Google Nexus 7 (2012) vs Amazon Kindle Fire 7 HD: When two equal tablets compete head-to-head

Posted by B. Johnson
Google Nexus 7 (2012) vs Amazon Kindle Fire 7 HD: When two equal tablets compete head-to-headAround the mid-end category in 2012, there were not many tablets that looked as interesting as Google Nexus 7.

I mean, back in the days of that year, this tablet really stole the spotlight and even managed to become the pioneer that turned 7-inch tablet market into a promising business even until today.

Besides Google Nexus 7, there’s actually one other tablet that also was a worth buying tablet in the same year. And that was Amazon Kindle Fire 7 HD.

Similar just like Google Nexus 7, this Amazon tablet also shares the same class of hardware like 720p resolution, 1GB of RAM, simple to use UI and they both also don’t have microSD card slot nor a rear-facing camera at their disposals.

Google Nexus 7 (2012) vs Amazon Kindle Fire 7 HD benchmarks and gaming performance

So this is actually the reason why today, I’m really interested to bring up these 2 devices into the same ring of my tablet review.

I think it would be awesome to explore some of the most important aspects on each of these 2 devices, especially their gaming performances.

Well, if you’re also eager to know how these 2 tablets fare against each other in this review, as well as my take on their gaming performances, then here you go, my comparison review between Google Nexus 7 (2012) and Amazon Kindle Fire 7 HD.

Introduction

As 2 tablets that were released back in 2012, both Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire 7 HD were actually considered as great quality high-grade devices back then, especially in mid-end territory.

In 2012, there were actually not many Android tablets that managed to be as popular as the iPad or Samsung GALAXY tabs, especially in terms of sales.

But that soon changed quite a bit when Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire 7 HD made their debuts.

As for Amazon’s tablet, this Kindle Fire 7 HD was actually the second-generation of Amazon’s best selling devices on its own website (in Electronic section, to be exact).

So when the company made it official, of course it would just keep pumping up the new revenue streams for Amazon, especially given how huge the potential of its customers to spend the real actual money in Amazon’s ecosystem.

On the other hand with Google Nexus 7, this was the first-gen tablet that Google ever released under Nexus 7 flag.

But amazingly, despite being the first tablet from Google, this Nexus 7 tablet turned out to be successful and managed to reach the company’s expectations, which one of them was to gain ground in tablet market and especially in sales.

Both Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire 7 HD are great for many things: like fpr reading books, browsing the web, watching movies, listening to music and even playing games.

But the questions remain, with all of the great things found on each of these 2 devices, which one between Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire 7 HD that has what it takes to be the best gaming tablet in this comparison review?

Which one is a better tablet in the whole aspect?

Is it worth it to buy Google Nexus 7 instead of Amazon Kindle Fire 7 HD?

Well hopefully, we’re gonna find out the answers of these questions at the end of this review. So be sure to stick around!

Design

I think the entire design of Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 is not the main thing that becomes the selling point of this device.

Compared to Google Nexus 7, I think the design of Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 has nothing to write home about.

It has no characteristic nor identity that makes it look unique and stand out among other 7-inch counterparts out there.

So overall, nothing special about its design.

And the fact that Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 also has some weird shapes all over its rear-cover really makes this tablet look really cheap.

This really contradicts with Google Nexus 7 with its design.

Between the 2, I think Google Nexus 7 is definitely the one that takes the crown here in this design department.

It looks elegant, it looks unique than any other Android tablets out there. And the build quality is also really good (based on various reviews), with rubberized finish on its back cover.

So it gives it a good grip on the hands of users and makes the experience of holding this tablet really enjoyable even in long hours.

I’m not saying that Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 looks ugly compared to Nexus 7.

But when pitted against Google Nexus 7, it’s just no brainer that Asus’ homemade tablet really excels when it comes to design compared to Kindle Fire 7 HD.

Besides, Asus has been known as one of the manufacturers in the world with premium looking devices (laptops/tablets).

So it’s not shocking if the company is more than happier to bring its A-game when ordered by Google with this Nexus project.

