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Amazon Fire Tablet vs iPad: What's the right tablet for you?

Both the Amazon Fire Tablet and the iPad are two of the most popular tablets on the market, but which one is right for your situation?
Written by Maria Diaz, Staff Writer
Reviewed by Min Shin
Amazon Fire Tablet and iPad next to each other on blue and gray background

When you shop for a tablet, you'll encounter different brands and options. But narrowing these down largely depends on what and who you're shopping for. Whether you choose an Amazon Fire tablet or an Apple iPad in the end, our hope is to help you be completely satisfied with your choice, as this is the start of a beautiful partnership: That between a user and their tablet.

Also: How to turn your old Fire tablet into an Echo Show

These two tablet manufacturers couldn't be more different. Comparing the best Amazon Fire tablets to the best iPads is akin to comparing grapes to blueberries; they're both a type of fruit and could look similar, but the insides offer completely different experiences.

You should buy an Apple iPad if...

Appel iPad Pro 2022 on wooden floor
Jason Cipriani/ZDNET

iPad models compared

iPad models iPad Pro 12.9-inchiPad Pro 11-inchiPad AiriPad MiniiPad 10th GeniPad 9th Gen
Storage 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB64GB, 256GB64GB, 256GB64GB, 256GB64GB, 256GB
Display size 12.9 inches11 inches10.9 inches8.3 inches10.9 inches10.2 inches
Display type Liquid retina XDRLiquid retina Liquid retinaLiquid retinaLiquid retinaRetina
Resolution 2732x20482388x16682360x16402266x14882360x16402160x1620
Chip M2M2M1A15 Bionic chipA14 Bionic chipA13 Bionic chip
Main camera 12MP, up to 4K video12MP, up to 4K video12MP, up to 4K video12MP, up to 4K video12MP, up to 4K video8MP, up to 1080p
Rear camera 12MP12MP12MP12MP12MP12MP
Battery life Up to 10 hoursUp to 10 hoursUp to 10 hoursUp to 10 hoursUp to 10 hoursUp to 10 hours
Finishes Silver, space graySilver, space graySpace gray, starlight, pink, purple, blue Space gray, starlight, pink, purpleBlue, pink, silver, yellowSilver, space gray

1. Your tablet doubles as your computer

Though a tablet tends to be the perfect mix between a phone or a computer, if you're looking for one that offers the power of a small computer with the portability of a tablet, then the iPad is the better choice. The 2022 iPad Pro in particular is the not only the fastest iPad to date, thanks to the M2 chip, but you can also choose from storage options of 125GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB or 2TB, and it supports the hover feature of the Apple Pencil (2nd generation). 

Also: How to take notes on your iPad with an Apple Pencil -- 3 very simple ways

This upgrade from previous models translates into up to 35% faster graphics performance, letting you edit anything from photos in Photoshop, to videos using DaVinci Resolve. All of these features come with a price tag to match, however, with the price of the iPad Pro starting at $1049. 

Review: iPad Pro (2022)

Though the top Fire tablet model, the Fire HD 10 Plus, only comes with 32GB or 64GB of storage, it can be extended by up to 1TB. Even so, its octa-core 2.0 GHz processor and 4GB of RAM are not as powerful as the iPad Pro's performance.

2. You prefer a more beautiful display

We know Apple makes notoriously beautiful displays, and the iPad lineup is no exception. Though the resolution across all models varies from one to the next, even the smallest model, the iPad Mini, has a higher resolution display, at 2266 x 1640 pixels, than the best Amazon Fire tablet, at 1920 x 1200 pixels. 

Also: The best large-screen tablets money can buy

If you'll be using your tablet to watch movies or videos, and a great resolution retina display is more your preference, any of the iPad models will be a good choice.

3. You enjoy the Apple ecosystem

Having an iPhone doesn't mean you have to get an iPad when you're shopping for a tablet. But having the two can make for a smoother, even more enjoyable experience.  

Also: iPhone or Android slow or buggy? Do this one simple thing every week

When you have more than one Apple device using the same Apple ID, you begin your journey into what Apple likes to call its "ecosystem." Inside, two or more Apple devices interact with you and each other, making for a seamless experience in transferring data from one to the other, like media, and beginning work in one and finishing in the other. 

