Friday, November 18, 2011

Kindle Fire Vs. Nook Tablet Vs. Kobo Vox


Posted By Ray Nicolini
via HippiesBeautyandBooksohmy.com
The Kindle Fire has garnered a tad bit of attention by now.  But when I posted an article about it a few weeks back the Kobo Vox was mentioned in the comments.  And now B&N has fired back at Amazon with their Nook Tablet.  So I thought it would be fun to have an article explaining the differences, and which e-reader tablet is the best.
Kindle Fire
The Kindle Fire was announced on September 28thand will be released on November 15th 2011.  Essentially a tablet computer running Android, Amazon chose to target an audience with a new, more feature full e-reader rather than compete against the iPad2. 

Outside of the amazing hardware, the Kindle Fire includes features like:
  • Access to the Amazon Book Store
  • Access to the Amazon Android App Store
  • Whisper Sync
  • Cloud Storage
  • Browser powered by Silk
  • Video-On-Demand access through Amazon Prime
  • Book borrowing from Amazon through Prime
At launch, the Kindle fire will debut for $200.
Nook Tablet

B&N was first to the e-reader tablet scene with the Nook Color.  The Nook Color gained its popularity in thanks to the modding enthusiast crowd as a cheap, rootable tablet.  B&N eventually had to update the Nook Color and announced the Nook Tablet.  Despite the naming, the Nook Tablet is essentially the Nook Color 2 as they are both powered by Android and run similar technologies.  B&N choose the phrase Nook Tablet as a better marketing ploy to really emphasize where the Nook Color 2 sits to consumers.
The Nook Tablet will have amazing hardware, but outside of the hardware, it will offer features like:
  •  Access to popular apps like Netflix, Pandora, Hulu Plus, and more.
  • Access to the B&N digital book store
  •  Newstand service for magazines
  • B&N Android App Store
  • Nook Kids, an interactive children’s book store
  • And Many more features
The Nook Tablet will debut with a price tag of $250. 

Kobo Vox
The original Kobo e-reader never really took off.  It partnered itself another book store that eventually went under (ciao Borders, you will be missed.)  In reviews, the Kobo earned itself the reputation as a lower end e-reading device because of the slow response time the device offered.  Could the Vox be the underdog e-reader tablet?

The Kobo Vox was announced in mid October and already launched on Oct. 28th.  At the time of writing, it was listed as “in-stock.”

Among the features, the Vox includes:
  • Full access to the Android Market
  • Access to all e-book formats
  • Basically a cheap Android tablet with Kobo’s e-reader app
The Kobo Vox debuted at a price of $199.

Click "Read More" for the rest of the review.
Now, as a geek, I have to list the tech specs.  Some of you might appreciate this.  But this also exmplains pricing and what you get.

Note: The best spec for each category is italicized.
Specs
Kindle Fire
Nook Tablet
Kobo Vox
Processor
Dual Core 1 Ghz
Dual Core 1 Ghz
800mhz
Ram
512 Mb
1 Gb
512 MB
Internal Storage
8 Gb
16 Gb
8 Gb
Screen Pixel Size
1024 x 600
1024 x 600
1024 x 600
Tablet Screen Size
7”
7”
7”
Tablet Size
192mmx 120mm
128mm x 207mm
192.4 mm X 128.4 mm
Battery Life
8 Hours reading
7.5 Hours videos
11.5 Hours reading
9 Hour Videos
7 Hours

Spec wise, the Kobo Vox is way behind.  To compare the hardware, the Kobo Vox is using hardware similar to phones from two years ago, or the original Nook Color, while the Amazon Fire and B&N Nook Tablet are using current gen specs.  What’s interesting, despite the two year old hardware of the Vox, it remains the same price as the Fire.  The original Nook Color proved to be rather snappy considering its specs, so perhaps, overtime, the Vox will prove the same.  My concern is that the Vox is running closer to Vanilla Android 2.3 where the Nook Color had a highly optimized version of Android under the hood.

In the case of hardware alone though, I can easily see why the Nook Tablet runs $50 more than the Fire with the extra size battery and 8 extra gigs of internal memory.

