Google Nexus 7 vs Amazon Kindle Fire HD head-to-head review

UPDATED: With identical 7in displays and £159 starting prices, we put these Android-based devices to the test.

Internet

The Nexus ships with the Chrome browser as standard this is one of the best all-round mobile browsers we have tested. Of course you are also free to download other browsers including Firefox, Opera, Maxathon and Dolphin if you wish.

Kindle Fire HD vs Google Nexus 7 - Internet

The Nexus ships with the Chrome browser, whereas Amazon packages its own Silk browser with the Fire HD

Meanwhile, Amazon has developed its own browser, which it dubbed as Silk'. This doesn't work like conventional browsers, instead Silk routes information through Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud, which it claims helps to render pages faster. We didn't find this to be the case, though. We also couldn't find any alternative browsers in the Amazon App Store, which didn't help matters.

Google Nexus 7 vs Amazon Kindle Fire HD - Internet tests

Sunspider measures the JavaScript performance of the browsers and although the results suggest there isn't much difference in speed, in reality we found that the Kindle Fire HD typically took double the time to load webpages over the same Wi-Fi connection.

With Adobe Flash support no longer being included on mobile devices, compatibility with the HTML5 standard is becoming increasingly important too. To test compatibility, we used HTML5.com. This showed that the Chrome browser on the Nexus has the advantage at this time and is likely to hold this lead over Amazon's Silk browser.

Winner - Nexus 7

The Chrome browser is one of the best mobile browsers around in terms of speed, features and HTML5 compatibility. It is also possible to install Adobe Flash on the Nexus device, if you absolutely require it.

Connectivity

The Amazon Kindle Fire has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. There is no 3G available at this time.

In terms of ports, the Fire HD includes native micro USB and micro HDMI connections. This helps it to serve as a multimedia device at home as well as on the move. You can plug the device into a HDTV and stream content directly from LoveFilm when you get home, for example.

Kindle Fire HD vs Google Nexus 7 - Ports

The Kindle Fire HD is better equipped when it comes to sharing content with other HD devices.

In comparison, the Nexus 7 is available with Wi-Fi or 3G. It also boasts Bluetooth and NFC connectivity, but we have yet to find a use for the latter. The only physical port on the Nexus is the micro USB connector.

Winner Kindle Fire HD

The lack of 3G isn't a big miss as you can always tether the device to your smartphone. The native inclusion of a HDMI port allows the Amazon tablet to win this round.

Pricing

Kindle Fire HD vs Google Nexus 7 - Price

Winner - Nexus 7

Pound-for-pound, the Nexus offers better functionality. With Carphone Warehouse now offering the 32GB Wi-Fi Nexus for 179, this makes it cheaper than the equivalent Fire HD as well.

UPDATE: 14/03/2013- Amazon has now made an 8.9in version of the Kindle Fire HD available in the UK, giving users more choice in terms of size. The device packs a 1920 x 1200 resolution display and a pixel density of 254 ppi. Pricing for the Kindle Fire HD 8.9in is 229.

So which tablet wins overall?

Verdict

If you've been keeping score, the winner is not a surprise. The Nexus wins at a canter 8-1. The all-round Android tablet boast excellent performance and provides access to the majority of the Amazon ecosystem as well as the Google Play Store. The smaller dimensions allow it to be carried around in pockets and the screen delivers a crisp text. The Kindle Fire HD is a little bit too restrictive for our liking. The only advantages it has over the Nexus is the fact that has a build-in HDMI port and the ability to viewing content from LoveFilm. With a starting price of £159, both devices are great value for money, but the Nexus is the better pound-for-pound device.

Google Nexus 7 OS: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean Processor: NVIDIA Tegra 3 1.3GHz Storage: 1GB RAM; 16/32GB Screen: 7in (1280 x 800) IPS colour touchscreen LCD Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth, micro USB, 3.5mm headphone socket Other: Accelerometer, Gyroscope, GPS, NFC Camera: 1.2MP front Size: 198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm Weight: 340g Amazon Kindle Fire HD OS: Android customised Processor: T1 1.2GHz dual-core Storage: 1GB RAM; 16/32GB Screen: 7in (1280 x 800) IPS colour touchscreen LCD Connectivity: MIMI 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth, micro USB, micro HDMI 3.5mm headphone socket Other: Ambient light sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope Camera: HD camera Size: 193 mm x 137 mm x 10.3 mm Weight: 395g

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