It’s time for the showdown; should you grab the latest Amazon Kindle? Should you pick a Fire HD tablet? Or just buy a generic Android-based tablet? Here in this article we’ll dig into the newest Amazon offerings, and compare them to what a standard Android tablet gives you as part of the experience.
Basically, the standard Kindle is an e-reader, and is made specifically to imitate the feeling and portability of a paperback. Most importantly, the screen is supposed to simulate paper. This means it’s more of a matte look, and it’s designed to be readable like paper in the sun.
The Kindle has a fairly high resolution of 300ppi, which doesn’t sound like much when it compares to the high resolution screens of most tablets. However, the Kindle is made for reading, and more specifically, is meant to simulate a book.
It has a front light instead of a backlight…not unlike the old school book lights that used to be sold in bookstores (and sometimes still are for sale!) Another thing is that a Kindle has tweaked and custom typography and design to be more of what a printed book is.
It looks clean and warm and has a nice layout that (wait for it) feels and looks more like a book than a web page or something similar. Finally, the machine holds a charge like no other device. Literally, like no other device; you can charge a Kindle and that thing will last for weeks.
It seriously can sometimes go a month without a recharge. That’s a leviathan achievement for an electronic device in the 21st century if I’ve ever heard of one. Finally, the Kindle is made so that you can ‘lose yourself in a book’ and doesn’t offer any sort of notifications, access to social media, or incessant text messages.
Of course, for about the same price, you can grab a Fire HD, which is a completely different beast. The Fire HD is much like any other low-end tablet from any number of Chinese manufacturers. Of course, the Fire HD has a little less horsepower, but a few Amazon-specific perks that may interest some readers.
Specifically, if you are an Amazon Prime subscriber, the Fire HD has a whole lot of added utility. Prime users get a whole host of books, magazines, and other content unlocked for ‘free.’ I put that in quotation marks of course because the Prime subscription usually costs around $99, depending on what country and continent you’re in.
Sadly, there are other negatives that come with the Amazon branding…there are Amazon advertisements that live on the unlock screens of both the Kindle and the Fire. The only way to remove them is literally to pay Amazon 15 dollars to make them go away. This to me is rather stupid.
If you’re not an Amazon subscriber, it’s probably better to grab a third-party tablet. For around the same money, you can get a machine with the Intel Cherry Trail processors, 2GB of RAM instead of the Fire HD’s 1.5, and of course you’ll have the abilities that come with having a ‘true’ Android machine with availabilities that can only come from having the Android app universe of the Google Play Store at your disposal.
You also probably get better battery life, and a machine that will have a higher-resolution screen and an aluminum or metal construction, instead of the Fire or Kindle’s plastic housings. Of course, there are very technically-involved ways of jailbreaking your Fire HD, or turning your Kindle into something else.
If you’re familiar with flashing custom ROMs to phones and jailbreaking/unlocking phones, you could probably get this stuff done…but it’s honestly easier and smarter to just get what you want with your money the first time.
As we say again, if you’re not an Amazon subscriber, there’s no real reason to buy a device that’s honestly underpowered for what you get, and unfortunately also not connected to any sort of app store…so if you want Spotify or SoundCloud or any of the literally million other apps available, this isn’t your device. Just buy another tablet.
Speaking of third party tablets, they work relatively well as readers. There are many free PDF reading programs including the ones most popular released by Adobe, and if you don’t mind a glossy screen and a fair amount of backlighting, almost any book or periodical in the world is available to you for reading.
Obviously, the other thing is that you can use the machine as an MP3 player, as a camera. As a whole computer…something that can answer emails, read the New York Times every morning, and can be used to watch videos and all sorts of other types of entertainment.
So, the answer to the question posed in the initial part of this article all sort of boils down to what you want. Do you want a dedicated reader that performs very much like a book?
Do you not mind that it’s limited by the purchasing power of things from Amazon? (We have to warn you here that certain books available for free or books purchased outside of the Amazon universe might not show up as well as the stuff you buy from Amazon.)
A tablet or the Fire HD won’t look anything like a book. It’ll look like a tablet backlighting some pages that look sort of like a book. For a lot of people though, that’ OK.
They’re Amazon Prime subscribers that like the original content on that service, or they’re OK with the tradeoff because they also use their tablet to Facebook message with their friends or check sports scores on ESPN.com. A tablet here is of course what this kind of person wants.
Pick what you want, then pick your weapon! All three things do different things, and you’ll be happiest once you find what you want the device to do for you first.