Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 LTE vs Galaxy Tab 8.9 LTE
At different times in the history of mobile computing platforms, there were different norms so as to what should be included in a high end mobile computer. At the start, it was close to PC performance in a laptop and subsequently mobile computing platform was used to identify smartphones and tablets. Laptops were gracefully demoted to a position in between mobile computing platforms and PCs. Those days, the norm for a smartphone was a vivid and big display with acceptable computing power, which generally fell under 300 MHz categories, and a decent interface with network connectivity. Nowadays, it has evolved to such an extent that we expect dual core processors clocked higher than 1GHz even from budget tablets. The vivid big screen has transformed in to HD screen with monster resolutions and advanced optimizations for better viewing compatibility. The simple network connectivity has transformed in to a power hungry super-fast 4G LTE connectivity. Accordingly, this transformation has made room for many new vendors who can offer competitive prices.
Today, we are going to talk about two tablets falling under the norms I mentioned before. Both have dual core processors clocked higher than 1GHz and offers a pleasurable experience in viewing the high resolution display. These two slates also offer 4G LTE connectivity complying with the norms and are offered at a very competitive price range. Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 LTE was revealed only a couple of days back and has already gained a favorable response from the consumers. The other tablet, which is Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 LTE, was released some time back and has accumulated a sound customer base. Both come with good performance matrices and pleasing looks. It is the common impression that both of these tablets caught the market by surprise for nobody was expecting an 8.9 inch tablet. Hence they will have the confusion of the customers as an advantage to increase their sales volumes. Let us look in to these two tablets individually and compare them afterwards in the same arena.
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 4G LTE Review
At the moment, this 8.9 slate is the crown jewel of Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet line. It is offered in two versions; one with Wi-Fi and one offering 4G LTE connectivity. We will be talking about the 4G LTE version although you can consider the review for the other version synonymous to this only differing with the Wi-Fi only connectivity. Amazon Kindle Fire 8.9 is powered by 1.5GHz dual core processor on top of TI OMAP 4470 chipset with PowerVR SGX 544 GPU. Amazon claims that this chipset outperforms the new Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset although we need to run some benchmarking tests in order to verify that. The center point of attraction in this 8.9 slate is its screen. Amazon Kindle Fire HD features a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels at a high pixel density which gives the user an absolute pleasure to look at it. According to Amazon, this screen has a polarizing filter enabling the viewers to have an ultra-wide viewing angle while featuring anti-glare technology for rich color and deep contrast reproduction. This is achieved through eliminating the air gap between the touch sensor and the LCD panel by laminating them into a single layer of glass. It has a matte black plate with a thin velvet black strip where Kindle Fire HD is embossed.
Amazon has included exclusive Dolby audio in the Kindle Fire HD to enhance the audio experience offered by the slate. It also has automatic profile based optimizer that changes the audio output depending on the content been played. The powerful dual stereo speakers enable deeper bass in your musing filling the room without distortion at higher volumes taking you on a wonderful journey to the stereo world. Another feature Amazon boasts about is Kindle Fire HD having the fastest Wi-Fi in any of the tablets that offer premium notion. Kindle Fire HD achieves this by mounting two antennas and Multiple In / Multiple Out (MIMO) technology that allows you to transmit and receive simultaneously with both antennas increasing the capacity and reliability. The available 2.4GHz and 5GHz dual band frequencies seamlessly switch to the less congested network ensuring that now you can go farther away from your hotspot than usual. The built in 4G LTE connectivity will enable the user to seamlessly enjoy their unlimited cloud content. We are hoping Amazon has optimized the 4G connectivity as much as they claim they have.
Amazon Kindle Fire HD is a content prone laptop thanks to the millions and trillions of GBs of content Amazon have as movies, books, music and so on. With Kindle Fire HD, you are entitled for unlimited cloud storage that is as good as everything. It also offers premium features like X-Ray for movies, books, text books etc. If you’re not familiar with what X-Ray do, let me brief it. Have you ever wondered who was on the screen when a movie is playing at a specific screen? You had to go through the IMDG cast list just to find that out, but fortunately those days are over. Now it’s just a click away with X-Ray, which gives you an overview of who is on the screen and their details, if you further navigate. X-Ray for ebooks and textbooks lays an overview about the book which is really cool if you don’t have time to read the book in full. Amazon’s Immersion Reading can synchronize kindle text with companion audible audiobooks in real-time so that you can hear the narration while you are reading. The Whispersync feature enables you to lift off after reading an ebook and the slate will read the rest of the ebook for you while you work on something else. How cool would that be eh? The feature is available for movies and games, as well.
