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Amazon Kindle Fire vs Barnes & Noble Nook Color vs iPad 2

by on September 28, 2011
in Computers and Software, News, Tablets & eReaders, Blog :: 15 comments

Amazon's soon to be launched Kindle Fire will battle directly against the iPad 2 and Barnes & Noble Nook Color this holiday season. You can read our hands-on review of the Kindle Fire from the press conference, but here's a quick chart for how it compares:

  Amazon Kindle Fire  B&N Nook Color   Apple iPad 2
 Price  $199  $249  $499
 Dimensions  7.5" x 4.7" x 0.45"  8.1" x 5.0" x .48" 9.5" x 7.1" x .34" 
 Weight  14.6 oz  15.8 oz 1.33 lbs 
 Screen size  7"  7"  9.7"
 Resolution  1024 x 600  1024 x 600  1024 x 768
 OS  Android 2.3  Android  iOS
 Processor  1GHz dual-core  800MHz single-core  1GHz dual-core
 Storage  8GB  8GB  16GB
 Camera  No  No   .7MP rear, .3MP front
 Wireless  Yes  Yes  Yes
 3G  No  No  Yes ($629)
 GPS  No  No  Yes
 Bluetooth  No  No  Yes
 Max battery life  8 hours  8 hours  10 hours
 Adobe Flash  Yes  Yes  No
 Apps  Amazon app store or third-party  Barnes & Noble only  iTunes

The specs don't tell the whole story, though. If you're comparing the Kindle Fire against the Nook Color, the Fire will have four distinct advantages (beyond the small price difference):

  1. The Kindle Fire has a much faster processor, which will deliver smoother navigation and better app performance
  2. The Amazon app store is far larger than the B&N app store, plus you can "sideload" thrid party apps 
  3. The Kindle Fire will integrate with Amazon's massive music and video store
  4. The Kindle Fire comes with unlimited cloud storage for any content purchased through Amazon. Though the Nook Color does have a microSD card slot, which lets you expand the storage on the device for an additional 32GB, which the Kindle Fire does not.

Against the iPad, there is obviously a huge price differential, and it's really going to come down to a personal decision on cost vs features. Main considerations should be:

  • Do you value the larger screen of the iPad 2 over the greater portability of the Kindle Fire?
  • Do you want cameras for video chat?
  • Are the thousands of apps in the Amazon Appstore enough or do you want the hundreds of thousands in the Apple App Store?
  • Do you need a 3G option for on the road or can you get by with Wi-Fi?


Discussion loading

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Much of your information is incorrect

From GetReal on September 28, 2011 :: 3:13 pm

Fire is based on (highly customized) Android 2.1, not 2.3. This is a HUGE difference.
Fire DOES do 3G as an option
Fire does NOT have ANY 3rd party apps, so why are you reporting things that don’t exist?

Nook Color 2 is based on (highly customized) Android 2.3

Meh, it’s not worth going on detailing the errors you have made here.

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Our information is directly from Amazon

From Josh Kirschner on September 28, 2011 :: 3:51 pm

Don’t know where you’re getting your information from, but we got ours directly from product executives at the Amazon press conference today.

Per Amazon:

- Kindle fire runs Android 2.3.
- There is no Kindle Fire 3G option on the market (you can go to Amazon and easily see that for yourself).
- Kindle Fire will allow you to sideload third-party apps.

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A bit soon for this, but...

From Sara Gould on September 28, 2011 :: 6:56 pm

Even more practical info would be how email / web / and other apps look and run on each, since if we just wanted a book reader then the Kindle Touch looks great.

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If it is...."highly customized"Then all

From Larry on September 28, 2011 :: 8:20 pm

If it is….

“highly customized”

Then all other comments dont matter.  Maybe the stuff in 2.3 was added by Amazon via a customization, the stuff they needed.

VMware ran on Red Hat 3.something…for years but it did not matter because their customizations added what was needed.

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Computer replacement vs eReader?

From Jay F on October 01, 2011 :: 7:50 pm

I know a lot of people who find they can use the iPad as a computer replacement. For a some people, the iPad works as their only computer. And, for a bunch more, it works as their travel computer, in place of a laptop.

