Along with Google's Nexus 7, Amazon's Kindle Fire HD and the Barnes & Noble Nook HD are among the best 7" Android-based tablets in the market. The biggest advantage that the Kindle Fire HD has over Nook HD is a front-facing camera. The Nook has a price advantage; while they are both priced at $199, the Kindle's ad-free version costs $15 more and a wall charger for the Kindle costs an extra $20.
Advantages of Nook HD over Kindle HD
- Wall charger included (costs $20 for Kindle)
- No ads (ad-free experience costs $15 for Kindle)
- The Nook is lighter (11.1 oz vs. 13.9 oz)
- Slightly faster processor (1.3 GHz vs. 1.2 GHz for Kindle)
- A microSD card slot for expandable memory
- Personal profiles for different users in the family
- Free Wi-Fi at Barnes & Noble stores; also read Nook books free in-store
Advantages of Kindle Fire HD over Nook HD
- Front-facing camera for video calling with Skype. The Nook has no camera.
- Better audio with Dolby speakers
- Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi offers better speeds.
- One month free membership for Amazon Prime (it offers a limited collection of free videos as well as free 2-day shipping on select items purchased on Amazon.com)
- A better selection of digital media -- eBooks, videos, audio books and music -- available for sale on Amazon compared to B&N.
- 16GB storage capacity (compared to 8GB for the base model of the Nook)
You can buy or learn more about the Kindle Fire HD on Amazon.com starting at $199.
However, it must be noted that the Nexus 7 tablet from Google may be a better choice than both of these tablets. It runs Google's latest operating system (Android Jelly Bean), has 16GB internal storage, an NFC chip and GPS, in addition to a front-facing camera. So it is worth considering if you are in the market for a 7" tablet.
|Kindle Fire HD||Nook HD|
|Developer||Amazon.com||Barnes & Noble|
|Type||Tablet computer||Tablet computer|
|Storage capacity||16-32 GB (7" 64 GB (8.9" model only)||16 or 32 GB flash memory, memory card slot|
|Processor||Dual Core 1.2 GHz, OMAP4460||Dual Core 1.3 GHz, OMAP4460|
|Operating system||Android OS 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), heavily customized||Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), customized but not as heavily|
|Release date||7 inch version September 14, 2012 (United States). October 25, 2012 (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom)||November 2012|
|Weight||395 grams||315 grams|
|CPU||1.2 GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9||Dual-Core 1.3GHz TI OMAP 4470|
|Connectivity||Micro-USB 2.0 (type B), HDMI, 3.5 mm stereo socket, Dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n, 4G LTE (8.9" model)||802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth|
|Display||7-inch 1280X800, 216 PP||7-inch IPS LCD, 1440 x 900 px at 243 PPI|
|Maximum supported memory capacity||Does not allow memory expansion||32 GB|
|Text formats supported||Text AZW, PRC(Mobipocket), PDF, DOC, TXT, DOCX||EPUB, XLSX, XLS, PDF, DOC, RTF, CBZ, TXT, DOCX|
|Still Image formats supported||PNG, JPEG, GIF, BMP||PNG, JPEG, BMP, GIF|
|Digital Video formats supported||MPEG-4, VP8||MPEG-4, AVI, 3GP|
|Digital Audio formats supported||AAC, OGG, WAV, AMR, MIDI, MP3||AAC, WAV, OGG, FLAC, AMR, MP3|
|External memory card slot||None||microSD, microSDHC|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, Ambient Light sensor and Gyromete||None|
|Power||11hours||4,050mAh, proprietary connector|
Display and User Interface
The display size is 7” but the resolution of Nook HD is 1440X900 with 243 pixels per inch. Hence the movies appear sharper. Moreover, this is the highest resolution in the world of 7” tablets. The interface of Kindle Fire HD is sluggish and the screen is not as responsive. The Nook HD has a smooth interface and magazines with rich pages can be opened without any lag time.
