Top-line: Amazon Kindle Fire HDX.
Big W and Dick Smith began stocking Amazon's new high-end Kindle Fire HDX tablets this week.
It's the first time an Amazon tablet has been available to Australians anywhere other than online, and comes as the internet shopping giant looks to capture a larger slice of the Australian market.
The company is best known for its e-readers, also called Kindles, which have been available in selected Australian shops for some time. The latest is the Kindle Paperwhite.
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite.
But tablets and e-readers are very different beasts, and deciding which to get depends entirely on your needs.
As the name suggests, e-readers are no-frills devices designed solely for reading the written word. If all you want is to read books and magazines, look no further.
The Kindle Paperwhite is available from Dick Smith and Big W from a recommended price of $150.
It sports a simple black-and-white touchscreen display, which closely mimics the printed page.
Unlike smartphones and tablets, which are lit by lights behind the screen, e-readers are lit by lights hidden to the side of the screen. The carefully textured display evenly distributes the light.
In short, you can read an e-reader for a long time without your eyes getting strained.
Unlike a tablet or phone, you can also read it quite easily even in direct sunlight.
The battery, which in tablets lasts about 10 hours before needing a recharge, can last weeks.
The Paperwhite does feature an experimental web browser, but it is slow and frustrating, and generally not worth the effort.
And while the device offers access to more than 2 million downloadable books via the Amazon store, there are as yet no Australian newspapers.
The processor is slow, too, and there can sometimes be a serious a lag when opening a link or turning a page.
Kindle Fire HDX
The Kindle Fire HDX is a top-line tablet – a super-slick fully-fledged entertainment device.
The 7-inch model starts at $329 and the 8.9-inch model at $479, so it's considerably more expensive than the Paperwhite.
But you can do a lot more on it, such as play games, use apps, watch movies, play music and take photos.
As tablets go, the device is an impressive feat of engineering, coming in lighter and cheaper than Apple's market-leading iPad Air, and with a sharper display cramming more pixels into every inch.
But forget about using it to read a novel. The backlit display means it takes a heavy toll on the eyes if used for an extended period.
Besides, without a charge, the battery is likely to last about 10 hours.
And forget about taking it to the park. The screen is near indecipherable in direct sunlight.
If all you want to do is read, get the Kindle Paperwhite. It's much cheaper, the screen is easy on the eyes and readable in direct sunlight, and the battery will last for weeks without needing a recharge.
If you want to play games, surf the net, listen to music and watch TV and movies, shell out for an HDX tablet.