Is Fire Tablet Better Than iPad?

Each has distinct advantages.

By Kevin RR Williams

TECHNOLOGY With the world of digital books, portable entertainment, and hundreds of thousands of productivity apps available, you may be ready to purchase a digital tablet. Even if you already have one, with the best of care, technology eventually becomes obsolete. Four years is a long time for a digital tablet. Your new device might be an adjunct to a smaller smartphone. Either way, you will need to weigh the price vs. performance equation.

Unfair Comparison?

With the first release in 2010, iPad is the senior tablet. Longevity has allowed Apple many opportunities to refine the user experience. Other manufacturers now use the Android operating system as basis for their own tablet competitors. Think of Android as the anatomical skeleton onto which hardware manufacturers connect sinews, muscles, skin, and personality. A very attractive interface may be missing the might to realize intentions. Conversely, adequate power may offer a disjointed user experience.

A popular complaint about Apple products is that they are too expensive. To be fair, there are competing brands that cost just as much. But there are also many brands that cost far less. One of the cheap alternatives is the Amazon Fire tablet. There are Fire variations with different colors, faster processors, more internal storage, and better screen resolutions. Optimum selections in each of these categories narrow the price gap between the Fire and iPad.

The $50 Wi-Fi-only Amazon Fire tablet is typically considered an entry-level machine. Yet, many people choose an iPad for their first tablet because of its perceived simplicity. The two purchases represent opposing mindsets: spend as little as possible or pay extra for the best user experience. So rather than comparing comparable hardware, this article reveals advantages at each end of the spectrum.

Compare iPad to Fire Tablet
Product Apple iPad Amazon Fire 7
Dimensions 7.9 to 12.9 in glass display
240 x 169.5 x 7.5 mm (9.4 x 6.6 x 0.29 in)
7 in plastic display
191 x 115 x 10.6 mm (7.52 x 4.53 x 0.42 in)
Storage Capacity 32GB to 256GB (depending upon model selcted) 8 to 16GB internal (expandible microSD)
Wireless Dual band Wi-Fi (2.4GHz, 5GHz), optional cellular (UMTS,HSPA+, CDMA, LTE), Bluetooth 4.2 Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Blutooth 4 (A2DP, LE)
Processor 64-bit A9 chip (A9X Pro, A8 mini) Quad-core 1.3 GHz
Memory 2GB RAM (4GB Pro, 1GB mini) 1GB RAM
Operating System iOS 10 Android OS
Camera 8 mp to 12 mp 2 mp
Digital Assistant Siri Alexa
Applications Apple productivity, App Store Amazon productivity, Amazon marketplace
Colors Silver, Gold, Space Gray Black, Red, Blue, Yellow
Base Price From $329 From $50
Fire tablets are available in various configurations, topping out with Fire 8 with kid-proof case with a base price of $130

Amazon Fire Tablet Choices

The Fire 7 is lightweight with all plastic outer construction making it feel like the cheap tablet it is. Display aspect ratio distorts images. The device appears to suffer from instability—perhaps due to poor memory management. In my experience with three Fire tablets, applications periodically quit the device restarts. Several times it was necessary to restore the system from a backup on Amazon servers.

Fire tablet is a loss leader for generating revenue from other Amazon sales.

Many Features in a Small Package: The Fire tablet has many features for half a C-note. Of course it is all plastic — no glass with oleophobic coating; no aluminum; no standard aspect ratio to prevent distortion. For simplicity, For simplicity, Amazon pre-configures the tablet with your account information (unless you specify otherwise during checkout) so you can order Amazon products. A device-specific email account is also assigned. Adding other email accounts can be easier than on the iPad. (Apple prefers iCloud accounts and can get unpredictable with some third-party accounts.) Fire tablets include Alexa support at the tap of the home button. These features make ordering movies from Amazon easier than doing so on the iPad because, well, you can’t on the latter. You must order movies from iTunes on the iPad or first purchase them from Amazon on a desktop computer so they are accessible on the iPad. (Amazon Prime users can watch an assortment of free movies within the special app.) Read more ▿

Choosing an iPad Model

With its luxurious aluminum, microbial-coated glass composition and Touch ID supporting Apple Pay, iPad feels sturdy. The display shows crisp detail with no aspect ratio distortion.

For most people it is just a matter of picking which color 128GB iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular.

A high number of model iPad SKUs options is confusing. Apple has tried to simplify them into mini and pro lines on either end of the standard iPad. (Previously there were iPad mini, iPad mini Retina, iPad Air, iPad, and iPad Pro tablets.) The ginormous 12.9-inch iPad Pro has the fastest processor, the most speakers and 4GB RAM. The 9.7-inch screen comes in standard and Pro varieties. Apple Pencil is only supported by either of the two iPad Pro models (3rd-party drawing styluses abound).
Read more ▿

Hidden Tablet Costs

No matter the brand of tablet you purchase, there are some hidden costs. Consider insurance and extended warranty options. SquareTrade protects your investment against accidental drops and theft. This can add $70 to $99 to your take-home price. Beyond the 30-day window, your best option is to purchase AppleCare unless your homeowner’s policy or credit card offers similar coverage.
Read more ▿

The final hidden cost is the price of purchasing the wrong device before purchasing the right one. Hopefully this information will help you make a wise first decision.

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Tags: computer technology