I've fiddled on a Kindle Fire (non-HD) for a couple of days thought it was OK. In this case I was debating between a Kindle Fire and regular Kindle ebook reader. We bought two of the latter -- battery life is ridiculously long (weeks) on a Kindle but only really good for, well, reading ebooks. Reading outside, on the beach, etc -- no problem. Something to consider if you like reading.
Later on I kicked myself for not buying the Fire as well and about the same time ran into some TV commercial who's story was about how a family bought a couple Kindle e-book readers and a Fire for the price of a single tablet by that well known fruity vendor. But I digress...
Last summer I bought a Google Nexus 7. I have mixed reviews about the build quality -- screen a little loose, bad pixels and sent two back. The customer service utterly blew in that I waited days for support tickets to be answered and had to open new ones, on and on. That said, for the price, I *loved* the device when I final got one I was happy with. It was a perfect bridge between a smartphone and laptop -- not to big, not too small -- I'm an IT guy so one of the last things I want to do when I get home is sit in front of a computer -- but the tablet experience was a little different. *Lots* more HUBB and ADVrider reading than ever before...on and on...
You might notice that I am speaking in past tense. Well, regrettable the other day, my Nexus 7 screen shattered. I had been using a fairly hefty rubber bumper case for general protection around the house -- so it won't slide off of surfaces, a little bounce protection, etc. I put it in my big internal parka pocket, walk some 40 feet out of my building to the public transit, sat down with my courier bag next to me. I suspect that I applied a little pressure on the device when I sat down and maybe slightly sat on it, but nothing seemingly serious. Well..the screen looks like a dropped a hard object on it. To be honest I can't really place for sure what might have happened. Perhaps it was to minus 10 celsius weather.
Otherwise, this device has been babied. And I have even taken on several small bike trips this summer packed deep in a duffel amongst soft items.
Long story short...keep in mind that these tablets are not bullet proof. I loved mine and if I can somehow get a new screen/digitizer for it which doesn't cost almost as much as a new device I will -- but I am also going to try to get some sort of cover which protects the screen and which is otherwise torsionally more rigid. My Android phone has taken much, much, MUCH more of a beating over several years of daily use than the tablet and is mostly fine. Perhaps it comes down to rigidity of the given devices -- screen similar thickness and thus more breakable when you make it twice the size.
FWIW, I also has an ASUS Transformer Prime tablet/detachable keyboard device for a couple of weeks. It got returned to the store based on poor wifi but that was an interesting device as well but $$$. As a matter of *personal* preference, I determined that I prefer a 7" tablet over the large 10" size -- something to consider as well -- more portable and easier to operate with one hand.
Hope this helps, and hope that I haven't scared you off -- JUST GET A GOOD CASE -- less tears