On Wednesday, Amazon unveiled its newest Kindle Fire tablet, the Kindle Fire HDX. Samsung joined the tablet-announcement chorus on Thursday, with an announcement of the release date and price of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition. Let's take a quick sneak peak and see how they stack up.
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The Kindle Fire HDX comes in two sizes - a 7-inch and an 8.9-inch model. We'll compare the hardware specs, display, and other features of the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HDX to the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 in order to get a better sense of the advantages and problems each tablet presents compared to the other.
The Kindle Fire HDX comes with a 8.9-inch display at its largest, but has a pretty incredible screen resolution on its HDX-branded display. It sports a super High Definition 2,560 x 1,600p resolution, which results in a 339 pixel per inch density.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 for 2014 comes with the same 2,560 x 1,600p super HD display, but on the 10.1-inch display that only comes to about 300ppi. The Kindle Fire HDX also has a new trick up its sleeve that puts it over the Galaxy Note 10.1 (unless you must have a 10-inch display): using a unique algorithm, the HDX takes note of the ambient light level and dynamically adjusts the contrast for increased visibility in bright settings.
The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9-inch is also 34 percent lighter than the Kindle Fire HD, coming in under a pound at only 13.55 oz. The weightier Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 is 1.18 lbs. Still, the Kindle Fire HDX carries the larger bezels that Amazon likes on its Kindles, so the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition ends up only being about half an inch taller and wider, and both tablets are just as slim, at 0.31 inches.
Both tablets are powered by one of the latest in Qualcomm's Snapdragon lineup, the quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 system on a chip, which features an Adreno 330 GPU. The Kindle Fire HDX's main chip is clocked to 2.2GHz, while the Galaxy Note 10.1's LTE model has a 2.3GHz processor.
The Galaxy Note 10.1 features 3GB of RAM, while the Kindle Fire HDX still has 2GB. Like the Galaxy Note 3, some versions of the Galaxy Note 10.1 will feature Samsung's Exynos 5420 instead of the Snapdragon chipset.
Powering the Kindle Fire HDX is an unspecified, and non-removable, battery that Amazon says will bring up to 12 hours of use. Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 model will have a non-removable 8,220 mAh battery that hasn't been rated for time, but even with a 10.1-inch screen, such a mega-battery should be sufficient. We'll have to wait for benchmarks on these just-announced devices to be sure.
The Kindle Fire HDX comes with an 8-megapixel main camera and a secondary camera that can shoot 720p. That's almost identical to the Galaxy Note 10.1's 8-megapixel main shooter, with a 2-megapixel front-facing camera that can shoot a little better, at 1080p at 30 frames per second. Camera specs don't matter as much on tablets though, because who's going to hold up a huge slate to take pictures? Oh, wait, too many people do already.
OS and Extra Features
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition will come with Android 4.3 with TouchWiz and lots of the other Samsung software that the Galaxy Note 3 was unveiled with. It's fitted with the same S Pen, whose capabilities have been beefed up to make it a multi-tasking monster.
The Kindle Fire HDX, meanwhile, comes with Fire OS 3.0 - a heavily customized version of Android. The new Amazon Android "Mojito" OS includes better second-screen features that make it easy to watch videos through the TV. Amazon's biggest new feature is interactive video "Mayday" tech support, which allows specialists to log into your tablet and fix a problem on request, 24/7, at the touch of a button.
If that sounds creepy, Amazon tries to address that feeling in this incredibly subtle web video ("I can't see you, but Hi!")
Release Date and Price
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition has a release date in the U.S. of October 10. Pre-orders will begin on Friday at some retailers. For the 16GB version of the WiFi-only tablet, you'll have to pay $549.99. For the 32GB variation, it's $599.99 (and both are microSD expandable up to 64GB more).
The Kindle Fire HDX is considerably cheaper. The most expensive 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HDX starts at $379, while the 7-inch with lower-powered specs starts at $229. 4G version of the 8.9-inch model costs closer to the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1's price range, though still below it, at $479. You'll have to wait until December 10 for the LTE model to be released though.