As an owner of an Amazon Kindle 3 e-reader, for the past year, I was thrilled when Amazon announced the arrival of their newest product, the Kindle Fire. As a Kindle author I’ve published several travel and art books filled with color photos, so I immediately preordered one, waiting anxiously for my new tablet to ship some time the last week of November.
Then, a few weeks later I found an ad for a Vizio 8″ tablet that was on sale for the same price as the Kindle Fire. I couldn’t get the Vizio tablet out of my head. After studying the specs on this tablet, I cancelled my Kindle Fire order and rushed to pick up the last Vizio tablet at my local Walmart.
I wanted to test out the onscreen virtual keyboard and other features before investing in the Vizio, but couldn’t do this, so I agreed to take it home and try it out. I fell in love with it and wanted to keep it, but unfortunately, I picked up a defective model. At first all was well; it was only after I had called a Vizio tech to erase some settings that the device froze up on me.
Disappointed, I had to return it. Rather than find another one at another store, I pre-ordered another Kindle Fire. On a positive note, one day of playing around with the Vizio 8″ tablet gave me enough information about this gadget.
Which is better? It all depends on what you’re expecting from a tablet. Because my Kindle Fire hasn’t yet arrived, I don’t have first-hand experience with the Fire. But from my research I have a fairly good idea of how the two tablets compare.
Advantages of the Kindle Fire
- Smaller size — Although it’s an inch longer and about twice as heavier than the original black-and-white Kindle 3, The Kindle Fire is still lighter and smaller than the Vizio 8″ tablet. The Fire’s dimensions are 7.5″ x 4.8″ x 0.34″ with a 7-inch screen.This is a plus for me as I can easily slide it into my purse pocket. along with my old Kindle.
- Split browser — Because the Kindle Fire has a dual processor or two separate processors, it allows you to multitask, performing more than one job at the same time.
- Easier to access your Kindle books — You don’t have to download any Kindle apps, although the Vizio tablet does have an app for Barnes & Noble’s Nook books..
- Quicker to charge — It takes about four hours to charge the battery, while the Vizio takes six hours.
Drawbacks of the Kindle Fire
- More of an entertainment device than e-reader — It’s not as good of an e-reader as the old black-and-white Kindle. Although you can read eBooks, it still doesn’t compare to the original black-and-white Kindle 3 that has a battery life of an entire month.
- No GPS
- No internal camera
- No SD card slot for more memory — Another disadvantage is there is no slot for adding additional memory. On the other hand, the Vizio Tablet had an SD card slot where you can store up to 32 gigabytes of additional memory.
- Smaller keyboard — The onscreen virtual keyboard is somewhat smaller than the one on the Vizio, making it harder to type.
Vizio 8″ Tablet Advantages
- Higher resolution — The Vizio has a somewhat higher and larger resolution at a 1024 x 768 display, where the Kindle Fire’s resolution is slightly less at 1024 x 600 pixel resolution.
- SRS 3-speaker sound system
- Internal GPS — This was a big feature for me as my husband and I take many overseas trips and we love sitting on the bus, knowing where we’re going and viewing a map. However, it seemed slow.
- Camera included– It has a front-facing camera for video conferencing on Skype and Google conferencing. Although the quality isn’t excellent, the Vizio tablet does contain a built-in camera.
- Universal remote app — Using the universal remote app you can watch movies, games, video chats or enjoy music from your home theater. Its universal remote app controls everything in your home theater, meaning you can use media from your tablet to play on your television screens. However, this feature really didn’t interest me.
- Longer battery life — It has slightly more battery life at ten hours, while the Kindle Fire battery has about seven to eight hours.
Disadvantages of the Vizio 8″ Tablet
- Difficult to type on keyboard — The keyboard can be awkward for typing and once you put in the wrong email address, it’s hard to get rid of it, so you have to call a Vizio tech for help. That’s what happened to me.
- Heavier and bigger
- Only a single-core processor
Both these tablets offer much in the way of entertainment, music, movies and other perks. Again, it all boils down to personal preference. What do you want? If you want more of an e-reader, then the Kindle Fire is probably better, although the old Kindle 3 can’t be beat with its long month-long battery life. But, if you’re looking for more internet features, such as a GPS and camera, then go for the Vizio. Either way, they’re both good ideals for the price, as they’re only around $199.