Nook Tablet v. Kindle Fire: Which should you buy?
The new Nook Tablet costs $50 more than the Kindle Fire, but Barnes & Noble insists that it’s well worth the extra cost.
When it introduced the $199 Kindle Fire back in September, Amazon clearly hoped to position the device as a dirt-cheap alternative to the iPad – smaller, less powerful and devoid of bells and whistles like cameras and 3G connectivity. But with the introduction today of the $249 Nook Tablet, Barnes & Noble looks to be tilling what could turn out to be a fertile middle ground.
Like the Kindle Fire, the Nook Tablet is 7 inches and weighs less than a pound (the company is quick to point out that it’s half an ounce lighter than the Fire). But Barnes & Noble is clearly hanging its hat on the fact that its hardware is superior to the Fire’s.
Most importantly, there’s more storage – while the Fire has just 8GB of internal hard drive storage and can’t be expanded beyond that, the Nook Tablet starts at 16 GB and you can add up to 32 additional GB via an SD card slot. Sure, Amazon points out that much of your media can be stored in its cloud service, but in places without 3G connectivity, like on an underground subway, you won’t always have access to the cloud.
The Nook also claims superior battery life: 11.5 hours of reading, versus just 8 hours on the Fire. There’s also more RAM, and in a press event held in New York today, Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch claimed that the Nook has a superior display, though we’re inclined to see both tablets in action before we pass judgment on that one.
Of course, one of the big selling points for the Kindle Fire is how much it can be used as a delivery system for Amazon Prime’s mountain of content, including Amazon Instant Video and the just-announced Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. But the Nook Tablet is no slouch in the media department, either.
The tablet will come preloaded with apps for both Netflix and Hulu Plus, both of which are generally considered to have a streaming video selection superior to Amazon Prime’s. (It’s unclear whether those competing services will also be available on the Kindle Fire, or if Amazon will keep the competition off the device.) There is, of course, a huge selection of e-books and periodicals, just as there is on the Kindle Fire. And Barnes & Noble also touts the fact that you can get free support at any bricks-and-mortar store, clearly hoping to evoke the customer service experience that Apple fans have come to love at the Apple Store.
Like the Fire, the Nook cuts a lot of bells and whistles to get the price point down – no 3G connectivity, no cameras and no Bluetooth, for instance – while making the device markedly beefier than the Fire in the hardware department. Whether those advantages are enough to justify the extra $50 remain to be seen. The Kindle Fire starts shipping on Nov. 15 and the Nook Tablet launches on Nov. 18. Both are available for preorder now.Related Links:
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