By Will Shanklin April 23, 2013 14 Pictures Gizmag compares the specs (and other features) of Samsung's Galaxy Note 8.0 and Amazon's Kindle Fire HD 8.9' The iPad still rules the tablet roost, with both versions handily outselling all of its rivals. But Apples two biggest competitors, Amazon and Samsung, arent going anywhere. Their latest tablets the Galaxy Note 8.0 and Kindle Fire HD 8.9 are both compelling alternatives to the iPad and iPad mini. Lets compare the specs (and other features) of the Note 8 and Fire 8.9. Image Gallery (14 images) View all Size The Kindle Fire HD 8.9 is obviously the bigger tablet. But you should still be able to easily hold it with one paw. Weight The Galaxy Note 8.0 is much lighter 40 percent lighter, to be exact. As a much smaller tablet, though, the difference in relative weight isnt as big as you might expect. Build Were looking at plastic exteriors on both slates. We dont have a problem with plastic tablets. But if you prefer aluminum or a metallic alloy, then you might want to check out an iPad or Surface. Display This is a big win for the Kindle Fire. Not only does it give you almost an extra inch of real estate, its also much sharper. Its pixel density is 34 percent higher than the Notes. Processor This, on the other hand, is a big win for the Note. Not only does its quad core Exynos CPU look better on paper, it also wins in benchmark battles. Its faster. Period. RAM Another nod to superior performance on the Note 8, as it doubles the Fire 8.9s 1 GB of RAM. Storage A couple caveats here. Only the Wi-Fi version of the Fire 8.9 ships with 16 GB. And only the LTE version of the Fire 8.9 ships with 64 GB. Amazon sells both versions in 32 GB models. Only the Note has a microSD slot, so you could more easily get away with less internal storage there. Wireless You can buy both tablets in either Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi + LTE models. If you live in the U.S., Amazon struck a deal with AT&T that gives you 250 MB of LTE data per month for a one-time fee of US$50 (good for a year). Thats not a lot of data, but its also not a lot of money: just over $4 per month. Battery On paper, this looks like a huge advantage for the Fire. And its actual battery life is pretty great. But since the Notes battery isnt powering nearly as many display pixels, it should hold its own. Cameras If you like to snap pics with your tablet (surely someone out there does), then youre better off with the Note as the Fire doesnt have a rear camera. Its front-facing shooter does just fine, though, for video chat and self-portraits. Software The Galaxy Note 8.0 has the more versatile software. It runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, with a thick layer of Samsungs TouchWiz on top. It ships with the suite of Google apps (Gmail, YouTube, Google Now, etc.) and the Google Play app store. The Kindle Fire HD 8.9, meanwhile, is strictly an Amazon affair. Though it technically runs Android, its stripped of all traces of Google, focusing instead on Amazon services. It isnt for everyone, and the Amazon Appstores library isnt quite on par with Google Play's. But what the Kindle Fire user experience lacks in versatility, it makes up for in user-friendliness. If you use Amazon services and mostly want a tablet for casual activities it can be a great choice and offers outstanding value. Starting price Advantage, Kindle Fire. All of that Amazon-focused software lets Jeff Bezos and company sell the Fire for basically no profit at all. Since Samsung relies on its hardware to turn a profit, you can snag the Fire 8.9 for US$130 less than the Note 8.0. Intangibles You cant talk about a Galaxy Note and not mention its stylus ... erm, S Pen. Just when it looked like styluses had gone the way of the dodo, Samsung reintroduced them in ways that are truly innovative. All of the cool S Pen software features from other Galaxy Notes make their way to the Note 8. Its worth reiterating just how much the Fire 8.9s user experience is dominated by Amazon. In our review, we found a lot to like about it. But you do need to know what youre getting into with the Kindle Fire: basically a handheld Amazon shopping mall. Wrap-up These tablets dont really have a lot in common. Both are worthy alternatives to the iPad or iPad mini. But thats about where the similarities end. The Note is smaller and lighter, comes with a stylus, and gives you the full-on Google Play version of Android. The Fire has a bigger and much sharper display, an Amazon-centric take on Android, and a rock-bottom price tag. Which is better? We wont pretend like theres a universal answer for everyone, so thats your call. Hopefully these distinctions help guide you on the path of figuring that out for yourself.