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kindlefirehdWhen you buy a Hyundai, you’re going to be a lot more forgiving than when you buy a Lexus. Apparently the same goes for the tablet market.

A new study of tablet owner satisfaction, published today by J.D. Power and Associates, shows Apple’s iPad leading the pack for the second straight year with high ratings for performance, ease of operation, overall features, styling and design. Not a huge surprise there.

But Amazon’s Kindle Fire lineup actually isn’t that far behind the iPad in overall customer satisfaction, with an overall score of 829 (on a scale of 1000 points) compared with 836 for Apple. A big reason: the lower price. Amazon’s Kindle Fire lineup starts at $159, compared with the $329 starting price for the iPad mini.

“It’s clearly a different device than the iPad,” explains Kirk Parsons, J.D. Power senior director of telecom services, via phone this morning. “The expectations are different based on price points and the capabilities of the device.”

He noted that Amazon’s Kindle Fire lineup was generally in the middle of the pack in areas including performance and ease of operation — areas where Apple stands out as the leader.

Samsung was in third place among tablet manufacturers with a score of 822 in the J.D. Power study, followed by Asus at 818 and Acer at 784.


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