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Google Nexus 7 (2012) Asus MemoPad 7 HD
Released in July 2012
7.0 inch LED-backlit IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 800 x 1280 pixels, (~216 ppi pixel density)
1.2 MP front-facing camera
Quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 1.2 GHz Cortex-A9 CPU
ULP GeForce GPU
1GB RAM
Android OS 4.1 (Jelly Bean), upgradable to 4.4.2 Android KitKat
8/16GB/32GB Internal
No microSD card slot
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth
NFC
USB
Infrared
GPS
No GPRS
No EDGE
No Radio
No Java
Non-removable Li-Ion 4325 mAh battery
Released 2012, September
7.0 inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 800 x 1280 pixels, (~216 ppi pixel density)
Dual-core TI OMAP 4460 1.2 GHz Cortex-A9 CPU
PowerVR SGX540 GPU
1 GB RAM
1.3 MP front-facing
No Memory Card slot
16/32 GB storage Internal
Bluetooth
USB
No Radio
No GPS
No Java
No GPRS
No EDGE
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band
No Video
Android OS, v4.0 (customized)
Non-removable Li-Ion battery

Besides having a more appealing design, I think it’s no brainer that Google Nexus 7 is also more superior than Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 when it comes to hardware.

It has a Tegra 3 processor, 12-core GPU, its gaming performance is more powerful and the game selection of Google Nexus 7 on Play Store is just bigger and richer than the Amazon App Store.

However, despite not being on the same level of performance, there are still some in commons found on these 2 devices.

So both Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 are not equipped with a rear-facing camera and microSD card slot, which is a shame because most of 7-inch tablets today are already equipped with these 2 elements.

So I strongly recommend you to switch to either 16GB or 32GB model if you want to get much bigger space of internal storage for your media contents.

Screen

As 2 tablets released in 2012, both Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire 7 HD share the same level of screen sharpness.

Nexus 7 is sporting a 7-inch screen with 1280x800 pixel resolution, while Amazon’s tablet also gets the same 720p treatment on it 7-inch display, resulting in the same exact -216ppi of pixel density.

So in terms of sharpness, of course both tablets are more than sufficient to deliver all the contents in HD resolution (like movies, games, etc).

According to many reviews, both devices are actually quite impressive with their displays.

All the contents look sharp, the colors are popping out and the experience of using any of these tablets is just really pleasing for most of users.

However, when compared to other 7-inch rivals that already adopt full HD 1080p resolution, it’s obvious that both Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire 7 HD just don’t have what it takes to compete, especially in terms of sharpness.

Even so, as 2 budget tablets sitting in low-end tablet category, the HD resolution on both devices is actually still considered as good for tablets with 7-inch displays.

But of course, the pinch-to-zoom gesture is still needed quite a lot especially when browsing the contents on the web or reading tiny text in books.

User Interface

The stock version of Android operating system (or the default version without any major customizations from manufacturers) has been widely used by most of manufacturers when making tablets or smartphones.

Meanwhile, vast majority of popular tablet makers like Samsung or Sony always do a complete overhaul to their stock Android UIs, adding a lot of features to the platform.

Asus or Sony certainly have succeeded in making their UIs look and work great for most of users (especially Sony).

However, there are still many companies like Samsung that loves to put a bulk of unnecessary features to its Galaxy tablets, making them run slow and buggy in heavy intense use (especially old-gen Galaxy tablets).

The good thing is, both Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire 7 HD are not on the same page with its competitors.

As a matter of fact, Amazon has done a marvelous job in shrinking down the stock Android OS into a small piece of software, making it run faster and smoother, plus more efficient with the use of battery.

So no wonder if Kindle Fire tablets mostly have great long lasting battery lives.

Similar with Amazon’s tablet, Google Nexus 7 is also shipping with a more-efficient stock Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, without any customizations whatsoever from the manufacturer, or in this case - ASUS.

So as a result, the performance of this tablet is really fast, the transition when sliding the screen or switching to other apps is really smooth (thanks to Project Butter in Android Jelly Bean), and the most importantly, the battery life of this tablet is really remarkable.

I think the decision of buying Amazon Kindle Fire 7 HD or Google Nexus 7 will come down to your personal preference of the platforms these tablets are using.

