I’ve had a Kindle Fire since they came up – and I just got an iPad 3. Here is my opinion of the two…
When the Kindle Fire came out, I read the reviews and ultimately got one. That seemed to be a game changer. A really feature-packed 7” tablet, for only $199 – how could you go wrong. Then, I got it.
I realized that this thing was way better than I anticipated! Not only is it great as an e-reader, it’s great for games, and just about all of my regular apps were available on it. In fact, in my last month or so before I moved, I watched a TON of streaming NetFlix on the Kindle Fire too. Assuming you have some sort of case/cover that allows you to prop it up, it’s fantastic for that too – plus it has a long battery life.
- Great price!
- Tons of great apps available.
- Great as an e-Reader
- Great battery life
- Does a great job
- No camera
- No significant audio or video features (like Garageband or iMovie)
- Not equipped to play graphically-intense games
- Is thicker than iPad
- Feels heavier
Apple iPad 3:
I saw review after review about this and it seemed pretty appealing. I am generally anti-Apple for a few reasons. However, this tablet looked pretty good, the price wasn’t horrible, and I thought it was time that I actually check one out. I was forwarded an article about the future of mobile and HTML5 and iPad is such a major factor, that I looked at this more as an investment in my professional development.
I’ve had the iPad for about a week now. First, I will say that Apple has REALLY got this thing dialed in. I am very impressed at how well everything works and how beautiful everything looks. In fact, this first made me think that iOS and WP7 have the same sort of “feel” to them, leaving Android and it’s unresponsive and stammering touchscreen by the wayside!
There are tons of apps available, obviously, including some really great ones like Magic Piano, Garageband, iMovie, etc. The latter are two very powerful applications that work extremely well!
The big downside for me was this – I write programs for myself all the time. I can’t tell you how many times I would think of an idea of something to write and then immediately think “Oh, but this is iOS”. We all know that programming for iOS is just a brutal trainwreck. There seems to be like maybe 100 people on the planet that do it, and they get paid crazy amounts of money. There is a secondary tier of people who have tried and stopped out of frustration, and/or stopped because they couldn’t jump through all the hoops to get the app into the App Store.
So – the device is great, because what good is that when there is such a bad story for the development environment? This thought then brings me to Windows 8 and all the great things that are being said about that. If Windows 8 is ANYTHING like iOS and if it runs on some thing, sleek hardware – then Windows 8 WILL be the game-changer for iPad. From a development perspective, iOS developers are such an exclusive, limited club. But Windows 8? You automatically have an army of millions of .NET developers around the planet that can start writing apps for it today.
In my opinion, the same problem that befell Flash – will happen to Apple, if they don’t do something. In todays day-and-age, you can’t have a successful platform that is a total pain to program. Not when you have alternatives like Visual Studio.
Seeing the pixels…
One more thing – the “retina display”, how good is that? Let me answer your question with a question: can you tell the difference between 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound? Can you tell the difference visually between a 120Hz and 240Hz refresh TV? If so, then you might be someone who can tell a difference. When I look at the Kindle Fire and compare it to the iPad 3, the iPad looks maybe 10% crisper, I guess? I mean, with no lights on in the room, at night, the iPad screen is very crisp, but is it $400 more crisp? That’s for you to decide. It’s not eye-popping or anything, it just looks a tad more crisp, in my opinion.
- You already know all of these – iPad is the Gold Standard for tablets at the moment.
- Price – I got wi-fi only with 16GB and it was still $529, that is for the LOW-end model.
- Size – I think the iPad is a tad too big. I really like the Kindle size.
- Keyboard – I got one of those Bluetooth keyboard, cover – and because of the small size, the keyboard is slightly smaller. This throws off the expected location of keys, so that you can’t type fast on it. I eventually gave up on that and went back to hunt-and-peck with one finger on the on-screen keyboard.
In the end I think I am going to keep one of these, and the other will go on eBay. Which one will I keep? I honestly don’t know yet. Kindle Fire “gets it done” and I have no buyers remorse because it was so “cheap” (relatively speaking). Then again, the iPad is really great at what it does, and it is the standard by which Windows 8 (my home team) will be compared.
In terms of what do I recommend? Well, I have continually recommended the Kindle Fire to anyone in the market for a tablet. They are cheap enough, do a TON of things, and are just great. However, if you want the Apple-specific things (like iMovie or Garageband), or if you want to play higher-graphics games, or if you just want a bigger screen, then iPad is a good choice. It sucks that it costs so much, but you are guaranteed to get a really solid tablet though. It’s a known quantity.