Apple iPad Mini vs Google Nexus 7: Showdown

After the release of Google’s budget Nexus 7 tablet, it became evident from various leaks and insider sources that Apple will too be launching a budget tablet of it’s own, and yesterday, those rumors finally materialized into what Apple calls as iPad Mini. But which one is better: Google’s Nexus 7 or Apple’s iPad Mini? Let’s find out!

Build and Design

The Nexus 7 is a really sexy device. When you hold it in your hands, you wouldn’t believe it’s a budget tablet. The display is surrounded by a glossy black bezel and the back is made of a soft rubbery material which mimics the sort of tactile feedback you get from a race car steering wheel. It measures 198.5 x 120 x 10.5 mm and weighs in at 340g.

The iPad Mini has a unibody aluminum design, which has received lots of praise from both consumers and critics. It measures 200 x 134.7 x 7.2 mm and weighs in at just 317.5g.

Display

The Google Nexus 7 uses a 7-inch display panel with IPS technology, running at a 1280×800 HD resolution (16:10 aspect ratio), and having a PPI (Pixel Per Inch) of 216. It’s not the best display available in the market but Nexus 7’s display is very bright and crisp, offers good color reproduction and modest viewing angles. You’re going to be stunned by the quality of the display on the Nexus 7.

The iPad Mini sports a 7.9-inch IPS display panel, running at a 1024×768 resolution (4:3 aspect ratio) and having a PPI (Pixel Per Inch) of 162. The display resolution is same as the iPad 2 but there is a tiny improvement in the overall crispness and sharpness of the display (iPad 2 has a PPI of 132).

iPad Mini actually has around 35% more screen area than the Nexus 7, but if you want better crispness and clarity, Nexus 7 is the way to go.

Hardware

The iPad Mini uses the same CPU-GPU combination that was used by the iPhone 4S and iPad 2, which translates into a 1GHz Cortex A9 dual-core CPU and a PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU. It has 512MB of RAM.

The Nexus 7 sports a 1.3 GHz Cortex A9 quad-core CPU, and an Nvidia 12-core Ultra Low Power GPU. It has 1 GB of RAM. While the Tegra 3 CPU is indeed a lot faster than A5X, GPU performance is slightly faster on the iPad mini as it has to power 33% less pixels.

The Nexus 7 comes in 8GB and 16GB variants (32GB coming on October 29th) while the iPad Mini comes in 16, 32 and 64GB variants. Both tablets don’t support microSD so you’d have to rely on cloud storage if you need expansion.

Both iPad Mini and Nexus 7 have a 1.2MP front-facing camera sensor for video calling. Since very few people use tablets to take pictures, I’m not all that into the 5MP rear camera used by the iPad mini, so I’d advise against giving too much attention to this side.

The iPad Mini doesn’t have a NFC chip so if you rely on NFC for making payments and for other stuff, Nexus 7 is for you.

The Nexus 7 has a 4325 mAh battery, while the iPad mini has a battery of unknown capacity, however both tablets offer battery life of around 10 hours.

Operating System

Nexus 7 is the first tablet to run the latest version of Android as of now, 4.1 Jelly Bean. Android is an open and fully customizable operating system which means you can install apps from multiple app stores, install a variety of themes and tweaks, or even install custom ROMs which give you even greater tweaking ability and better functionality. There are barely any restrictions and you make the OS work the way you want.

The iPad Mini comes with iOS 6, the newest version of Apple’s mobile operating system and it offers a lot of new features like Facebook integration, Safari tab sync and more. The OS is built around simplicity and due to Apple’s strict nature, you can install apps only from the Appstore, you cannot tweak the operating system nor you can customize the device beyond few minor tweaks.

Most people say that iPad apps are usually optimized better than Android tablet apps, Yes iOS has more, but it also is not able to take advantage of phone apps very well while Android can. On an iPad, you are forced to view it as a minimized version or a stretched version. The minimized version is a pain to use and the stretched version looks horrible. On Android, if in the same situation, it will display full screen and not stretched. Seeing that most Android phones are 720p (same resolution as most Android tablets including the Nexus 7), most of the apps don’t even have to worry about stretching. Anyway, since the Nexus 7 came out, Google has taken major steps to attract app developers so that they provide tablet-optimised variants of their apps. I’m sure many developers are currently optimizing their apps for the Nexus 7 and other tablets and although the fact is true that many Android apps are simply stretched to fit the screen, the number of non-tablet optimized apps for Android is becoming less substantial day by day.

Pros and Cons

iPad mini Pros

  • Just 7.2 mm thick
  • 35% more screen area than Nexus 7

iPad mini Cons

  • Low-quality display
  • Apple Maps sucks
  • No NFC
  • Overpriced. $329 for the 16GB edition

Google Nexus 7 Pros

  • HD display with better clarity and crispness
  • Has NFC
  • Sleek and Sexy design
  • Better hardware specs
  • Android 4.1
  • Cheap. $199 for 8GB, $249 for 16GB

Google Nexus 7 Cons

  • No 32GB version yet (but soon to be announced at Android event on 29th Oct)
  • No 3G/LTE

Conclusion

It’s now evident that Apple’s iPad Mini doesn’t beat Google’s Nexus 7 in any possible way and I’m sure many of you are still wondering why Apple priced the iPad Mini so high ($329 for 16GB) when you can get a Nexus 7 with better specs for $249, $199 if you go for 8GB version. The answer is: Google does not aim to make money from the device. They copied the business model Amazon introduced with the Kindle Fire: sell as many devices as you can, and then earn money by selling content and showing ads. Apple wants you to pay extra money for a device with an Apple logo. This seems to work with high end devices like iPad 3 and iPhone 5 but I wonder how many people are willing to pay a premium price for a budget device.

What do you think? Do you like the new iPad Mini? Are you willing to switch to an iPad Mini or you’d stay with your Nexus 7 (or whatever tablet you have)? Leave your answers in the comment section below!

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