I mean, if you love simple-to-use basic Android tablet without any complicated learning curves, which you can just buy and use from the get-go, then Amazon Kindle Fire 7 HD can be a good choice for you (or 2014’s version of Amazon Fire 7 HD).

It may not have all the elements and features of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

But it actually can be a good thing because with this tablet, you can just focus on enjoying the media contents like movies, music, books, apps, etc without having to experience the lags or stutters in performance.

On the other hand, if you want to get the default UI of Android OS with all of the features from Project Butter, Google Voice Command, Google Now cards and a bunch of other things, then Google Nexus 7 is definitely your destination here (or the 2013’s version of Nexus 7 if you want to get the newer model).

It has all the default features, it has the same standard design layout of Android OS and the most importantly, it will always be one of the firsts to get the new software updates directly from Google, given its Nexus flag.

So you’ll always have the privilege to test drive the newer build of Android OS everytime Google releases the new one, of course if the hardware of Nexus 7 tablet is adequate enough to run the new software.

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When Google announced the first-gen Nexus 7 at the stage of Google’s I/O conference in 2012, this tech giant showed how capable its tablet in handling 2 heavy 3D games - Horn and Dead Trigger in buttery smooth performance without any lag.

All the graphics in these games along with stunning visual effects like sun glares, wall reflections or shadows were executed perfectly in lag-free performance.

Well, you probably have already seen and even played the game called Dead Trigger on your Android tablet, but if you just heard about Horn – this game is an RPG game that takes place in medieval era.

So you as the player will control this one hero character by tilting the screen to move or even attack the enemies with his sword.

It is an open-world gameplay by the way, so you’ll be able to explore the areas in the game freely without any restriction.

Anyway, these games are actually 2 of the heaviest-performing 3D games found on Google Play Store back then in 2012.

But the good thing is, Google Nexus 7 with its Tegra 3 processor is more than capable to run them smoothly without any lag.

All thanks to the staggering 12-core ULP GeForce GPU embedded by Nvidia inside this device.

So other 3D Android games like GTA Vice City, The Dark Knight Rises, ShadowGun Deadzone, Asphalt 7: Heat and Modern Combat will surely run smoothly on this device, and of course in full highest graphics.

I’ve actually already seen this tablet perform really well when handling the aforementioned games above (on YouTube).

So basically it’s also capable to deliver a smooth performance when thrown with some other heavy 3D games.

But the question is, how does this tablet perform when deployed with the newest graphically demanding games like Asphalt 8: Airborne and GTA San Andreas.

Well, according to some video reviews I’ve seen on YouTube, Asphalt 8: Airborne doesn’t run very smoothly in full highest graphics.

But the good thing is, it’s still playable on this device. So it’s not really laggy compared to other tablet (like Barnes and Noble HD + or Kobo Arc 7 HD that suffered a lot when running this game in high graphics).

Unfortunately though, as for GTA San Andreas, the hardware of this tablet is not really sufficient enough to execute this game in full graphics setting, although it can still be played smoothly in low graphics.

So if you really want to play GTA San Andreas on Android tablet perfectly in highest graphics, you may want to switch to other budget tablets like HP Slate7 Extreme, HP Slate8 Pro or Kindle Fire 7 HDX.

Meanwhile, Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 is obviously not on the same level of performance when pitted against Google Nexus 7.

Unlike Google’s tablet that is equipped with a powerful quad-core Tegra 3 processor along with 12-core GPU, Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 only comes with 1.2 GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4460 Cortex-A9 CPU accompanied with PowerVR SGX540 GPU.

So, on paper, it’s definitely Google Nexus 7 that deserves to take the crown here as a much better gaming tablet than Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7.

But it’s actually not only on paper, but in the real world performance.

So based on what I’ve seen across the YouTube sphere, Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 really suffers a lot when thrown with some heavy graphics-intense games like Asphalt 8: Airborne and Modern Combat 4 in full highest graphics.

So it’s pretty easy to assume that this tablet won’t be adequate as well when deployed with a much heavier 3D game like GTA San Andreas in full highest graphics. es.

The framerate is far too low and the experience of playing these 3 games will decrease quite significantly because all the graphics and visual effect goodies found in these games just cannot be enjoyed by the gamers at the fullest on this device.

