The Kindle Fire Keeps Up With the iPad 2 When Web Browsing, Beats It Hands Down At Netflix Video Streaming [Video]



After months of anticipation, Amazon’s $199 Kindle Fire started shipping yesterday, but even since its unveiling critics have been labeling it a worthy iPad competitor. Its pocket-pleasing price tag coupled with its terrific user interface could make it the first tablet to really give the iPad something to worry about.

But how does it stack up to Apple’s device in terms of performance? Well, at less than $200, none of us expected the Kindle Fire to really match the iPad 2’s speed, but as you’ll see in this video comparison, it does a fantastic job of keeping up while browsing the web, and it’s significantly quicker and streaming Netflix videos.

The video was put together by our friend Jeff over at iDownloadBlog, and while it’s in no way scientific, it does demonstrate the Kindle Fire’s abilities. Jeff compared both devices’ boot-up times, web browsing speeds, and Netflix streaming performance, and I think you’ll be pretty impressed by the iPad’s newest rival.

As you can see, the iPad does leave the Kindle Fire way behind in boot-up times, but when it comes to web browsing, Amazon’s debut slate does a great job of keeping up — likely thanks to that new Amazon Silk web browser. As Jeff mentioned, it’s also worth noting that the Kindle Fire is loading Flash, whereas the iPad isn’t (obviously). I bet with Flash disabled, the Kindle Fire would be even faster.

When it comes to Netflix video streaming, the Kindle Fire is significantly quicker at loading up the movie. But again, it’s worth noting that the device is running the latest Netflix app — with the new user interface — which could improve its speed. The iPad 2 is still running the old Netflix app.

Personally, I’m very impressed by the Kindle Fire. I don’t think the boot-up times will be much of an issue, because who really turns off their tablet completely? I know it won’t compete with the iPad when it comes to gaming and running power hungry apps, but it does the basics incredibly well.

  • gareth edwards

    even for the price, I couldn’t live with the scrolling on the Fire and the screen seems to require a bit of mashing to get actions to respond some times.  The speed at which Fire accessed the movie was NOT as amazing as I thought it would be reading the lead-in.  A second or 2 difference won’t make me look at the Fire and think it’s got the iPad beaten, esp. when comparing a new app vs. old.

    All things aside though, for the money it’s very good, you can’t really compare it to the iPad but against the other DroidTabs it’s gonna, in the immortal words of Kelly LeBrock, ‘kick arse.’

  • Ian1175

    I agree with you buddy it just don’t look as responsive as the iPad not by a long shot.
    But as you rightly say for a couple of hundred its definitely the best your gonna get.

  • VGISoftware

    From a “pre-owner” point of view for both, I’d tend towards the larger tablet for viewing clarity and for potentially superior ease of use of the larger UI. Can’t overlook the huge advantage of the Apple “ecosystem,” either. The iPad3 will also most likely best both for performance.

  • brian burke

    Thanks for the video comparison. A couple points. I just realized with your video that no flash on the iPad can actually make browsing faster by not loading the nonsense ads. It just hit me. I always thought of it as a negative, but here’s another aspect of it…faster page loads. Nice! The Fire scrolling and keyboard looks dreadful. It’s not ready for prime time. Whenever an Apple competitor joins the ranks, it really highlights how great Apple design is.

  • Kellyjhamlin

    Thank you for the comparison.  When looking to purchase for the grandchildren, the Kindle Fire makes financial sense for one from the 99%.

  • 300AShareMakesMeSmile

    All it means is that the Kindle Fire “is good enough” for those unwilling to buy a higher-quality iPad.  That’s just settling for less.  For those consumers that only require “just good enough” Amazon will grab that tablet market share.  Only time will tell how large that market share will amount to and if it stifles iPad growth.  The Kindle is merely a delivery system for Amazon content and if that’s what consumers want, that’s exactly all they’ll get.  It’ll be interesting to see if Amazon can sell three million Fires by the end of the year.  I’d say it’s likely.  However, I’m not really sure if Fire purchasers will give Amazon a steady cash flow for new content.  Android device users have a tendency to be cheapskates, so that remains to be seen.

  • Demonstr8r

    This title is so misleading, and the reviewer did a terrible job. To say that the Kindle Fire kept up with the browsing of the iPad is utterly wrong, not to mention the scrolling is terrible on the Kindle Fire.

    And to say that the Kindle Fire hands down beats the iPad at video streaming is also entirely incorrect and misleading. What you are really comparing is the video start times of the new Netflix app released for Android and the older Netflix app still on iOs.

    Users definitely care about a few seconds difference in loads times when reading a web page, but the same is not true when viewing a 2 hour movie. Comparing the video streaming quality has much more relevance.

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  • Jordan Clay

    What I’ve noticed so far is that on Apps like Pulse where there is a lot of data streams that need to be refreshed the Kindle is freaking Amazing.  Blazing fast, no hiccups. 

    I think it is faster loading Netflix too.  But the quality of the picture just isn’t there.  I could sacrifice a little quality for speed when watching some short 2 min segments on CNN or what have you,  but if I want to watch a movie or tv show I don’t want a grainy image.

