With the release of Kindle Fire by Amazon in 2011, it became the first tablet to gain real attraction against the Apple iPad. After that Amazon kept creating new affordable entry level tablets, on the other hand Apple kept its dominance in the high-end spectrum of the tablet market. Now with the release of Kindle Fire HD recently Amazon tried to get into the high end tablet market. Where it has to face the competition from some budget tablet from both Apple and Google as they have released their own affordable tablets. So now Kindle Fire HD is competing with the iPad Mini, The question arises, which one is the best? Let’s take a closer look at both the devices and decide which has more to offer and which is the best one.
Build and Design
As usual Apple iPad Mini comes with the traditional Apple build and design which makes it look like a sophisticated device. Its screen is larger than the Kindle Fire HD but it doesn’t add to the weight, as the iPad Mini weighs only 312g and the Kindle Fire HD weighs 567g. If I describe the iPad Mini I would say it a large iPod Touch rather than a small iPad. The razor thin device feels more stout to hold with respect to its main stream versions. In terms of comfortability, one will be more comfortable holding it in portrait mode than in landscape mode. In comparison of the Kindle Fire HD that comes in the dimensions of 240 x 164 x 8.8mm the iPad mini is thinner and somewhat smaller in size as the dimensions of iPad Mini are 200 x 134.7 x 7.2mm.
The Kindle Fire HD is relatively thicker than the iPad still they claim to be thin with beveled bottom. Top of the tablet has a 1.3megapixel camera for video chatting and an ambient light sensor that is nearly invisible. Bottom part of the tablet houses Micro-HDMI and Micro-USB port, the headphone jack, power button and volume rocker is placed at the right edge. Overall, the Kindle Fire HD has an attractive and solid build but iPad Mini has an edge over it.
Kindle Fire HD comes with 8.9 inches IPS multi-touch capacitive LCD screen with 1920×1200 pixels resolution and pixel density of 254ppi. The picture and text quality are really great, though, color saturation is not up to the mark but still everything looks good on the screen.
Here Apple has screwed up, the iPad Mini comes with 7.9 inches IPS multi-touch capacitive LCD screen that has a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels with a pixel density of 162ppi. After using Apple’s Retina Display for past year anything below 1080p just looks outdated. Although the resolution is not as bad, if you haven’t used any iPad before you will certainly like the display.
The Kindle Fire HD 8.9 comes with the dual core TI-OMAP 4470 1.5GHz processor that delivers very decent performance. Though while playing some 1080p videos we have noticed some stuttering, but most of the 1080p videos played flawlessly. With some high graphics games you may face lag but it is very rare. Most of the apps and tasks launch instantly and runs smoothly. Its 1GB DDR2 RAM is an advantage over the iPad Mini which has only 512MB RAM.
Apple has kept their promise of high performance, even with the A5 processor and 512MB RAM iOS 6 operates pretty smooth, fast and intuitively. You will not will any lag or interruption while using any apps and games. If you consider the performance of both the devices both are going neck to neck, both are good but Kindle Fire HD 8.9 gets few extra credit here because of its price which is less than iPad.
The Kindle Fire HD 8.9 comes with the Android 4.0 operating system, but Amazon has customized so much that you will not even recognize if it is Android OS. Amazon has made the access to books, games, music, videos and games very easy, true Android users may find it little annoying, but most of the users will not mind these changes. On other hand Apple iPad Mini is leading in this section by a huge margin, Apple iOS 6 that the iPad Mini has in it, is miles ahead of the custom Android 4.0 Amazon is providing. There is no doubt that you will find lots of apps on Apple store and you can’t even compare with the availability of apps for the Kindle Fire HD 8.9. For iPad Mini you can get almost 800K apps in the Apple app store while Amazon is displaying around 10K apps in their store. Overall, iPad Mini has an edge here because of the beautiful operating system and the availability of apps.
Kindle Fire HD 8.9 is promoted as the media device, so yes, you can play almost any media type on this device. The Dolby stereo speakers provide better sound quality, and the HD videos also play smoothly on this device. Although I found some 1080p HD videos running a bit slow but it was for only few videos and the rest were running smooth. So yes the video performance is also good. The Netflix and Hulu Plus work well on this device, with only 600Mbps connection I was able to load and play videos instantly where the high end Android devices like Samsung Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Note 2 takes some time to load the media file.
With only 7.9 inches screen with a resolution of 1024 x 768pixels watching videos on iPad Mini is not so enjoyable with respect to the Kindle Fire HD 8.9, but it is not so bad also. The stereo speakers on the back of the device provides loud and quality sound which is very smooth and easy to listen.
Amazon claims of 10 hours of battery back up when you use it extensively. I have received around 9 hours of battery backup while using it continuously for watching videos, listening to music, playing games, and surfing over Wi-Fi. So the battery life is pretty impressive. On other hand iPad Mini also claims to provide 10 hours of battery life, but after the same uses pattern I was able to get over 7 hours of battery backup. So Kindle Fire HD 8.9 definitely has an edge over iPad Mini here.
While considering overall performance and features Kindle Fire HD 8.9 emerges as a winner against the Apple iPad Mini. Where it feels like the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 is the result of intense development, the Apple iPad Mini feels more like an Apple leftover.