iPad Mini vs Google Nexus 7: Which turbo tablet wins?
The iPad Mini is here in the land of officialdom, and Apple’s made clear it intends to claim the crown as king of all small tablets. Live on stage in front of the world’s press, Apple product marketing chief Phil Schiller compared the iPad Mini to Asus’ Google Nexus 7 Android tablet, and made it clear which he thinks is better for customers – no guessing which he favours.
But is the iPad Mini really better? It’s too early to tell for sure, but let’s take a look at the core vital statistics for both.
Design and build
We’ve yet to check out a finished iPad Mini in the flesh, but Schiller doesn’t appear to be exaggerating about its looks. The 7.2mm thin iPad Mini looks supremely polished, with a flat metal back, and the thin edges of a smartphone. That’s unusual in tablets, which traditionally have thick bezels on all four sides. We can’t see the thick plastic build of the Google Nexus 7 competing when punters stroll into an Apple store to check it out for themselves.
This one’s by no means so clear cut. The 7.9-inch 1024×768 display of the iPad Mini should be relatively sharp (it’s the same resolution as the iPad 2, slimmed down), but the 7-inch display on the Google Nexus 7 is a sharper 1280×800 pixels. Of course, that’s not the only measurement of screen quality so we’ll have to see. There’s also the issue of size: Apple claims the larger 7.9-inch panel of the iPad Mini makes it more productive, but you may well prefer the portability of something smaller. In practice, we’ve found the Google Nexus 7 is just small enough to fit into trouser pockets, if you really need to. And can put up with the odd strange look.
This too, isn’t so clear cut. The Apple iPad Mini runs iOS 6: it’s fast and very intuitive. Siri is built in on the iPad Mini too, so you can boss it about and dictate emails. But if you caught our full review, you’ll know we weren’t completely blown away: Apple Maps is terrible for one, and there aren’t any huge innovations compared to iOS 5. By contrast, Android 4.1 “Jelly Bean” is superb on the Google Nexus 7: beautiful, powerful (and for the first time on an Android tablet) speedy. Google Now is a great addition, letting you bark voice commands like Siri too. It’s a case of individual preference here.
We hate to say it, but Schiller is right about the apps. While almost every one of the 600,000 apps on the Google Play store run on the Nexus 7, few of them are designed specifically for tablets, and worse, many haven’t been designed for Android version 4 at all, which introduced a sensible “Holo” theme some developers have wisely adopted. By contrast, there are 275,000 apps designed specifically for the iPad.
The iPad Mini wins outright here. The Google Nexus 7 is Wi-Fi only, but if you’re prepared to spend £100 more, you can get 3G and 4G data on your iPad Mini, so you can do everything from video to chat to download large files on the go. With the Nexus 7, you’re reliant on hotspots and the good will of cafe and coffee shop owners.
Here’s where the difference is stark. The iPad Mini and Google Nexus 7 are similar in size and features, but vary greatly in price. The 16GB Nexus 7 costs just £159, which frankly makes it the bargain of the century. The iPad Mini looks better built, but it’ll cost you a full £110 more, starting at £269 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model. For the price of an iPad Mini, you could buy a Nexus 7 and a smartphone. Something to think about – but Apple’s premiums can sure be worth it for many.
Which would you go for? Google Nexus 7 or iPad Mini? Let us know in the comments below! In the meantime, stay tuned for a review ASAP.