The Truth: Amazon Kindle Fire vs B&N Nook Color vs Apple iPad2

Apple iPad 2

Full disclosure, This is a rant against tech-writers but also a technical review. More disclosure, I’m a self-declared Windows/Linux/Android (anything not Apple) fan-boy… but enough already. After almost two weeks of asinine articles about how the Amazon Kindle Fire is an “ipad killer” I have got to write a rebuttal to this onslaught of tech-media bullshit.  I realize that those “journalists” who were invited to the press-announcement may have drank too much of the Amazon cool-aid that day, and might have felt a need to write their article right away; but the fact of the matter is you all should have realized that the Kindle Fire and iPad are not even in the same league. They’re tablets and both offer wifi. In fact, most of the points that these writers have been making to declare the Fire as an ipad replacement like price or Flash are moot. Flash? Really? Nobody cares about Flash. All Flash is good for in the days of mobile apps and HTML5 is showing annoying advertisements. Flash is a dying technology. Get over it. Price? Amazon is apparently losing money on every Fire sold. Apple on the other hand stands to make at least $149 per iPad. Business 101 will teach you that that’s a win for Apple. However, since they’re not even in the same tablet class I feel just price alone isn’t event a fair comparison. WTF. That’s like trying to say a Kia is more desirable over a Cadillac (or insert your favorite luxury make here) because of price. The true comparison is how does that price compute to consumer value?… What do you get for your money that is…Keep reading if you’d like to know my friend.

Please Compare With The iPad 2

Let’s ignore the financial aspects and get right to the chase: iPad 1 is dead. iPad 2 is what reviewers should be using for comparison of any new tablet that claims to be an “iPad killer”. Even though I feel the iPad is completely in a higher-end tablet niche than either the Nook Color or Amazon Fire, I would like to do a cross reference comparison of the features between each just to prove this point. I suggest all tech-writers make such a cross comparison before writing “xxx is an iPad killer” in the future.

Amazon Kindle Fire vs. Nook Color vs. Apple iPad 2

A cross comparison of leading e-book tablets vs the iPad 2. The images are scaled relative to real-world tablet dimensions to give a truthful representation of the actual size of the devices. As you can see by physical size, the two e-book tablets are much smaller than the iPad 2 and it becomes obvious that they’re in a different class of tablet.

Specification Amazon Kindle Fire
Amazon Kindle Fire
B&N Nook Color
B&N Nook Color
Apple iPad 2Apple iPad 2 (w/ wi-fi only)
Dimensions 7.48″ x 4.72″ x .45″
(190mm x 120mm x 11.4mm)
8.1″ x 5.0″ x .48″
(205mm x 128mm x 12.2mm)
 9.5″ x 7.3″ x .34″
(241.2mm x 185.7mm x 8.8mm)
 Weight (lbs/g)
Dimensional Weight
 .91 lbs (413g)
.057 lb/in3
.99 lbs (449g)
.051 lb/in3
1.33 lbs (601g)
.056 lb/in3
Screen Size (Diagonal) 7″ 7″ 9.7″
Screen Resolution (Pixels) 1024×600 1024×600 1024×768
 Operating System Android 2.3 Android 2.2 iOS 4.3.5*
Memory 512mb 512mb 512mb DDR2
Processor (CPU) 1 Ghz ARM Cortext-A9 TI OMAP4430 (Dual-Core)** 800 Mhz ARM Cortex-A8 TI OMAP3621 (Single-Core) 1 GHz ARM Apple A5 (ARM Cortex-A9+) (Dual-Core)**
Storage 8 GB (No External) 8 GB (+SD-Card)*** 16/32/64 GB****
Camera (Back) N/A N/A 720p HD video/still 5x zoom
Camera (Front) N/A N/A Video/Still VGA-quality
Bluetooth N/A N/A 2.1 + EDR
Max Battery Life 8 Hrs***** 8 Hrs***** 10 Hrs
MSRP $199 $249 $499-$699
Est. Mfg. Cost+ $210 $200 $323
Consumer Value++ 2.12 2.4 6.5 – Winner!

*iOS wins because other devices do not ship with Android 3.0+
**Although the A5 is a 1.0 Gz Cortex-A9, it also supports the SIMD instruction set extension. How relative this is in respect to performance is unknown to this author so both Fire and iPad win this feature.
*** Wins because of external SD storage built in.
****Can be expanded with external SD-card reader
*****8 HRs Max with wifi disabled. Note: iPad gets about 10 HR with wifi enabled.
+Estimated Mfg. costs found through Google search
++Non-scientific calculations assume all hardware is of equal quality and value. Not completely accurate but gives us a rough estimate of customer value: (Mfg Cost / MSRP) * [Chart Feature Wins]

There you have it my friends. As you can see, most of the wins for comparison wind up in the iPad column. I did not compare media or included software because frankly, both Amazon and B&N offer e-readers for the iPad so there’s no immediate advantage either offers with the exception of perhaps more direct access to books. I constantly hear how Amazon has a huge streaming video offering but that too will be on the iPad along with (let’s not forget the #1 stream service) Netflix.  Really, the only way you can “kill” an iPad is:

  1. Build equal or greater Hardware specifications
  2. Offer something of great value that cannot be offered on iPad (probably will never happen)
  3. and/or outsell the iPad into non-existence (not going to happen)

Until any or all those three criteria are met, the iPad will still be a strong leader in the tablet market and the Nook and Fire will be really cool tablet e-book readers. I could be wrong however. There’s a large amount of nerds out there that loath anything “gum-droppy” so perhaps a great upheaval will occur, but I just don’t see the Fire as being the device that will start that exodus/revolution/evolution.

About the Author

Rob is an avid blogger and concerned citizen of the United States. Aside writing for The Daily Slack, Rob enjoys composing music, wrenching on his collection of fast cars, hiking, cooking, shooting, and studying the art of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

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