Based on your hands-on testing, do you think people will want to use the Kindle Fire in that way?

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More for entertainment than work

From Josh Kirschner on October 02, 2011 :: 10:53 pm

No, I see the Kindle Fire as appealing to those who use a tablet primarily for entertainment, light browsing and occasionally checking email. To be a laptop replacement, you would be better off with a tablet with a 10-inch display. Though strong rumors of a 10-inch Kindle Fire are out there.

The skin on the Kindle Fire is also heavily tilted towards entertainment features and it’s not clear how much ability users will have to customize that. Though with Android 2.3, there’s no technical reason why the Kindle Fire couldn’t be reskinned, other than Amazon trying to lock it down.

And the Fire has little onboard storage (8GB). For entertainment, you can store your files for in the Amazon Cloud, but that may not be the approach you want to take with your work files.

Finally, accessory-wise, you don’t yet have all the great external keyboard/case options that make the iPad functional as a computer replacement. But I’m sure some will be forthcoming from Amazon soon.

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What Documents can it read and how to load

From James Kelley on October 03, 2011 :: 4:00 pm

What documents can be “read” on the Fire, and since there is no card slot, how do you load them up to it?

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Rook Nook

From Julie Isham on October 05, 2011 :: 1:43 pm

I just bought a Nook Color, because I have found out that with a program loaded on a mSD card, I can boot it up and it becomes a “simple” Android Tablet - so it really isn’t limited to just B&N apps…
Since I already owned the 1st edition Nook, this will make moving all my books over easier… and once I boot it up as an Android tablet - get the Kindle app and voila’ - I can get Amazon books also! Best of both worlds? Total spent? $169.00 (got a great deal on my Nook Color)

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3G or no 3G - Is Fire Right For Me??

From Mike Ritchey on October 19, 2011 :: 8:38 am

Please let me know if I’ve got this right…without 3G and with limited storage capacity, I need to be more concious and selective of content needs if I’m going to be out of wireless range.  I can’t rely on Cloud storage if I have no wireless access.  Correct?

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Yes, you are correct. It's

From Suzanne Kantra on October 19, 2011 :: 12:04 pm

Yes, you are correct. It’s definitely a limitation. Rumored upcoming products will have more storage.

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new to Nooks and Kindles

From K.Redman on November 07, 2011 :: 9:25 pm

While looking at the Kindle fire on amazon, it keeps talking about Amazon Prime, Is something else i need to to buy to run the kindle?

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No, nothing else you need to buy

From Josh Kirschner on November 08, 2011 :: 11:57 am

Amazon Prime offers free 2-day shipping on products you buy through Amazon, and Prime members get free movie streaming from the Amaozon markrt, but it’s not required to run the Kindle.

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Nook Color

From Peggy Coffey on November 29, 2011 :: 1:57 pm

I have a Nook Color also and have it rooted on an SD card. I have the option of the original OS or running as an Android tablet. I have email, access to all the apps in the Android market, Netflix, and great web browsing, and the Kindle app, as well as a wonderful e-reader. I wanted a small tablet but I’m not an Apple person ( I have never had “I” anything) and the Kindle seemed too closed off, it reminded me of Apple. It’s all in what you want. I love my Nook color.

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which one is best for me?

From Kim on December 19, 2011 :: 12:35 pm

Which one would be best for my non-techie husband who keeps taking my ipad to quickly browse the internet and work on his emails?

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That's a hard call. The

From Josh Kirschner on December 19, 2011 :: 9:31 pm

That’s a hard call. The iPad 2 is definitely the most advanced, technically, of the group, but at a significantly higher price point. If that’s not an issue, it would still be our pick.

Between the Fire and Nook, it’s a hard call. Both are very similar spec-wise, though there are some annoying quirks with the Fire (no external volume buttons, an off switch that’s too easy to hit) that make the Nook more appealing. On the other hand, Amazon’s selection of apps is much larger, and that gap will likely continue to grow, so I would lean towards the Fire. And you can always return it for the Nook if he doesn’t like it!

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