Apple iPad Mini vs Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9
Mobile computing market is an exciting market place that has something to offer you every day. It usually doesn’t stagnate at the same place and introduces innovative features in various ways. However, this was not the case for budget tablets before two year back. The market was stagnating and the goods were moving rather slowly. Although budget mobile computing platforms are a hit with customers, budget tablets didn’t have the same fate. This was particularly due to poor design decisions and engineering choices. When Amazon introduced Kindle Fire at a price point of $199, they single handedly conquered a significant market share. That can be considered as the first mass favorable response for budget tablets. Afterwards, other manufacturers also followed the engineering concepts and came up with some great budget tablets including Asus Google Nexus 7 which stands to be one of the best deals. Recently Amazon announced their debutant Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD 8.9 which has a HD display panel and a range of other options that can take your mind away. Hence we decided that it is a must to compare this device with Apple’s new budget tablet. As you may know, Apple is known for premium products although they have put some extensive engineering to come up with a budget tablet that would pose as a good component for its Android counterparts. Let’s see what Apple iPad Mini has to offer and we’ll compare it with Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 to pick your best choice.
Apple iPad Mini Review
As predicted, Apple iPad Mini hosts a 7.9 inch IPS capacitive touchscreen display that features a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels at a pixel density of 163ppi. It is smaller, lighter and thinner than Apple new iPad. However, this no way compromises the look and feel Apple’s premium grants you. It will come in several versions, which will be released throughout November 2012. There is also a 4G LTE version which can cost as much as $660. Let us look at what Apple has included in this mini version of their all-time favorite Apple iPad.
Apple iPad Mini is powered by Dual Core A5 processor clocked at 1GHz along with preferably PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU and 512MB of RAM. This is the first reason that worries us about purchasing the iPad Mini given that it features a last generation processor of Apple A5, which went out in circulation two generations before with the introduction of Apple A6X. However, we can’t predict the performance without taking it for a lengthy test run given that Apple can now modify their processors in-house. It seemed to work seamlessly at light tasks, but games seem to take some time to initialize which can be an indication of the performance it can offer.
This miniature version of iPad has dimensions of 7.9 x 5.3 x 0.28 inches that can fit in to your hand very well. Especially the keyboard feels way more comfortable compared to the Apple iPhone line. The basic version only has Wi-Fi connectivity whereas the more expensive and higher end ones offer 4G LTE connectivity as an addition. It will come in different sizes ranging from 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. Apple seems to have included a 5MP camera at the back of this miniature version that can capture 1080p HD videos which is a good improvement. The 1.2MP from facing camera can be used with Facetime for video conferencing. As speculated, it uses the new lightening connector and comes in either Black or White.
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 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. 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 on.
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 features Amazon boasts about is Kindle Fire HD having the fastest Wi-Fi in any of tablets that offer premium notion. 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 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. 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 features 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 which we should try out. The slate has improved performance for Amazon Silk browser and offers a facility for the parent to the control child’s the time spent with the tablet. Amazon hasn’t listed the battery usage statistics for this tablet.
A Brief Comparison Between Apple iPad Mini and Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9
• Apple iPad Mini is powered by 1GHz Dual Core A5 processor with PowerVR SGX543 GPU and 512MB of RAM while 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 and 1GB of RAM.
• Apple iPad Mini has 7.9 inch IPS capacitive touchscreen featuring a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels at a pixel density of 163ppi while Amazon Kindle Fire HD has 8.9 inch capacitive touchscreen that features a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels at a high pixel density.
• Apple iPad Mini runs on Apple iOS 6 while Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 runs on Android OS.
• Apple iPad Mini has 5MP camera that can capture 1080p HD videos @ 30 fps while Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 only offers a front camera for video conferencing.
With the information available as of now, it is critical that we don’t come in to a precise conclusion. In order to compare and contrast these two products, we need to perform lengthy benchmarking tests especially because we are comparing across platforms. However, until such information is available, we can make several predictions about the two tablets in question. The least priced Apple iPad Mini will cost you around $329 whereas Amazon offers you the pleasure of Kindle Fire HD 8.9 for a mere $299. Looking at the raw specifications, one is obliged to maintain that Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 is superior to that of Apple iPad Mini due to various reasons. It has a better processor, it has a better display panel with a higher resolution and above all, its value for money is really high. Hence that may help you to make up your mind in this holiday season, if that’s not the case, wait for further information about the benchmarking tests.