Despite being a marketer, I am actually pretty anti-consumption. However, this Christmas I decided to finally jump on the tablet craze. Since I am not happy with the things Apple is doing these days and I am an Android phone user, I opted for an Android tablet rather than an iPad.

First I went with a Kindle Fire HD because I love my Kindle eReader and I’m a huge fan of Amazon. However, I was not impressed with the Kindle and returned it.

  • The Kindle Fire HD uses the Amazon Android store rather than the Google Play store.
  • It uses an Amazon browser called Silk that has limited functionality (no flash). Since you can only get Apps from Amazon’s App store, you’re stuck with the Silk browser and flash is also unavailable.
  • The battery life isn’t that great.
  • Every aspect of the tablet tries to sell you something from Amazon. If you do a search for Google Chrome on the App Store, Amazon will try to sell you a book about Google Chrome since they don’t allow Google Chrome on their app store.
  • The interface is weird. It’s a custom Kindle interface that glorifies the Kindle functionality and media but makes it inconvenient to get to Apps.
  • Since you can only get Apps from Amazon, many of the Apps that are important to me on my phone are unavailable.

I understand the Amazon sells the device at a loss and makes it up on content purchases, but I don’t want to spend $400 (between device, warranty, case and screen protector) to be limited by Amazon. Not cool. I understand trying to create an idiot proof and unified user experience, but many users want flexibility and customizability. That’s why we buy Android rather than Apple.

On the plus side, the Dolby Digital sound is really good. And the screen quality is good.

After I returned my Kindle to Amazon, I went to Google and bought the Nexus 7 tablet. It arrived in 2 days and was ready to go out of the box with stock Android. It automatically downloaded all of my Apps from the Google Play store and came with free media content.

Like Amazon, Google makes most of their money from content purchases rather than the device itself. Unlike Amazon, Google only subtly promotes media purchases on the device. Out of the box it comes with a “My Library” widget that can be easily removed.

Since it uses stock Android, all of the apps I know and love were available. It is also thinner, much faster (quad core processor) and has an LTE (4G) Antenna.

Overall it is at least twice the bang for your buck at about half the price of the Kindle Fire HD.

The moral of the story: if you just want to buy digital content from Amazon, get the Kindle Fire. If you want a tablet that does what you need it to do, when you want it to do it, with flexibility and the ability to customize, buy the Nexus 7 from Google.