Amazon's Kindle Fire HD or the Microsoft Surface RT?

Yesterday, Amazon announced new Kindle devices one of which may give Microsoft's Surface RT a bit of competition. The Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch is due to ship on November 20th and start at $299 and top out at $599 (64GB 4G LTE model).  The Surface RT is rumored to become available at the end of October and pricing is still a mystery.

The Kindle Fire HD will sport an 8.9" 1920 x 1200 touchscreen at 254 PPI (there's also a 7" model that starts at $199). The tablet is powered by a TI OMAP 4470 processor and Imagination SGX544 graphics engine. You have a few options to choose from with the Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch. There is the 16GB and 32GB models with Wifi as well as 32GB and 64GB models with 4G LTE.

The interesting thing with the 4G LTE models is that Amazon will offer a 250MB monthly data plans for $49.99 per year. You may not think that 250MB is a lot of data for a tablet but if you manage things carefully and use Wifi when possible, it might be just enough.

So how does this all impact the Microsoft Surface RT? For starters if you're wanting 4G connectivity, the Surface won't have that feature initially. The Surface will have a slightly larger screen at 10.6" but at a lower resolution (rumored to be 1280x720 139 PPI but could be as high as 1366×768--Microsoft has not confirmed). The Surface RT models have either 32GB or 64GB and will have the advantages of GPS and NFC.

The two devices are very similar and may take some of the wind out of the iPad dominance. Amazon is a respectable company that is putting a lot of support and effort behind the Kindle line. For those not familiar, think of how Nokia is promoting the Lumia Windows Phone line with exclusive content and you'll come close to the efforts Amazon is putting behind the Kindle.  On the other side of the coin, Microsoft isn't a slouch in promoting their products either.

Which is better? It may be a tougher call than you think and may come down to personal needs and budget.  I can see the Kindle Fire HD being very attractive if the Surface RT comes in at $500.  If we see the Surface RT start at $199 then the decision could get a little more difficult.

Given the choice, which would you choose? Or is this more an apples/oranges comparison?

George Ponder

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.