Since the iPad Mini 2 was unveiled in October, businesses and industry commentators have been obsessed with the question of how it will compare to its key rival, the Google Nexus 7.
This focus has led many potential buyers to overlook another key Android competitor challenging the new Mini – the Amazon Fire HDX. The latest Kindle Fire falls in the same size bracket as the iPad Mini and has a few custom Fire OS 3.0 Mojito software features that could appeal to business buyers.
iPad Mini 2: 200x135x7.5mm, 331g
Kindle Fire HDX: 231x158x7.8mm, 374g or 186x128x9mm 303g
The Kindle Fire is available in 7in and 8.9in versions. Both are slightly thicker than the iPad Mini, with the 8.9in measuring in at 7.8mm thick and the 7in an even chunkier 9mm. The two Fire HDX tablets are also confirmed to mainly be made of polycarbonate, not metal. This means the Mini will likely be more robustly built and feel more top end in hand.
iPad Mini 2: 7.9in, 2048x1536, 326ppi Retina display
Kindle Fire HDX: 8.9in, 2560x1600 pixels, 339ppi display or 7in 1920x1200 323ppi
The 2013 Mini is the first small-form tablet from Apple to come loaded with Retina display technology. However both the 8.9in and 7in versions of the HD feature fairly impressive displays that also break the 300ppi count. In the past we've found picking between tablets with 300ppi-plus screens fairly difficult and are guessing any difference will be negligible.
iPad Mini 2: iOS 7
Kindle Fire HDX: Fire OS 3.0 Mojito Jelly Bean, customised
Kindle Fire tablets all run using a very heavily customised version of Google Android. The HDX series is no different with both versions coming with Fire OS 3.0 Mojito Jelly Bean preinstalled. At its heart, this is a heavily customised version of Android Jelly Bean.
The iPad Mini comes loaded with iOS 7. At first glance this makes the iPad Mini look more enterprise friendly, with iOS to this day remaining blissfully malware free and boasting a host of productivity features. However, for its latest version, Amazon has added a few useful business-focused features that make it on paper similarly enterprise friendly. These include Exchange ActiveSync support for corporate email access, encryption of the user partition of the device to secure data, support for Kerberos authentication and a native VPN client.
iPad Mini 2: A7
Kindle Fire HDX: Quad-core 2.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800
The iPad Mini comes loaded with the same A7 chip used in the iPad Air and iPhone 5S. Apple made a big deal about the A7 chip at the Mini's unveiling, claiming that it will offer users radically better performance. Having tested the chip on the iPhone 5S and Air we did notice an improvement. However, being powered by a quad-core 2.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 the Kindle Fire is also fairly powerful and could very well match the Mini's performance.
iPad Mini: 5MP iSight rear and 1.2MP HD FaceTime front
Kindle Fire HDX: 8MP autofocus rear, LED flash, 720p front
The Mini comes with the same 5MP rear camera as the Air, which was fairly average when shooting in regular light. For this reason, we're thinking the Fire's higher-specced 8MP rear snapper may offer users superior image quality.
iPad Mini 2: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
Kindle Fire HDX: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB
The Apple iPad has more storage options, but is more expensive than the 7in version of the Fire. The WiFi-only 16GB Mini costs £319. Moving up the scale the larger 32GB, 64GB and 128GB versions cost £399, £479 and £559 respectively. Pricing for the 7in Kindle Fire HDX starts at £199.
iPad Mini 2: 10 hours
Kindle Fire HDX: 12 hours
The Kindle Fire is listed to last two hours longer than the iPad Mini. Check back for a full review soon for accurate battery times once we've had the chance to test them. Based on previous battery tests of iPads and Kindles, we'd expect Mini to outlast the Fire HDX, despite the quoted figures.
On paper the Apple iPad Mini and Amazon Kindle Fire HDX both have a lot to like about them. The iPad has a more compact and potentially better built chassis, while the Kindle Fire HDX offers a more diverse and affordable set of options to business buyers. As a result, we're putting our hands up in the air and admitting it's too early to say which is the better choice for businesses.
Check back with V3 later for full reviews of the Apple iPad Mini and Amazon Kindle Fire HDX.
By V3's Alastair Stevenson
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