Kindle Fire HD vs Google Nexus 7 (Video)

Kindle Fire HD vs Google Nexus 7

For this comparison review I’m pitting the 7" Kindle Fire HD against the Google Nexus 7 to outline the main advantages and disadvantages of two of the most popular 7-inch tablets on the market.

I’ve also included a list of similarities between the two, a spec sheet comparison, and a video review showing the Kindle Fire HD and the Nexus 7 side-by-side.

Also, here’s the link to my hands-on Google Nexus 7 review for more specific info on it, along with a video walkthrough. I haven’t finished putting together the written review for the Kindle Fire HD just yet, but you can find more info here on the Kindle Fire HD section of the blog, which includes a video review and first impressions post.

Similarities

  • Both tablets have 7-inch IPS screens with the same 1280 x 800 resolution.
  • Operating systems are based on Android.
  • Same price for two models, $199 and $249.
  • Both have front-facing cameras of similar quality.
  • Neither devices have memory card slots.
  • Neither officially support Adobe Flash but both can sideload it and it works okay.
  • Both support installing Android apps obtained from alternate appstores.
  • Access to streaming video and music apps.
  • Both can be rooted.
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
  • Headphone jack and mic.
  • Comparable battery life.

Kindle Fire HD Advantages

  • The Kindle Fire HD can connect to a TV thanks to its micro HDMI port.
  • Comes with double the storage space for the price—16GB and 32GB versus 8GB and 16GB.
  • Screen quality is better (don’t take my word for it; check out this technical report).
  • 2 speakers are much louder and sound better than the Nexus 7′s single rear speaker.
  • Stronger Wi-Fi signal with dual band antenna.
  • Amazon’s video store provides access to 120,000 movies and TV shows.
  • Unlimited free streaming of instant videos with Amazon Prime membership.
  • Borrow one ebook for free per month with Amazon Prime membership.
  • The homescreen carrousel is a different approach (I suppose this is an advantage for some folks even though I don’t care for it personally).
  • Built-in parental controls to limit access to the web browser and other apps (the Nexus 7 can do this too but it requires a paid app).
  • X-Ray for movies.
  • X-Ray for ebooks.
  • Larger bezel makes it easier to hold, especially in portrait mode.
  • No annoying screen flicker at lower brightness (my Nexus 7 screen flickers like crazy sometimes; it is especially noticeable when the screen background is white).
  • Amazon’s prices are typically lower for digital content.
  • Reading view for the web browser reformats the page to simple text.
  • It doesn’t get nearly as hot on the back as the Nexus 7.
  • Free shipping.
  • Kindle Fire’s reading app has more features than the regular Kindle for Android app, so if you primarily read Kindle content you’re better off getting an actual Kindle device than running a Kindle app on the Nexus 7.

Google Nexus 7 Advantages

  • Open Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system (a major advantage over the Kindle’s heavily modified Android 4.0 operating system).
  • Quad-core processor is faster than the Kindle Fire HD’s dual core processor.
  • Google’s appstore has over half a million more apps than Amazon’s appstore.
  • Support for all of Google’s apps (this is a big advantage).
  • Supports the Amazon appstore and Amazon services, which pretty much gives it access to all of the same content as the Kindle Fire HD, with the exception of Amazon’s videos, which can be accessed with a web browser but not downloaded (Amazon is expected to release an Android video app soon since they recently released one for Apple devices).
  • Google Now.
  • Voice search.
  • Speech to text (voice typing).
  • Supports installing alternate keyboards (for some annoying reason Amazon forces users to use their on-screen keyboard only).
  • USB OTG support for connecting keyboards, game controllers, etc, to the micro USB port, and even external hard drives and sd cards with the Nexus 7 Media Importer app.
  • The Nexus 7 is about a zillion times more customizable, and unlike the Kindle Fire HD, it supports widgets, folders, custom wallpapers and lockscreens, and is generally a lot more pleasant to deal with than the Kindle’s modified operating system that funnels everything to Amazon to buy stuff.
  • GPS.
  • NFC chip.
  • Bluetooth connects automatically and drops less frequently.
  • Material on the back of the device feels nicer and is a lot less prone to scratches and smudges.
  • No sponsored screensavers and advertisements (costs $15 extra to remove on Kindle Fire HD).
  • Comes with AC charger (the Kindle Fire HD does not; it costs $10 more).
  • Smaller and more pocketable.
  • Lighter.
  • Recent apps list makes it easy to jump back and forth between apps.
  • Supports more languages.

Kindle Fire HD vs Nexus 7: Specs

Kindle Fire HD Nexus 7
Screen Size 7-inch IPS with 10 point touch 7-inch IPS w/ Gorilla Glass and 10-point touch
Resolution 1280 x 800 1280 x 800
Processor 1.2 GHz dual-core OMAP4460 1.3 GHz quad-core Tegra 3
Operating System Android 4.0 ICS (modified) Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
Storage 16GB/32GB, no memory card slot 8GB/16GB, no memory card slot
Memory 751 MB RAM 1GB RAM
Wireless WiFi, Bluetooth WiFi, Bluetooth
Front Camera Yes Yes
Rear Camera None None
GPS No Yes
Input/Output Micro HDMI port, micro USB port, 3.5mm headphone jack, 2 speakers, mic Micro USB port (host), 3.5mm headphone jack, 1 speaker, mic
Battery 9-11 hours 8-10 hours
Weight 13.9 oz (395 grams) 11.9 oz (340 grams)
Thickness 0.4″ (10.3 mm) 0.4″ (10.45 mm)
MSRP $199-$249 $199-$249

 

Kindle Fire HD or Nexus 7?