Hardware specs rarely mean anything to consumers now of days though.  The product is all about features.  Sow what do these three e-reading tablets offer?

Feature
Kindle Fire
Nook Tablet
Vox
Wifi Support
X
X
X
Expandable Memory

X
X
Cloud Storage
X

X
App Store
Amazon
B&N
Android Market
Magazine Support
X
X

Stored movie Support
X
X
X
Streaming movie Support
x
x
x
Pandora
X
X
X
Netflix
X
X
X
Hulu Plus

X

Comic Support
X
X
3rd part app
Microphone

X

Accelerated Browsing
X


Different Colors


X
Face-to-Face Support

X

Book Lending from Distributor
X



And there are many other features we could mention and nit-pick about.  At this point, personally, I would drop the Vox out of the running.  The Vox runs the closest thing to Vanilla Android as these three tablets will get and will have access to the Android Market.  But with that said, the Nook Color is now $200 and has the same features and specs.   Once more, the Nook Color can be quickly and easily rooted and have Honeycomb installed if the user wants that stock Android feel.  The only real benefit the Vox offers is a variety of colors, and support for all e-book standards.  I can barely call that a benefit as the Nook Tablet supports all but the obscure formats, and the Fire can support all formats with 3rd party apps.

The Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet offer a lot of the same features.  The Kindle Fire offers the Silk web browser which compresses web pages server-side to make web surfing faster.  Any normal home or work WiFi shouldn’t pose much of hindrance to web surfing for either device though.

The Kindle Fire has cloud support for external storage.  The Nook Color doesn’t.  So what are the pros and cons to that?  The Kindle Fire has all but unlimited storage, at a price.  Anything more than 5Gb will cost you extra per year.  You also have to be connected to WiFi to use that unlimited storage, otherwise you’re stuck to the internal 8Gb.  The Nook Tablet has no cloud storage beside the books you purchase.  But it has 16Gb of internal memory and is expandable up to an additional 32 gigs. 

Amazon has the clear winner for app availability.  The Amazon Android App Store is almost as robust as the native Android Market.  The B&N app store for the Nook is a little puny.  This is plain and simple.  Depending on what your needs, or wants, are, the B&N app store may feature apps for what you want.

Let’s take one last look at some pros and cons:


Kindle Fire
B&N Nook Tablet
Kobo Vox
Pros
·         Cheapest
·         Limitless cloud storage
·         Access to Prime features
·         Large App store
·         Silk Browser
·         Most internal storage
·         Longest battery life
·         Face-to-Face support
·         More memory for more fluid use
·         Microphone for voice notes
·         Comes in different colors
·         Vanilla Android 2.3
·         Access to Android Market
Cons
·         Cant access cloud storage without internet
·         Very little internal storage

·         App Store is small
·         $50 more
·         Already outdated hardware
·         Nook Color has same hardware for $50 less

Conclusion

As I stated, I wouldn’t even consider the Kobo Vox.  It has outdated hardware on a pure Android experience.  The problem is, similar smart phones with the same hardware have trouble running android 2.3 well.  The Nook Color has the exact same hardware and a proven record.
That leaves us with the Kindle Fire and the B&N Nook Tablet.  Here’s the deal, the Fire is $50 cheaper but offers no storage expandability, only 8Gb of storage, and a smaller battery.  The Nook Tablet is $50 more, has no cloud storage, but has a bigger battery, 16Gb of internal storage, and expandability up to a total of 48Gbs.  If you intend on putting movies and music on your tablet, then the 8Gb of internal memory on the Fire will fill up quickly and cloud storage requires an active internet connection. 

Past that, the difference in features are very minimal.  Personally, I will be looking forward to the Nook Tablet in hopes that an easy rooting method exists later on.  My wife really wants the Kindle Fire.   So that may be the appeal, the Nook Tablet to Geeks and the Amazon Fire to everyone else.

Have any comments or anything else you want mentioned?  Leave us a comment and we might edit it into the article!

Update:  I originally stated that the Nook Color was now $150.  Apparently after checking again, B&N is selling the device for $200.  The original $150 price tag was a misprint from the local B&N store.
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