We have a good one for you today – the new Google Nexus 9 tablet versus the new Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 (2014)…Google versus Amazon, which is always a classic battle. Oh, Amazon uses a makeover of Android 4.4.2, but a really forked version that they call Fire OS 4.0 Sangria and their own App store.
As different as these tablets are, they do have a few similarities – for starters, they both have 8.9-inch IPS LCD displays, 2GB of RAM, 16GB and 32GB models of storage, neither tablet has room for expansion of that internal storage, they both have an 8MP main camera with auto-focus and an LED flash. They are fairly close in dimensions, they both offer Dual Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (4.1 on the Nexus 9 and 4.0 on the Fire HDX 8.9) and both have a microUSB 2.0 port for charging and data transfer. Both tablets have dual stereo speakers, each has an LTE option and both have non-removable batteries.
Please take a close look at the detailed specification chart shown below, and then we will look at each individual tablet to determine its pros and cons in trying to pick the winner of this comparison.
Google Nexus 9
The new Nexus 9 is larger than Google’s last two Nexus 7 tablets and smaller than the one Nexus 10 tablet. It is new from the ground up and Google tasked HTC to build their Nexus 9, although it has a ‘Nexus’ look about it with its black, rubbery, non-slip design on the back and overall minimalistic look. Nexus products are not known for their Bling-Bling, but functionality and value. HTC was able to squeeze in their dual front-facing stereo BoomSound speakers that make this a great tablet for movies, videos or gaming.
The Nexus 9 has an 8.9-inch QXGA display with a resolution of 2048 x 1536, using IPS LCD technology with 288 pixels-per-inch (PPI) versus the 339 PPI found on the Fire HDX 8.9. HTC chose to use a Nvidia Tegra K1 64-bit dual-core processor clocked at 2.3GHz. While it is 64-bit, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 used in the Fire HDX 8.9 is one of the top-notch chips at this time and can certainly hold its own against the Nvidia. They both use 2GB of RAM, with the Nexus 9 offering both 16GB or 32GB models and the Fire HDX 8.9 also offering a 64GB model – neither device offers any type of internal memory expansion. The main cameras are identical in size – 8MP with auto-focus and an LED flash. The 1.6MP front-facing camera (FFC) on the Nexus 9 is slightly larger than the 1.2MP found on the Fire HDX 8.9 – however, either one will provide you with a social selfie or an occasional video chat. The Nexus 9 has a larger 6700mAh battery than the 4500mAh found on the Fire HDX 8.9.
The Nexus 9 comes in three colors – Black, White and Sand – as well as the newest Android 5.0 Lollipop OS and as a Nexus product, it will always be first in line to get future upgrades from Google. The Nexus 9 is available in the Google Play Store and will run you $399 for a 16GB Wi-Fi model and $479 for the 32GB model and $599 for the 32GB LTE model.
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9
The new Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 looks almost identical to its 2013 predecessor, which is a good thing, as it has also has a minimalistic look, but sports a subtle angular design that sets it apart from many of the other ‘black tablets.’ The insides are a different story as they upgraded the processor, added family friendly functions in the operating system and added exclusive features, like the audio-enhancing Dolby Atmos and Firefly.
The Fire HDX 8.9 features an 8.9-inch HDX IPS LCD display with a resolution of 2560 x 1600 and 339 PPI for a beautiful and sharp image, outdoing the Nexus 9’s 288 PPI. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor clocked at 2.5GHz powers the Fire HDX 8.9. It is coupled to 2GB of RAM and offers three memory options – 16GB, 32GB or 64GB – with no room for expansion. As we mentioned earlier, the main cameras on both devices are 8MP with auto-focus and an LED Flash…which is a rarity, as most tablets (even the new iPads) do not offer a flash on a tablet. The battery on the Fire HDX 8.9 is only 4500mAh, however, it has shown to have excellent battery life.
The Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 is definitely designed for an Amazon user as they have the Dolby Atmos technology, Amazon’s Firefly, Amazon’s Mayday features and allows multiple user profiles for both adults and children. It has some of the loudest and best sounding speakers for listening to Amazon Music and watching Amazon provided movies, videos and games. Pushing the entertainment factor – if you use headphones you will receive the benefits from the built-in Dolby Atmos technology. The Firefly function uses the main camera and dual microphones to analyze whatever it is you are looking at, tell you about it, and if available, how to purchase the item through Amazon. The Mayday is Amazon’s 24/7 instant customer service function. On the downside, Amazon’s heavily modified OS leaves little room for customization and its App Store has far fewer apps and games than the Google Play Store.
The Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 comes in black using its Fire OS 4.0 Sangria and will cost you $379 to $579 depending on memory options and whether it is strictly a Wi-Fi or a LTE model that will work on either Verizon or AT&T.
…And The Winner Is…
I am tossing this one in the ring as a TIE. I do not like picking ties, but we have two great devices specwise, in fact, if the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 had access to Google Services and the Play Store, it would be the winner. Both tablets are solid devices, and have plenty of processing power and beautiful displays, so it comes down to one factor – if you are a Googler, a power tablet user and need your device for more work related functions than gaming or shopping, then you would definitely want the Nexus 9. However, if you are into the Amazon ‘ecosystem,’ Amazon Prime, do a lot of shopping, reading, gaming, or have children, then you would be happier with the Fire HDX 8.9. Amazon also packs a lot of value in the Fire HDX 8.9 – that display and processor are top choices for its $379 price, and it comes with some unique software. If you are more in the Google ‘ecosystem,’ – Google Now, Google Maps, Google Docs, Play Store, etc. then you will be perfectly happy with the new Nexus 9. Choose either one of these tablets, based on your needs and you will be rewarded.
Please hook up with us on our Google+ Page and let us know which one of these tablets you like the best and WHY…as always, we would love to hear from you.