Kindle Fire vs Nook Tablet the clash of the eBook Titans

The fight is on, Kindle Fire vs Nook Tablet. Two of the biggest eContent providers, and Barnes & Noble release almost at the same time their versions of a Tablet PC.


The fact being that their competition is mainly on the North American continent, Amazon seems to have the upper hand, because the Kindle Fire is eagerly expected to be released all over the world where Amazon does business.

Nevertheless, the broad public is engrossed in this Kindle Fire vs Nook Tablet competition, where the main question will remain one and the same: which of the two is the better choice? 

The inner core

At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference in hardware. Both tablets have the dual-core Texas Instruments OMAP 4 processor running on a 1 GHz tact frequency.

Both tablets have the Android 2.3 operating system, Gingerbread; both are seven inch tablets with a 1024 x 600 resolution at 169 pixels per inch. Both have Wi-Fi, but no Bluetooth connectivity. This is where the similarities end.

The storage capacity of the Amazon Kindle Fire is 8 GB with no expansion possibilities; the Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet (Read our full Nook Tablet review) comes with 16 GB, where via MicroSD up to 32 GB can be added.

In the Kindle Fire vs Nook Tablet comparison the Amazon Fire is equipped with less RAM, as it comes outfitted with 512 MB of RAM, where the Nook tablet has twice as much at 1 GB – which is the current tablet standard.

The integrated batteries also differ; the one built into the Nook is estimated to last over eleven hours of reading time and nine hours of video playback time. In comparison, Amazon gives their estimates at eight hours reading time and seven and a half hours video playback time.

Since most of the energy used is for powering of the touchscreen and Wi-Fi, internet browsing duration would have been the most interesting information, yet this information is unavailable from both manufacturers.

Amazon offers a one year limited warranty, with optional purchase of two year extended warranty available. Barnes & Noble seems to offer only the in-house one year limited warranty. 


Amazon Kindle Fire Silk Browser

The main drawback with both tablets is the blockage of access to the Google Play (previously Android Market). While it is understandable that Amazon and B&N would like the user to spend their money on in-house sold applications and whatnots, it makes both of these tablets highly dependable on all the additional offers the two houses are providing to their customers, which is where the respective successes of these tablets will ultimately lie.

For that very reason, the Kindle Fire vs Nook Tablet comparison will have to take into account what applications and further extensions are being provided for both tablets.

The first point of interest is, of course, the integrated browser. While the Nook tablet comes with a slightly modified standard Android browser, the Amazon Kindle Fire is outfitted with the much touted Amazon Silk browser. It uses the Amazon cloud environment to speed up browsing, the integrated split architecture is supposed to use all the power of Amazon’s servers to speed up the browsing experience.

The main point of concern is exactly there, all the browsing takes place by means of Amazon’s servers, like with some highly controlled proxy server, where the user’s privacy is not only non-existent, but highly likely to be monitored.

Such monitoring can then be (mis)used to provide users with targeted advertising, which is the most docile form of misuse that can be construed. This is besides the fact that the Silk browser is, in fact, much faster. On the other hand, it conveys all your entered passwords to the Amazon servers.

From the view of the simple user, the Amazon Tablet PC the Kindle Firecomes pre-loaded with more software than the Nook Tablet. Frankly speaking, the biggest advantage Amazon has is the Amazon Prime service.

While both services can hook up on Hulu and Netflix, only Fire comes with one month free Amazon Prime, which provides instant streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows, as well as access to the lending library. After the free trial period, Amazon Prime costs $79 per year. Additionally, the access to the Amazon mp3 store is another plus. As the only music store capable of rivaling Apple’s iTunes, Amazon mp3 store offers instant access to millions of songs. 

Kindle Fire vs Nook Tablet application stores

kindle fire vs nook tablet, google play

Frankly speaking, both stores, the Amazon App store and the Barnes & Noble Nook Apps store are not even close to the Google Play and never will be. Barnes & Noble does not even have the popular game Plants vs Zombies, for instance.

On the other hand, with the MicroSD slot, the Nook offers the possibility of “dual-booting” where custom made ROMs can boot any kind of available Android OS without rooting the device and voiding the warranty.

With the higher RAM and storage, you can have a completely different and exciting device simply by booting the other OS, including full access to the Google Play. This is perhaps the biggest plus of the Nook tablet.

Then, there is the Kindle Fire vs Nook Tablet price war. Fifty dollars that the Nook Tablet costs more does not seem to be a huge difference, particularly if you consider the additional RAM and storage, but for that cash you can almost finance a whole year of Amazon Prime and you do not really need any additional storage, being that both services give you unlimited cloud storage for purchased content.

The biggest deal breaker is of course the location limitation that will ultimately squash the perhaps better option in terms of expansion capabilities. Amazon is available almost all over the world; Barnes & Noble is limited to the North American continent, despite the fact that they do deliver merchandise all over the world.

This will surely reflect in overall sales of tablets. It does in terms of revenue, Amazon rakes in seven times more cash than B&N yearly.

kindle fire vs nook tablet pros and cons