  • Jordan Clay

    Financially you can’t beat it.   Everything bad I thought I would hate about the Kindle, isn’t so bad.   I.e. the screen size, user interface.    For the grand kids, who want to read a few books, play a few games, surf the internet…it is the hands down winner.  If you want a MASSIVE selection of games, content creation tools, and have an always connected and working lifestyle…iPad

  • David de Vedia Minero

    All I’m saying is; When was the iPad 2 released? and When was the Kindle Fire released? As soon as the new iPad 3 is released (Which should happen soon) I’m sure it will beat the Kindle Fire in all aspects (Even though the iPad 2 already does this in many ways).

  • TheMacAdvocate

    First of all, nice title. Can you guys go without the linkbait for a day?

    Second, the Fire “keeps up with” the iPad? Discount the Flash loading all you want, it’s a factor in the browsing experience. Let’s see how many users think their device is “keeping up” with the iPad after their 9th scroll attempt is met with a frozen screen, as depicted in 3:36 – 3:42 (ironically while the narrator is talking about not “seeing a huge difference” between the 2 devices). Never mind that the scrolling in the Fire’s loaded state is like watching movement through a picket fence.

    As for Netflix beating the iPad “hands down”, were you talking about the app loading? I guess not. How about the tap response and text input to search? I guess you weren’t talking about that either. You must be talking about the :03 advantage the Fire has once you finally get to press “play” on both devices. Bravo. Also, let’s see how this comparison goes when the new version of Netflix is released.

    The Fire is a $199 device. No matter how many out-of-context or flat-out wrong headlines you want to manufacture, the Fire acts exactly like a $199 device, web browsing and Netflix included.

  • MacGoo

    Already have an iPad 2, so this isn’t going to make me run out and buy a KF. That said, the Netflix load time is impressive – but that may very well be Netflix’s doing, not the devices. The interface is most likely not the only thing that changed – Netflix is sure to have updated the backend to the most current code as well. Apples to oranges comparison – let’s revisit this test when Netflix releases the new interface for the iPad 2.

  • Guest

    The Kindle Fire has NO parental controls.  Do you really want your grand kids surfing the internet with no parental controls? 


    All the video did was persuade me to recommend a discounted refurbished or discounted previous generation iPad over the Kindle Fire to cost conscious shoppers.  Scrolling looks to be a stuttering mess.  Every review I’ve read, besides this one, has conveyed the Kindle Fire to be nothing short of painful.

    Those deciding to go with the Kindle Fire would be wise to turn off Flash, as it will drain your battery and poses a security risk.  Adobe’s recent decision to cancel Flash mobile only augments the security risk, as it means holes will likely not be receiving timely patches.

  • Robert X

    “Every review I’ve read, besides this one, has conveyed the Kindle Fire to be nothing short of painful.”

    I concur. Every one, even over at Ars.

  • Robert X


  • Sasebastian

    I wasn’t aware the ipad 2 has that big of a metal bezel around the screen. Looks like 1st gen ipad to me.

  • BT Hathaway

    My new Fire hasn’t displayed a full website yet. Yesterday it kept coming up completely blank and this morning neither ESPN or the NYTimes would fully load. They have a lot of work to do.

    In addition, I find the Fire very difficult to hold with one hand. The “soft” plastic back is actually quite slippery, and with such a small bezel on the front, there isn’t much room to wrap my thumb around the front without grazing the touch screen and inadvertently flipping pages.

    Despite the extra weight, my iPad 2 is much easier to hold in one hand when I need to so for reading. Jobs and Ive knew what they were doing when they chose the iPad size and bezel configuration.

    As for the rest of the Fire, it seems to work except that the screens are a little jerky and slow. Not bad for $200.00 I suppose (as a content viewer, not as a browser) but it feels a lot like a version 1 product.

  • Alexander0530

    Wow, netflix videos are blazing fast on the kindle fire. So does that mean that a 2hr movie will be done in 30 minutes on the kindle fire? Lol.

  • sir1jaguar


    I received my kindle fire yesterday and using it now…

    It’s a great and awesome gadget for the price…

    I have the iPad 2, hp touchpad and SAMSUNG galaxy tab 10.1 and I will tell all of you that the fire is much easier to use and very portable…

    So, buy it for the family – kids and wifey will love it…

  • Evan Benford


  • Don Pope

    Who cares about the boot time of a tablet. Tablets are meant to be on all the time.

  • twix4o8

    weird, i didnt know the 1st gen ipad had a front facing camera.

  • John Howell

    Cool, but as I can’t buy one outside the US, I don’t care.

  • AvoidDroid

    No thanks.

  • Mark Robbins

    No parental controls on the silk browser is a HUGE issue for parents considering the Kindle Fire. On my previous kindles I could download a book and send the kids up to their bedroom to read it without any worries (previous kindles had “experimental browsers” but they were low resolution black and white versions that were not nearly as capable as the full-fledged silk browser). 
    The problem is that now with the silk browser, your kids can go to YouTube or worst and Amazon is not giving parents any way of controlling that internet access. (According to Amazon CS they do not have any way to disable or even password protecting the silk browser)   I’ve owned 6-7 kindles over the years and I just ordered 3 kindle fires for my children- now I am considering returning them for 3 much more expensive and capable iPads.