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Kindle Fire HD 8.9" vs. iPad

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November 18, 2012

How does the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 compare to the iPad?

How does the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 compare to the iPad?

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When something is a success, it tends to breed. The original Kindle Fire was a phenomenon, and now it has a family. At the risk of over-complicating things, Amazon released three different Kindle Fires this year. The latest and greatest is the Kindle Fire HD 8.9". How does it compare to the market-leading iPad? Read on.

Size

The iPad is a full-sized tablet, while the Fire is an almost full-sized tablet

This is the first Kindle Fire that approaches the iPad's size. The Fire HD 8.9" is roughly the same height as the iPad, but narrower and a bit thinner.

Weight

The Fire 8.9' is lighter

The Fire 8.9" is notably lighter than the iPad. But it's still much heavier than smaller 7-inch tablets.

Display

Both tablets' displays are among the best

This is the best display we've seen on a Kindle Fire. Its pixel density is almost on par with the iPad's terrific display. Text and images should be razor-sharp.

Processor

Both tablets should perform well

Both tablets should be speed demons. There aren't many existing apps that will push either device to its limits.

RAM

RAM is equal

The Fire 8.9 and the iPad each carry 1 GB of random-access memory (RAM).

Storage

Base model storage is equal, but the iPad is also available in a 64 GB model

Storage is similar. The numbers listed for the Fire 8.9 are for the Wi-Fi model. The LTE version comes in 32 GB and 64 GB models.

Wireless

The Kindle Fire 8.9' is the first Amazon tablet with a mobile data option

The 8.9-inch Fire is the first of its kind with mobile data. You can pay extra for a version that supports the fastest cellular network, LTE. US customers can pay US$50 to get 250 MB per month for a full year.

Cameras

If you want superior cameras, go with the iPad

The Kindle Fire HD 8.9" has a front-facing camera, so you can video chat. Only the iPad, though, has a rear camera as well.

Battery

Estimated battery life is equal

These are manufacturers' estimates, so take them with grains of salt. The iPad has been tested, and should last roughly what Apple promises. The Fire's battery, though, hasn't been put through the paces.

Starting price

The Fire 8.9' can save you some money

If you want to save some money, Amazon can help. The Fire HD 8.9" is almost a full-sized tablet, but its price is closer to smaller tablets. If you don't mind some software compromises (see below), it's a good deal.

Speaking of deals, the Fire ships by default with "Special Offers" advertisements. You can pay an extra US$15 (at check-out or anytime later) to get rid of them.

Intangibles

The Fire 8.9' isn't available until December, while the iPad has the best tablet app libra...

If you want the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire, you'll have to wait. Customers who pre-ordered early are receiving theirs, but new buyers are out of luck. The back-ordered tablets are shipping around December 3. For the LTE version, you'll have to wait until Dec. 10.

All Kindle tablets are partially subsidized. So, instead of pure Android, you get an Amazon storefront. If you buy lots of physical and digital goods from them, it's no problem. Otherwise, you might long for something less commercial.

Intangibles are Apple's domain, but the iPad's most important is the App Store. With over 275,000 tablet-specific apps, no other platform comes close. If you want the best software, it and iOS 6 make for an unbeatable combination.

Summing up

The Kindle Fire 8.9" HD is Amazon's best tablet. Its display is among the best, it has plenty of horsepower, and it's only $100 more expensive than its little brother. It requires some compromises, and its app selection is dwarfed by the iPad's. But if you're on a budget of $300, you can do much worse than the biggest Kindle Fire.

For more options, check out our 2012 Tablet Comparison Guide.

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About the Author
Will Shanklin Will Shanklin is Gizmag's Mobile Tech Editor, and has been part of the team since 2012. Will has a Master's degree from U.C. Irvine and a Bachelor's from West Virginia University. He currently lives in New Mexico with his wife, Jessica.
  All articles by Will Shanklin
3 Comments

Just adding that the Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 4G LTE model comes in both 32GB and 64GB versions.

Andrys
20th November, 2012 @ 12:45 am PST

As per my view both have same configuration such as RAM, processor, storage but the only difference is the display and size. Hence if you don’t want to spend more capital then Kindle Fire is the best and if capital doesn’t matter then you can go with iPad.

SPINX INC.
22nd November, 2012 @ 03:05 am PST

The Kindle Fire is, to its roots, an e-book reader, so if you are willing to buy a tablet for the reading purpose you should go with the Kindle as it also a good tablet with the features of a good e-book reader.But if you are going for screen resolution then i pad 2 is better option rather than kindle fire hd , As the market sort of pupose Kindle fire and i pad 2 both are useful in its own scenerio. so i will prefer both at the instant of uses.

Akshat Bharti
15th February, 2013 @ 11:23 am PST
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