\r\n\r\nWith the holiday season fast approaching us, it\u2019s the battle of the lower-priced tablets with Amazon\u2019s Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble\u2019s Nook Tablet that are both coming out next week.\u00a0 With the popularity of tablets increasing, more and more companies are adding tablets to their model range, as they try to compete with Apple\u2019s heavy share of the market thanks to their iPad 2. So as both come into the tablet game with reasonable prices and reputable specs, here\u2019s the lowdown on how each measure up.\r\nSize\r\n\r\n\r\nAmazon\u2019s Kindle Fire is sized at 7.5" x 4.7" x 0.45" (190 mm x 120 mm x 11.4 mm), while the Nook Tablet is just slightly larger, coming in at 8.1\u201d x 5.0\u201d x 0.48 \u201c (201 mm x 128 mm x 13.2 mm). Really, not much of a difference between the sizes so it\u2019s a tie here. Interestingly, the Nook Tablet is actually lighter than the Kindle despite being a tad bigger. The Fire weighs 16.6 ounces, while the Nook comes in at 14.1 ounces. This can probably be because of the Nook\u2019s use of plastic for the bezel.\r\n\r\nWinner: It\u2019s a tie here. They both are small and light, making it easy to hold, browse and read with one hand. The specs are so close that even though one is bigger and lighter, they both look as if you\u2019d be able to travel with them and have no problems fitting them anywhere.\r\nAppearance\r\n\r\n\r\nThe Nook sports an \u201ceasy-to-hold soft touch design,\u201d while the Fire is said to be designed from the ground up and looks a bit like the Blackberry Playbook or the first-gen Galaxy Tab with its sleek, black design.\u00a0But if the Nook Tablet is made like the original Nook Color (and it looks like it\u2019s true) then the bezel of the Nook Tablet will feel a bit flimsy (and can actually bend back and forth if forced hard enough). In all truth, the Nook Tablet seems pretty identical to the Nook Color, except that it\u2019s lighter, thinner and features a lighter-colored plastic.\r\n\r\nWinner: The Kindle Fire just looks as if it\u2019s built more solid and we\u2019re not feeling that plastic bezel on the Nook, either. The Fire\u2019s sleek, black design also provides more of a sophisticated look to a tablet that\u2019s under $200.\r\nDisplay\r\n\r\n\r\nBoth tablets feature 7-inch touchscreens, with high-res 1024 x 600, 169 pixels per inch (PPI) displays. On paper this is the same, but that doesn\u2019t mean they both share the same exact parts.\r\n\r\nBarnes and Noble is claiming that its Nook Tablet has the \u201cworld\u2019s most advanced VividView touchscreen\u201d that allows for remarkable clarity and minimal glare. The display is also fully laminated with no air gaps, which gives way for that aforementioned claim on clarity and reduced reflection. And since the Nook Tablet\u2019s first use is for e-reading, the anti-glare is important for those who like to read both outdoors and indoors. It also sports adjustable fonts so that you can customize your reading experience, boasting: 8 text sizes; 6 font sizes; and the ability to change background colors, line and margin spacing.\r\n\r\nThe Kindle Fire sports a multi-touch display with IPS (in-plane switching technology - same tech found in the iPad 2) for extra-wide viewing angle, as well as some anti-reflective specs. The display is also chemically strengthened to be \u201c20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic,\u201d making it pretty durable and resistant to scrapes and scratches.\r\n\r\nWinner: For readers, the Nook Tablet wins hands down for its adjustable fonts, but the Kindle Fire takes the cake since it boasts more features like an IPS panel, making it a better overall display for a tablet.\r\nOperating System\r\n\r\n\r\nBoth boast Android-based operating systems with Android 2.3 \u201cGingerbread.\r\n\r\nWinner: Tie since they\u2019re both Androids.\r\nProcessor & RAM\r\n\r\n\r\nMuch like how they share the same display specs, both tablets actually run 1GHz TI OMAP 4 dual-core processors, providing fast and powerful performance for multi-tasking on the tablet. However, the Nook Tablet has 1 GB of RAM compared to the Kindle Fire\u2019s 512 MB. But this doesn\u2019t necessarily mean that the Nook Tablet is faster since performance is a combo of many things (including software) and they still share the same dual-core processor.\r\n\r\nWinner:\u00a0Based soley on specs the Nook wins this battle. \u00a0However, something tells us the Kindle Fire might be faster in terms of real world testing, though that claim is unfounded at this point.\r\nWeb Browser\r\n\r\n\r\nThanks to Amazon Silk, the Kindle Fire has ultra-fast web browsing. Silk is a cloud-accelerated browser that uses a \u201csplit browser\u201d architecture, which leverages power and speed from Amazon\u2019s Web Services cloud. Oh, and it supports Adobe Flash Player, too! The Nook Tablet sports enhanced web browsing that is said to be \u201clightning-fast,\u201d which means you can get books under 10 seconds. And since it\u2019s built for speed, you can switch between books, movies and games effortlessly.\r\n\r\nWinner: Amazon Silk is pretty cool, so the Kindle Fire takes it here.