Spec by Spec: Kindle Fire HDX vs. Nexus 7 vs. iPad Mini

By on September 25, 2013, 8:30 PM

Things are getting interesting for tablets as we move into the final months of 2013. Although Apple comfortably led the market since the original iPad was announced in 2010, Android is picking up the lead with the arrival of smaller and more affordable options -- so much so that late last year Cupertino decided it was high time to jump on this category, albeit not necessarily worrying about having the lowest price.

In between Google’s Nexus refresh back in July and the rumored launch of new iPads next month, Amazon made their move with two new Kindle Fire HDX tablets that will fight for your holiday dollars. But whereas past devices have focused primarily on value, with mid range internals capable of handling most tablet-centric tasks, this time around the company is pulling the big guns with a couple of high-spec yet still affordable tablets.

We've compiled a comparative table with a handful of what we consider are the best options in the 7- to 9-inch form factor right now. Let’s see how the new Kindle Fire HDX lineup stacks up against the competition.

  Apple iPad mini Kindle Fire
HDX 7
Kindle Fire
HDX 8.9
Google Nexus 7 Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0
Price
(on contract)
$329 - $659 $229 - $424 $379 - $594 $229 - $349 $299
Availability Now October 18 November 7 Now Now
Metascore 85 N/A N/A 87 76
Review More info More info More info Review More info
 
System chip Apple A5 QualComm Snapdragon 800 QualComm Snapdragon 800 Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064 Samsung Exynos 4 Dual
CPU Dual core, 1000 MHz, ARM Cortex-A9 Quad core, 2200 MHz Quad core, 2200 MHz Quad core, 1500 MHz, Krait Dual core, 1500 MHz, ARM Cortex-A9
GPU PowerVR SGX543MP2 Adreno 330 Adreno 330 Adreno 320 ARM Mali-400 MP4
Display 7.9-inch
IPS LCD
7.0-inch
IPS LCD
8.9-inch
IPS LCD
7.0-inch
IPS LCD
8.0-inch
TFT
Resolution
(PPI)
1024 x 768
(162)
1920 x 1200
(323)
2560 x 1600
(339)
1920 x 1200
(323)
1280 x 800
(189)
RAM 512MB 2GB 2GB 2GB 1.5GB
Front camera 1.2MP 720p 720p 1.2MP 720p
Rear camera 5MP none 8MP 5MP 5MP
Storage 16/32/64GB 16/32/64GB 16/32/64GB 16/32GB 16/32GB
 
Data connection Lightning micro USB micro USB micro USB micro USB
microSD No No No No Yes
Video out $40 adapter -- -- HDMI $40 adapter
Connectivity Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, 3G/4G Wi-Fi 802.11n, Bluetooth, GPS, 3G/4G Wi-Fi 802.11n, Bluetooth, GPS,  3G/4G Wi-Fi 802.11n, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, 3G/4G Wi-Fi 802.11n, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, 3G/4G
Sensors Ambient Light, Compass / Magnetometer, Gyroscope, Accelerometer Ambient Light, Gyroscope, Compass / Magnetometer, Accelerometer Ambient Light, Gyroscope, Compass / Magnetometer, Accelerometer Proximity, Ambient Light, Gyroscope, Accelerometer Compass / Magnetometer, Accelerometer
 
Operating System iOS 7 Fire OS 3 Fire OS 3 Android 4.3 Android 4.2
App Store iTunes Amazon Appstore Amazon Appstore Google Play Google Play
Weight 308g-312g 304g 384g 299g 313g
Size 200 x 134.7 x 7.2 mm 186 x 128 x 9.0 mm 231 x 158 x 7.8 mm 200 x 114 x 8.65 mm 209.8 x 123.8 x 7.4 mm
Other Airplay Second Screen, Mayday, Free month of Amazon Prime Second Screen, Mayday, Free month of Amazon Prime    

A few considerations

If all you care about is specs, it shouldn’t be too hard picking out a winner, but keep in mind the iPad is due for an update soon and rumors suggest Microsoft is entering the small tablet space -- though not likely until 2014.

