It’s inevitable to compare Apple’s iPad mini with Google’s Nexus 7. They both represent the iOS and Android platforms in the 7-inch tablet category. It’s really hard to compare these two tablets since they are different in many respects. They have different display sizes, they are different in price, and they are also different in hardware specs. They fact that they run different operating systems makes things more tricky. But still, if your choice of tablet boils down to these two, which one should you choose?
For starters, here is the specs comparison between the iPad Mini and the Nexus 7.
|iPad mini||Nexus 7|
|OS||iOS 6.0||Android 4.1|
LED-backlit IPS, 163 PPI
IPS display, 216 PPI
|Resolution||1,024 x 768||1,280 x 800|
|Processor||Dual-core A5||1.2GHz quad-core
NVIDIA Tegra 3
|Storage||16GB / 32GB /64GB||8GB / 16GB|
|Ports||Lightning connector, 3.5mm audio||micro USB,
|Front camera||FaceTime HD||1.2-megapixel|
|Cellular radio||Optional LTE||None|
|Pricing||$329 (16GB WiFi)
$459 (16GB LTE)
$559 (32GB LTE)
$659 (64GB LTE)
Design and Display
Comparing the designs of the iPad Mini and the Nexus 7 really boils down to personal taste. I personally like the Nexus 7’s design, especially the use of the textured rubber-like back finish. It’s sleek by its own right and the dimensions are perfect for one-hand use and operation.
The iPad mini, on the other hand, is also sleek the way only Apple is capable of. It offers two color options, black and white, while the Nexus 7 only has one. The iPad mini is really just a smaller iPad, so if you like the design of the iPad, this should look attractive to you but personally, the design of the iPad mini looks boring now. Apple seems to be too afraid to leave its comfort zone when it comes to designing its products.
When it comes to dimensions, the iPad mini is thinner and lighter but it is a bit wider and it’s considerably taller. So if the difference in weight and thickness is important to you, the iPad mini wins in this respect, although the differences are really just minor.
What the iPad mini offers that’s clearly an advantage over the Nexus 7 is the size of the display. The 7.9-inch display on the iPad mini offers 35% more real estate than the Nexus 7. This is possible because the iPad mini’s bezel is thinner and the display on the Nexus 7 is reduced in actual use as it uses virtual control buttons. However, when it comes to display quality, the Nexus 7 wins. The iPad mini, despite having a bigger screen, only offers 1,024 x 768 resolution while the smaller Nexus 7 has a 1,280 x 800 resolution display. In actual use, the Nexus 7 should clearly have the sharper display.
The Nexus 7 wins in the hardware category, hands down. The CPU on the Nexus 7 is way faster than the one used on the iPad mini. The Nexus 7 is powered by an Nvidia Tegra 3 SoC, specifically, a 1.3 GHz quad-core Cortex A9 CPU paired with an Nvidia ULP (Ultra Low Power) GPU. The iPad mini uses the Apple A5 System On a Chip (SoC), the same one found on the Apple iPad 2 and the Apple iPhone 4S. In terms of speed, therefore, the iPad mini only uses a 1 GHz dual-core Cortex A9 CPU paired with a PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU. The Nexus 7 should therefore be faster, especially since it uses 1GB of RAM while the iPad mini is said to have only 512MB of RAM.
In terms of storage, the iPad mini has more. The Nexus 7 offers 8GB and 16GB storage capacities right now though the 32GB version will be launched soon. The iPad mini comes in bigger 16GB, 32GB and 64GB variants. Both have no expansion options, though. If you want more memory, you should go for the iPad mini but bigger storage means it’s more expensive.
In terms of battery, both run for about 10 hours. The Nexus 7 has a 4325 mAh battery while the iPad mini’s battery is undisclosed. What the Nexus 7 has that the iPad mini doesn’t have is NFC. This is a clear advantage for the Nexus 7.
The iPad mini wins in camera comparison. The Google Nexus 7 only uses a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera. It does not have a rear facing camera. The iPad mini uses the same front-facing camera but it also has a 5-megaixel rear shooter. If you can do without a rear camera, the iPad mini’s camera is really not an advantage as photos taken on a tablet has been proven to be not so ideal.
This is a very important consideration. The Google Nexus 7 starts at only $199 while the iPad mini starts at $329. That’s not even close. However, the base model for the Nexus 7 only has 8GB memory while the base iPad mini model has 16GB capacity. The 16GB Nexus 7 goes for $249, still way cheaper than the 16GB iPad mini. So in terms of value for money, you get more with the Nexus 7.
This one boils down to personal choice. The iOS has fans the same way Android has fans. Some like the simplicity of the iOS, some like the customization options on Android. What you should really consider, though is the number of apps available on both platforms. Apple has more apps that are optimized for tablets. In terms of availability of tablet-optimized apps, therefore, the iPad mini is ahead.
As I already said, the choice is ultimately that of the user. The Nexus 7 and iPad mini are different in many respects. They have different display sizes, different designs and different operating systems. The iPad has bigger, though less impressive, display, and a rear camera. The Nexus 7, on the other hand, has better screen, NFC capability, and better and faster hardware. So if you are to compare the devices based on value for money alone, the Google Nexus 7 wins.