Amazon has included a HD camera in the front for video conferencing, and there is also a deep Facebook integration. The slate has improved performance for Amazon Silk browser and offers a facility for the parent to the control child’s time spent with the tablet.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 4G LTE Review
Samsung is trying to test the usability of tablets with different screen sizes to come up with the best. However, they are doing it with making competition with their own and setting up. Anyhow, the 8.9 inch addition seems to be quite refreshing considering the fact that it has the same specs as its predecessor Galaxy Tab 10.1. Galaxy Tab 8.9 is a slightly scaled down version of its 10.1 counterpart. It almost feels the same and comes with the same smooth curved edges that Samsung gives to their tablets. It has a pleasing metallic grey back that we can cling on comfortably. We expected it to come with the amazing Super AMOLED screen that Samsung normally ports their devices with, but we have to suffice with a PLS TFT capacitive touchscreen of 8.9 inches which can do a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels in 170ppi pixel density. While we have no complains about neither the resolution nor the crispness of the images and the viewing angles, Super AMOLED would certainly have been an eye candy for this beauty.
Galaxy Tab 8.9 has the same 1.5GHz ARM Cortex A9 dual core processor which is better than its predecessor Galaxy Tab 10.1. It’s built on top of Qualcomm chipset and comes with 1GB RAM, to optimize the performance. The Tab was shipped originally with Android v3.2 Honeycomb, which does a good job in binding them together, but it is upgradeable to Android v4.0 ICS. Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 also gives rise to some storage restriction since it only comes with 16GB or 32GB modes with no option to expand the storage via a microSD card. The 3.2MP back camera is acceptable, but we would expect more from Samsung for this beauty. It has autofocus and LED flash along with Geo tagging backed up by A-GPS. The fact that it can capture 720p HD videos @ 30 frames per second is a relief though. Samsung hasn’t forgotten the video calls as well since they have included a 2MP front facing camera bundled with Bluetooth v3.0 and A2DP.
Since the Galaxy Tab 8.9 comes in different flavors of connectivity such as Wi-Fi, 3G or even LTE version, it’s not fair to normalize and describe them generically. Instead, since the counterpart we’re comparing features LTE, We will take the LTE version for comparison of network connectivity. It has no problem whatsoever in being connected to the LTE network. It also has Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n and the ability to act as a Wi-Fi hotspot which, as we mentioned before, is great. It comes with an accelerometer sensor, Gyro sensor, and a compass besides the usual aspects and features a mini HDMI port, as well. Samsung has included a lighter battery of 6100mAh but surprisingly, it can stay up to 9 hours and 20 minutes, which only fall behind 30 minutes from its predecessor.
A Brief Comparison Between Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 LTE and Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 LTE
• Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 is powered by 1.5GHz dual core processor on top of TI OMAP 4470 chipset with PowerVR SGX 544 GPU while Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 has 1.5GHz cortex A9 dual core processor on top of Qualcomm chipset and 1GB of RAM.
• Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 has 8.9 inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen display featuring a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels at a high pixel density while Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 has 8.9 inches PLS TFT capacitive touchscreen display featuring a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels at a pixel density of 170ppi.
• Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 has HD camera on the front for video conferencing while Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 has 3.15MP camera with autofocus and LED flash that can capture 720p videos @ 30 fps.
• Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 offers a range of premium features that aren’t available on any other tablet while Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 LTE doesn’t offer any such premium features.
• Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 LTE is larger, thicker and heftier (240 x 164mm / 8.8mm / 567g) than Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 LTE (230.9 x 157.8mm / 8.6mm / 455g).
Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 are odd tablets compared to the tablets available in the market. This is because of the odd screen size of 8.9 inches which can’t be seen in any other tablet. It was Samsung who first tested with this slate size and they had a favorable response from their customers and hence now Amazon seems to have followed the same trend. They also share dual core processors clocked at the same rate although the chipset is said to be different. However, their similarities end there. Amazon Kindle Fire HD features one of the best display panels out there in the tablet world featuring a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels compared to the 1280 x 720 pixels resolution of the Galaxy Tab 8.9 LTE. What we can’t forget is the fact that Galaxy Tab is already available and will be more than 8 months old when the Kindle Fire HD is released. So, the new tablet featuring a higher resolution is only understandable. Besides that, there are some cool features offered by Amazon Kindle Fire HD as explained above. I would love to check out the X-Ray feature for movie, which I haven’t seen any Android application is offering.
A key point we have to understand is buying Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 would not give you a great Android experience for it has a heavily stripped version of Android with a customized UI unless you’re willing to root the device. However, Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 LTE will give you a proper Android experience if that’s what you are looking for. Unfortunately, both of these tablets are rather tempting. Beware though, Galaxy Tab is offered at $649 while Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 LTE is offered at $599 which offers the same 64GB storage as Galaxy Tab. You can opt for a 32GB slate at a price point of $499 if that’s your taste.