\r\nStorage\r\n\r\n\r\nFor on-device storage, the Kindle Fire has 8 GB, which is enough for 80 apps, plus 10 movies, 800 songs or 6,000 books, says Amazon. The Nook Tablet has a bit more with its 16 GB built-in memory (that\u2019s up to 10,000 books), but can add up to 32 GB with a microSD memory card, resulting in 48 GB. But even though there\u2019s no SD slot on the Kindle Fire, it does offer free cloud storage for all Amazon content, which sort of makes that low memory problem not a problem anymore since you can store all your Amazon digital content in the cloud and retrieve it at a touch of your finger.\r\n\r\nWinner: The cloud service provides the Kindle Fire a win on this one. Even though you can store more on the actual device with the Nook Tablet, that cloud service allows you to store EVERYTHING without it sucking up memory on the Kindle Fire.\r\nApps\r\n\r\n\r\nBecause the Kindle Fire taps into the that cloud service it includes Amazon\u2019s Web Services, Prime, Kindle, Instant Video, MP3 and the AppStore. The Amazon MP3 Store has more than 17 million songs, which you can stream your music library form the Amazon Cloud Drive or download them to your device to listen offline. Book worms can buy practically everything in the Kindle Store that offers more than 1 million books, in addition to more than 2 million free, out-of-copy, pre-1923 books. Oh, and for those that get a Prime membership ($79 a months for free two-day shipping, instant movie and TV show streaming and more), they can also access thousands of books through the Kindle Owner\u2019s Lending Library.\r\n\r\nThe Nook Tablet has some apps of its own that are pre-loaded like games and other favorites, while it has 2.5 million book titles. It also includes free trials of music services like Rhapsody, MOG and Grooveshark, while Pandora comes pre-loaded. It also comes pre-loaded with Netflix and Hulu Plus so that you can start watching HD movies and popular TV shows, with each including free trials. However, you can\u2019t download from the Android app market.\r\n\r\nWinner: Amazon\u2019s Prime service provides a bit of an edge here, but that\u2019s for those willing to pay and who use Amazon for practically everything. Besides, Amazon\u2019s AppStore has actually been developed to rival that of the regular Android market so it\u2019s pretty in-depth. Those who are book worms might like the larger selection of books that the Nook Tablet provides, but we still pick the Kindle Fire as the Winner for this battle.\r\nWireless Connectivity\r\n\r\n\r\nThe Nook Tablet has wireless connectivity via Wi-Fi (802.11b\/g\/n) and free Wi-Fi in all Barnes & Noble stores. The Kindle Fire has supports public and private Wi-Fi networks or hotspots that use 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, or enterprise networks with support for WEP, WPA and WPA2 security using password authentication. However it does not support connecting to ad-hoc (or peer-to-peer) Wi-Fi networks.\r\n\r\nWinner: Tie again!\r\nCamera and Video\r\n\r\n\r\nNeither actually feature camera and video extras, but the Nook Tablet does boast a built-in microphone, so that you can record narration for kids\u2019 Read and Record books. While it may not mean most to many, it can become useful when hacked, but this is for experts only.\r\n\r\nWinner: The Nook Tablet all the way, especially since it can be hacked and can make VoIP calls possible.\r\nBattery Life\r\n\r\n\r\nThe Nook Tablet might be able to provide a better battery life over the Kindle Fire with 11.5 hours of reading time and 9 hours of video playback with WiFi off, while the Fire has 8 hours of continuous reading and 7.5 hours of video playback with WiFi off. But, of course, battery life will vary based on wireless usage and more. \u00a0It's worth noting that neither company has posted the mAh for each respective device.\r\n\r\nWinner: The Nook Tablet wins on this one if their claims are exact.\r\nCarriers\r\n\r\n\r\nNiether tablet has wireless connectivity beyond WiFi, so this battle is moot. \u00a0However, we might see a 3G version of the Kindle Fire in the future, since Amazon's other Kindles have supported this connectivity.\r\n\r\nWinner: n\/a\r\nPrice\r\n\r\n\r\nThe Kindle Fire will go for $199, while the Nook Tablet will sell for $249. But for that extra $50 bucks, you\u2019ll get a better display, dedicated apps for Netflix and Hulu Plus, and free in-person support at any Barnes & Noble store.\r\n\r\nWinner: Amazon\u2019s Kindle Fire is $50 bucks cheaper, which can make all the difference this holiday season given the economy.\r\nOverall Winner:\r\nKindle Fire\r\nSize Winner: Tie\r\nAppearance Winner: Kindle Fire\r\nDisplay Winner: Kindle Fire\r\nOperating System Winner: Tie\r\nProcessor & RAM Winner: Nook Tablet\r\nWeb Browser Winner: Kindle Fire\r\nStorage Winner: Kindle Fire\r\nApps Winner: Kindle Fire\r\nWireless Winner: Tie\r\nCamera and Video: Nook Tablet (thanks to a mic)\r\nBattery Life Winner: Nook Tablet\r\nCarriers Winner: n\/a\r\nPrice Winner: Kindle Fire\r\n\r\nThe Kindle Fire. \u00a0It seems to be packed with some quality goodies for such a low price compared to the Nook Tablet. It comes with a free month of its Prime membership service, which might be just enough time to really grab enough attention to keep of an entire year. But for those looking for a cheap, but good tablet, the Kindle Fire is definitely the way to go.