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Old 11-16-2011, 07:09 PM   #1
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Kindle Fire vs. Nook Tablet: A Direct Comparison

Had a chance to play with a Nook Tablet today and make some direct comparisons to the Kindle Fire. I have to say overall the hardware has a better look and feel on the Nook Tablet than the Kindle Fire - it was more comfortable in my (admittedly large) hand, mostly because the bezel is a little larger and the overall unit is a bit bigger. The Nook Tablet is ever-so-slightly lighter as well. It doesn't have that same dense feel that the Fire has, though some actually prefer that as indicative of quality. The build on the Nook Tablet seemed good, and the design (love it or hate it) is more distinctive. The finish - sort of a champagne or titanium look, was actually quite nice.

I found the interface quite speedy, though it wasn't without its flaws. There were some lags and some glitches, but I think it's pretty much a draw with the Kindle Fire on that front. The browser was quick but pretty basic, not much better or worse than the Fire. I think the Fire's promise of faster browsing isn't quite delivered yet - maybe it's hype or maybe the Amazon servers are "learning" and getting better. Either way, browsing is a wash.

Overall the experience of the Nook Tablet felt a lot more "locked in" than the Fire. The Amazon App Store experience is a lot better than the same feature on the Nook Tablet, both because of the number of apps just the way the shopping is presented. The Fire wins as well for the cloud feature - it's really nice to be able to see what you have bought or tried but perhaps don't have on your device at the moment.

As for music and videos, the Fire's the clear winner. Amazon nailed the video store/Prime Video experience almost perfectly. The Nook Tablet has apps for Hulu and Netflix, but you don't get the same sense that you could just suddenly decide to watch a good movie or TV show, or download music that you know you'll like. And knowing that Amazon has that recommendation-engine working overtime in the cloud makes me a lot more confident that Amazon will recommend good music, videos, and apps.

So I guess the conclusion is about the same as what I expected; if you're looking to root a device, the Nook Tablet is probably the one to buy. If you're looking for a more straight-forward way to consume entertainment and occasionally do some browsing, email or play some games (and maybe do a little work too) the Fire is the better device, provided you're willing to limit yourself to just 5GB of accessible storage.

One More Thing: I forgot about the buttons. The Nook Tablet has four buttons - one power button on the upper left side, two volume buttons on the upper right side, and the "home" button in the lower front part of the screen. I found the hardware buttons on the nook to be well positioned to minimize accidental touches, and also found them to have a good click-feel - not too hard, not too soft. The Home button, shaped like a lower case n, I found to be harder to press and unresponsive - the shape makes it too clever by half, I think. Anyway, those who like buttons (or need them for an easy Android ICS swap) should find the buttons one more reason to get the nook.

Last edited by weatherman; 11-16-2011 at 08:41 PM.
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Old 11-16-2011, 07:13 PM   #2
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Good stuff! Thank you. Some of us who own(ed) a NOOKcolor knew what we were giving up by foregoing the NOOK Tablet and getting the Fire with no intention of rooting. The sideloading of apps was pure speculation, which surprisingly turned out to be true. I still can't believe Amazon left that switch there to be turned on. I don't have a problem giving them more of my money. I'm happy with all they provide.

Last edited by SCION; 11-16-2011 at 07:16 PM.
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Old 11-16-2011, 07:45 PM   #3
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So I guess the conclusion is about the same as what I expected; if you're looking to root a device, the Nook Tablet is probably the one to buy.
Yep; exactly what I plan on doing.
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Old 11-16-2011, 07:48 PM   #4
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The sideloading of apps was pure speculation, which surprisingly turned out to be true. I still can't believe Amazon left that switch there to be turned on.
If only they left access to the switch that allows mSD card slots to be sideloaded.
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Old 11-16-2011, 07:55 PM   #5
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If only they left access to the switch that allows mSD card slots to be sideloaded.
I'm glad they didn't. I want Barnes and Noble to stick around for awhile. We don't need another Borders.
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Old 11-17-2011, 07:00 AM   #6
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I'm glad they didn't. I want Barnes and Noble to stick around for awhile. We don't need another Borders.
Yeah, we've got enough border problems.
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Old 11-17-2011, 09:18 AM   #7
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Someone asked me about the nook vs fire yesterday, because I got the fire. I told her to check both out and see what she prefers, go to Best Buy and try them out. I chose the fire because I like the amazon ecosystem and I have decided that I like buying books from amazon, as well as music, etc. I bought a few ebooks from B&N before and just didn't like the experience. So I agree with a lot of the OP's comments. I think it comes down to who you want to invest in long term and what you want as far as content.

Maybe for the nook, but I don't see a reason to root the Fire. I like the UI and the functions. LOL... Call me crazy.
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Old 11-17-2011, 09:39 AM   #8
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Kindle app on a Nook Tablet solves the long term investment problem. Download books from both.
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Old 11-17-2011, 10:00 AM   #9
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I think youre wise to point that out, but rooting isn't for everyone. Also, as far as I know the new nook tablet hasn't been rooted yet and there's no ICS build for it, so basically if you buy one you're stuck with the B&N system for at least a little while.

I'm definitely keeping an eye on the headlines though for ICS on nook tablet, and I might pick one up when that happens.
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Old 11-17-2011, 10:08 AM   #10
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I think youre wise to point that out, but rooting isn't for everyone.
You don't need to root the Tablet to get 3rd party apps on it.

Nook Tablet Can Install 3rd Party Apps Without Hack

How to get Kindle, Aldiko, etc. to run on Nook tablet - No hack required
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Old 11-17-2011, 10:28 AM   #11
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Good to know!
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Old 11-17-2011, 10:50 AM   #12
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Hope this door remains open for those who don't want to root.
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Old 11-17-2011, 11:17 AM   #13
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Kindle app on a Nook Tablet solves the long term investment problem. Download books from both.
I never liked the nook buying experience. I like having everything all in one place, well for the most part.
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Old 11-17-2011, 11:24 AM   #14
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How about screen quality?

Reading experience in the native app (eg, reading Kindle books on Kindle Fire, reading B&N books on the nook tablet)?

Default fonts and settings like margin and line height?

Customization of fonts and settings?

Thanks,
eP
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Old 11-17-2011, 11:24 AM   #15
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I never liked the nook buying experience. I like having everything all in one place, well for the most part.
Ditto me.

I've purchased from BN a few times, but I just prefer the experience/ease of Amazon's storefront and having my stuff in one place.

(Plus, I buy so much stuff from AMZ, I really should purchase stock at this point. )
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