Kindle wants to be king

So Amazon last week announced their new line of Kindle Fires, hoping to set a blaze the tablet world in all their High Definition glory – but how do they stack up against the competition?

Let’s start with the new Kindle Fire HD, with its starting price of $199 for the 16GB and $249 for 32GB. It now has a 1280×800 HD display, and a high performance 1.2 Ghz dual-core processor with Texas Instrument’s PowerVR 3D graphics core.

The 8.9″ 16GB goes for $299 while the 32GB will run you $369 and boost a whopping 1920×1200 HD display and a 1.5 ghz version of the Texas Instrument’s microprocessor. These are both Wi-Fi-only versions so if you want to be connected on the go at all times you will need get the big boy in the lineup. That’s the 8.9″ 32/64 GB 4G LTE, which will cost you $499 or $599 respectfully of your hard earn cash, and I know what you’re saying, that’s iPad pricing territory.

So even though Amazon claim the Fire isn’t a direct competitor of the iPad, its price surely is. So is it worth it? At this point I should point out that all versions of the Fire HD come with a polarising filter and anti-glare technology built into the screens. So not only is it better for your eyes, it should be better in the sunlight as well. They also come with Dolby audio and dual stereo speakers, and dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi, which Amazon claims is up to 40 per cent faster than the new iPad.

So right, is it worth it? At $499 you do get twice the storage on board than with the comparable iPad at this price. You also get 4G LTE which none of the iPads carry, and even though Apple’s smart 3G antenna can hold its own verses 4G device, LTE is just a different beast and blows everything else out of the water. Amazon even chipped in and offered free unlimited cloud storage for all your Amazon content, so while its limited in its uses, it’s the only free unlimited cloud storage available to date.

But what about performance? There aren’t any official bench marks yet, and even though the Fire will benefit greatly from the new CPU, no real comparisons have been made to stack it up against Apple’s A5X CPU although many comparisons have been made from Amazon sources themselves with what I would consider the best bang for buck tablet right now, the Google Nexus 7.

In terms of price point, the 16 GB Nexus 7 lines up right alongside the mid-range Kindle Fire HD at just about $299, and carries NVidia’s Quad-core Tegra 3 processor. However, despite having half the amount of cores, Amazon and Texas Instruments have said the new CPU in the Kindle Fire HD will outperform the Tegra 3, both in calculations per seconds and in overall graphic processing. My experience with the original Kindle Fire left much to be desired – the interface wasn’t the greatest and it just had a feeling of being bloated and very weighted. Perhaps Amazon will get better performance from updated versions of their OS.

In comparison, I do prefer the vanilla installation of Android on the Nexus, which is very snappy, and means little to no wait time for any updates Google makes to Android. But I will let you decide.

The Kindle Fire will have some cool features like Kindle FreeTime, which is a personalised tablet experience just for kids. It allows you to set daily screen limits, and give access to appropriate content for each child starting sometime in November.

Coupled with usual integrated support for Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo, the Fire HD is also I functional table. It will do Exchange calendar, contacts, and email, so fear not about it corperate ability.

The Kindle Fire does do well in terms of Storage at its price points, and at the top level offers 4G LTE for a reasonable price. But is that enough to distract from its less than friend User Interface or the fact that it is heavy and sometimes laggy? You decide.

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