Google Nexus 7 vs Amazon Kindle Fire

Introduction and Design

Eight months ago, the Amazon Kindle Fire ignited an explosion in the tablet universe, as it came to the table bearing one competitive price point that was regarded as unheard of at the time. Essentially, it opened the flood gates for a totally new segment of tablets. After soaking up the spotlight for some time now, there now seems to be a newcomer that’s looking to shake things up even more – and at the same time, it’s going to try to extinguish the Amazon Kindle Fire’s luminous flame. Considering that the Google Nexus 7 is flaunting an exact price point of $200, while boasting newer internals and a fresh experience, it’s seemingly ready to grab the spotlight away from under Amazon’s offering.


Seriously, these two couldn’t be any more similar to one another in terms of design – especially when their footprints are nearly identical. We can’t say we’re fans of either designs, seeing that they take the safe approach of donning conventional appearances, but we prefer the Google Nexus 7 just by a smidgen due to the fact it’s much more comfortable to hold. Specifically, the outer edges of the tablet curve towards the rear to offer us a more natural feel when grasping it. Moreover, the Google Nexus 7 is both lighter and skinnier than the Amazon Kindle Fire, which again contributes to its more natural feel in the hand. Thankfully though, both employ some modest choice of materials that complement their decent constructions.

Between the two, we prefer the dedicated power button of the Nexus 7, mainly because it’s somewhat more distinct than the button on Kindle Fire. At the same time, we like the convenience of being able to modify the Nexus 7’s volume by pressing on its physical controls. In contrast, adjusting the volume on the Kindle Fire is done through its software.

Meanwhile, some of the other commonalities between these two budget tablets include their microUSB ports, 3.5mm headset jacks, unremovable batteries, and no physical storage expandability.


Hands down, the Google Nexus 7 has the sharper looking display between the two – even though they both size up at 7-inches, the Nexus 7 benefits from its higher WXGA 1280 x 800 resolution, while the Kindle Fire packs a smaller resolution of 1024 x 600. From afar, it’s rather difficult to discern which is more detailed, but upon closer inspection, it’s quite evident that fine details are sharper with the Nexus 7. In fact, it’s most apparent in the web browser as we view our site in zoomed out view. Interestingly, even though they both employ IPS LCD panels, the Nexus 7’s display has a cooler tone, while the Kindle Fire has a warmer one. However, considering that viewing angles and contrast levels are better on the Google Nexus 7 as well, it undoubtedly solidifies its superiority.

Interface and Functionality:

Come on people, who doesn’t like having the latest and greatest Android experience? Simply, these two are worlds apart in the software side, as the Nexus 7 has the distinct advantage of running Google’s brand spanking new Android 4.1 Jelly Bean experience. Not only does it offer a significant amount of functionality over its rival, like having a better notifications system and the addition of Google Now, but it totally blows away the Kindle Fire in the personalization department. Taking into account that the Kindle Fire is running Amazon’s OS (aka a heavily customized Android 2.3 Gingerbread experience), it doesn’t have access to the same wide array of apps available to the Nexus 7 as it doesn't offer the Play Store – instead, it’s presented with some of the popular apps out there available in the Amazon app store, but it’s nowhere close to what’s available for the Nexus 7.

Yet another reason why the Google Nexus 7 is preferred over its rival, it’s because the Kindle Fire lacks most of the basic organizer apps we’d come to expect out of the box. As we all know, that’s not the case with the Nexus 7, as most of its core organizer apps are refined for tablet usage.

Even more, there’s no arguing that the email experience on the Google Nexus 7 is undeniably preferred, since Gmail presents us with a desktop-like experience. Oppositely, we can manage using the email app on the Kindle Fire, but it’s nothing out of the ordinary with its smartphone-like layout.

For the most part, there are no issues typing with either tablet thanks to their responsive keyboards. However, our fingers tend to like the more spacious layout of the Nexus 7’s keyboard, which is case for both portrait and landscape options.

Processor and Memory:

Newer is better, correct? Well, that’s the case here as the Google Nexus 7 is packing along one snazzy and wickedly fast 1.3GHz quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor coupled with 1GB of RAM. Obviously, it’s far more impressive than the 1GHz dual-core TI OMAP4 processor with 512MB of RAM that’s stuffed inside of the Kindle Fire. On the surface, both appear to exhibit swift responses with various actions, however, the Kindle Fire’s performance can be choppy at times – with longer wait times when opening apps. Though, it’s never to the point unbearable, but nevertheless, it’s noticeable to the eye.

Unfortunately, neither tablet is blessed with a sufficient appetite to store content. Both are available in 8GB capacities, but there’s 16GB option for the Nexus 7.

Internet and Connectivity:

When it comes to loading complex web sites like ours, both actually manage to load everything in nearly the same amount of time, but upon navigating our page, it’s evident that the Nexus 7 is once again showing off its processing prowess. On one side, the Nexus 7 maintains a smooth responsive operation with kinetic scrolling and pinch zooming, while the Kindle Fire stutters along with some choppy and jerky movements. Now, it doesn’t totally ruin the entire experience, but rather, it’s a noticeable thing that stands out.

Interestingly, the only connectivity feature that these two tablets share is Wi-Fi connectivity. Meanwhile, the Google Nexus 7 is outfitted with a slew of arsenal that includes Bluetooth, aGPS, and NFC.


Call it a slight win for the Nexus 7, though it’s not by much, it’s outfitted with a front-facing camera that provides for the modern convenience of video chatting. Oppositely, the Kindle Fire is shut out from anything like that, since it doesn’t pack along any sort of camera – so yes, it’s another function that the Nexus 7 can call its own.


Overall, there isn’t much of a difference between the two tablet’s music players – as we’re greeted with the usual set of items. However, we do like the cool 3D carousel that the Nexus 7 has to offer when browsing through its catalog. Paying attention to the output of their speakers, they’re nearly identical to one another, as they pump out similar tones that don’t crackle at the loudest setting. However, the Nexus 7 has access to various equalizer settings to enhance its quality.

In order to play any sort of commonly coded videos on the Kindle Fire, we needed to download a third party app – in our case, it’s the Meridan Video Player. From the looks of it all, both tablets are able to smoothly play our test video that’s encoded in MPEG4 1920 x 1080 resolution. Nevertheless, our eyes are particularly glued to the Nexus 7 display thanks mostly to its higher contrast.

Connection and Battery:

No worries with Wi-Fi connectivity with either device, since both maintain a sufficient connection to a wireless hotspot that’s over 30 feet away in another room. Furthermore, we didn’t experience any major discrepancies with signal strength or dropped connections.

Power users don’t need to worry at all about running low on juice, considering that both offer exceptional battery life. Even with heavy usage, we’re able to get by through a solid one day with some juice leftover before the night is over. However, we do notice that the Nexus 7 is giving just a smidgen more out of its battery – maybe because there’s no automatic brightness setting with the Kindle Fire.


It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize the obvious with this comparison, even more when one device is sporting newer and better hardware and software to make its $200 price point more valuable than its rival. Of course, we still have to give the Amazon Kindle Fire for popularizing the budget tablet category, but now that the Google Nexus 7 is finally up for grabs, it redefines what we expect out of the category nowadays. In addition, the experience is totally one-sided as well, as the Nexus 7 has the full fidelity of having access to a wealth of tablet-optimized apps – while enhancing the core experience.

Indeed, you can still obtain good experience on the Kindle Fire (especially if you hack it to add the Play Store), but you better invest your hard-earned money into the Nexus 7 and settle with the latest and greatest right now.

Google Nexus 7 vs Amazon Kindle Fire:

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