Sep 28, 2011

Which is better: an iPad for $500 or the Kindle Fire for $200?

If the iPad costs more than double the price of the Kindle, why should I consider it instead of the Kindle Fire?

Hi bralphye,

It all depends on your needs. If you are a user of Amazon's ecosystem (books, movies, tv shows, etc.) then the Kindle Fire could work very well. The Kindle Fire is mostly a cloud based device though, it doesn't have much internal storage (8GB). So if you aren't going to use Amazon's cloud services then some other tablet might fit the bill better.

As far as the iPad goes, it's a great device. But it also leans on Apple's ecosystem. So you must decide if you are comfortable with that or not. I have an iPad 1 and I use it a lot. It works well for web browsing, running apps, etc.

I also own a Kindle 3 though, and I use that for most of my ebook reading.

So I'd spend some time defining what you will use a tablet for, before you actually buy any of these devices.

it depends on what you want to use it for.  the Fire is specialized as a media consumption device - which makes perfect sense give who is selling it.  you'd buy the iPad instead if you want everyone to know how cool you are ;)


for consuming media, there's no question that the Apple extras (prestige, cameras, weight, size) are not advantages.  if you want a fairly portable, all-in-one device that can do consumption _and_ creation/communication, the iPad may make sense.  however, it's hardly ideal for any of those uses, so if you're heavily into movie-making, for instance, you'd be better off with other options.  phones are pretty close to ideal for social media.  even heavy web-browsing is best on a screen with a lot more pixels, not to mention cpu/storage/memory.


The Kindle Fire is no iPad-killer. I'm sure it will sell well as a stocking-stuffer, but being limited to 8gb storage means you can take more media with you on an iPhone or Android phone for that matter. And not having 3G means it will only work in your home, not in faraway places without wifi - well it will work, but you won't have access to downloading new content which you may need to do because 8gb is pretty paltry in this day and age of $25 16gb USB memory sticks.


There are a lot of limitations to the Kindle Fire. I'm sure they'll sell a lot of them, but initially they are missing a bunch of features that you get in an iPad: no mic, no video camera, no support for ePub documents, no email or calendar support. So if you are thinking about using a tablet as a lightweight way for getting some work done while you're traveling, or for Skyping/Facetiming to your family and friends, it's the only game in town.


It's possible that the software issues can be rectified by Christmas, but since the Fire isn't available until November, Apple has a month to address the $300 price difference between the lowest-end iPad and the Kindle Fire. Since the Fire is being subsidized by Amazon purchases and the iPad is not being subsidized by iTunes Store purchases, it's possible that Apple might have a little bit of give in their pricing structure heading into the Christmas season. But if I had to buy a tablet today, I would buy an iPad because I prefer the larger screen size and it's the only one you can actually walk into a store and buy. And since there's so many  more apps for the iPad, it just feels like a more mature experience than any Android tablet I've seen so far.

Answer this