My opinion is the Kindle Fire HD is more suited for people that fall into any of these categories: those who are new to tablets; those that are less technically inclined and want something easy to learn how to use; for people who already have a lot invested in Amazon’s digital content, especially movies; or for people who want to be able to connect to a TV.

The Google Nexus 7 is more suited for someone who likes more freedom for customization; for someone who wants a more open device with more overall software features; for those that want access to the larger selection of apps; for spec junkies who want the extra speed of the quad-core processor; or for those who have already owned an Android tablet or phone (if a person has already owned an open Android device, the Kindle Fire will likely feel too limited and closed-in).

The bottom line is this: both tablets offer something the other does not, and both are great values for the price compared to most everything else out there so you can’t really go wrong with either of them. The Kindle Fire is more limited from a software standpoint, but if you are willing to give up the warranty you can hack it to get access to Google Play for the same selection of apps as the Nexus 7.

Video Review: Kindle Fire HD vs Google Nexus 7

26 Responses to “Kindle Fire HD vs Google Nexus 7 (Video)”

  1. What is the *physical* aspect ratio of the two screens? Is either of them 16×10?

  2. Good information. One minor note, the processors are reversed in the Specs. The HD has the OMAP4460 processor and the Nexus7 has the Tegra 3 processor.

  3. Automatically connects to Bluetooth is nice. My HP Touchpad does, while Samsung Galaxy S wifi 5.0 does not. Do they normally advertise that. I would think not.

  4. Reviews like this are why I check the-ebook-reader.com everyday, five times a day. Thanks, Nathan.

  5. Kindle fan hoy
    Nexus rocks!

  6. How can you account for something so basic as a missing charge indicator on the Kindle Fire please?

    • And it’s especially odd when the cheap $69 basic Kindle has one. But it’s not like it’s so insurmountably difficult to just turn the device on and look at the battery icon in the upper right corner.

  7. Reading this I am disinclined to buy either of these items. I detect a real bias toward the the Kindle Fire and chuckled when you mentioned possibly voiding the warranty to add more content. What a shame we all have to resort to such practices, huh? Thanks for the good work you are doing here to review.

  8. Yes I think the review was spot-on. I have both. The Nexus 7 does have two speakers, one at each end of the narrow grille. You didn’t really think that was one looooong skinny speaker did ya? Not that it makes much difference. The position doesn’t allow much stereo separation (if any) One good speaker would have been better.
    But yes the speakers on the Fire HD blow those on the N7 out of the water.
    I managed to get a number of Google apps running without rooting it, BTW – Maps, GMail, Music, Currents, and even Chrome. The Peacekeeper benchmark for Chrome on the Fire HD was not significantly behind that on the N7.

  9. I am trying to decide between these two device and have been looking far and wide to get a question answered: I think the Kindle Fire now has an audio book feature that syncs with regular ebook. You need to purchase the audio book at discounted price, however, to supplement your regular e book. If I use the Kindle app on Nexus 7 – will the app also do this? I am leaning towards the Nexus because I already own a Razr Maxx phone and am familiar with the OS, etc…… I will mostly use my new device for reading, but also other things….

    • Good question. It doesn’t work through the Kindle Android app like it does with the Kindle Fire, but I think you can use a combination of the Kindle app and the Audible Android app. You could try it with your phone to see if it works. There are free samples to test.

  10. Hi,am looking to really buy one of these tablets for my daughter, i wanted to copy her dvd on to the device could you tell me which one would do this best, i do like the both so am in the middle on this one,thanks in advance

    • They are about the same when it comes to playing videos. First you’re going to need a program like Handbrake to rip the DVD. The Kindle Fire HD has the advantage with the micro HDMI port, but it’s probably going to be more of a hassle to find a competent video player app (I don’t watch DVDs on it so couldn’t tell you the specifics with formats and compatibility). With the Nexus 7 you’d just have to download something like MX video player from the appstore and it would be good to go. If you plan on using the device for a lot of movies you should probably get something else with expandable storage space, because neither can fit very many movies with the limited internal storage space.

  11. Thanks for your advice,plan to get 32 versions,ok putting it another way which one is best just stream a movie?? I like the idea of amazon but i don’t like the restrictions on the software side.

  12. And reading books too.

    • Again, there isn’t going to be much difference between the two in that regard. They can both install pretty much the same apps, although it’s easier with the Nexus because you don’t have to sideload what isn’t available in the Amazon appstore. The Kindle has the advantage with being able to stream to a TV and for getting videos from Amazon. Over here in the US Amazon definitely has a better TV and video selection than Google. I think one can still use Amazon’s videos with a Flash-supporting web browser on the Nexus but I’m not sure how well that works.

  13. Thanks for your help, i have decided to go for the nexus. Cheers

  14. I am a prime member… will I be able to download an app to still receive free paid content onto the Nexus?

    • You have to have a Kindle device in order to get a free ebook per month with Amazon Prime. Other stuff you can get free, like the free daily Android app.

  15. Not only does my music sound great on the Kindle Fire but best of all MP3 space doesn’t count towards the 5GB of free space on the Cloud Drive. My guess is that Amazon offers this storage space and it’s reasonable price with the hope that when you but the Fire you’ll also buy most of your content from them too. I have to say though that at least with the Kindle Fire the content you do buy from Amazon is copy protection free and easily played anywhere including your Apple devices.