These 3 games may be able to perform well if set in mid to low graphic level.

But if you are a true gamer, I think you deserve to get a much better choice of gaming tablet than Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7.

And Google Nexus 7 can be the better alternative if you’re looking for a gaming tablet.

But of course, if you want to get a much even better gaming device than these 2, I strongly recommend you to pick up other tablets like HP Slate7 Extreme, Nvidia Shield Tablet, HP Slate8 Pro or even the newer version of Google Nexus 7 (2013 edition).

It’s all up to you.

Anyway guys, if you want to know more about their gaming performances, including what games that will run on these tablets, check out my YouTube video playlist or Pinterest page. :)

Cameras

Too bad there’s no rear camera found either on Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 or Google Nexus 7.

So if you’re into photography, you may want to switch to other tablets like HP Slate7 Extreme (which has a good quality camera on the back), Xiaomi MiPad 7.9, Nvidia Shield Tablet and many other more.

Luckily, if you love taking selfies in your spare time, or you just want to have a reliable camera to do video calls through Skype, then you’re in luck here as Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 are well-prepared with front-facing cameras (1.2MP on Nexus 7 and 1.3MP on Amazon’s tablet).

Battery Life

Google Nexus 7 with its Tegra 3 processor is definitely powerful for doing many things on the device, especially compared to Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 with its dual-core TI OMAP processor.

It has 4 set of cores on CPU, while the graphical performance of this tablet is handled by a staggering 12-core GeForce ULP GPU.

But the question is, how powerful Google Nexus 7 when it comes to battery life?

Well, apparently, Google’s tablet with its 4325mAh battery is capable to deliver around 9 hours of battery life in mixed usage or moderate use.

So on one full charge to 100%, you can expect to see this tablet last all day of course if you use it mainly for doing some medium to heavy tasks (mostly medium), like for browsing the web with WiFi, playing some random games, reading books or watching HD movies.

But mostly, tablet users are really addictive when they first got the tablet in the beginning. I mean, when they first bought it from the stores.

So they usually will use their tablets in really long hours without resting the screen at all, like for playing games or watching movies in marathon.

So in this condition, the longevity of Google Nexus 7’s battery life will decrease drastically to probably around 4 to 6 hours, maybe less.

How about Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7?

According to various sources across the net, I found that Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 could only survive around 7 hours and 30 minutes in mixed usage, which is less than Google Nexus 7’s achievement in the same condition.

That’s probably because this Amazon’s tablet is only powered by a smaller battery capacity compared to what’s inside Google Nexus 7 (4325mAh).

So if you love playing games on Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7, you’ll probably get a slightly less reliable battery life than Google’s tablet, especially when deployed with some graphically demanding games like Dead Trigger or Asphalt 7: Heat.

However, it’s worth noting that Amazon’s first-gen Kindle Fire tablet has gained a lot of great reviews over its battery life.

Mostly thanks to Amazon’s brilliant decision to shrink down the full-fledged Android UI into a light-weight UI, which strips down all the main elements and features found on the stock Android OS.

And this really makes it lighter in size, smoother in overall performance, plus more efficient with the use of battery.

So you can basically expect the same thing on the sequel model, Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 (especially given how this tablet still inherits the same light-weight Amazon-customized UI).

This tablet will surely last all day long in moderate use.

But of course, f you are a hardcore type of user and you use this Amazon’s tablet for doing some heavy intense tasks without stopping, then you only expect to see it last probably around 3 to 5 hours, maybe less maybe more, depending on what type of tasks you’re throwing at it.

Between the 2, I think I have to side on Google Nexus 7 in this review.

And that’s clearly because Google Nexus 7 is armed with a power-hungry processor and the stock Android UI with all of its features, and yet it still lasts longer than Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7, which only deploys a very light weight UI on its software.

My Personal Opinions

Well, between Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7, I think both tablets really excel in their own category.

I mean, Google Nexus 7 is definitely major in gaming and also great in some other departments like design, software, features and of course battery life.

Meanwhile, Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 is also not too shabby at all for a low-end budget tablet under $150.

It has the same screen sharpness as Google’s tablet, it has a simple-to-use UI, it has a much easier access to buy new contents directly from Amazon web stores, and last but not least, it’s also pretty good in battery life, if not the best.

