Great Debate: Kindle Fire or iPad: Which one should you buy?

Moderated by Lawrence Dignan | November 28, 2011 -- 07:00 GMT (23:00 PST)

Summary: Tablets from Apple and Amazon are competing for our attention this holiday season and beyond.

Violet Blue

Violet Blue

Kindle Fire

or

iPad

Jason Hiner

Jason Hiner

Best Argument: Kindle Fire

Closing Statements

Kindle Fire will go to everyone else

Violet Blue

A lot of consumers will see their shopping choice between iPad and Fire - and I think we'll see one winner: The Kindle Fire.
For people that don't have money to burn, it will definitely be one over the other. Also, the Fire does some things so fabulously that getting a pricey second iPad is much less appealing.

The iPad is the size of a dinner plate (the Fire is 2/3 the weight and smaller); it's physically fragile (the Fire can be dropped and doesn't scratch); Apple's app market is censored; it's too expensive; it will never replace a real laptop for writers and content creators; and you're stuck with fighting for bandwidth in high traffic areas.

The iPad is trying to be *everything* - and the Kindle Fire isn't an iPad. The Fire shows that a slick content consumption tablet doesn't have to be any of the things I just listed.

iPad will stay with retail businesses, content consumers with money to burn, Apple product and OS natives, and technologists that inherently can do more with the iPad than the average consumer.

The Kindle Fire will go to everyone else.

Families will pick the Fire because it's inexpensive, scratch-proof, drop-proof and kids really love it.

And Amazon is making it very desirable for its Prime customers. What if Apple had a version of Prime, and for a small flat fee ($79) you could have thousands of movies and TV shows in iTunes streamed for free? Or a paid app a day (and not the cheap ones, either)? They don't.

At $199, the Kindle Fire is the clear winner. You can get two for the price of one iPad and it doesn't ever feel like you're settling for less. The Fire is $300 cheaper than the entry-level iPad and $630 less expensive than the 64GB model with 3G. 

iPad, if you really want a tablet

Jason Hiner

The Kindle Fire is a light computing device for entertainment and shopping.

If you have any intention of using a tablet for getting work done, regular web browsing, editing or creating documents, regularly writing emails, managing projects, educating yourself, or connecting to corporate meetings, then you should bypass the Kindle Fire and go with the iPad.

The iPad is a more complete product, much more of a laptop replacement, and has a far greater catalog of third party apps. It's those apps that allow the iPad to do so much more than the Kindle Fire, including a much larger selection of business apps, educational software, and games.

The $199 price tag of the Kindle Fire looks great, but if you're primarily going for an e-reader than I'd recommend the e-ink Kindle Touch for $99 because it's much lighter, easier on your eyes, has much longer battery life, and just offers a more pleasant reading experience.

If you really want a tablet, then get one that can actually do a few things and keep you away from a computer. That's the iPad.

Kindle Fire, because price matters too much

Lawrence Dignan

The debate was hard fought---largely because there isn't an obvious answer.

Hiner argued that business productivity and more use cases made the iPad a winner. Blue argued that price and integration with Amazon services was king. Ultimately, I can see the Kindle Fire in the enterprise---it already has a few productivity apps. If you assume the Kindle Fire benefits from consumerization, then Hiner's case is partly negated.

In the end, I'll have to go with Blue. Price matters too much, but Apple could easily counter with a smaller iPad.

Talkback

421 comments
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  • RE: Great Debate: Kindle Fire or iPad: Which one should you buy?

    Kindle Fire I can use without PC, iPad need iTurn
    xu2z
    Reply Vote I'm for Kindle Fire
    • RE: Great Debate: Kindle Fire or iPad: Which one should you buy?

      @xu2z You don't need iTunes anymore with IOS5 its all done over the air. I have both the Fire and iPad...very different with some overlap. Thinking Fire 2.0 could be a real contender. If $'s an issue Fire is a no brainer.
      schuelerd
      Reply Vote I'm Undecided
    • No PC needed...

      @xu2z iOS5 removed the need for a PC. All you need is a free iCloud account and your iPad will be backed up to the cloud and activated there too.
      rfnajera
      Reply Vote I'm for iPad
      • RE: Great Debate: Kindle Fire or iPad: Which one should you buy?

        @rfnajera
        iCloud is not free (you have mixed Apple with Google, Google is the one offering free services...)
        AdnanPirota
        Reply Vote I'm for Kindle Fire
      • RE: Great Debate: Kindle Fire or iPad: Which one should you buy?

        @rfnajera if you buy an iPad today and take it home, charge it up and switch it on you will be confronted with an iTunes logo and a picture of a USB plug. It has to be plugged to iTunes. Probably 'cos it didn't ship with iOS5. So your utopia is not yet here, and frankly I wouldn't be surprised if this situation prevails when iOS5 is pre-installed. 230 MByte download anyone ?
        philaaa7
        Reply Vote I'm for Kindle Fire
      • RE: Great Debate: Kindle Fire or iPad: Which one should you buy?

        @AdnanPirota,

        iCloud is indeed free. You are the one that is confused. There is no cost in signing up for an iCloud account. A 5 GB of iCloud storage is included with all accounts. The 5GB storage does not include any content that is purchased through Apple's iTune store. It only cost you money if you want more than 5GB of online storage. All of its syncing services are free.
        makelvin
        Reply Vote I'm Undecided
      • RE: Great Debate: Kindle Fire or iPad: Which one should you buy?

        @makelvin So it's just the rest of the iOS proprietary walled-in ecosystem that routes the Dyson to your wallet. got it.
        At least as long as you have less than 5 gig. Then you still have no choice for cloud service - like it or leave it.
        Ah, America. Our founding fathers would roll in their graves if they saw this kind of "I don't want any choices, or rights, I'll take what you give me, and be oh-so-content.". Land of the free, home of the... no, we won't go there.
        Sigh.

        Enjoy your contentment, for all that it costs you. Justify away.
        geolemon
        Reply Vote I'm for Kindle Fire
      • Amazon's ecosystem is closed, too

        @geolemon: so it is strange that you make an argument of it in favour of Kindle Fire.

        And, despite being "closed", Apple has the biggest media library among any content provider, and both Kindle and Nook media libraries (except for limited exclusives) available for iPad.
        dderss
        Reply Vote I'm for iPad
      • RE: Great Debate: Kindle Fire or iPad: Which one should you buy?

        @adnanpirota Where did you get the idea that it's not free? iCloud is indeed FREE (5GB)!
        Yuniverse
        Reply Vote I'm for iPad
      • RE: Great Debate: Kindle Fire or iPad: Which one should you buy?

        @rfnajera Indeed, you are correct and @AdnanPirota is blowing smoke. iCloud IS free.
        plawler
        Reply Vote I'm for iPad