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Apple Ipad Mini vs Google Nexus 7 vs Amazon Kindle Fire HD head to head review

Mon Nov 19 2012, 14:23

Operating system and software
Like their designs, the Ipad Mini, Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD are all about as different as you can get when it comes to tablet operating systems.

amazon-kindle-fire-hd-carousel-portrait

Of the three, the Kindle Fire HD is the most interesting, running a heavily customised version of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

Unlike regular Android devices that feature window focused user interfaces, the Kindle Fire HD's home screen is separated into two main sections, with a carousel taking up most of the device's screen space.

The carousel is used to navigate the Kindle Fire HD's menus, letting you scroll through your recent content. Content is organised into 12 sections that can be switched between using a menu bar lining the top of the Kindle Fire HD's user interface (UI).

While all this sounds great, it makes the Kindle Fire HD feel completely different from any other tablet we've ever experienced and as a result, a little more difficult to navigate. This isn't helped by the fact that the UI is missing a number of key features.

For example, there's no settings button on the home screen, instead the menu is accessed by swiping down from the top of the screen to access notifications, and then clicking the +More button on the right.

Small changes like this make the Kindle Fire HD interesting but ultimately frustrating to use, especially when compared to the infinitely more user friendly IOS 6 and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating systems.

Picking between the Nexus 7's Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and Ipad Mini's IOS 6 operating systems is far more difficult, with the answer to which is better largely depending on which ecosystem you're already embedded in.

For those with an Iphone and a Mac, the Ipad Mini's IOS 6 operating system is great.

Apple iPad Mini front

Apple's IOS 6 originally arrived on the Iphone 5 and increases Apple's Icloud integration features. It makes setting up the Ipad Mini a doddle, while the increased Icloud integration also makes sharing data between a Mac computer and Ipad Mini far easier.

One of the most useful perks we noticed is in the Safari web browser, which can be set up to automatically open web pages loaded on a Mac computer it is synchronised with. Testing the Ipad Mini we found the feature was useful when attempting to conduct research on the move, allowing us to continue researching an article we'd began working on at home when commuting to the office.

That said, not all the features are positive. Apple has removed a number of key Google services, like Google Maps from IOS 6, replacing it with its own Maps app. The removal of Google services is to the operating system's detriment, as Apple Maps is terrible, regularly sending us to the wrong location and getting locations mixed up.

 

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