Amazon Kindle Fire vs. iPad 2: Picking the Tablet That's Right for You

News Analysis: Amazon started shipping the Kindle Fire on Nov. 14. So now it's time to put it up against the iPad 2 to determine which tablet is best for different buyer needs.

Amazon made a surprise announcement on Nov. 14. The online retail giant disclosed that it had started shipping its Kindle Fire tablet a day earlier than expected, pushing up its long-awaited market confrontation with the Apple iPad and other tablet models. Of course, now that the device has launched, tablet buyers and industry analysts will compare the Kindle Fire with every other tablet already on the market or soon to show up on store shelves.

The market is getting so crowded that choosing from all the different tablets is becoming more difficult with each passing month. However, the most important comparison must be drawn between Apple's iPad 2 and the Kindle Fire. Although the devices are very different, they will likely be the top choices among consumers this holiday season. Prospective tablet buyers should know the differences and similarities that make them stand out within the growing crowd of tablet models.

Read this comparison to learn whetherthe Kindle Fire or the iPad 2 is the right tablet to buy this holiday season.

1. Kindle: 7-inch display vs. iPad 2: 9.7-inch display

The first difference consumers will notice about the Kindle Fire and iPad 2 is their screen sizes. Amazon's option comes in at 7 inches, while the iPad 2 features a 9.7-inch display. Those who want to be more mobile might like Amazon's screen, while those who want to read magazines or watch movies will prefer the iPad 2's bigger display.

2. Kindle: 8GB of storage vs. iPad 2: 16GB to 64GB of storage

The iPad 2 offers ample storage, ranging from 16GB to 64GB, while Amazon has been criticized for offering only 8GB of on-board storage in the Kindle Fire. For some consumers, however, that may be enough. But if you have a lot of video, music and other content, you will want to think seriously about choosing the iPad 2.

3. Kindle: $199 vs. iPad 2: $499 and up

Amazon's Kindle Fire is the most affordable tablet on store shelves at $199. Apple's iPad 2, on the other hand, starts at $499 and goes up to $829, making it one of the more expensive options available to consumers. Granted, customers get more with the iPad 2 than they do with the Kindle Fire, but is it enough to pay the higher price?

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...