Though I have my gripes with Apple -- ahem, Siri -- I admit working seamlessly with my MacBook, iPhone, iPad, and iMac is pretty remarkable. 

Also: How to use Siri to take photos with your iPhone

Taking photos and videos with my iPhone that will be immediately available to edit in my iMac certainly makes for an easier workflow, for example. 

You should buy an Amazon Fire tablet if...

Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus tablet
June Wan/ZDNET

Fire Tablets compared

Fire Tablet Amazon Fire HD 10 PlusAmazon Fire HD 10 Amazon Fire HD 8 PlusAmazon Fire HD 8Fire 7
Storage 32GB, 64GB, expandable by up to 1TB32GB, 64GB, expandable by up to 1TB32GB, 64GB, expandable by up to 1TB32GB, 64GB, expandable by up to 1TB16GB, 32GB, expandable by up to 512GB
Display size 10.1 inches10.1 inches8 inches8 inches7 inches
Display type 1080p LCD touch display1080p LCD touch displayHD LCD touch displayHD LCD touch displayStandard definition touch display
Resolution 1920x12001920x12001280x8001280x8001024x600
Procesor Octa-core 2.0 GHzOcta-core 2.0 GHzHexa-core 2.0GHzHexa-core 2.0GHzQuad-core 2.0GHz
Main camera 5MP, up to 720p5MP, up to 720p5MP, up to 1080p2MP, up to 720p2MP, up to 720p
Rear camera 2MP2MP2MP, up to 720p2MP, up to 720p2MP, up to 720p
Battery life Up to 12 hoursUp to 12 hoursUp to 13 hoursUp to 13 hoursUp to 10 hours
Finishes Slate with soft-touch finishBlack, denim, lavender, oliveGrayBlack, denim, roseBlack, denim, rose

1. You want wireless charging

If you're a fan of wireless-charging your devices and are looking to do the same with a tablet, I hate to tell you that the iPad has yet to adopt the technology. The Plus lineup of Amazon Fire tablets, however, does support wireless charging. 

Also: The 5 best wireless charging pads: Never fumble with cables again

This includes the Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus and the Fire HD 8 Plus, and you can also buy an accompanying dock for each. And though you can use other compatible Qi wireless chargers, putting your Fire Plus on the dock switches it to Show mode, where you can ask Alexa to make video calls, play a video or music, and deliver the latest weather updates, like you would an Echo Show

2. You want a more affordable tablet

The biggest differences in features between the iPad and Fire tablets result in the latter having a significantly lower price than the entire lineup of Apple's iPads, by a lot. The most expensive Fire Tablet, the Fire HD Plus, without lockscreen ads and with the highest internal storage of 64GB is priced at $195, while the most inexpensive iPad, the 9th Generation iPad, starts at $330 (though discounted often). 

Also: Looking for a cheap tablet? Our top picks are under $400

This means that you can get a mid-range Amazon Fire tablet like the HD 8 Plus, for $80, and a simple seven-inch tablet, like the Amazon Fire 7, for only $60.

Do consider, however, that this translates into the Amazon Fire tablets having fewer high-end features, a slower processor, less resolution, lower RAM, and lower-quality cameras.

3. You don't want to worry about kids breaking it

Amazon has a line of dedicated kids tablets that come with one year of Amazon Kids+ content and a kid-friendly case for protection. The Fire tablets also feature a strengthened aluminosilicate glass that makes it considerably harder to break than the iPad's screens.

I can't tell you how many times my kids' Fire tablets have withstood them literally standing on them or stepping on them when they're on the floor, while my iPad's screen was completely shattered after using a cheap keyboard case for a couple months. 

Also: The best tablets for kids, according to actual parents and parenting experts

Sure, you can get your kid a 9th Generation iPad with a protective kids case, but the screen replacement through Apple could end up costing the same as the price of a Fire tablet.

Alternatives to consider

Open to other tablet models aside from the Amazon Fire tablets and iPad? Consider these ZDNET-recommended options:

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is comparable to most Amazon Fire tablets, with a similar price point. 

For more performance power with high portability, the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 is an alternative to a laptop for the price of the iPad Pro 12.9 inches.

More of a mid-range option between the S6 Lite and the Microsoft Surface Pro 9, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra has a beautiful AMOLED display and comes with an S Pen

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