Nexus 7 vs iPad Mini: Little Warriors

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If you’re in the market for a smaller tablet, you could do much worse than the iPad Mini or the Nexus 7. However, narrowing your choice down to one of them is hard work. You have to balance Android and iOS, as well as battery, screen and cost.

Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad Mini

The 16GB Wi-Fi iPad Mini costs $329, which is less than a Retina iPad 4. The Wi-Fi Nexus 7 costs $199, and it’s a lot most customisable. You’ll get sharp IPS screens and speedy chips with both, so this is a tough call.

Price-wise, the only competition for the Nexus 7 is the Kindle Fire HD and the Nook HD. Google keeps prices down in a bid to lure punters away from Apple, whereas Apple busts a gut to maintain superlative build quality, design and software.

Let’s have a shuftie at the features of these two tablets.

Design: Apple walks away with this. The iPad Mini is the most beautiful tablet around – thin and light with an aluminium back. The Nexus 7 isn’t uggers, either. It’s also quite slender, and has a touchsoft plastic back. The Mini is still lighter, though, and feels more expensive, so it’s a win for Apple.

Price: The Nexus 7 is a lot cheaper than the Mini, a whole $129 cheaper, in fact. The 3G Nexus 7 is $299 and an LTE Mini is $459. The Nexus 7 is by far the winner.
Operating system: It’s a choice between iOS 6 and Jelly Bean 4.2 allied to Project Butter.

Hardware: The Nexus 7 has a quad-core chip and solid hardware, so it wins. The iPad Mini’s got the same chip as the iPad 2 – the dual-core A5. Geekbench reckons the Nexus 7 is twice the speed of the iPad Mini.

Screen: In theory, the Nexus 7 wins out, as it has a higher ppi. Both tablets have IPS displays, but it seems that Google and Asus cut a bit too much off the budget, because the screen’s calibration is a bit skew-wiff. Also, colours on the Nexus 7 look a bit bland, despite the 216 ppi (the Mini only has a 163 ppi). Text looks sharper on the iPad Mini, and it has better colours and contrast. The Mini’s bigger screen also makes pics and vids look better.

Android does offer more customisation, as well as more widgets than iOS 6. With Android, you can change ROMs, keyboards, launchers and so on. It;s a win for Android here.

Tablets use tablet-optimised apps, and the iPad Mini has access to hundreds of thousands – way more than the Nexus 7 does. The Nexus 7’s software is better, though, so this part’s a draw.

Battery: You can’t complain about either battery. The Nexus 7 gives 8.5 hours or so, and the iPad Mini gives around ten, so it wins by a bit.

These tablets are equal, it seems. Your favourite OS will make your final decision in the end, with the biggest factors going to your necessity for LTE and your budget.

Mike is the man who reviews gadgets that aren’t mainstream or products that can’t exactly be classified as consumer electronics e.g. portable talking toilets. It’s always interesting to read about the crazy products we have here in Asia that just don’t get as much publicity as they warrant.