Kindle Fire HD can tap into the wide ecosystem of Amazon stores. It has access to about 50, 000 apps while Nook HD has access to 6,000 apps from the Barnes and Noble store. Newsstand, Books, Music, Videos, Docs, Apps, Web, Shop, Games, Audiobooks, Photos, and Offers are available as top-of-the-screen content tab options. Amazon’s stores, your libraries as well as the web can be searched.
It should be noted that Barnes and Noble recently updated the Nook HD and Nook HD+ with the Google Play store opening up to all the Google Play content. In addition, rooting a Nook, such as done on the xda forums website, will allow you to install the Amazon app, giving total access to the three major Android stores. Rooting a Nook can be as simple as purchasing a pre-loaded microSD card and inserting it into the microSD slot in the Nook.
Both provide Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. The Kindle Fire HD has dual antenna, operates across dual bands and has MIMO facility. This enables the device to switch seamlessly to the available wireless network without streaming interruption and with the same HD resolution. Nook HD has access to the free Wi-Fi in all Barnes and Nobles stores.
Amazon Prime members receive access to Amazon's growing list of streaming movies and TV shows and can borrow a single Kindle book every month with no due date. Prime membership is $79 per year, and each Kindle Fire HD comes with a free month of Prime so you can try out the service. Nook HD users have access to about 1 million free titles from the Banes and Noble stores. The OverDrive Media Console app will enable Nook users to borrow e-books and audiobooks wirelessly from libraries and schools.
Both the devices have stereo speakers but the speaker output of Kindle Fire HD is loud and clear and is the best in a tablet till date. Immersion reading combines the audio and Kindle versions of a single book to provide an experience that is not available in any other tablet. The text is read by the audiobook reader while each word read is highlighted on the book version.
Both the devices offer cloud sharing allowing you to continue reading from another device. The Whispersync feature of Kindle Fire HD allows you to stop a movie or a book on one device and continue on another device in the cloud. Barnes and Nobles has announced its launch of video service, Nook Video that will enable the content to be viewed on other devices like TV, computer, tablets and smartphones.
Reliability and Performance comparison
The Nook HD is faster compared to the Kindle Fire HD. The clock speed of the Nook processor is greater than that of the Kindle Fire HD processor.
With the Nook HD yet to be released, the battery life cannot be verified. But the manufacturer’s claim is 10.5 hours of reading and 9.5 hours of 720p video playing. The Kindle Fire HD battery lasts only for 8 hours and 41 minutes in laboratory testing of 720p video playing.
Both are priced at $199 but the ad-free Kindle Fire HD costs $15 more. The memory available is 16 GB in Kindle Fire HD but a 16 GB Nook HD costs $299.
Kindle Fire HD
Various profiles for children are available. The screen glows blue during FreeTime mode. Hence parents can keep an eye easily from across the room.
A review of Kindle Fire HD:
- It is light-weight and is comfortable to hold with one hand.
- The bezel is soft and offers better grip.
- With a higher resolution than the Kindle Fire HD, the movies appear sharper. Moreover, this is the highest resolution in the world for a 7” device.
- It has faster processing speed. It is claimed that graphics processing is 80% faster.
- Up to six profiles can be setup, each with a set of content restrictions.
- Nook Scrapbook feature allows you to save pages from magazines and catalogs and return to them later.
- The Nook devices can be rooted with custom Android simply by inserting a pre-loaded (or custom loaded) microSD card into the microSD card, allowing for access to Nook, Google and Amazon store apps and media. Since the original Nook OS stays intact, the warranty is not voided during this process.
A review of Nook HD:
Kindle Fire HD
- The design is such that the volume rocker and power buttons are difficult to locate.
- Ad free version is costlier.
- The interface is sluggish and the screen is not as responsive.
- Rooting the Kindle Fire can have greater consequences as the original OS is no longer intact and warranty may be voided if the original OS can not be reinstalled.
The Nook HD has no camera. The integrated memory is only 8GB compared to 16GB of Kindle Fire HD. The 16GB model costs $229 while compared to $199 for Kindle Fire HD with same memory size.