Fire vs. Plus
Fire vs. Plus
The Kindle Fire is on the left. Note the square shape compared to the Tab Plus' rounded edges, which is typical of Samsung tablets today.
Whats in Back?
The Fire is enclosed in a black, matte rubbery finish, while the Plus is in metallic-gray plastic. You'll also note the Fire lacks a camera. The Plus has a modest 3 megapixel camera in the rear and a 2 megapixel shutter in the front for video chat.
The Plus has five customizable home screens with widgets everywhere courtesy of Samsung's TouchWiz UI. The Fire has its own special UI, featuring most recently accessed applications. There are no customizable widgets, though.
You'll note the Fire and Plus share a lot of apps in common, including Facebook, Netflix and more. However, Amazon uses its own Android Appstore to fuel its Fire, while the Plus taps Google's Android Market.
Here is Facebook on the Fire vs. Plus' Social Hub, which integrates Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and email in one streamlined view.
Netflix, which was just redesigned for tablets such as the Kindle Fire and Nook tablet, played well on the Fire after we downloaded it for free from the Appstore.
Netflix on the Plus
Netflix also fared well on the Plus, whose speedier processor made watching streaming video more fluid than on the Fire, which suffered some latency.
Video Streaming Options
Netflix isn't the only streaming option. Fire, which came to us already synched to our Amazon Prime account, includes a tab for Amazon Instant Video, which provides access to more than 5,000 free Prime flicks and TV shows. Plus offers Samsung's Media Hub for movies and TV, but not for free.
Access to Books
It wouldn't be an Amazon tablet if it didn't offer access to books as the Fire does via its Books tab. Plus offers access to book titles via the Google Books app, which is preloaded on Honeycomb tablets.
Access to Magazines
Kindle Fire calls its magazine app Newsstand, while Plus offers users access to Next Issue Media's magazine-reading app.
Tabs Compile Bookmarks, Recent Site Visits
Both slates offer tabs for most recently visited Websites and bookmarks. Fire uses Amazon's proprietary Silk Web browser, while the Plus uses Google's open-source Android Webkit mobile browser.
Google Search on Both Tablets
Surprise, both tablets use Google for search.
Which Will Win?
At the end of the day, the Plus wins this head-to-head matchup versus Amazon's first Fire tablet because its features are superior. But most consumers are going to jump on the Fire this holiday season for the price alone, which will likely help Amazon sell 5 million Fires. Who knows how many Plus Samsung will sell?