And to complete our line-up, we've plumped for the HTC Flyer – another 7-inch tablet that, like the Kindle Fire, is based on a heavily customised version of Android 2.x.
The Kindle Fire runs its own special OS. But it's not been developed from the ground up by Amazon – it's based on Android 2.x, rumoured to be Android 2.2 FroYo. The HTC Flyer also has a heavily customised version of Android – it's based on Android 2.3 Gingerbread. The iPad 2 runs iOS 4 (soon to be iOS 5) and the Galaxy Tab 7.7 runs the tablet-specific Android 3.0 Honeycomb as you can see here:
The Kindle Fire is slated at $199 in the US, which would probably translate to a £199 price point in the UK – although there has been no confirmation of a UK release as yet. As we know, iPad 2 retails from £399 for 16GB, while the HTC Flyer has finally come down to a decent price point for the 16GB version - £329 and up. We don't know a Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 UK price as yet.
Thickness and weight
The 7-inch Kindle Fire is 11.4mm thick, substantially more than the 8.8mm-thick 9.7-inch iPad 2. The 7-inch HTC Flyer is even thicker at 13.2mm. The thinnest accolade goes to the Galaxy Tab 7.7 at just 7.9mm thick. As for weight, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 is the lightest at 335g, the Kindle Fire is 414g, the HTC Flyer is 421g, while the iPad 2 clocks in at 601g for the Wi-Fi version. Here's the Galaxy Tab 7.7:
The Kindle Fire has a resolution of 1,024 x 600 as does the HTC Flyer. The iPad 2 is next in line at 1,024 x 768 (remember that's a 9.7-inch display too) but top of the pile is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 with a 1,280 x 800 pixel resolution 7.7-inch display.
The Kindle Fire and iPad 2 have IPS LCD multi-touch panels, while the HTC Flyer has a capacitive LCD screen. The Samsung Galaxy Tab is the first tablet to feature a Super AMOLED Plus display. It's hugely bright and super clear.
All the tablets are dual-core aside from the HTC Flyer which uses a still-speedy 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon chip. The iPad 2 uses the Apple A5 (below), while the Galaxy Tab 7.7 uses a (probably Samsung) 1.4GHz model. The Kindle Fire has a 1GHz Texas Instruments OMAP chip.
Memory and storage
The Kindle Fire has 512MB of memory, like the iPad 2. However, it only has 8GB of internal memory which by anybody's reckoning is quite poor for a device based around content. The iPad 2 comes in 16, 32 and 64GB variants as does the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7. The Flyer comes in 16 and 32GB memory versions. The Samsung and HTC devices also have 1GB of internal memory.
Camera and video
The Kindle Fire doesn't have a mic or camera – something which a lot of commentators believe is a sizeable hole in the Fire's armoury. All the other tablets are capable of 720p HD video and have front and back cameras. The HTC Flyer wins the day here, with a 5MP rear snapper as shown here:
The Kindle Fire only connects to the web via Wi-Fi, there is no cellular 3G data. All the other tablets are available in Wi-Fi only plus Wi-Fi + 3G versions should you wish. The Kindle Fire is also the only tablet not to support Bluetooth or GPS too. Surely Amazon will need to launch a 3G model at some point.
While the iPad 2 and Samung Galaxy Tab 7.7 cite a battery life of 10 hours, the Kindle Fire says its battery life is 8 hours. The HTC Flyer battery life is "from 8 hours". The Kindle Fire in use:
Obviously the Kindle Fire isn't out in the UK yet, but if it does come here for £199 or so then it will still be a steal. Amazon's problem is if people buy the Kindle Fire expecting the full iPad-a-like tablet experience - they won't get that. The Kindle Fire is a worthy content device, but surely Amazon will need to top-out its range with a full 3G tablet to truly compete with high-end tablets like the iPad 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7.