The Kindle and the iPad have always been compared with each other – even when the Kindle was “just” an e-reader and the iPad was a full blown, top of the range tablet computer. Today, it is actually possible to compare the Kindle and the iPad in a slightly more meaningful (and slightly less one sided) head to head.
The two most comparable models are the Kindle Fire HD and the Apple iPad Mini. They’re not quite in the same sector, but they are close enough – and each device has its own particular advantages and disadvantages.
It’s certainly worth having a look at both of these and deciding which one best meets your needs before you part with your hard earned cash.
Fire HD vs iPad Mini – Weights & Dimensions
The iPad is a little taller, the Fire HD is a little wider – but there’s not really all that much in it.
What is noticeable is that the iPad is quite a bit slimmer than the Fire HD. A difference of 0.12″ doesn’t sound all that much, but you will definitely notice it when you hold the device in your hand.
The Fire HD is a little heavier than the iPad Mini – but it is still very portable.
Once again, each device has its own good points and bad points. The iPad is slightly larger, but the Fire HD has a higher resolution and a significantly higher “pixels per inch” count.
Many people were a little disappointed that the iPad Mini didn’t have Apple’s retina display when it came out. There are rumors that 2013 will see a version with a retina display – so if that’s a big deal for you (and if you’re patient enough) then you might want to hang on and see what happens.
Battery Life And Charge Time
There’s not a great deal to choose from as far as battery life goes. Amazon claim 11 hours for the Fire HD and Apple claim 10 hours for the iPad Mini. Both of those figures will depend upon exactly what you use your tablet for of course.
In terms of time to charge, the Fire HD ships with a USB cable which you can plug into your computer. That will take a whopping 13.5 hours to charge your tablet. You are really going to want to buy the adapter which allows you to charge direct from a power socket (typically costs around $20) which will let you charge your device in 4 hours or so.
The Mini ships with a 5 Watt adapter as standard – and that lets you charge in around 4 hours. However, if you want to charge faster, then you can buy a 12 Watt adapter which will let you charge your tablet in around about 2 hours.
RAM and Memory
There’s not really much to choose from between the two devices. The iPad Mini will let you go up as high as 64 GB of memory – but you” pay for the privilege of course.
Once again, both devices have their good points and bad points. The iPad Mini gives you the option of 4G connectivity so that you can use it when you’re out and about. You can choose from a number of different carriers, including AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. Obviously this comes at a price.
The Fire HD has no 4G option, but it uses dual band, dual antenna Wi-Fi which makes for faster downloads and fewer dropped connections. Amazon claim that the Fire HD will download up to 38% faster than the iPad Mini – and a whopping 65% faster than a 7″ Google tablet.
Which is best for you will depend largely on how you intend to use it.
Software, Apps and Processor
The devil might have all the best tunes – but Apple definitely has the best apps. If that’s important for you, then the Mini awaits. Apps for the Kindle are improving – and they will continue to get better. Amazon also offers a free “app of the day” every day.
On the other hand, if you’re used to using the Amazon content system – be it for books, movies or music, then the Kindle has a lot to offer.
Both devices have capable, rather than stunning, processors.
The iPad Mini is the clear winner in the camera stakes. It has cameras both front and rear, the Fire HD has a front facing camera only.
Prices shown above are for Wi-Fi only options. There is no 4G option for the Kindle. If you want 4G connectivity for your iPad Mini, you can choose from AT&T, Sprint or Verizon. Prices will vary from time to time, as is typical for all telephony services.
At the time of writing, opting for a 16GB Mini with AT&T 4G services costs $515. You may be able to get a better deal on data services from your existing provider of course.
The prices shown for the Kindle Fire HD are “with Special Offers”. You will have adverts on the screen saver pages in other words. They’re not that annoying (but that’s just my opinion of course).
If you really don’t like the idea of ads on screen savers, a further $15 will get them gone for good. If you’re undecided, then get your Kindle with Special Offers and you can pay to have the ads removed later (use the “manage my Kindle” page on Amazon’s website) if you wish.
Which Should You Choose?
Much depends upon what you’re looking for and what you’re willing to pay for it. If money is no object, or if you’re an already committed Apple fan, the iPad Mini is a great option for you.
It’s hard to quantify, but the iPad Mini just feels a little better when you hold it in your hand. It might be the aluminium unibody case, or it might be the fact that it’s a little bit slimmer – but it feels classy when you hold it. And that’s actually quite a compliment – after all, the Fire HD is a very nice piece of kit and feels pretty solid (especially compared to some other, cheaper tablets) itself.
With the Kindle Fire HD, Amazon has produced a very high spec device with enough bells and whistles to satisfy the most tech hungry gadget freak. It doesn’t have quite as many options as the Mini – but Amazon has clearly decided, with some justification I suspect, that there are enough people who won’t need all of those features and who won’t want to pay (quite a bit) extra to have functions that they won’t use. Whether it’s the best of the two or not is open to (heated) debate – but the Fire HD can certainly claim to be the best value tablet of the pair.