Barnes vs Noble Nook HD vs Amazon Kindle Fire HD
Amazon was known for their range of services including retail and media content. Sometime back, they upped their stakes by upgrading their ebook readers to tablets that can handle media contents better. That was how Kindle Fire came in to being. It certainly was a fire for Kindle Fire is known as the only budget tablet that was very successful in the market. Due to their impressive content and cloud storage together with the agreements from the media companies, Amazon was able to give a distinctive impression of Hardware as a Service paradigm with Kindle Fire. Since then till the release of Amazon Kindle Fire HD, they have worked hard to further up their stakes and offer the device as a service. For instance, now they have a complete eco system where they even have action figures to be sold on the favorite games offered by Kindle Fire HD. This advantage is not available for any other budget tablet as of now. Google is catching up fast with their play store, and it’s eminent that their devices would fall in to the same category subsequently, as well. However, Barnes and Noble is also trying to fall in to that paradigm by offering Nook HD for a similar price point with magnificent features. Let us look at what Kindle Fire HD and Nook HD have to offer us.
Barnes & Noble Nook HD Review
Nook HD comes from a lesser known tablet manufacturer who is a giant in selling books. Their strategy is the same as Amazon releasing Kindle Fire HD, and they seem to offer somewhat similar facilities, as well. At the face, Nook HD doesn’t quite look like a normal tablet. It has a bizarre bezel that you might or might not like. It’s there to keep your thumb out of the screen when you’re holding the tablet; however, it just seems heavily out of place. Nook HD is a 7 inch tablet where Barnes and Noble claims to have the highest resolution in any 7 inch tablet. It has 7 inch IPS HD display featuring a resolution of 1440 x 900 pixels at a pixel density of 243ppi. This certainly is a better resolution than that is offered by similar tablets like Amazon Kindle Fire HD or Google Nexus 7. The images look brighter, and the colors were more vibrant with the new display panel which is a significant improvement. This slate also seems to claim for the title of the lightest 7 inch slate in the market scoring a weight of 315g. Then again, with the introduction of Apple iPad Mini, that title was blown away.
Nook HD is powered by 1.3GHz ARM Cortex A9 dual core processor on top of TI OMAP 4470 chipset along with PowerVR SGX544 GPU and 1GB of RAM. It does seem like a decent setup that can make things work for you in the most astringent requirements. Nook HD runs on a heavily customized version of Android OS v4.0 ICS, and an update to v4.1 Jelly Bean is expected to be released soon. Unfortunately, Nook HD doesn’t host a camera, so if you have a requirement on capturing the moments, Nook HD may not be the best choice for you. Nook HD features Wi-Fi b/g/n connectivity that can keep you connected as long as you have a Wi-Fi hotspot to connect. This may be inconvenient at times, but Barnes and Noble doesn’t seem to have plans to release a 3G version any time sooner.
Nook HD fits in your hand perfectly with dimensions of 194.4 x 127.1mm and it’s somewhat on the thick side of the spectrum scoring a thickness of 11mm. However, its light body combined with the grip provided by the soft touch back plate enables you to hold it effortlessly. You won’t be able to have neither Vanilla Android or even near Vanilla Android experience with Nook HD because the UI is heavily modified and your default access would be limited to Barnes and Noble app store instead of Google Play Store.
Amazon Kindle Fire HD Review
Amazon lists that Kindle Fire HD has the most advanced 7 inch display ever. It features a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels in a high definition LCD display that seems to be vibrant. The display panel is IPS, hence offers vivid colors, and with Amazon’s new polarized filter overlay on top of the display panel, you are bound to have wider viewing angles, as well. Amazon has laminated the touch sensor and LCD panel together with a single layer of glass, reducing the effective screen glare. Kindle Fire HD comes with exclusive custom Dolby audio in dual-driver stereo speakers with auto optimization software for crisp balanced audio.
Amazon Kindle Fire HD is powered by 1.2GHz dual core processor on top of TI OMAP 4460 chipset with PowerVR SGX GPU, and we are hoping this sleek slate has 1GB of RAM to support the processor. Amazon claims that this setup gives much faster GPU performance than Nvidia Tegra 3 mounted devices although the CPU is still a dual core in TI OMAP 4460 while it is quad core in Tegra 3. Amazon also boasts of featuring the fastest Wi-Fi device which they claim is 41% faster than new iPad. Kindle Fire HD is renowned as the first tablet featuring dual Wi-Fi antennas with Multiple In / Multiple Out (MIMO) technology enabling enhanced bandwidth capabilities. With the dual band support, your Kindle Fire HD can automatically switch between the less congested band of 2.4GHz and 5GHz. The 7 inch edition doesn’t seem to feature GSM connectivity, which may be problematic if you’re in an area where Wi-Fi networks aren’t coming by frequently. However, with new devices like Novatel Mi-Wi, this can be easily compensated.
