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B&N Nook Tablet vs Amazon Kindle Fire: Which is Best?

by on November 09, 2011
in Computers and Software, News, Tablets & eReaders, Blog :: 3 comments

With the introduction of the Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet ($249) this week and Amazon's Kindle Fire ($199) in late September, you'll have two great low-cost color tablet options this holiday season. 

The Nook Tablet and Kindle Fire are both Android 2.3 tablets with powerful 1Ghz dual core processors, but you wouldn't know it to look at them. They both have highly customized interfaces, which focus on content, not apps. In the case of the Nook Tablet, that's primarily books, magazines and newspapers, though there are also thousands of apps available through Barnes & Noble, including Netflix, Hulu Plus and Pandora, among others, for those who want to enjoy videos and music.

Barnes & Noble is claiming a better viewing angle for the Nook Tablet than other tablets, thanks it the its "no air" IPS display. This not only benefits readers, but also those that want to share content on the display. Plus the battery is rated at up to 11.5 hours of normal use or 9 hours for video playback.

Of course the Nook Tablet will be up against the iPad 2, as well as the Kindle Fire, so here's a quick chart for how they compare:

  B&N Nook Tablet  Amazon Kindle Fire   Apple iPad 2
 Price $249   $199  $499
 Dimensions  8.1" x 5.0" x .48"  7.5" x 4.7" x 0.45" 9.5" x 7.1" x .34" 
 Weight 14.1 oz   14.6 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 2.3  iOS
 Processor  1GHz dual-core  1GHz dual-core  1GHz dual-core
 Storage   16GB, plus microSD slot  8GB  16GB
 Camera  No  No   .7MP rear, .3MP front
 Wireless  Yes  Yes  Yes
 3G No   No  Yes ($629)
 Bluetooth No   No  Yes
 Max battery life  11.5 hours  8 hours  10 hours
 Adobe Flash Yes   Yes  No
 Apps  Barnes & Noble only  Amazon app store or third-party  iTunes

If you're comparing the Nook Tablet against the Kindle Fire, there are a few important things to consider

  • The Nook Tablet has twice the amount of onboard storage as the Kindle Fire, plus a microSD card slot, which lets you expand the storage for an additional 32GB. Kindle Fire does come with unlimited cloud storage for any content purchased through Amazon, but you'll need access to a high-speed Wi-Fi network to take advantage of it.
  • The Nook Tablet has an IPS LCD display, which is supposed to have a better viewing angle than the Kindle Fire.
  • The Amazon app store is far larger than the B&N app store, plus you can "sideload" third party apps 
  • The Kindle Fire will integrate with Amazon's massive music and video store. Barnes & Noble does have some content agreements in the works, but the selection won't compare to the library available for the Kindle Fire.

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 Nook Tablet?
  • Do you want cameras for video chat?
  • Are the thousands of apps in the Barnes & Noble App store enough or do you want the hundreds of thousands in the Apple iTunes App Store?
  • Do you need a 3G option for on the road or can you get by with Wi-Fi?

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Discussion loading

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Decisions, Decisions

From Linda Brake on November 09, 2011 :: 4:55 pm

Christmas is coming and after reading this article on Techlicious, I am adding the Nook Tablet to my wish list. Hear that, Mom? For me, storage and battery life are key and the Nook trumps the Kindle Fire on both. As for the iPad, I would love to have one but the cost is way out of the price range for anyone on my gift list. So I will be more than happy to find a Nook Tablet in my stocking come Christmas morning this year.

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Nook Wins!

From Kelly on November 09, 2011 :: 5:40 pm

I bought the Nook Color recently.  It can do all the things you say the Kindle can, but more, IMO.  How many apps does a person need, really?  I’ve downloaded several, all free except a PDF reader that was $1.99.  The Nook was already capable of handling PDF’s, but it didn’t give bookmark options, now I have that.  In my research, the Kindle couldn’t handle PDF’s and that was a BIG issue for me.  Also, B&N has over 1 million titles, while Amazon has just over 600,000.  If that’s just referring to books, and your remark on the greater availability of music content is beyond that, all of my music files have/can be uploaded to the Nook, so the Nook still wins for my needs.  I didn’t find out of the Kindle has “read to me” options for kids, but that was a deal cincher for me on the Nook!

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Rooked the Nook Color

From Jewely on November 14, 2011 :: 6:47 pm

I found a refurbed Nook Color for $149, Got it Rooked (which does not negate the warranty btw), for $29 more - now I have the Kindle app - so I basically have both the Nook AND the Kindle! I have over 150 free books I’m reading, I have all the apps I want (I’m not a big game player), I’ve had an iTouch for a year, so my music goes on there - I’m a happy camper. I can surf the web, and do my FB and email. I hate being tied in to just one place to buy, so I like having the option of B&N OR Amazon! Oh, and with B&N - I can also get books from my library and freelibrary.org also!

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