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Nook Tablet vs Kindle Fire: two equally solid and elegant tablets

In a tablet world clearly dominated by Apple’s great iPad 2, it would be good news to have one gadget capable of significantly changing things and gaining popularity. But when you have no less than two gadgets like this, it’s a pleasure to debate and to try to guess exactly what impact they will have on the regular technology enthusiast.

The two are the Amazon Kindle Fire, unveiled a while back and set to start shipping on November 15, and the Nook Tablet, announced yesterday and expected to hit the market as soon as November 18.

Both these slates look pretty good on paper right now, coming with decent hardware and software and great price tags, which is why we are going to take the two and compare them head to head in order to find out which one should be iPad 2’s main threat.

Design and build

As we mentioned yesterday, immediately after Nook Tablet’s unveiling, neither of the two 7-inch tablets is very original in terms of design and overall look. The Nook Tablet looks almost identical to the Nook Color, while the Fire has the Blackberry Playbook’s body, lines and curves.

The Kindle Fire (on the left) and the Nook Tablet (right)

The Kindle Fire (on the left) and the Nook Tablet (right)

However, leaving originality aside, we can’t say that these two tablets aren’t elegant or reliable-looking, as well as thin, slim and portable. The differences in dimensions and weight are practically invisible, with the Fire weighing 0.5 ounces more and the Nook measuring 0.03 inches more in depth, but all in all we could say that Amazon’s tablet is more fashionable and stylish, while the Nook is sturdier and easier to hold.

Screen, hardware and performance

The Kindle Fire sports a 7-inch multi-touch display with IPS technology and anti-reflective treatment, while the Nook Tablet comes with a 7-inch VividView Color IPS Touchscreen. The resolution is the same 1024 x 600 pixels all around and it’s pretty difficult to set the two screens apart right now, both promising to provide crisp colors, as well as high levels of brightness and contrast.

In terms of hardware, the Nook Tablet is slightly better, being powered by a 1 GHz TI OMAP dual-core processor and featuring 1 GB of RAM. The Fire features a 1 GHz dual-core chipset as well, but only comes with 512 MB of memory and should therefore be inferior in terms of gaming performance, as well as web browsing and playing multimedia content.

The Nook Tablet is a bit better in terms of hardware, but the Kindle Fire is cheaper and offers access to more apps.

The Nook Tablet is a bit better in terms of hardware, but the Kindle Fire is cheaper and offers access to more apps.

The Nook Tablet also comes with more internal memory (16 GB-8 GB), but the Kindle Fire offers unlimited free cloud storage as well and should thus be pretty satisfying too.

Software, battery life and others

The software battle will surely be the most interesting of them all, with both tablets running Android in theory. However, the Nook Tablet, as well as the Kindle Fire, come with several interface changes and tweaks and what you will get is basically two very different operating systems and two highly original and also unusual UIs.

Both these slates come with loads of built-in apps, as well as access to their own app stores, but all in all the Fire should provide more content than its opponent, with more diverse video games among others. The Fire should also have the more intuitive and easy to master interface, but on the other hand the Nook Tablet comes integrated with Netflix and should therefore be the better and easier to use gadget for streaming media.

The Nook Tablet vs Kindle Fire clash is set to be extremely ''heated''.

The Nook Tablet vs Kindle Fire clash is set to be extremely ''heated''.

As far as the battery life goes, the Nook Tablet should come on top, with estimated autonomies of 11 and a half hours for reading and nine hours for playing video content. The Fire is believed to only go for up to eight hours based on average use. However, all these numbers are only estimates and come directly from the manufacturers, meaning that in reality things could be much different.

Other features include Wireless connectivity and USB support at both devices, as well as no cameras all-around. The Nook Tablet, however, also comes with a microSD card slot, as well as a built-in microphone, features that are nowhere to be found at the Kindle Fire.

Pricing and availability

The Kindle Fire, as you probably all know already, will go up for sale starting November 15 and will only cost 199 dollars, being by far the cheapest slate right now. The Nook Tablet will start shipping just days after Amazon’s 7-incher (November 18) and will cost 249 bucks, which is 20 percent more than Fire’s price tag, but is on-par with the superior hardware specifications.

Before seeing the two tablets in action, we're going to call this battle a draw.

Before seeing the two tablets in action, we're going to call this battle a draw.


Very similar in most areas, but also featuring a couple of differences, the Nook Tablet and Kindle Fire should both become very popular soon enough. The emphasis is however on ‘’should’’, because all in all neither of the two gadgets has been thoroughly tested or seen in action for more than a couple of minutes.

And before we will see exactly what they can do in reality and how the hardware and software gaps will translate into clear-cut performance, we are only going to say this… Both these 7-inchers have the potential of becoming best-sellers and could become contenders at least for the number two spot on today’s tablet market!

About the Author
Adrian is an editor for several websites, trying to combine his passions for sports, politics and technology. He’s a Foreign Languages graduate, specializing in Japanese and Portuguese, but loves most the language of Shakespeare, Jon Bon Jovi and Steven Gerrard. Adrian is also a social media fanatic, spending most of his free time blogging and tweeting.

Last updated: November 10, 2011 | Published: November 10th, 2011
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