It’s also worth pointing out that when you are buying a tablet you’re buying into a particular ecosystem. In that regard iOS often comes out on top, not because it has the largest app catalog of all (a meaningless metric after a certain threshold) but because high profile apps and games usually launch for Apple’s platform first and sometimes remain exclusive for a while. Android is closing the gap but it’s not quite there yet when it comes to tablet optimized apps. Your mileage may vary depending on what you’ll be using your tablet for.

Making some picks

With that in mind those opting for an iPad are advised to hold out a little longer as Apple is expected to refresh the lineup in October. Otherwise, if you are an Android person, the decision just got a bit tougher.

When Amazon’s Kindle Fire first arrived, the main reason it made waves was because it was better and cheaper than the competition at the time. Google took that advantage away with the Nexus 7, and since then it has released an upgraded version starting at $230. If you’d like a pure Android experience this is a solid choice.

But things are a little different with the new Kindle Fire HDX. Amazon has decided to compete in specs, and at least on paper, it has managed to outclass Google with a faster processor, better graphics and just as much RAM. Throw in 24x7x365 on-device “Mayday” tech support and tight integration with the company’s services, and Amazon makes a compelling case at $230 and even at $380 for the 8.9-inch model.




User Comments: 14

Got something to say? Post a comment
JC713 JC713 said:

Really awesome offerings. It is interesting to see that the Snapdragon 800 is reaching 2.2GHz.

Guest said:

iPad mini has a compass, according to specs: http://www.apple.com/ipad-mini/specs/

jreece10 said:

Another impressive Android tablet to launch this week with some great features is the Ramos I-8 ($199) and is the world?s thinnest 8-inch tablet -- offering a 7.9-inch HD-screen and aluminum-nickel frame for a sleek design; similar in size to the mini iPad and is easy to carry... and almost as compact as a 7" tablet such as the new Kindle Fire, but with 40% more screen space -- which makes a significant difference in viewing tablet content (a key reason the iPad mini is 8" size)... the new Ramos I-8 also matches most features of the Nexus 7? plus MicroSD storage--

This new Android device also offers one of Intel?s newest processors with solid performance for a mid-range device. Ramos Technology has partnered with Intel to introduce the I-Series with 8", 9", 10" and 12" models ($199-$299)-- and all feature HD displays along with offers a processor with Hyper-Threading technology, which runs four threads simultaneously and outscores many mainstream quad-core tablets in benchmark testing --

More on these new models -- in the U.S. through-- Tab l e t Sp r I nt--

waterproof said:

iPad mini has a compass, according to specs: http://www.apple.com/ipad-mini/specs/

Who in the world hell needs a compass?

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

iPad mini has a compass, according to specs: http://www.apple.com/ipad-mini/specs/

A compass??? Wow, how awesome is that? It's just what I needed (for what I don't know) but it sways my purchasing decision. xp

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

iPad mini has a compass, according to specs: http://www.apple.com/ipad-mini/specs/

Who in the world hell needs a compass?

An eagle scout? :/

Guest said:

Pretty sure a compass is part of the GPS.

1 person liked this |
Staff
Jos Jos said:

@waterproof @Skidmarksdeluxe Guest was just referencing the fact that it was missing from the comparison table. Also, you need a compass for things like turn by turn navigation, which is why most smartphones and tablets have them these days.

MilwaukeeMike said:

iPad mini has a compass, according to specs: http://www.apple.com/ipad-mini/specs/

Who in the world hell needs a compass?

An eagle scout? :/

A compass is perfectly useful by itself, but on a device that already has GPS it's a bit redundant.

Amazon tablet sounds interesting, but don't they fill their tablet with a bunch of software like Barnes and Noble used to do to the Nook?

Guest said:

I want a compass that points at what I want

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Wonder why it's so hard for these manufacturers to not put in a microSD memory expansion. You see them on almost every other device - smart phones, MP3 players, etc. But for some reason, most tablets don't have them. Weird.

VitalyT VitalyT said:

I want a compass that points at what I want

As opposed to pointing to the North like it did since the first compass? Whatever you are looking for, it ain't compass... I suggest trying pointing finger, just not in a public place, that should do the trick, also saves money

Guest said:

TomSEA

its a plot of providers cell and cloud services, government, media providers who knows that you pirate their IP on your micro sd card, device manufacturers who are lazy to add micro sd slot or will sell month later same device with micro sd slot

Guest said:

Kindles come with just basic soft ware nothing special.

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