Earlier this month after weeks of rumors Google finally announced and revealed the brand new HTC Nexus 9 tablet running the latest Android 5.0 Lollipop. Now that the tablet is officially confirmed and coming soon, many prospective buyers are weighing their options when it comes to buying an Android tablet.
With tons of tablets readily available for Android or Apple users, another extremely popular option is also available that many are forgetting about. That being the brand new (2014 version) Amazon Kindle fire HDX 8.9-inch tablet. They have a lot in common, including the price.
When it comes to buying a tablet there are tons of choices readily available. However, many want to get the latest and greatest devices, and those are the iPad Air 2, the Nexus 9, or something from Samsung’s ever-growing lineup. Here we’ll compare the Nexus 9 to Amazon’s newest Kindle Fire HDX tablet.
The Amazon Kindle Fire is an extremely popular tablet thanks to the size, features, and most importantly the price bundled with Amazon Prime services. Last year the Kindle Fire HDX wasn’t as popular and was released later than the regular Kindle Fire HD, and this years successor has gone somewhat under the radar.
Last month Amazon released a new and improved 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HDX for 2014, and it stacks up quite well against the iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3, and more importantly the new Nexus 9. It has the same size screen, excellent sound, top-tier speakers and more, all for a decent price. Read on for all the details.
First up would be the display, as that’s one of the most important aspect of any mobile device. Both the Fire HDX 2014 and the Nexus 9 have the same sized screen. Coming in at 8.9-inches, but Amazon actually beats Google where it counts, which is the resolution. Meaning pictures and video will be clear and crisp, and things will be vibrant.
The Kindle Fire HDX has an 8.9-inch 2560 x 1600 Full HD display, and it looks just as gorgeous as the model from last year. The Nexus 9 though, is 2048 x 1536, so there’s a difference but probably not one many users eyes will be able to see, but it’s worth noting.
It’s the perfect middle ground if you ask us. My favorite tablet is the LG G Pad 8.3, but the 8.9-inch Nexus 9 seems to be the perfect size, and I’ll update once it arrives. It’s also wider offering a 4:3 aspect ratio (like the iPad) rather than the long and skinny 16:9 all other Android tablets employ. This is another key difference it has compared to the Fire HDX.
The new aspect ratio is important. This makes it easier to hold, better for browsing the web, but won’t offer as good of a video playback experience. Overall we welcome the change, and users will likely enjoy it too.
It’s hard to compare two devices when the Nexus 9 hasn’t been released yet, but that day is quickly approaching, and we’ll update with a full comparison and our thoughts once we’ve had some hands-on time. That being said, the Fire HDX has one of the best screens we’ve used to date.
One thing you’ll instantly notice between these two tablets is the design. In my opinion the Nexus 9 has a sleek and premium design, while the Fire HDX looks rather bland and boring. It has unique sharp curves around back that should make it easy to hold, but it isn’t the best looking tablet around. Function over form right?
The entire tablet is made of a durable soft-touch plastic, and is available in black only. The speakers have been improved with Dolby Audio with the new Fire HDX, and it features two backwards facing speaker grills on the top back of the device.
However, Google’s Nexus 9 offers a few important features you’ll want to consider. For one, they’ve changed the approach of their tablets and the Nexus 9 finally has a brushed aluminum design around the entire outer edge. That said, for weight and comfort the back is still a soft touch matte plastic design. Available in black, white, or sand (gold) color options. It looks very similar on back to the Nexus 7 (2013) style.
Google’s Nexus 9 is sleek, elegant, and has subtle curves as it wraps around the aluminum sides to offer a better experience that feels thinner in the hand than it really is. The Nexus 9 isn’t as thin as the iPad Air 2 although it’s thinner than the Nexus 7, but the sides curve to a rather thin point and will make it feel extremely thin in your hands. Another major design feature is the dual HTC Boomsound front facing speakers. No tablet makers have done this right, but Google looks to have finally delivered. No more cupping the back trying to get decent sound towards your face.
Samsung had a tablet with front speakers years ago, but abandoned this obvious and excellent design approach. All said and done the new Nexus 9 is sleek, durable, premium looking and feeling, and will be a great purchase.
On aspect of the design that is also important is the weight. The Kindle Fire HDX is extremely lightweight, beating out the Nexus 9, iPad Air, and many other smaller tablets in terms of weight. This makes it easier to hold, no matter what you’re enjoying on that 8.9-inch screen.
Before we talk about specs and features, you may be wondering when the Nexus 9 is available, in case you missed the announcement. Google’s Nexus 9 went up for pre-order last week and won’t be in stores until November 3rd.
