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Kindle Fire HDX 7 vs Nexus 7 (2013) vs Apple iPad mini

Kindle Fire HDX 7 vs Nexus 7 (2013) vs Apple iPad mini

For years now, each new entrant into the mobile arena has had to go through a sort of a rite of passage ritual, regardless of whether its creators believe it deserves recognition solely by virtue of the brand it represents. Today, it's truth time for Amazon's brand new Kindle Fire HDX 7 for we're putting the new slate to the test. In the two opposite corners we have two already established pieces of hardware that need no introduction – Google's ASUS-built Nexus 7 2013 and Apple's iPad mini.


Let's take a look.


Design


If anything, it's undeniable that Amazon has been hard at work – our first impression of the new design of the trio of Kindle tablets that the company introduced earlier today is quite positive: it's sleek and industrial-looking, asserting a sense of quality. A level of quality of the reassuring kind, however, is nothing more than the sanitary minimum, considering Amazon wants to join the big league – the level of quality you'll find with the Nexus 7, and especially the iPad mini is outstanding. What's more, while we're at the topic of design, it's probably worth nothing that the iPad mini is the clear winner in our eyes, with the two Android slates wrenching for the second spot – that one is too close to call.


But looks aren't the only defining quality of design. Amazon is showcasing just that, having put the HDX 7 through some much needed dieting, which has resulted in slimmer bezels, though there's still a long way to go. Despite all of this, the HDX 7 is still the thickest tablet of the trio, though it has dropped some weight and is now down to 311 grams, pretty close to the iPad mini's 312 grams and even the Nexus 7's 299 grams.


Another noteworthy consideration that you should keep in mind if you're in the market for a compact tablet is that Amazon has gone the path of LG and put the power/volume buttons on the back of the device. This may not sound optimal to people who are used to the way things are, but do keep in mind that despite its relatively smallish dimensions, you'll be mostly holding the HDX 7 with two hands, which should make working the rear buttons easier.


Display


Whereas usually we have things such as pocketability to consider when examining the ease of use of smartphones, this doesn't really hold as much relevance to the tablet category, even with our relatively compact tabs. With that in mind, it's usually pixel density and display tech that decide the winner, if one can be cast at all. In this regard, there's a clear divide within our contestants – both the HDX 7 and the Nexus 7 have an amazingly detailed and vivid screens, thanks to the 1920x1200 resolution (323 ppi) they feature. It's been almost a full year since the iPad mini was launched, and it's starting to show its age – its screen is larger, at 7.9-inches, but considerably less detailed with a resolution of 1024x768, or 162 ppi.


What's more, the display on the 7-inch HDX 7 has been a point of pride for Amazon, because it incorporates some pretty interesting tech that allows for a dynamic adjustment of contrast settings when in bright environments. This means that whenever there's too much light, threatening to overpower even dark spots, the display will react by making blacks ever more pronounced, at least on paper.


Taking the above in consideration, we think it's a split between the HDX 7 and the Nexus 7, with the larger iPad mini grabbing the bronze – a nevertheless very acceptable display, perfect for those looking for more real state.


Brains


As is the way of Android, the HDX 7 and the Nexus 7 are both packing some great hardware, while the iPad mini is making ends meet with a much more conservative specs sheet that just works, in a typical iOS fashion. Having said that, there's no contest in who takes the gold in the hardware department, as the Kindle Fire HDX 7 comes sporting Qualcomm's latest and greatest quad-core Snapdragon 800, whereas the Nexus 7 is using the now slightly aged Snapdragon S4 and the iPad mini the Apple A5 SoC which is now getting really old in high-tech years.


In terms of memory, both the HDX 7 and the Nexus 7 come with 2GB of RAM, whilst the iPad mini has to make do with just 512MB. Several versions of the tablets ensure that you can pick the amount of storage that suits you – 16GB, 32GB or 64GB, with the exception of the Nexus, which only comes in a 16GB/32GB flavor. None of the tablets has an option to expand that via a microSD card.


And the winner is...


Pitting these tablets is only meaningful up to a certain point. Once we exhaust facts, it becomes near impossible to navigate through the jungle of subjective and less clearly-cut aspects of the total package that makes an experience bad, good or great. Each of these tablets has some pretty compelling reasons to deserve your hard-earned cash, of course, but also a relatively major trade-off.


