This is a comparison between the Kindle Fire and the Nook Color. I will be doing a separate post later comparing various Kindle e-ink readers.
To start off – let me explain that I have only had the Kindle Fire for 6 days – but have spent about 20 hours testing apps, browsing the Amazon store, downloading and watching movies, and reading a book on it.
I have had the Nook Color for several months and have browsed the Barnes & Noble store, read a couple of books and tested numerous apps on this device.
Both are available for $199 at this point in time.
I’m not going to get into the technical aspects of each device – how much they weigh, memory, speed, etc. There are a huge amount of reviews and posts out there that can provide you this information. What I am going to do is provide you with my thoughts from an average user’s point of view.
The Nook Color is a great device. I absolutely love it. The colors are sharp, the interface is easy to use. Downloading apps and books is quick and easy.
The overall device is nicely built. The feel of it in my hands is great. The rounded edges are very comfortable. I like being able to turn the device on and off with the physical button on the upper left hand side. The volume buttons on the right side are nice and can be found by touch in the dark (the sound is very good on the device too). I even like the “upside down ‘n’” button.
The quick information bar at the bottom of the screen is very useful. I like seeing the time and battery level at all times. I do a lot of screenshots and rely on it telling me when the screenshot has been saved. (Speaking of screenshots – it is so easy to take them using the n button and the down volume button).
Email is easy to set up and use. Browsing the Barnes & Noble store is very quick. Browsing the internet is also very quick. Most pages come up quite quickly.
I have not spent a lot of time rearranging my books and apps. It is nice to be able to drag them around the bottom of the main screen. I have not bothered trying to arrange items into shelves – so cannot speak to that.
Reading a book was very nice on the Nook Color. Page turns were smooth and I was able to turn pages with either my left or right hand without any problems. Changing fonts, screen brightness, colors – all very simple to do without reading the directions. Using the dictionary is as simple as touching the word you want to look up. The weight did get tiring and I had to prop the Nook against something when reading for long periods of time.
Being able to add a micro SD card is a big advantage. You can easily up the needed memory by purchasing an additional card. You could even have multiple cards to swap out if you really needed – just don’t try and write on them or lose them – they are very tiny!
The absolutely best thing about my Nook Color are wallpapers and live wallpapers. I spend a lot of time on these and love being able to do what I would like to (change pictures, view slideshows, create items). Users of Nook Colors and Nook Tablets have also expressed great interest in wallpaper apps and I have tried several from different developers and can see infinite possibilities for wallpaper development. Of course, live wallpapers are the reason I have never bothered setting up shelves. Why bother when the wallpapers are so much better?
The Kindle Fire is also a great device. I have really enjoyed working on it this first week.
I do find it interesting that the Nook Color is turned on with a swipe from left to right and the Kindle Fire is turned on with a swipe from right to left. They just want to confuse me.
The Kindle Fire was not as intuitive as the Nook Color at first. It took me a while to figure out how to find the settings and get it set up. Once I got familiar with it – things became easier to use.
The design of the device is no frills – but it is very nice looking. Not as fancy as the Nook Color – but it has very clean lines. It “feels” heavier than the Nook Color and the edges are not rounded – but overall it is well designed. My one complaint about the overall design is the physical power button being on the bottom of the device. When reading a book last night, I found that the device would be turned off by my fingers bumping the bottom of the Kindle Fire or if I rested it against a hard surface.
The flow from portrait to landscape mode is very smooth. I have not had that work very well on my Nook Color – so was making myself dizzy reading from different modes to test it out. I still need to look at the ability to lock the mode – because shifting around in bed can cause the reading mode to also shift.
Reading a book was very easy on the Kindle Fire. Like the Nook Color – it is too heavy to read one handed for long – so I had to prop the device or hold it in two hands. Maybe it is me – but it had a hard time recognizing taps from my left hand compared to my right hand. The right handed taps would turn the page. The left handed taps would bring up controls. Speaking of controls – very easy to change font sizes, brightness, colors, etc.
Again – I found searching the Amazon store easy to do off the device. I also found browsing the Internet easy to do. There was not really any appreciable difference between the Kindle Fire and the Nook Color browsing experience.
Since I have a free month of Amazon Prime - I scrolled through the various free offerings available to me. I don’t really watch much television, but might test this out more to see if it will be worth subscribing to Amazon Prime for a year (another post will probably come from that). I did rent and download Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the download was quick and watching the movie was easy.
The big downsides I can see on the Kindle Fire is the inability to change your wallpapers without rooting the device and the inability to take screenshots without setting up a development portal. I was able to load pictures on my Kindle Fire by using my USB cord from another Kindle – but could not see any easy way to do it with the charging cable that comes with the device. It is a one piece cable and cannot connect to the computer. The Nook Color is a two piece cable that allows for both charging and connecting to a computer.
Things to consider
Ultimately – I don’t think you can go wrong with either device. Right now the Amazon store has more android apps (although not all of them will work well on Kindle Fire) – but the apps for the Nook Color are increasing at a great pace. My guess is they will end up being fairly comparable after several months.
Amazon does have the benefit of easily watching movies and downloading and listening to music. I haven’t experimented with the Cloud aspect of the Kindle Fire – but it might make up for the lack of storage expansion.
Battery life was fairly comparable. Some things drain the battery faster than others. Of course, I almost always have my charging cables along so I never have a “power emergency” to deal with.
If you have not had either a Kindle or a Nook device before – try them out in a store and do some research. If you do already have another Kindle or Nook device – you will probably want to stay in the same family in order to be able to use your purchases across devices.
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