If you’re looking to buy a tablet today, right now, the new Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is an excellent choice. However, there are other options. All said and done, it’s worth waiting until November 3rd and trying it out in stores before you get something from Samsung, or opt for an iPad.
Google’s past releases haven’t been extremely smooth when it comes to availability and stock, but that was much better with the release of the Nexus 7 in 2013. This year though, things are looking even better as Google has pre-orders available from Amazon, Best Buy, the Google Play Store, and others are coming soon.
The Nexus 9 should be shipping on the 3rd of November, in stores, and we’re hearing plenty of stock will be available to make this Google’s biggest and best Android Nexus tablet launch to date. It’s that, or get the Fire HDX right now with free 2-day Prime Shipping.
We’re not going to dive in to software too much, because the final version of Android 5.0 isn’t yet available, and the first product to run it will be the Nexus 9 once it arrives November 3rd. That being said, it runs the absolute latest version of Android right from Google. It’s stock Android, supports 64-bit computing, and is an entirely redesigned and fresh new look full of life, colors, and animations.
The Kindle Fire HDX runs the new Fire OS 4.0 interface, which is Android 4.4 underneath, but you’d never guess it runs Android. It looks like an Amazon product, and is geared towards content, mainly content from Amazon. Whether that be books, music, movies, or buying stuff from Amazon.com
Updates won’t come as often and the interface isn’t the best, but many enjoy the simple, bold, and in your face easy to use interface. Especially kids.
While specs aren’t all that important these days, it is something buyers consider. Both tablets are extremely fast, fluid, and powerful. They have the latest technology and will play apps, games, or stream movies for hours on end. Here’s the numbers for those interested.
Nexus 9 Specs
- 8.9-inch 2048×1536 Full HD display (4:3 aspect ratio, and Gorilla Glass 3)
- NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor with 2GB of RAM (64-bit)
- 16/32GB storage configurations
- Android 5.0 Lollipop (first device with Android 5.0)
- 8 Megapixel Rear and 1.6 MP front camera
- Brushed Aluminum frame, soft touch matte design
- Dual HTC Boomsound front facing speakers
- 6,700 mAh battery
- White, Black, and Sand color options
- 228.25mm x 153.68mm x 7.95mm and 425 grams
Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 Specs
- 8.9-inch 2560 x 1600 HD Display
- 2.5 GHz Snapdragon 805 Quad-core Processor with 2GB of RAM
- 16/32/64GB storage options
- Android 4.4 KitKat (Fire OS)
- 8 Megapixel Rear and 1.3 front camera
- Plastic design
- Dual Dolby Atmos Rear Speakers
- 12 hours of battery life
- 24/7 365 days a year free video tech support
- 231 mm x 158 mm x 7.8 mm and 389 grams
As you can see they both actually stack up quite nicely against one another. From the screen size and resolution, cameras, audio output and even the price. These are two of the best tablets available in 2014, and the price is extremely competitive.
This brings us to our next topic, price. Buying a new tablet isn’t cheap, unless you’re getting a Nexus. That was the assumption over the past few years, but not this time. The original Nexus 7 was $199 and became an instant hit, even if that was only 8GB of storage. The 2013 model was $229 for the 16GB model, and $269 for the 32GB variant.
The Nexus 9 comes in three variants, as well as three colors too. Black, White, and Sand Gold. So how much?
Google’s Nexus 9 will be $399 for the 16GB model, $479 for the 32GB option, and $599 for the 32GB 4G LTE flavor. There is no micro-SD slot to expand storage, and there’s no 64 or 128GB option available. This isn’t cheap, but still undercuts the bigger iPad Air and is the same price as Apple’s smaller iPad Mini option.
The Kindle Fire HDX though, is priced about the same. The 16GB model is $399 (on sale for $394), or can be bought for $379 with Amazon ads on the lockscreen. Yes, that’s awful, and not worth the small savings. Then $449 for 32GB, and $499 for the 64GB option. If you need more storage the Kindle Fire HDX is the best route.
The Nexus 9 is set to be Google’s best tablet to date, and may end up being one of the best tablets of 2014. It has a lot to offer, and should be in the running for any tablet buyer this holiday season.
HTC and Google are putting tablet makers in the Android space on notice with the Nexus 9, and aiming directly at Apple’s iPad Mini lineup and the new Air all at the same time. It’s a complete package with everything a tablet buyer wants and needs, priced fair, and should be a great device.
That all said, the Kindle Fire HDX delivers plenty of the same, geared at content, has a kids mode, and 24/7 tech support. There’s a lot to love from both tablets, but in the end the choice is yours. We’ll report back with more details after our hands-on experience and first impressions the moment the Nexus 9 it arrives.