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Google Nexus 7 vs Amazon Kindle Fire HD head-to-head review

UPDATED: With identical 7in displays and £159 starting prices, we put these Android-based devices to the test.

Hardware and Performance

Both devices pack high-end components despite their modest price. The Nexus 7 is powered by NVIDIA's Tegra 3 quad-core chip running at 1.3GHz and this is paired with 974MB of RAM. Users can choose between 16GB or 32GB of internal storage. Originally an 8GB model was available, but this has been discontinued.

In comparison, Amazon has kitted out the Kindle Fire HD using a 1.2GHz dual-core processor made by Texas Instruments. This is accompanied by 770MB of usable RAM. Like the Nexus, users can choose between 16GB or 32GB of internal storage.

There are no memory expansion slots available on either device. This isn't too much of a big deal as content can be moved to a PC to free up space. With both Amazon and Google also placing an emphasis on cloud-based content you shouldn't run out of space too quickly even if you opt for the 16GB device.

Both devices only ship with front-facing cameras also - so they can be used to make Skype video calls.

So how do they perform? We ran two synthetic benchmarks on both devices testing everything from CPU and memory read/write capabilities through to 3D graphics performance. The Nexus 7 came out top in both benchmarking tests by a clear margin.

Google Nexus 7 vs Amazon Kindle Fire HD - Performance benchmark

Overall, these results are unsurprising. We expected the Nexus 7 to blitz the benchmarks as it has twice the number of processing cores and 200MB more RAM than the Fire HD. And it's not just the benchmark where you see the difference. The extra grunt in the Nexus means that real-world performance feels snappier and we found it better suited to running demanding apps and web browsing.

Winner Nexus 7

The Nexus is shipped with better internal specifications and these translate to faster real-world performance.

Productivity

Neither device is marketed as a replacement for a laptop - they are both designed to be multimedia companions. However, it is possible to get enterprise related content on both devices such as email.

On the Nexus it's straightforward to set up your email just plonk your settings into the pre-loaded client and then connect.

In terms of security, the Nexus 7 can be encrypted manually and Android Jelly Bean supports VPN's out-of-the-box. The device can also be locked in a variety of ways using a pin, pattern, password or your face.

With the Kindle Fire HD you can set up Exchange email just as easily.

Surprisingly, the Kindle Fire HD also has some enterprise friendly features. It can be connected to an administrator account, secure credentials can be installed and VPN apps can be downloaded so you can connect your organisations network. Users can also set up a lock-screen password and USB debugging can be disabled.

One of the best things we like about both tablets is that you don't have to connect either to a PC to get started. Both devices are synced to their respective Google/Amazon accounts. Of course, you can connect the devices to your PC to move content, if you wish.

Winner Nexus 7

It's a close call in this category as the Kindle Fire HD almost matches the Nexus feature-for-feature. However, with on-board encryption and better security settings, the Nexus wins.

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