Amazon Kindle Fire HD vs Google Nexus 7

Amazon Kindle Fire HD vs Google Nexus 7
Amazon Kindle Fire HD vs Google Nexus 7: which should you buy?

Has Amazon really ruined Christmas for Google? It certainly looks that way: its new Kindle Fire HD is a tasty bit of kit that beats the Nexus 7 on several key areas, including the price.

It's not entirely a win for Amazon, though - so let's find out which tablet wins on the stuff that really matters.

Amazon Kindle Fire HD vs Google Nexus 7: release date

The Kindle Fire HD goes on sale in the UK on the 25th of October, but you can pre-order from Amazon today. The Nexus 7 is out now and available from retailers and from Google's own Play website.

Amazon Kindle Fire HD vs Google Nexus 7: price

Both tablets come with two price tags, £159 and £199, but on paper at least you get more for your money with Amazon: the £159 Nexus 7 has 8GB of storage compared to the Kindle Fire HD's 16GB, and the £199 Nexus 7 has 16GB to the Kindle Fire HD's 32GB.

Amazon Kindle Fire HD vs Google Nexus 7: processor

The Kindle Fire HD processor is a Texas Instruments OMAP4 4460 (its bigger 8.9-inch brother has a 4470, which has faster graphics), which is a dual-core model running at 1.2GHz. The Nexus 7 processor is a Tegra 3, a quad-core rated at 1.3GHz. Both devices promise all-day battery life, with the Kindle Fire HD promising 11 hours of continuous use and the Nexus 7 nine.

In our hands-on Kindle Fire HD review we found that the Kindle Fire HD was a little bit stuttery, which we hope is due to poorly optimised software rather than an underpowered processor. If it's the former Amazon can fix it before the Kindle Fire HD ships.

Amazon Kindle Fire HD vs Google Nexus 7: memory

Amazon hasn't specified how much memory the Kindle Fire HD has, but as its cheaper sibling the Kindle Fire 2 has 1GB, we're betting on that. The Nexus 7 has 1GB too.

Amazon Kindle Fire HD vs Google Nexus 7: operating system

Both devices run version 4 of Android - 4.1 in the Nexus and 4.0 in the Kindle Fire HD - although the version in Amazon's tablet is a heavily customised one that keeps its origins well hidden. That customisation means Amazon can offer some interesting things, such as excellent parental controls that can limit not just what your little darlings can do, but also how long they do it for.

Of course, having to deal with a proprietary version of Android is not necessarily a good thing, with Google's vanilla version a little less prone to push you into a shop than Amazon's. Plus, Android 4.1 is a big step on from 4.0 and, we'd imagine, that Google will push future updates to its Nexus 7 fairly swiftly.

Amazon Kindle Fire HD vs Google Nexus 7: display

Both tablets have seven-inch, 1280x800 HD displays with Gorilla Glass, but Amazon reckons it's got the edge with its polarising filter and anti-glare technology. The former improves the IPS display's viewing angles, while the latter promises to cut glare by around one-quarter. The Kindle Fire HD also has a Micro-HDMI connector for HD video output.

Amazon Kindle Fire HD vs Google Nexus 7: storage

Both tablets come in two flavours: the Nexus 7 in 8GB and 16GB versions and the Kindle Fire HD in 16GB and 32GB versions. Unlike many rivals you can't upgrade the internal storage with flash memory cards.

Remember that the operating system needs some of that storage: for example Amazon says that the Kindle Fire HD gives you around 12.6GB on the 16GB model and 26.9GB on the 32GB. Both devices are also tightly integrated with their respective creators' cloud-based media services.

Amazon Kindle Fire HD vs Google Nexus 7: camera and speakers

The Nexus 7 has a 1.2MP front-facing video camera for video chat, while the Kindle Fire has an "HD" front-facing camera for the same purpose. The Kindle Fire also has a pair of dual-driver stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus to deliver decent music playback and clearer video dialogue. The Nexus 7 has a plain old speaker.

Amazon Kindle Fire HD vs Google Nexus 7: network

For the time being both devices are Wi-Fi only (a 3G Nexus 7 is incoming), and the Kindle Fire has the edge: it has dual MIMO Wi-Fi antennas and operates in both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands.

The Nexus 7 has a single antenna and only uses the increasingly crowded 2.4GHz frequency band, but it does have an NFC chip for device-to-device communication, and built-in GPS, accelerometer and magnetometer for location- and position-based apps

Amazon Kindle Fire HD vs Google Nexus 7: dimensions and weight

The Nexus 7 is 198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm and weighs 340 grams, while the Kindle Fire HD is shorter and heavier at 193 x 137 x 10.3mm and 395g.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.