Starting at $229, with the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 you have a very affordable powerhouse of a tablet with a refined design that many of you will enjoy, including value-added services specific to its forked version of Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean called Fire OS 3.0. The trade-off, as many of you will be quick to point out, is that you're not getting the coveted pure Android experience, and this may be a deal breaker for some.


With the Nexus 7, we have a story pretty similar to that of Amazon's trooper. It's compact, affordable, and despite it's less-potent chipset, it's still very well suited to tend to your every need. It's priced identically to the HDX 7, starting at $229 for the 16GB version, and it comes with a snappy stock Android, meaning quick updates and no mambo-jumbo. This, apart from design considerations, pretty much narrows down your choice down to more power versus an arguably better Android experience. Your call.


The iPad mini is identical to the above in the sense that there are trade-offs, though arguably more of those, in comparison to the Android boys. The tablet is now showing its age, and some of you may say that you're not getting the best bang for your buck. That's valid for many, though if you insist on the iOS experience, then the iPad mini won't disappoint even a year later. Do keep in mind that it's by far the priciest of the bunch, with a price tag starting at $329 for the 16GB, not to mention that we're expecting a new version of the mini fairly soon.


Kindle Fire HDX 7 vs Nexus 7 (2013) vs Apple iPad mini

DESIGN


Device typeTabletTabletTablet
OSAndroid (4.2.2) Fire OS 3.0 UIAndroid (4.3)iOS (6.1, 6)
Dimensions7.32 x 5.04 x 0.35 inches (186 x 128 x 9.0 mm)7.87 x 4.49 x 0.34 inches (200 x 114 x 8.65 mm)7.87 x 5.30 x 0.28 inches (200 x 134.7 x 7.2 mm)
Weight10.97 oz (311 g)
the average is 17.4 oz (496 g)
10.55 oz (299 g)
the average is 17.4 oz (496 g)
11.01 oz (312 g)
the average is 17.4 oz (496 g)
ColorsBlack Black, White
DISPLAY


Physical size7.0 inches7.0 inches7.9 inches
Resolution1920 x 1200 pixels1920 x 1200 pixels1024 x 768 pixels
Pixel density
323 ppi323 ppi162 ppi
Technology
LCDIPS LCDIPS LCD
Peak brightness400 cd/m2 (nit)300 cd/m2 (nit) 
FeaturesLight sensorLight sensor, Scratch-resistant glass (Corning Gorilla Glass)Light sensor
HARDWARE


System chip
QualComm Snapdragon 800Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064Apple A5
Processor
Quad core, 2200 MHzQuad core, 1500 MHz, KraitDual core, 1000 MHz, ARM Cortex-A9
Graphics processorAdreno 330Adreno 320PowerVR SGX543MP2
System memory
2048 MB RAM2048 MB RAM (Dual-channel, 533 MHz)512 MB RAM
Built-in storage16 GB32 GB16 GB
Maximum User Storage8.8 GB  
CAMERA


Camera 5 megapixels5 megapixels
Aperture size  F2.4
Features Auto focusBack-illuminated sensor (BSI), Auto focus, Touch to focus, Digital image stabilization, Geo tagging
Camcorder 1920x1080 (1080p HD)1920x1080 (1080p HD) (30 fps)
Features  Digital image stabilization, Video calling
Front-facing cameraYes1.2 megapixels1.2 megapixels
Video capture1280x720 (720p HD) 1280x720 (720p HD)

CONNECTIVITY


BluetoothYes4.04.0
Wi-Fi802.11 a, b, g, n802.11 a, b, g, n, n 5GHz802.11 a, b, g, n, n 5GHz
USBUSB 2.0USB 2.0Yes
ConnectormicroUSBmicroUSBProprietary
FeaturesMass storage device, USB chargingMass storage device, USB chargingUSB charging
Headphones connector3.5mm3.5mm3.5mm
HDMI Yes 
Charging connectormicroUSBmicroUSBProprietary
OtherTethering, Computer sync, OTA syncNFC, Tethering, Computer sync, OTA syncComputer sync, OTA sync
OTHER FEATURES


SensorsAccelerometer, GyroscopeAccelerometer, Gyroscope, CompassAccelerometer, Gyroscope, Compass
AVAILABILITY


Officially announced25 Sep 201324 Jul 201323 Oct 2012
Scheduled release
18 Oct 2013 (Official)  

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