Amazon Kindle Fire HD will feature Amazon ‘X-Ray’ feature which was used to be available in ebooks. This would enable you to tap the screen while a movie is playing and get the complete list of actors in the scene and you can further explore those using IMDB records right in your screen. This is a pretty cool and solid feature to implement inside a movie. Amazon has also enhanced the ebook and audio book capabilities by introducing immersive reading, which enables you to read a book and hear the narration of it at the same time. This is available for almost 15000 ebook audiobook couple according to Amazon website. This merged together with Amazon Whispersync for Voice would do wonders if you are a book lover. For instance, if you were reading and went to the kitchen to prepare the dinner, you’ll have to ditch the book for a while, but with Whispersync, your Kindle Fire HD would narrate the book for you while you’re making your dinner and you can come right back to the book after dinner enjoying the flow of story the whole time. Similar experiences are offered by Whispersync for Movies, Books and Games.
Amazon has included a front facing HD camera, which enables you to keep in touch using custom skype application, and Kindle Fire HD offers a deep Facebook integration, as well. The web experience is said to be ultra-fast with the improved Amazon Silk browser that comes with the assurance of 30% reduction in page load times. The storage starts from 16GB for Amazon Kindle Fire HD but, since Amazon offers free unlimited cloud storage for all your Amazon content, you can live with the internal storage. Kindle FreeTime applications offer the parents with a chance to give a personalized experience for their children. It can limit children from using different applications for different durations and supports multiple profiles for multiple kids. We are positive that this is going to be a favorable feature for all the parents out there. Amazon guarantees 11 hours of battery life for Kindle Fire HD which is really great. This version of tablet is offered at $199 which is a great bargain for this killer slate.
A Brief Comparison Between Nook HD and Kindle Fire HD
• Barnes & Noble Nook HD is powered by 1.3GHz Cortex A9 dual core processor on top of TI OMAP 4470 chipset along with PowerVR SGX544 GPU and 1GB of RAM while Amazon Kindle Fire HD is powered by 1.2GHz dual core processor on top of TI OMAP 4460 chipset with PowerVR SGX GPU.
• Nook HD has 7 inch IPS LCD HD capacitive touchscreen featuring a resolution of 1440 x 900 pixels at a pixel density of 243ppi while Kindle Fire HD has 7 inch HD LCD capacitive touchscreen display featuring a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels at a pixel density of 215ppi.
• Nook HD runs on a heavily customized version of Android v4.0 ICS while Kindle Fire HD too runs on Android OS.
• Nook HD doesn’t feature a camera at all while Kindle Fire HD features a HD camera in the front for video conferencing.
• Nook HD is smaller, thicker but lighter (194.4 x 127.1 mm / 11 mm / 315g) than Kindle Fire HD (193 x 137.2mm / 10.1mm / 394g).
This conclusion depicts an underlying conflict between content prioritized hardware devices. Amazon Kindle Fire HD definitely fit in to the model of Hardware as a service while B & N Nook HD is at the border of the same paradigm. Amazon has a wide eco system that enables them to offer Kindle Fire HD as a service or supplementary device to consume their services. However, B & N doesn’t have that strong eco system as Amazon does. Because of this reason, even though they do try to indicate Nook HD as a supplementary device, the distinction blurs at the border line in comparison to Kindle Fire HD. In short, if you have already invested in Amazon services and is a fan of what they provide in a Kindle, your choice is relatively easy. However, if you don’t have any subscription just yet, B & N Nook HD may serve your purpose, as well. At the hardware level, both would offer similar performances while Nook HD may show slightly higher matrices. The resolution offered in Nook HD is certainly the highest in the market, and it is rather light compared to the beefy weight of Kindle Fire HD. On the contrary, the content and the services provided by Kindle Fire HD are rather beefy while that of Nook HD is very thin. So consider those factors well before you zero in on a tablet for both of these are hanging at the same price point.