heated seats, for $199, with the Kindle Fire you can’t lose. But matched up against an iPad – a device superior in price, performance, and popularity – it’s no contest: first round KO.
Light Your Fire for $199