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Amazon is on fire. The Seattle-based giant recently refreshed its popular Kindle Fire tablet, introducing a small army of new Kindle Fires ranging from the 7" Kindle Fire HD for $199 to the 8.9" Kindle Fire HD for $299. (The latter even has a 4G LTE option for $499.)
And while competition is great for the consumer, more selection can potentially complicate your tablet purchase, now that you have two very strong mainstream 7" tablets battling for your $199. Below we compare the Google Nexus 7 to Amazon's latest 7" Kindle Fire HD to find out which tablet is king of the $199 price point.
By comparison, Engadget has already reported some noticeable lag during their initial hands-on with the Kindle Fire HD. To be fair though, it was just that — an initial hands-on experience, and not a full review. Nevertheless, the Fire's dual-core CPU could potentially prove weaker than the Nexus' quad-core CPU, which has already impressed the folks at CNET.
One other advantage to the Nexus 7 is that it's not ad-subsidized, whereas the entire new Kindle Fire line incorporates ads. Amazon conveniently didn't mention ads during the announcement, but PC Mag and other outlets pointed out the new feature. This might have inspired Amazon to announce over the weekend that it will let users opt out of the ads for an additional $15.
Priced at an unprecedented $159 (that's $10 under our July prediction), the Kindle Fire SD is the least expensive mainstream tablet we've seen. And this is no rehash; the Kindle Fire SD received some updates including 40% faster performance, double the memory of the original Kindle Fire, and better battery life. This tablet is best suited for first-time buyers who don't want to invest too much on a tablet.
However, the biggest reason to hold off on buying a new tablet is Apple. The iPad maker is expected to announce an iPad Mini come mid October. Although the iPad mini is expected to retail at $249, its announcement could trigger a string of price cuts on today's $199 tablets. Should the iPad Mini turn out to be vaporware, Microsoft is expected to unleash its Windows 8 tablets on or around October 26. Combined, all this tablet competition is putting pressure on retailers and manufacturers and that means one thing — deals. And that's just what every tablet shopper wants to hear.