Confession of a Nexus 7 owner: iPad Mini will blow it away

Summary:As the owner (and heavy user) of both the iPad and the Nexus 7, the superior user experience (UX) of the iPad tells me a smaller iPad will quickly surpass the Nexus 7, hands down.

iPad trumps N7

I own and use more gadgets than just about everyone. I can confidently state that I use those gadgets more heavily than most users. It's not uncommon to see me with one tablet or another in my hands.

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My current preferred tablets are the latest iPad and the Nexus 7. While I have owned and used various Android tablets, the Nexus 7 with Jelly Bean is the best of the lot by a wide margin. The small size makes it perfect for extended sessions, and better than the iPad in that regard.

As good as the Nexus 7 is for most things, every time I pick the iPad up I am struck by how much better the user experience is compared to that of the Nexus 7.

The operation of the iPad is more consistent, fluid, and more pleasing than that of the Nexus 7. Even with the much improved Project Butter enhancements in Jelly Bean, the iPad is more pleasant to use.

A big part of the consistent user experience of the iPad is due to the apps. Whether you like the closed system of iOS or not, the apps work more consistenly no matter the function. When you fire up an iPad app you know where all the controls will be as they are intuitively placed.

Apps on the iPad work as expected and with a pleasant interface. That's across the board, and why using the iPad is so pleasing compared to using the Nexus 7.

I am on record for using both the iPad and Android tablets to get real work done, and I also use them for the typical leisure activities tablets are famous for. The better user experience applies equally to the iPad for all uses.

While certain activities are better suited for the smaller Nexus 7, such as ebook reading, the Kindle iPad app is better than that on Android. The simple function of sorting a big ebook library by most recent activity, the preferred method, is strangely absent from the Nexus 7. Finding my most recent purchases is a nightmare on the Nexus 7 while easy (and instantaneous) on the iPad.

UPDATE: Lo and behold the latest update for the Kindle app on the Nexus 7 has finally added sort by recent activity. 

Jelly Bean on the Nexus 7 has gone a long way to address the laggy, jerky operation of other Android tablets that has in the past driven me nuts. Scrolling in windows is not completely fluid, but it's much better than scrolling on other Android tablets.

It's good, but not good enough compared to the iPad. I can use the Nexus 7 heavily and have no complaints. Then I pick up the iPad and realize immediately how much more fluid and pleasant to use it is compared to the Nexus 7.

The quality of iPad apps is for the most part better than those available for the Nexus 7. The rigid rules Apple places on developers is often criticised, but the end results speak for themselves. 

I use lots of apps on both the Nexus 7 and the iPad, and I can't think of more than one or two on the Nexus 7 that are better than similar apps on the iPad. There are rare exceptions like the Gmail app in Android, but those are far too rare.

Using an iPad is so much more pleasant compared to the Nexus 7 that I am confident that the rumored iPad Mini (or as I prefer to call it the iBook ) will capture the small tablet market and quickly. The pricing Apple puts on the smaller tablet will certainly be a factor, but knowing the company I believe they will get it right.

I can see Apple selling more than 10 million iPad Minis in just a few months. They will be perfect holiday gifts and the novelty of a smaller iPad will be popular.

The smaller size of the Nexus 7 is its only advantage over the existing iPad and the iPad Mini will wipe that out. I expect the littlest iPad will own the small tablet market almost from launch.

This is my opinion and it won't be popular with Android enthusiasts. That's OK, but the difference between the iPad and the Nexus 7 hits me in the face every time I set the Nexus down and pick up the iPad.

That's not just guesswork, that is based on heavily using both the iPad and the Nexus 7. The Nexus 7 is good, but not good enough to head off a small iPad.

Topics: Tablets, Android, Apple, Google, iPad

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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