We’re going to start off with the software, which is one of the most notable differences between the two tablets. The Nexus 7 runs the latest version of Android, 4.4 KitKat. What’s fantastic about Nexus branded phones is that they will always be the first to be updated to the newest Android versions while other devices like the Galaxy Tab line and others will receive the update several weeks or months later.
In addition, Nexus users receive what is known as stock android, which is essentially how Google envisions Android. 4.4 KitKat is a bit of an overhaul and is generally cleaner, with new icons and translucent menus and bars replacing the older black-colored design.
Now this isn’t a review, but there are some cool new features like control center which is similar to the pull down notification of the Kindle Fire HDX, and there’s also new multitasking.
The Kindle Fire HDX runs the latest version of Kindle Fire OS, Mojito, which believe it or not is actually based on Android. However, looking at the tablet you would’ve never guessed it. I’ve been using the HDX for a couple of weeks now and still can’t quite get used to the operating system. I find it a bit confusing and it definitely lacks the functionality of Android.
However, it isn’t all that bad. This new version of Kindle OS keeps the carousel which is a pretty convenient idea. It lets you swipe through all of your content and applications. Also, with this ultra fast processor I haven’t noticed any lag going through the silk browser or playing graphic intensive games.
There’s also this really cool new feature called mayday which allows you to get hands on support in only seconds on the HDX. You can connect with tech support any time of the day year long, it’s a really cool feature for those that just getting started.
Speaking of games and applications, the Amazon App Store isn’t anywhere near as polished as Google Play or Apple’s App Store, but it’s still getting there. What really bothered me was not having basic applications like gmail or YouTube. For some this may not be a huge deal, but most of the media consumption I do on my tablet is based off of YouTube.
The operating system on the Kindle Fire HDX is something you’re going to want to strongly consider before purchasing because it’s going to be a real shock if you’re coming from an Android or iOS device.
The build and quality of both of these tablets are actually very similar. Despite the extremely low price tags of each of these tablets, the Kindle Fire HDX is really solid and well built. The back has a really nice matte rubber type feel that’s very similar to the back of the 2013 Nexus 7 2013 and also the newly released Nexus 5. However, I still have some gripes with it. For some reason Amazon opted for a glossy finish around the side of the tabblet which looks a bit weird. Also, the device feels more square than rectangle so it’s practically impossible to use the tablet in one hand.
The Nexus 7 2013 is actually pretty easily holdable in one hand due to its taller and less wide form factor. It may look a little funny like that, but it’s more about function than looks.
When it comes down to the actual size of the two tablets they’re actually quite different. The Nexus 7 2013 is 200 mms tall and 114 mms wide while the Kindle Fire HDX is 186 mms in height and 128 mms in width. The HDX is slightly thicker than the Nexus 7 2013 and it honestly is just a little bit noticeable when trying to use the tablet in one hand. As far as the weight, they’re pretty similar with the Kindle Fire HDX weighing 10 grams more than the Nexus 7.
The display on the Nexus 7 is stellar as it’s 1920 by 1200 pixels, but the screen on the Kindle Fire HDX is also superb. The screen is ultra crisp and high quality and it’s really tough to choose a real winner. No matter which device you choose you won’t be dissapointed.
Both the Nexus 7 2013 and Kindle Fire HDX come in a single black color and Both tablets are available in 16GB, and 32 GB variants with cellular models available, but you can also purchase the HDX with 64GBS of internal storage. Something to consider with the Kindle Fire HDX is that you can purchase one with “special offers” for $15 less which puts ads on the lockscreen of the device. For fifteen dollars more I would go ad free, but it’s something to consider if you’re really on a low budget.
Now when it comes to a tablet or really any major purchase you make price is definitely going to be a factor. To put the prices into perspective, you can purchase a 64GB LTE cellular Kindle Fire HDX for only $409 which is only nine bucks more than a base iPad Mini 2. So yeah, these tablets are really inexpensive compared to what Apple charges.
The battery on both tablets are really good. I was able to go days on both the HDX and Nexus 7, but I did notice the Nexus did do a better job with battery. Honestly, battery really shouldn’t be a major concern with either device because they’re both great.
Also, for those that didn’t already know, expandable storage isn’t available on the Kindle Fire HDX or Nexus 7 and the backs also aren’t removable. Now both the Nexus 7 2013 and Kindle Fire HDX are extremely powerful. They both feature the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor and it performs extremely well. Both of these two devices offer super smooth operation of their operating system, and they’re easily capable of multitasking plenty of apps and handling graphic intensive games.
Both the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HDX are fantastic tablets and they’re each great in their own ways. If you’re already in the Android ecosystem I would say go Nexus, but if you’re heavy into Amazon services go Kindle. For me the Nexus 7 is a better tablet for what I use, but it’s different for everyone.