Apple launched iPad Mini yesterday and all the rumors that made it to the dot com publications were confirmed. It looks like Apple is approaching the low-cost tablet segment after all, of course in its own way. The fiercest rival of the iPad Mini are the Android tablets, and Nexus 7 is the most notable competitor for the Apple tablet. That’s why we though it’s time to put the two tablets head to head in an iPad Mini vs Nexus 7 battle.
Amazon made it big with Kindle Fire in Q3 2011, a device that quickly became the best-selling Android tablet and its price was a major sales point. Google quickly understood what’s the recipe of success and launched the Nexus 7, a tablet co-developed by the search engine giant and ASUS, a terminal that received a lot of positive reviews from the tech publications. That’s why the iPad Min vs Nexus 7 fight will be interesting to watch.
There’s no doubt that the 7.9-inch Apple tablet and the Google slate are two of the most interesting tablets currently available for the market, both with attractive features and attractive prices. On one hand you will receive the Apple stability for $329, on the other hand you will get to experience the pure Android experience for only $200.
Nexus 7 boasts about its full support when it comes to latest firmware updates (which are a problem for many Android-powered terminals) and its competitive price. iPad Mini brags about 275,000 applications optimized for iPad and iPad 2, the main reason behind the 1,024 x 768 pixels resolution. Apple didn’t want to give the developers headaches and introduce a new resolution in the iOS ecosystem.
But let’s cut the chitchat and let’s have a look at the technical specifications of the two slates, as they will be a major factor in the iPad Mini vs Nexus 7 war.
Apple had to keep the production price as low as possible, therefore it decided to use the iPad 2 hardware platform as a foundation for the iPad Mini. The iOS 6-powered tablet sports a LED-backlit IPS display with a resolution of 1,024 x 768 pixels and a diagonal of 7.9 inches. The iPad Mini is underpinned by an Apple A5 processor with two Cortex A9 cores clocked at 1 GHz, plus a PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU and 512 MB of RAM.
The 7.9-inch Apple tablet comes with 16/32/64 GB of internal storage, weighs in 308 grams, is 7.2 mm thick and has a battery capable of keeping it awake through 16.3 hours of work. In terms of connectivity it comes with 4G and WiFi (depending on the model, Bluetooth 4.0, 3.5 mm jack, GPS and GLONASS. There’s a 5 megapixel camera on the back with 1080p video recording capabilities, while the front-facing 1.2 megapixel unit can handle HD FaceTime calls. As you probably expected, iPad Mini runs iOS 6 out of the box.
The Nexus 7, comes pre-loaded with Androi 4.1 Jelly Bean and features a 7-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1,280 x 800 pixels. The CPU is a Tegra 3 unit manufactured by Nvidia with four Cortex A9 cores at 1.3 GHz. The ULP GeForce GPU has 12 (yes, 12, it’s not a mistake) cores making the Nexus 7 ideal for gaming.
The Google tablet has an 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera, a 4,325 mAh battery, 1 GB of RAM and 8 or 16 GB of internal storage. Rumor has it that the Mountain View-based company will introduce a 32 GB model next week at a press event scheduled for October 29th. The connectivity features include WiFi in all standards, Bluetooth, NFC, microUSB and 3.5 mm jack. Nexus 7 weighs in 340 grams while being 10.5 mm thick.
Since the iPad Mini is the “hero” of this week let’s have a look at its ups and downs compared to the Google tablet, then you will be the one to decide which product has won the iPad Mini vs Nexus 7 battle.
The biggest pro for the iPad Mini is the Apple App Store that comes with over 275,000 apps optimized for its resolution of 1,024 x 768 pixels. Since it runs iOS 6, it comes with a simple UI, but according to many it has become boring as it wasn’t changed to much since its debut in 2007.
The iPad Mini has more configurations available for the internal storage: 16, 32, 64 GB, while the Nexus 7 only comes with two options 8 GB or 16 GB. Reports are indicating that a Nexus 7 model with 32 GB of internal storage is on its way. Neither of the two has support for microSD cards.
The Apple tablet also comes with Cellular networks support (4G LTE speeds), while this feature is not available for Nexus 7. This option is ideal for those who travel a lot, but if you are most of the times in the proximity of a WiFi hotspot you can say no to the Cellular support.
There are some customers that do care about the quality of the camera. iPad Mini comes with the sensor that debuted on the third generation of the iPad tablet, the iSight camera capable of recording full HD videos and a front-facing camera with HD support. On the other hand, Nexus 7 only has a front-facing camera, also capable of HD video calls.
iPad Mini is lighter and thinner than Nexus 7 (308 g vs 340 g and 7.2 mm vs 10.5 mm). Apple has developed a truly thin slate and I’ve seen that this aspect was mentioned by most of the journalists in their hands-on videos at the press conference in San Jose.
The biggest drawback of the iPad Mini is the resolution of 1,024 x 768 pixels, which is way below what the Nexus 7 has to offer. It looks like a resolution from another era, but Apple chose it in order not to force the developers to optimize the apps already available in App Store. Nexus 7 brags about a resolution of 1,280 x 800 pixels, while Apple used the Retina Displays only for their MacBook line-up and now on the iMac. But not for the iPad Mini, mostly because the Cupertino-based company wanted to keep the production cost as low as possible.
The price is also a bit to high for a 7-inch tablet. The iPad Mini WiFi-only has a price of $329 with 16 GB of internal storage, $429 for 32 GB and $529 for 64 GB. I won’t even bother mentioning the 4G models. Google Nexus 7 has a starting price of $199 (the 8 GB model), while the 16 GB version is $50 more. It seems that the 8 GB model will be ditched soon and that a 32 GB Nexus 7 will join the line-up, priced $249. The price of the 16 GB model will be cut off to $299.
The hardware specifications are not even close to what the tablet market offers nowadays. It’s a step back compared to the third gen iPad, not to mention iPhone 5 or iPad 4. When the iPad Mini was introduced, the charts showing how good it is compared to the competition were nowhere to be found. Apple A5 and 512 MB of RAM. That’s what we saw in 2011 on the iPad 2. Apple went cheap here, as well.
Oh, I almost forgot. The display ratio is at least odd. After Apple said that 16:9 is ideal for web browsing (when the iPhone 5 was introduced) now they are introducing a square-ish display. I’d go for the Nexus 7, which can naturally render a full HD video.
Summing up the iPad Mini vs Nexus 7 battle is nowhere near a tie. The iPad Mini has the looks, while the Nexus 7 has the brains. If iPad Mini were a woman, I would choose it. But since we are talking about tablets, the brains are more important. Who do you think is the winner of the iPad Mini vs Nexus 7 fight?