Just in time for Black Friday, Amazon’s Kindle Fire ships to customers on Tuesday, Nov. 15 for $199, and the Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet will be in stores for $249 later this week.
Both tablets are competitors, along with the $199 Kobo Vox released last month, in the 7-in. color touchscreen e-reader category, making them low-cost alternatives to the bigger iPad 2, which starts at $499.
The Kindle Fire holds 8 GB of memory, 512 MB of RAM, and an eight-hour battery life. It also offers users a lending library that holds 5,000 titles.
The Nook Tablet (an upgrade of the Nook Color, which was released last year) holds 16 GB of memory (and a microSD card slot that can accommodate up to 32 GB of extra storage), 1 GB of RAM, and has battery of up to 11.5 hours.
Both have the same resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels and are Wi-Fi only (with no 3G or 4G options). Both tablets also offer free cloud storage, with the Nook Tablet syncing to the Nook Cloud service and the Kindle Fire using Amazon Cloud Drive.
The Kindle Fire does not support EPUB files, and the Nook Tablet will not support AMZ files. Also, neither tablets support Sony or Microsoft’s eReader file formats.
Aside from comparing specs, many electronics reviewers say one of the most important pieces of advice for consumers is to find out the return and repair policy for each tablet as many retailers offer service plans at a cost.