Monday, August 6, 2012

iPad or Kindle: which one is for you?

With all PC and mobile phone manufacturers taking the leap of faith and releasing tablets every now and then, consumers are loaded with a plethora of choices. There is no denying that there is still no one out there to beat the iPad as a complete tablet that it is. But with this amazing eReader called Kindle from, I would say you should have a relook at your priorities. 

The general question that arises is what do you need? Do you want a complete power packed tablet that does almost everything, runs a whole gamut of apps, takes photos, allow video chat , surf the web and what not and plus its an eReader, then probably you should go for an iPad. But if all you really care for is a decent eBook reading and some web surfing on the go, then you are looking at this nice little device called Kindle which is essentially an eReader at best.

I must make it clear that there is no question on the performance of these two devices, its only about the purpose that they serve. Both are really good at what they promise to do. But your decision should be a well-informed one and only based upon your needs and not upon the fantasy. 

So, here I am going to explore some general criteria that would you make a wise choice by looking at the different aspects of the two devices and see what suits you the best. This would not only help you get the right device, but might also save a considerable amount of money!

The most important factor: Price
The Kindle Fire is Amazon's Android-based Kindle tablet. At $199, it's far less expensive than the iPad, which ranges from $399 for the iPad 2, to $499-$829 for the new iPad 3 (the third generation device). You can also get Kindle devices for as little as $79

But the key is going to be what you do with the device. The machines are substantially different and serve different purposes. That said, if you're very much budget constrained, the Kindle Fire is a nice little machine for $199

The Size do matter
The Kindle Fire is a 7-inch device, while the iPad is nearly 10-inches in size. The iPad is also considerably heavier. Again, it depends on what you want to do with the device. 
I have my Kindle Fire on my night table, and it's my bedroom reader (and, sometimes, I cheat and look something up on the Web with it). The iPad would be uncomfortably large to read in bed. On the other hand, the iPad is great for larger documents and reading PDFs, so if you want to see something in detail, you'll want the iPad. With the new Retina display, the iPad is clearly the better looking of the two devices. 

Each device is tightly tied into an ecosystem of products and services. The iPad is tightly integrated into Apple's App store, and the iTunes ecosystem. The Kindle Fire is tightly tied into the Amazon ecosystem.
I'll be honest: I prefer the Amazon ecosystem far more than Apple's, but that's me. Both my friends and I have Amazon Prime accounts, we buy most of our goods from Amazon, we read Kindle books almost exclusively, and we watch the large library of free Amazon Prime videos. 

If you're a heavy Amazon user, the Kindle Fire is something of a no-brainer. Of course, you can also read all your Kindle books on the iPad or even your iPhone. Smart boys, those Amazon chaps. 

By contrast, I've never liked iTunes and I find the Apple App store cumbersome. But there's no getting over the fact that Apple does have a tremendous presence in the App store game... 

Let the Apps talk!
Let's be clear. Nothing... and I mean nothing touches the assortment of apps available for iPads and iPhones. It's almost insane. Apple claims over 500,000 iPhone and iPad apps. By contrast, the Amazon AppStore has 31,000 apps -- a large selection, but tiny compared to Apple. 

If you want apps, the clear winner is Apple. In addition, the apps available for the iPad are often far more capable and powerful than those you'll find for the Kindle Fire.If apps are your game, the winner is, without a doubt, the iPad. 

Mobile connectivity
The Kindle Fire is a WiFi-only device. That means you need to be connected to a router to browse the Web and download books and apps. Many iPads are also WiFi-only devices, but the new 3rd generation iPad also can be purchased with 4G high-speed wireless connectivity (and the cheaper iPad 2 with 3G).
Interestingly, although the Fire doesn't have any 3G wireless capability, all the older Kindles do -- but only for downloading books you bought from Amazon. 

If you want to browse the Web while at your local coffee shop or in the airport, the winner is clearly the iPad. 

Flash support for websites
This one is simple. The Kindle Fire supports Flash (meaning a lot of Web sites that don't work on the iPad work on the Kindle Fire). If you want to browse a Flash Web site (and this includes a ton of educational sites), the winner is clearly the Kindle Fire. 

Native USB drive mode
There’s much better access to the Kindle Fire as a storage device than Apple provides with the iPad. For example, you can take a USB cable, plug it into the Kindle Fire and then to your PC, and drag-and-drop documents for later reading. 

There are some hacks for this for the iPad, but native USB drive mode is supported, out of the box, for the KindleFire. There is a detail here, though. While the Kindle Fire supports this without fiddling, the device doesn't actually come with a cable that will connect to your computer. Of course, you know where to go if you want to order one, don't you? Click here to order one from

Usage model
We touched on this earlier, but let's make it explicit. The Kindle Fire excels at consuming Amazon content. If you want to consume Amazon content, whether it's Kindle books or Amazon Prime videos, the Kindle Fire is the clear winner. 

On the other hand, if you want to consume or create other content, the choice isn't as clear. You can watch Netflix videos on both, for example. But if you want to see high-quality 1080p video on a vivid display, you'll want to get the iPad 3. 

 Both devices will let you read PDF files quite nicely. I’ve found that the 7-inch form-factor of the Kindle Fire makes it much easier to hold the Kindle Fire in one hand, and fiddle with a switch, knob, menu-panel, or button in the other. It's much harder to do that with the iPad.

So, as you can see, it's up to how you use the device to determine which is a better fit in terms of usage.

Support is always relative, and depends on which company ticked you off last. That said, both Apple and Amazon provide surprisingly good support, at least compared to the norm in tech products. For support, it's a tie. The only major downside is that, unless you've ponied up for AppleCare, you're on your own for support after the free support period ends. As far as I know, Amazon support is ongoing.


  1. Amazon Kindle , Apple pad is very costlier

  2. its iPad any day,, there's no comparison

  3. I do a lot of reading. So, I prefer e-ink technology on Kindle. Tablets are better for internet browsing.