The Google Nexus 7 and the iPad Mini are two of the smaller tablets that are confusing people. If you can’t decide between the two, then you’ll have to look to the choice between Android and iOS first, as well as price, battery and display.
iPad Mini vs Google Nexus 7
If you’ve got a few bucks to spare, try the 16GB Wi-Fi iPad Mini, which is $329 and more portable than the Retina iPad 4. The Nexus 4 has potential for a lot of customisation, and the Wi-Fi version costs $199, which is a bit easier on your bank balance. These tablets are both fast and sharp, so it can be difficult to choose.
Screen: The Nexus 7’s higher ppi should beat the Mini, but Google and Asus scrimped a bit too much on manufacture and this has led to the screen’s calibration being a bit off. Colours on the Nexus 7 aren’t as good, either, despite the 216ppi (the iPad Mini has 163ppi). Text looks sharper on the iPad Mini, and the bigger screen makes pics and vids look amazing.
Design: Apple is out in front, obviously – the iPad Mini is the best looking of a good looking family. The Nexus 7 loos good too, with slim lines and a nice touchsoft back. This still can’t compete with Apple, though.
Price: If you’re a bit strapped for cash, you’ll prefer the Nexus 7, as the only other tablets in the same price bracket are the Kindle Fire HD and the Nook HD. Google keeps its prices low to draw punters in, but Apple doesn’t care about this – known as it is for its superlative design and software. The Nexus 7 is $129 cheaper though, which counts for a lot. The 3G Nexus 7 is $299, whereas the LTE iPad Mini is $459 – a big difference.
Software: The Nexus 7 simply wins because of its customisation options – app shortcuts, different homescreens and custom ROMs are very appealing, and iOS just can’t offer this.
Hardware: The Nexus 7 has a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, and the iPad Mini has a dual-core A5 chip, just like the iPad 2. Geekbench reckons that the Nexus 7 is twice as fast as the iPad Mini, but who really cares, as long as iOS and the Mini’s GPU work as well as they do? Chips-wise, the Nexus 7 wins, but the Mini’s GPU makes it a very close contest.
Performance: It’s between iOS and Android 4.1. The Nexus 7 benefits from Project Butter, which makes apps and screen changes run more smoothly. Things slowed down a bit when the Nexus 7 went up to Android 4.2, though, but this should be sorted soon.
With tablets, it is all about the apps, so the Mini, with its thousands and thousands of apps in the App Store, wins over the Nexus 7, which doesn’t have the same number just yet. You’ll have to make your mind up about which is more important, apps or software.
Battery: These tablets both have decent batteries – the Nexus 7 will give you 8.5 hours and the iPad Mini 10, so the Mini squeaks ahead.
To sum up: These tablets are level pegging, really, so you’ll make your choice based on OS, LTE and price.