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Amazon Kindle Fire vs Barnes & Noble Nook Color: Spec showdown


Amazon announced today the Kindle Fire, a 7-inch tablet that runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread. While many expected Amazon’s long-rumored tablet to stand as a major competitor to Apple’s iPad, the device appears to offer greater competition to the Barnes & Noble Nook Color, which is closer in specs and functionality than the far more expensive and feature-rich iPad 2. Here, a quick side-by-side comparison of the two flashiest e-readers now on the market.

Amazon Kindle Fire vs Barnes & Noble Nook Color
 Kindle Fire  Nook Color
Price  $199 $249
Dimensions  7.5″ x 4.7″ x 0.45″  8.1″ x 5″ x 0.5″
Weight  14.6 ounces 15.8 ounces
OS  Android 2.3 Gingerbread
(heavily modified)
 Android 2.2
Processor  Dual-core TI OMAP 4  800MHz Cortex-A8
RAM  Unknown 512 Mb
Storage  8 GB 8 GB
Camera  No No
Max. battery  8 hours 8 hours
Chargers  Micro USB  Micro USB
3G  No No
Wi-Fi  802.11 B/G/N/X  802.11 B/G/N
Screen size  7 inches (IPS)  7 inches
Resolution  600 x 1024 600 x 1024
Pixel density  169 dpi 169 dpi
Browser  Amazon Silk  Android (customized)
Book store  Amazon  Barnes & Noble
Book formats  Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively, DOC, DOCX, Audible  EPUB, PDF, DOC, TXT, DOCM, DOCX
App store  Amazon, Android apps  Nook Color apps
Apps available 16,638  729
Video formats  MP4, VP8  MP4
Picture formats JPEG, GIF, BMP, PNG  JPG, GIF, BMP, PNG
Music formats  AAC (DRM-free), MP3, MIDI, OGG, WAV  MP3, MP4, AAC
Micro SD card slot  No Yes
Adobe Flash support  Yes Yes
Additional features  Cloud backup, Whispersync, wireless sync, video rental, 30-day Amazon Prime trial  Newsstand, better children’s book selection, Nook Friends

As you can see from the spec breakdown, the two devices are very similar. Of course, we haven’t yet had a chance to use the Kindle Fire, so there may be something lost there in its hands-on functionality, when compared to the Nook Color. But seeing as the Nook Color has a tendency to run sluggishly, by our tests at least, we hope Amazon’s newest offering won’t fall behind in the usability category.

Another unknown factor is that B&N may release a new Nook Color sometime in the near future, according to recent rumors, which could shift the balance once again. But if we were to advise someone to purchase one of these two devices today, based on specs alone, the Kindle Fire appears to be the better buy. Our real advice, however, is to wait until the full verdict on the Fire is in before throwing down your credit card.

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