In this comparison we’re going to be comparing the iPad mini with Retina Display that starts at $399 and the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9” that starts at $339. The latter is a tablet but it falls into the eReader category whereas the iPad mini is as powerful as a laptop.

Regardless of the unfair playing table for these two tablets, many people still want to know how they fair against each other. Not necessarily how they fair when it comes to processing power but how they fair with normal internet browsing and email needs.

Basically the question for these two tablets is this: “If I need a large mobile tablet for emails, watching Netflix and YouTube, reading ebooks, browsing the internet and casual gaming, is the Kindle Fire HDX going to do it for me?” Of course you could substitute yourself with a spouse or a child, but either way the question is going to be similar.

**Note we’re going to refer to the iPad mini with Retina Display simple as the iPad mini and the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 simply as the HDX. Despite complications with long and annoying names it seems that Amazon, Google, Apple, and virtually every other manufacturer is intent on using them.

Design and Weight

Kindle Fire HDX on the left. iPad mini with Retina Display in the center. Credits: Gizmag

The iPad mini has a 7.9” screen whereas the HDX has an 8.9” screen. There is definitely plenty more screen size with the Kindle but design-wise it fails short with its wide bezel.

Some tablet users like large bezels because it helps them block out their background while watching movies. But the majority of people, including myself, do not like wide bezels because they are simply not necessary. Holding a tablet with wide bezels is also frustrating because you have to lean your thumbs in further when tapping things on-screen.

The HDX measures 9.1 x 6.2 x .31 inches while the iPad mini measures 7.9 x 5.30 x 0.29 inches. Whereas the iPad mini Wi-Fi model weighs 11.67oz, the HDX weighs 13.2oz. Nothing too spectacular going on here though. The HDX is light considering that it is wider and longer.

Display

The HDX’s 8.9” screen is arguably better than the iPad mini’s because it has a pixel density of 339ppi with a resolution of 2560 x 1600. The mini on the other hand has a 7.9” display with a pixel density of 326ppi and a resolution of 2048 x 1536.

The display of the HDX may be a little bit better but honestly any advantage it holds with its resolution is diminished by the large bezel around it.

Battery Life

Both of these tablets have great battery lives. When streaming Netflix on Wi-Fi with 75% brightness the iPad mini lasts 10 hours and 50 minutes whereas the HDX lasts 10 hours. With day-to-day use you’re probably not going to be able to tell which battery is better.

Camera

The HDX comes with an 8MP rear camera and an HD front facing camera, whereas the iPad mini comes with a 5MP rear camera and HD front facing camera. This doesn’t tell you too much about the actual quality of each tablet’s camera though. Because in reality the iPad mini’s photos are much better.

There aren’t any tests photos that compare these two tablets’ cameras but it is undisputed that the iPad mini’s camera is better. But just like the iPad mini’s battery life is only 50 minutes more when testing with Netflix, it’s unlikely that the camera would be any better percentage-wise. If you’re an average user then either tablet’s camera is going to be fine for your needs.

Processors and RAM

While the iPad mini comes with a Apple A7 64-bit dual core CPU running at 1.3GHz, the HDX comes with a 32-bit dual core CPU running at 1.5GHz. As it stands today the iPad mini’s processor is much better than the HDX. Handling graphic intensive and resource hungry games or apps is best with the iPad mini.

In two years from now the iPad mini will still handle many games and apps well but the same can’t be said for the HDX. The HDX is going to become outdated much more quickly because it doesn’t come with a lot of power to begin with.

Price and Storage

Apple offers the iPad mini Wi-Fi model in four different sizes: 16GB for $399, 32GB for $499, 64GB for $599, and 128GB for $699. If you want to get any of these models with cellular capabilities as well then you need to spend an extra $130.

Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX 8.9” comes in three different sizes: 16GB for $379, 32GB for $429, and 64GB for $479. If you want an HDX with cellular capabilities then you can only get one in 32GB or 64GB sizes, and they cost an extra $100 when compared to the Wi-Fi models.

Conclusion

Even if the HDX is on sale for 10% off (which it often is), it’s not worth getting over the iPad mini with retina. The wide bezel is a deal breaker. Not to mention that the HDX runs on Kindle’s operating system. Android and iOS are full-fledged operating systems that you can rely on for important apps and high-quality games. Kindle on the other hand is known as an eReader and its app variety is scarce.

If you’re going to pay $379 for a Kindle Fire HDX 8.9” you might as well spend an extra $30 and get the iPad mini. Because in the long run you’ll be able to use iOS apps and ebooks you purchased across iPhones and iPads. When you buy apps and other content on the Kindle Fire HDX you can’t really use it on your iPhone or other iOS device.