As a retail giant, Amazon is more interested in selling content than it is in selling hardware. With that in mind, it’s not too surprising that the new 7-inch and 8.9-inch Amazon Kindle Fire HDX tablets are more cost-effective and are designed for enjoying media easily over extra features and functionality. That doesn’t mean that the tablets are lacking, however, with one of the highest-resolution screens available. There are also modes like Second Screen for wirelessly mirroring content on compatible television screens (a wired output isn’t included) and X-Ray, which will unlock bonus content for a richer media experience while enjoying films, games, literature or music. Media is stored in the Amazon cloud for free, and content must be purchased through Amazon’s online storefront or the Fire app store, which is much more limited in comparison to Apple’s well-moderated App Store experience and Google Play’s verbose selection of apps and games.
Amazon also sells the less expensive 7-inch and 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD tablets with reliable performance and long battery life of up to 10 hours; however, 4G compatibility and a single front-facing camera are offered only in the 8.9-inch model.
|7-inch Kindle Fire HDX & 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HDX
Resolution: 1920×1200, 323 ppi (7-inch); 2560×1600, 339 ppi (8.9-inch)
Dimensions: 7.5×5.0x0.42 inches (7-inch); 9.1×6.2×0.31 inches (8.9-inch)
Weight: 0.67 pounds/0.69 pounds (7-inch Wi-Fi/4G); 0.82 pounds/0.84 pounds (8.9-inch Wi-Fi/4G)
Battery Life: 11 hours standard usage (7-inch); 12 hours standard usage (8.9-inch)
Camera: 720p front (both); 1080p 8 MP rear (8.9-inch)
Available Models: 16 GB, 32 GB or 64 GB in Wi-Fi or 4G LTE
List Price: Begins at $229 (7-inch); begins at $379 (8.9-inch)
Carriers: AT&T, Verizon (8.9-inch AT&T only)
Apple products come at a premium, and each of the iPad lines is more expensive than comparable models from other manufacturers by $50 to $100 or more. What you gain is the incredible iOS operating system and heavily curated apps that are very reliable. The tablets also integrate flawlessly with Apple computers and iPhones, including iCloud access for a free 5 GB of storage with upgrades available. Apple tablets also include iPhoto for iOS, which will provide you with RAW photo sharing and viewing, as well as mobile editing capabilities on a JPEG version of your RAW file. (RAW files require an optional app to be viewed on Android tablets.)
This year is seeing the historic iPad line expand into the brand-new and extremely thin 9.7-inch iPad Air, which is incredibly light for a full-sized tablet, at only a single pound in weight. There are 14 bands of LTE access in the Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad Air for accessing the Internet or iCloud without a Wi-Fi signal, and the tablet also features a very high-resolution Retina display. Like the iPad Air, the new iPad mini also sports a Retina display alongside a brand-new A7 processing chip and M7 coprocessor for blazing operational speeds and no slowdown during game play. In fact, except for the size, the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display are almost exactly the same device at only $100 difference in price. At the same price point, the 9.7-inch iPad 2 is also available with less powerful specs and only 16 GB of storage.
|9.7-inch iPad Air
Resolution: 2048×1536, 264 ppi
Dimensions: 9.4×6.6×0.29 inches
Weight: 1 pound (Wi-Fi); 1.05 pounds (Wi-Fi + Cellular)
Battery Life: 10 hours standard usage; 9 hours on cellular data network
Camera: FaceTime HD camera, 720p/1.2 MP, iSight camera, 1080p/5 MP
Available Models: 16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB or 128 GB in Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + Cellular
List Price: Begins at $499
Carriers: AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile
7.9-inch iPad mini + iPad mini with Retina display
9.7-inch iPad 2