Amazon Kindle Fire HD vs Google Nexus 7: tiny tablet tussle!

How does the new Amazon Kindle Fire HD tablet that's headed to the UK compare to Google's Nexus 7?

Amazon has finally pulled its finger out, bringing its Kindle Fire tablets to the UK. While we won't be seeing the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD over here just yet, we'll get a natty 7-inch version that squares up against Google's Nexus 7 tablet .

Which one deserves your cash? Read on for a comparison of both gadgets to help you make up your mind.

Tech specs

On paper, there's not much between the Google Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire HD. Both have 7-inch displays, both are slim and light enough to lug around all day, and neither features a camera (though both have front-facing snappers for video calling).

There's also nothing to choose between these two tablets in the screen resolution department -- an important factor when buying a new smart phone or slate. Both devices offer 1,280x800-pixel displays, which is a fine number of pixels for a gadget this size.

The Nexus 7 could be more powerful, however. While Google's tablet has a quad-core Tegra 3 processor stuffed inside its rubberised casing, Amazon's effort has a dual-core chip clocked at 1.2GHz. Both tablets have 1GB of RAM.

It's perfectly possible that when you're actually using these tablets you'll notice no difference in performance, even though one looks speedier on paper. We'll know more when we get the chance to run some in-depth tests on the Kindle Fire HD, and examine whether it can compete with the very powerful Nexus 7.

The Kindle Fire HD has the upper hand when it comes to storage. While the Nexus 7 comes in 8GB and 16GB flavours, Amazon's offering comes in 16GB and 32GB options.

Software

Software is where you'll see a major difference between the two devices. The Nexus 7 is running on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, which is the newest edition of Google's mobile operating system.

Android -- and particularly this untainted, fresh version -- brings a wealth of features , like access to the Google Play app store and home screen widgets, as well as vast customisation options for adventurous owners. A powerful and flexible gadget, there's a great deal you can make the Nexus 7 do.

The Kindle Fire HD, meanwhile, will likely be more restricted when it comes to what you can actually do, as it's primary purpose is to let you download books, movies and other digital goodies from Amazon.

It's reasonable to expect nothing more from a tablet, but if you want to embark on any ambitious technical tinkering, then you might want to shop elsewhere.

Cost

The Google Nexus 7 costs £159, which is the same price as the Amazon Kindle Fire HD, so there's little to choose between them. There are a few things to bear in mind, however.

Firstly, if you're after an even cheaper tablet, the Kindle Fire that's been doing the rounds in the US is also coming to the UK -- it has a less impressive screen resolution but costs a mere £129.

Secondly, you get more storage for your money with the Kindle Fire HD. £159 gets you an 8GB Nexus 7, or a 16GB Kindle Fire HD. More storage is better, especially on a device that's built for downloading movies and other media.

Finally, the Kindle Fire tablets are going to feature ads on the lock screen, so if you're averse to paying nearly £160 for a tablet that fires adverts into your eyeballs, that's something to bear in mind.

Anything else?

It remains to be seen exactly what Amazon's movie and TV offering will look like in the UK -- Google's isn't particularly comprehensive, and if there's not much to choose from in the way of films, shows and books, then that will definitely hurt the Kindle Fire HD's review score.

So which is best?

We're going to hold off on a definitive verdict until we've had more time to test the newly unveiled Kindle Fire HD, but already I think it's safe to say that the more of a tech enthusiast you are, the more you're likely to prefer the Google Nexus 7.

Google's tablet is powerful and lets you do an incredible amount, from web surfing to installing crazy apps. It's a gorgeous bit of hardware that the Kindle Fire HD will be hard-pressed to beat -- we awarded Google's effort four and a half stars in our review .

I anticipate Amazon's tablet being a good choice for anyone who wants a device that's dead simple and delivers uncomplicated access to books and films. Stay tuned for the full review, and in the meantime, let me know which gadget you prefer in the comments or on our Facebook wall.

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Tablets
About the author

Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.

 

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