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Kindle Fire or iPad 2?

The Amazon Kindle tablet has arrived, and the big question is, Kindle Fire or iPad 2, which one is right for you? Keep reading for more on how to tell which tablet you should buy or add to your wishlist this holiday.

Price

Obviously the price is an important factor, and might immediately rule out the iPad 2. Even at $449 refurbished, the iPad 2 is the priciest tablet. For some users, the price is worth it. If you are looking for a cheaper tablet, the Kindle Fire Tablet offers good choices and delivers a much better experience than the $99 Android tablets sold at some stores.

Technical specifications

The technical specifications of the Amazon Kindle tablet are: 7-inch touch screen display, exterior look like Blackberry Playbook, 8GB of internal storage, single core CPU processor, Wi-Fi equipped, micro-USB port, dual speakers, and it runs custom forked build of Android OS, uses WebKit based web browser, with Cover Flow-like user interface to flip through content. It has a Dock for apps and favorite items, and has been integrated with Amazon Store, Kindle books, music from Amazon Cloud Player, default Google Search, video streaming, Amazon’s Android Appstore, free Amazon Prime account and 10 hours or more of battery life.

But Apple’s iPad 2 has high end specifications like 9.7-inch screen, dual-core processor, iTunes Store, App Store, MobileMe, iBookstore, Safari, Game Center, Photo Booth and 10 hours of battery life. This means you’ll have some lines around your movies like you would on an older TV.

All of these devices offer a good experience, and none will be particularly great outdoors, so you should consider the actual size here. If you want to watch a lot of media or have a bigger screen for apps, the iPad wins out.

Features

The Kindle Fire is definitely scaled back from the iPad 2 in several ways.

The Fire doesn’t have a camera. For shutterbugs, that might not be such a big deal, as many folks find it easier to shoot photos on smartphones than tablets anyway. But it also means apps like Apple’s video chat service, FaceTime, won’t be replicated on Amazon’s offering.

The Fire also doesn’t have a microphone, so voice recording and Skype-style chat are out.

And the Fire is Wi-Fi-only, which means users will be able to surf the Web and download content (like books from Amazon) only when they have a connection. The iPad also comes in 3G models, albeit at a higher price. (The 3G version of the low-end 16GB iPad 2 jumps to $629, not including the monthly data plan).

Apps

If Apps are a big reason for getting a tablet over a traditional eReader, you should take a look at the apps available for each device. You can do this without actually owning the tablet following the links below.

Apple has the largest selection of apps, and arguably the best games selection right now. This could change as developers get to take advantage of the faster processors in the Kindle Fire. I caution you against purchasing a tablet based on a promised feature or the possibility of a better experience down the road.

You can compare app availability by searching the following locations

  • Install iTunes to search iPad apps on your Windows or Mac.
  • Search the Amazon App Store to see apps for the Kindle Fire.

If you are having trouble finding apps that you want, you may want to wait for them to arrive before buying a tablet.

Multimedia

Movies and TV: If you want to use your tablet to buy and stream movies and TV shows, the iPad is a clear winner. You get access to the iTunes movie and TV show library, apps like Hulu Plus, Netflix and Others. The Kindle Fire Tablet aren’t without their media though.

The Kindle Fire offers up access to 10,000 streaming movies and TV shows free with Amazon Prime (a $79 a year subscription). There are also over 100,000 movies and TV shows available to purchase for playback on your device, though the limited on boardstorage could cramp those who like to take a large library of movies and TV shows with them. You will also have access to Netflix.

Books: If you love to read, you should be covered on every device. The iPad allows you to purchase books from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks. And the Kindle Fire offers access to Amazon’s huge library. If you like obscure books, check out the book availability at Amazon, in iTunes and on Barnes and Noble. If you subscribe to Amazon Prime, you can borrow a free book form Amazon, from a limited library of 5,000.

So, Kindle Fire or iPad 2, Which Tablet Should I Buy?

Reader – Kindle Fire: For the voracious reader, the Kindle Fire tablet may be the best bet. The small size and light weight make it easier to hold for extended periods.App Lover

Media Junkie – iPad: The larger screen on the iPad makes it a tempting choice, plus you get access to the largest number of media apps for TV shows, movies and more. If you are on a budget, the competition offers the major players.

Productivity Focused – iPad: If you want to get work done on your tablet, the iPad is your top pick. You get a larger screen, productivity themed accessories( like Bluetooth keyboards), and many productivity apps and services.

Parent – iPad: Parents who want to share a tablet with their child will want to consider the availability of kids apps and kids books. The iPad has a large number of kids apps and digital storybooks. The Kindle Fire should eventually get these apps, according to developers, but we’re still waiting.