Amazon Fire 7 vs Amazon Kindle: Which is the better device?
The Amazon Fire 7 and the Amazon Kindle have a common form factor, but they are two completely different beasts. One is a traditional tablet, while the other is a dedicated device meant for reading. The Amazon Fire 7 (2022) is the newest edition in Amazon’s tablet lineup, bringing several notable improvements such as a faster chipset, double the RAM, improved battery life, and hands-free Alexa. While Amazon hasn’t updated the base Kindle and the Oasis since 2019, it did refresh the Kindle Paperwhite line last year with the introduction of the Paperwhite 11th Gen and Paperwhite Signature Edition. The new models bring key upgrades like a bigger and better display, faster page turns, a USB-C port, wireless charging, and longer battery life.
The Fire 7 and Amazon Kindle can both be used for reading books and PDFs. But which one is the better device? Which is better for avid readers? On the technical merits, the Kindle is, of course, the best device for reading, but you may want to consider other factors before making the final call. Here’s what you need to know.
Design and Portability
The Amazon Fire 7 (2022) and the entry-level Kindle are on the same footing when it comes to design. The Kindle Fire 7 looks like it’s coming straight out of 2015. It has the same design as its predecessor, featuring a plastic build and chunky bezels that goes against the trend of an edge-to-edge display.
The base Kindle doesn’t look too different as it has fairly sizeable bezels and an all-plastic design. Both also don’t have waterproofing properties. The Fire 7 has a USB-C port, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a microSD card. The Kindle, on the other hand, uses the microUSB port and doesn’t have an audio jack or SD card slot.
Both the Fire 7 2022 tablet and the Kindle are comfortable to hold and easy to carry around. However, the Fire 7 is a bit heavier at 288g than the base Kindle (174g) and the Paperwhite 11th Gen (205g).
LCD vs E Ink: Which screen is better for reading?
The display is the biggest differentiator between the Fire 7 (2022) and the Kindle. The Fire tablet has a 7-inch LCD panel with 1024 x 600 resolution that works out to 171 pixels per inch. The display is fairly small and low-res by 2022’s standards. The Kindle 10th Gen features a 6-inch E Ink display with a pixel density of 167 PPI. Although both devices are close in terms of display size and pixel density, the display technology they use is totally different.
Kindle’s low-power E Ink display is ideal for displaying text and looks and behaves like real paper. Unlike an LCD or OLED panel, an E Ink screen is glare-free, so whether you’re reading in direct sunlight or a room, the display remains as readable as a printed page. E Ink displays don’t have a backlight; instead, they rely on the ambient light from the environment — in the same way, physical books require an external light source. The better the lighting conditions, the clearer and brighter the E Ink display will appear. For nighttime reading, all Kindle e-readers come with a built-in front light which is easier on the eyes than backlit LCDs and OLEDs. The Paperwhite 11th Gen and Kindle Oasis also have Warm Light, which allows users to change the light color from white to amber for a more comfortable reading experience.
The Fire 7 2022 has an LCD panel, which is great for watching videos and photos and playing games. It has a faster refresh rate (60Hz) and can display a wide range of colors, unlike the monochromatic E Ink display. However, it’s no match for Kinde’s E Ink display when it comes to the reading experience. LCDs are known to exhibit a high amount of glare in sunlight. And since they’re backlit, meaning the light is projected from behind the display, they can be a bit too bright to read at night or in the dark. The Fire 7 2022 is fine for casual reading but may cause eye strain and fatigue when used for extensive reading.
As someone who has read extensively on all devices, including smartphones, laptops, and e-readers, I can tell you that the Kindle is the best device for long reading. I can comfortably read for hours on my Kindle Paperwhite without straining my eyes.
Any Kindle, be it the base Kindle or Paperwhite, will handily beat the Fire 7 (2022) in terms of endurance. You’ll need to charge your Fire 7 every few days, but a Kindle can go on for weeks (not days) on a single charge. The Kindle 10th Gen claims to provide up to four weeks of battery, while the newer Paperwhite 11th Gen can last up to ten weeks. The Kindle’s E Ink display is very energy efficient. It only draws power when you turn to a new page or interact with the screen. It draws virtually zero power when just displaying the text on the screen, and that is rather amazing when you think about it.
The limitations: Why you don’t want to get a Kindle over a Fire 7
Kindle e-readers are dedicated reading devices, and although they have Wi-Fi (and optional cellular) connectivity, they are only used for browsing and downloading books. They’re extremely limited in terms of functionality. You can’t watch videos, play games, or listen to music on a Kindle. That means they are poor candidates for situations when you want one device to cater to a wider variety of your needs. So if you are traveling and just want to carry one device to read and watch the occasional video on YouTube, the Kindle is not what you want.
The Amazon Fire 7 tablet can do just so much more as it runs Fire OS based on Android 11. You can download the free Kindle app from the Amazon App Store and get pretty much all the features that the Kindle e-reader offers, including text highlighting, page bookmarks, the ability to long-press on a word to quickly look up its definition, customize font, and background and so on. While yes, you do lose out on some of the hardware highlights from the Kindle, you can still get lighter reading done. So an hour or two of occasional reading is something you can feasibly do on the Fire 7 too.
To put it simply: the Fire 7 can do about everything a Kindle can, but a Kindle can’t do everything that a Fire tablet can.
The Fire 7 tablet is a jack of all trades. It can do a little bit of everything, letting you stream videos, play games, take photos, play music, and read books. But its display isn’t the sharpest out there, and it’s not the best for reading long novels. If you want a device that can do a whole lot, including a little bit of light reading, then the Fire 7 is what you should consider. You can get a Fire 7 for about $75, or even $60 if you can live with ads on your lockscreen. At that price, it becomes a lucrative option to consider.
If you’re a voracious reader, getting an e-reader like Kindle is a better option than a tablet. The Kinde’s e-ink display is easier on the eyes than an LCD or OLED panel, and your reading won’t be distracted by notifications, emails, and social media as those things don’t exist here. The base Kindle is about $110, and $90 with lockscreen ads, so you lose out on so many tablet features but get excellent coverage as an e-reader instead. For longer and frequent reading sessions, a Kindle is our recommendation.
If reading isn’t a priority, the Fire 7 2022 will be better a buy as it’s cheaper than an entry-level Kindle and more versatile. If the Fire 7 is too basic for you, you can also select from some great iPads and good Android tablets.