However, when compared with Google Nexus 7, I think it’s very obvious that Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 is just slightly slow in the race against Google’s tablet, especially in performance department.

ts dual-core processor and PowerVR SGX540 GPU are just no competition here against Tegra 3 processor and 12-core GPU found inside Google Nexus 7.

And that’s proved by how this Amazon’s slate really suffers a lot when handling some graphically-demanding games like Asphalt 8: Airborne or Modern Combat 4, which both run perfectly on Nexus 7.

However, for today’s standards, I think both tablets are just NOT up to par with other 7-inch rivals on the market right now, like HP Slate7 Extreme, HP Slate8 Pro, Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 or Xiaomi MiPad.

And these devices have way more powerful performances than Nexus 7, especially for gaming.

So even if you decide to buy Google Nexus 7 (which has the best gaming performance in this review), it’s still not as powerful as today’s gaming tablets in 7-inch category.

And you won’t be able either to play one of the heaviest and biggest Android games like GTA San Andreas, which would run slow in medium and especially highest graphics.

But then again, as a tablet priced below $150, I still think Google Nexus 7 is worth buying in that price range.

It may not have the microSD card slot or a rear-facing camera.

However, with that good level of gaming performance, this Nexus 7 can be pretty enjoyable to use even as a gaming device.

On the other hand, Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 is definitely not really ideal anymore as a gaming tablet.

It has a weak performance for gaming, it has NO microSD card, it has NO rear-facing camera and its UI is really lacking in terms of features and visual presentations, although mostly of Kindle Fire fans don’t mind using this simple-to-use UI as their daily drivers to buy contents from Amazon.

But for a tablet under $100, I strongly recommend you to add more cash to your budget so you can get a much better option like HP Slate7 Extreme, HP Slate8 Pro, Xiaomi MiPad 7.9 or maybe Nvidia Shield Tablet.

To sum up this review, here I will answer some of the questions I’ve previously asked above (in Introduction section).

Which one between Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire 7 HD that has what it takes to be a better gaming tablet in this review?

Of course, Google Nexus 7. It's just more superior for playing heavy games.

Which one is a better tablet in the whole aspect?

I personally would pick Google Nexus 7 as the best all-rounded tablet in this review. The reason is simple.

It may not have microSD card slot or a rear-facing camera (just like Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 by the way), but with Tegra 3 processor, you can do a lot of things with this device, especially for playing heavy games.

On the other hand, Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 can be considered as a weak performer in this review.

It suffers incredibly when thrown with games like Asphalt 8: Airborne or Modern Combat 4. So it’s basically useless for playing today’s Android games.

Not to mention, Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 also has NO microSD card and rear-facing camera (just like Nexus 7.

So added with that weak gaming performance, this tablet is basically useless in the long run.

Is it worth it to buy Google Nexus 7 instead of Amazon Kindle Fire 7 HD?

Yes, definitely. Under the price range of $100, I think Google Nexus 7 has a lot to offer than Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7, especially in terms of performance and features.

And Google’s tablet actually has a nicer looking design than the weird design of Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7.

Pros and Cons

Google Nexus 7 (2012)

Pros:
  • Regular software updates from Google
  • Powerful gaming performance
  • Super smooth experience with stock Android UI
  • Great battery life
  • Good build quality
Cons:
  • NO microSD card slot
  • NO rear-facing camera
  • Some users experienced that this Nexus 7 tablet became laggy over the time especially when the internal storage is loaded with many files
  • For today’s standards, it’s not so powerful anymore for playing heavy games
Amazon Fire HD 7 (2014)

Pros:
  • Pretty good spec sheet for its low price point
  • It has a rear-facing camera
  • Good battery life
  • Feels comfortable to hold on our hands
  • Simple to use and doesn't require any complicated learning curves
  • Easy payment system
  • Cheap to buy
Cons:
  • Not a full-fledged Android UI with all of its features
  • Cheap looking design
  • Kindle Fire tablets are not available in many countries outside US and Europe
  • Boring UI


Disclaimer: Hi guys, bear in mind that this is not some in-depth review. This is Read more...
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