Kindle Fire HD vs Nexus 7 (Part 2)

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The Nexus 7 runs Vanilla Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, offering users a stripped back Android experience, while also giving 99 per cent of users their first taste of the latest update. With it being a Google tablet, Nexus 7 users will also benefit from having the chance to test the newest OS updates as soon as they’re made available. All the familiar Android features are present, as well as all the Google apps that come as standard. If you previously have a Google account, syncing it with your Nexus 7 is a breeze, and you'll soon have access to all your emails and other data.

The Amazon Kindle Fire HD is powered by Android 4.0, but presents a heavily skinned user interface. The skin used helps tie In the various sections of the Amazon ecosystem together, in a colourful, but sometimes clumsy experience. You have to look pretty hard to find any familiar traces of Android - the notifications pane is about the only one as the whole of the rest of the UI has undergone a complete transformation. The Fire HD has been well and truly de-Googled. In place of the normal Android apps are a few that Amazon has selected Including Quickoffice and IMDb.

Amazon confirms Kindle Fire HD models use Android 4.0 under the hood

Amazon confirms Kindle Fire HD models use Android 4.0 under the hood

The home screen consists largely of oversized icons for your most recently used apps or content - you can’t even place your apps there, these have been relegated to their own section within the Ul.

Pretty much the only area of user customisation is in the appearance of a favourites bar that pops up at the bottom of the screen. The shortcut icon for this is also present, and is one of the better ideas from within Amazon’s overhaul.

There are plenty of not so good ideas, as like the Kindle eBook readers, the device is not quite as easy to use as Amazon might like to think, and Is often confused and Inconsistent.

Verdict: Software

Kindle Fire HD

·         Highly customised Ul is hard to use

·         Geared to sell Amazon content

·         Displays ads on the lockscreen

Nexus 7

·         Latest Android OS installed

·         Receives regular updates

·         Highly flexible and customizable

Google services

The Nexus 7 is a Google product and is built entirely around Google services


You can fully customise the layout of your home screens


Within each category on the device is an option to go to the store. This is a device very much built around buying stuff

Favourites bar

You can move your favourite apps to this favourites bar. It’s a useful feature, but replaces an option for full multitasking

Full multitasking

The task switching button enables you to see which apps you’ve recently used and which are running. It's an important feature for the power user

The ecosystem

Both tablets are part of a hugely impressive ecosystem, but for different reasons. The Nexus 7’s strength is in its app store, with Google Play offering more than 600,000 apps on just about every topic you can think of compared to around the 50,000 in Amazon’s curated Appstore. Where the Kindle Fire HD shines is in Its media content with an unrivalled store containing millions of books, movies and music tracks. Google’s alternative is much weaker, and not all parts of the Play store, such as Music, are even available outside of the US. The Kindle Fire HD also has unlimited cloud storage.

Test 4: Media and browser

Another major difference in the ecosystem of these devices is in terms of their respective app stores. The Play Store has over 600,000 apps available for download and covers a variety of categories. If you compare this to the meagre 50,000 apps available from the Amazon Appstore (which doesn’t have the Play store, although it is possible to install It if you root the device) then there can only be one winner in this section. However, we do like the App of the Day promotion in which Amazon give away one paid app for free every day. Where the Fire HD does peg back the Nexus 7 a little is with Its Kindle technology.Reading is an absolute dream on Amazon’s tablet, and although the selection of apps is limited, the choice of books to read is unmatched.

Both tablets offer a brilliant selection of media

Both tablets offer a brilliant selection of media

One of the nicer touches we found within the Fire HD, is its aptly named Silk Browser. The browser itself runs through Amazon's very own servers, allowing for increased speeds.

Although there weren’t staggering differences between this and the Chrome browser that comes pre-installed with the Nexus 7, It certainly is noticeable. However, having the freedom to implement a new browser from the Play store is a massive bonus for Nexus 7 owners.

To go with your speedy browser, you’re going to want a Wi-Fi connection that can match it. Amazon has made a big deal about the dual antennas it includes, which help improve the overall speed when browsing, as well as the rendering and downloading of Images and videos.

Where the Fire HD does get one up over its Google rival is with how it handles media. As previously mentioned, the addition of a micro HDMI on the Fire HD allows for external streaming of media content. Amazon’s ecosystem also comes into force here, with a massive library of the latest films at your disposal, while the integrated Amazon cloud player is a great place to listen to your music without wasting up the internal storage. Due to the fact that you have access to the entire Amazon ecosystem with just one account, it’s easy to access your media, be it on your Fire HD or desktop computer. Google has yet to match the fluidity and scope that Amazon covers. Prices for rentals also seem to be a lot higher on the Play store.

Verdict: Media and browser

Kindle Fire HD

·         Fast and functional browser

·         Unrivalled media store

·         App support more limited

Nexus 7

·         Excellent Chrome browser

·         Play store limited for media content

·         Limited tablet-optimised apps

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