Comparing the Nexus 7 to the Kindle Fire HD

Until yesterday, the argument for low-cost tablets revolved, for the most part, around the Kindle Fire and the Nexus 7.  Today, we’re swapping out the Amazon tablet for something a little more powerful.  We thought we’d put together a quick head-head list of the details so that readers can get a general sense of what each model has over the other, if anything.

It’s worth noting that this does not break down every single component, codec, and feature.  In a nutshell, these are the features that most users will look to for the sake of comparison.

Battle of the $200 tablet experience


OS Android 4.1 Jelly Bean Custom Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
Display 7” 1280×800 HD (216 ppi) 7″ 1280×800 HD LCD IPS
Processor Quad-core Tegra 3 1.2GHz OMAP4460 (dual-core)
Memory 1GB RAM 1GB RAM
Storage 8GB 16GB
Camera 1.2MP front-facing camera Yes (unknown)
Battery 10 hours 11 hours
Weight 340 grams 395 grams
Size 198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm 193 mm x 137 mm x 10.3 mm
Apps/Games Google Play (600,000+) Amazon Appstore (50,000+)

NFC (Android Beam)

Google Now

Voice Commands

$25 Google Play credit

Dolby Digital Plus

HDMI output

Dual Wi-Fi antennas (MIMO)



Prime Instant Video


Price $19916GB ($249) $19932GB ($249)


Early Consensus

If you are an experience Android user and really want to keep on the forefront of the platform, the Nexus 7 is the clear winner.  It’s a stock Google experience that just happens to be the latest release available.  The Tegra 3 processor is in a class of its own and the Google Play store opens the door to an exponential number of apps, including Amazon Appstore.

Those who are new to the tablet and e-reader game will likely find the Amazon Kindle Fire HD more appealing.  It might be easy to point to the extra storage, HDMI output, and Dolby Digital as the reasons for the justification, but it’s the experience that wins out.  Amazon’s WhisperSync, FreeTime, and X-Ray are incredibly cool features that users will come to enjoy.  Toss in access to the growing Amazon Prime Instant Video library and you can appreciate the “content is king” adage.

Which one is right for you?

We get the feeling that the younger you are, the more you’ll lean toward the Google device, but we could be wrong.  The Kindle Fire HD is going to be the one you see in beauty salons and airports while the Nexus 7 is the device you’ll see in colleges and and sports bars.  Obviously we’re speaking generally here, but the two appeal to different demographics.

Ask yourself what kind of user you are or expect to be. Do you plan to play the latest games and push the tablet around, bending it to your will? Heard about some great apps that sound like they’ll change your life?  Nexus 7.  Primarily want to read magazines, books, watch movies?  Like to game once in a while, but nothing too serious?  Kindle Fire HD.

In the end, neither of these are wrong for you.  It’s a cop-out answer, but  it’s what we’d tell our friends when they ask.


  • imhavoc

    For $249, you get the 16GB version of the Nexus 7, not the 8GB version.

    • ari_free

      And 32 gig for the Kindle

      • rich_bown

        And obtrusive adverts before you even unlock it!

        • ari_free

          You’d get tons of obtrusive ads on regular android apps as well until you root it.

          • rich_bown

            First thing I did was root it, but I also buy pro versions of apps to support devs so don’t have ads at all

          • ari_free

            I do too but many apps are only available in ad versions.

          • rich_bown

            And that’s where adaway comes in handy

          • ari_free

            Right. So the same can probably be done for Kindle. The way I see it, if you’re going to root your Nexus anyway, might as well get the best hardware for the lowest price instead.

          • rich_bown

            Personally I would always go for a vanilla android experience over a manufacturer skinned one any day of the week. Most people I know who went kindle last time rooted and unlocked and then custom ROM route. Out of the box for mainstream users I can see the appeal of getting everything through Amazon, but for me, I like having access to all options for content, and the latest vanilla android updated in a timely fashion. NFC sharing between my two devices, and Google now I use daily, which version of Android is being offered on the new kinddle? Bet it’s not buttery? For me, it’s the Nexus hands down.

  • ari_free

    hmm I’m the kind of user that wants a tablet to draw and write on (something that a laptop can’t do) so I’ll wait to see if HTC comes up with a new Flyer or save up for a Note 10.1

  • rich_bown

    Adverts on the lock screen? No thanks Kindle. Fast rollouts of the latest version of Android? Yes please Nexus!

  • ari_free

    “The Tegra 3 processor is in a class of its own”
    Not really. The powervr is more powerful. If you can root this thing and put Jellybean on it, we mightl see its true power.

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  • Matt Dawson

    You forgot the most important question: do I live is the US? The amazon ecosystem does not exist in much of the globe. So even if you do figure a way around Amazon’s device purchasing guards the device has no access to the ecosystem that makes it interesting in the first place.

    If you live outside of the US there is no question which of the two to choose.

    • rich_bown

      Absolutely, amazon only opened their app store in the UK last week, and there’s still no sign of anything other than kindle ereaders

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  • masterpfa

    My reservations since the original Kindle fire was released, has been it’s biggest selling point, Kindle Prime. While the keynote looks fabulous with all that media content available, Movies, Magazines and the lending library, these are only available within the US.

    Amazon Prime in the UK means “Next Day Delivery” on your ordered products and nothing else, no movies, no magazines and no lending library.

    So outside of the US the benefits of the Kindle Fire are?
    1. E-book reader? Most tablets, phones and PC’s have the Amazon Kindle Reader

    2. Web browser? Limited in use and not as feature rich as stock Android bowser or any browser of choice.

    3. App store? Amazon App store 50 000+ Google Play 600 000+

    The HD especially has some nice features but in his own words Jeffrey P. Bezos implied that the ethos is to provide the tools to access the Amazon store and media content. On that basis alone the market being targeted is the US only.

    The choice, then, is between a Tablet with the latest screen technology, audio hardware, next generation WiFi and antennae distinct UI or a fully featured tablet, that just works.

    Google Nexus 7 for me

    • Personally, I’m just going to sit on the fence until these companies bring out some real support for their products. Then I’m going to take my tablet (whatever I choose in the end) down to Geek Squad and get someone to optimise it all for me. I mean, who has time to dick around with this stuff for days looking for the right apps…if they even exist at all?

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