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

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.

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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

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328 comments
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  • this article was not a pleasure to read

    are you kidding me? the ipad does not have apps that are any more stable or polished than an adroid device. The ipad experience just plain sucks, i use apple products alot and i have constant problems with all of them.
    annabelle77
    • There's something wrong with you

      I prefer the N7 over my iPad for most uses but when you say:
      "i use apple products alot and i have constant problems with all of them"
      You lose all credibility. The Apple ecosystem is rock solid and everybody with a clue admits that Apple has usability down to a fine art.
      AnalogJoystick
      • ^ A Jobsian comment title if ever there was one...

        "There's something wrong with you"?

        Does someone's negative experience with an Apple product really require that they be deficient in some way?

        Not everything Apple produces is great - there are many users and reviewers "with a clue" who have made negative comments about various aspects of Apple's offerings, including iOS, OSX (including the latest wild animal version), itunes, safari etc.
        wozburger
        • Credibility is in question

          "the ipad does not have apps that are any more stable or polished than an adroid device."

          Just plain false! Compare many of the tablets apps in Apple's App Store to Android's tablet Apps. It's clear to see which ones are more polished and primary interest to the developers and which is secondary.
          dave95.
          • Most comparison reviews of OSs

            favor OS X to Windows, or they are tied. In ease of use, I have yet to see a real comparison to Windows and OSX where Windows was better.

            The only reason why Windows might be a LITTLE, and I mean a LITTLE better, is that certain apps like GAMES, which are written natively for Windows, might run a LITTLE faster. When apps are written natively for OS X, those apps are usually just as good sometimes even better than a Windows app.
            RichDavis1
          • If you spend $2000 on a Windows PC it will rock

            About 3 years ago I spent $1900 on an 18.5 inch laptop with crossfire graphics, 8 gigs of ram, a 500 gig HD (would like an SSD now for sure) and over all the machine rocks my socks off. I still have a hard time finding a PC that runs smoother or has less issues.

            Apple does one thing really well. It gets rid of choice and says if you want our product you need to get a high quality product. To compare an Apple product, you need a product of similar quality. Comparing a Nexus 7 ($199) to the lowers quality iPad ($500) is just plain unfair.

            I see this all the time. My $2000 Apple Macbook rocks compared to my last laptop that was a hand-me-down from my spouse that is 4 years old and was originally $350. Wow, Apple is awesome.

            I wouldn't say that Apple has bad products, they don't. They are generally smooth and generally work well (though try having Xcode running with the emulator, seven Office apps open and world of warcraft minimized and you'll see how it will dog).

            My friend recently was raving about her new Macbook. She posted things like "the screen is awesome" and "This is amazing." So she spent $1500 to browse the internet. If you ask someone to spend $1500 on a PC they would laugh at you.
            A Gray
          • Absolutely

            A Gray speaks the absolute truth!
            giagejoe
          • Finally, thank you!

            I couldn't agree more!!! I have been saying this exact same thing for YEARS!!! I don't hate Apple (though I am close to it with these recient lawsuits), and we have several apple devices in our house. What I do hate is the agument that apple $1500 Macbook Pro my wife owns is better when compaired to the $300 walmart special. My work laptop can out-perform the MacBook Pro ALL DAY LONG... and it was only $950 (that includes the $150 SSD).

            That said, I do dislike Microsoft Windows and only use Windows in a virtual machine (which still runs better than my last $300 lappy) for the sake Photoshop & a few games. Ubuntu is amazing!!!

            Now, regarding this article... When you compare the specifications of a $500 thrid generation iPad to a $200 Android tablet, will I be supprised to hear you say the experiance is smoother??? No! We are talking apples and andorids (ok... orages) guys! For the price, I will pick the Nexus 7 ALL DAY long over the iPad. It is by far the best thing that has hit the tablet market since the Kendel Fire. The UX is fantastic. The HD versions of the apps are spectacular. AND, there are WAY more high quality FREE apps in the android ecosystem then you will find on apple. I am emphasizing "High quality free"... I can't stand trying to find free versions of an app on our iPad just to find out they suck or are so ad-laden they are useless!

            On final though... if the iPad mini/iBooks somehow manage to come in under $300, I will be at risk of a heart attack!

            Ok, enough ranting for now. Good article overall... Just make sure you compare oranges to oranges!!!
            jacobfogg
          • I agree

            It's almost a sure thing this tablet will cost more than $300. that's just Apples nature
            gilly78201
          • not correct thinking!

            With all due respect, you just don't get it. What you are saying is like this - you can get a BMW 3series car 45K and you can also get a toyota/honda/nissan etc with similar features for 25K. Both cars will run without any trouble for at least a decade. So why buy a BMW?

            Apple users know that they are paying a premium but they are paying for that experience, the look and feel, the friendly folks at app store etc. (ever heard of the comparison between cheap plastic dash vs premium wood-paneled dash in a car?)

            Your friend was raving about her macbook but she was not comparing it your laptop. So, why are you comparing your machine to her macbook?
            sparked
          • In fact there is an article in zdnet

            There is an excellent article by Ed Bott with step by step pictures comparing osx with windows and thought he does not say so, it is obvious in most of the cases windows is better. It has screenshots to prove it rather than a fanboy rant. Sorry don't have time to search the link for you.
            sunilgmishra
          • Fanboy

            Interesting how android/windows posters always call in the "fanboy" comment.
            cgerke
          • I agree... mostly...

            I agree with the Fanboy comment... In their defense, it is not a stretch of the truth to say that MOST, if not many Apple users will follow Apple blindly and gladly pay for the privledge. Apple has managed to generate a close to cult like following!

            My frustration is the attitude that apple is always better. There are things about apple that are better, but there are also some aweful things hidden in there... ever try to copy a 1000+ image library onto a flash drive from iPhoto??? In every other OS, just browse to your home directory and you have images... it's not so simple with iPhoto!

            Want to pull some pictures off your phone and copy 2 new songs onto your iPhone... With android and windows... and blackberry for that matter, just plug in your phone, navigate to you photo and music folders and copy away. Don't even think about it on an iPhone!!!

            Again, I don't hate Apple... I also don't hate MS... but I do avoid them both whenever possible! (read "I LOVE LINUX")
            jacobfogg
          • Uhhh?? I don't understand......

            You can't copy photos from or to your iPhone????? Do you own an iPhone????? It's simplicity itself. Like you say, plug in phone, got to iTunes, select phone and select what you want to copy. What's your problem?

            The trouble is Windows users are so used to doing everything the long winded way they can't get their heads around the fact that Apple designs stuff for the people that hate having to be an IT expert in order for them to get anything to work properly.

            With Apple if it's needed it's there and if not it won't be. Prime example, my friend just got an iPad for work. He was wanting to surf the web so I was showing him how the thing works (just a grown up iPhone after all). The first thing he says is "Where's the space bar?". I asked him why he needed a space bar? "Well keyboards always have a space bar," he says. I then asked him when was the last time he used a space in a web address? He then started to understand the Mac way of thinking.

            I hate Apple knockers. Yes the product is not cheap but in 7 years I've had 1 Macbook and 1 Macbook Pro. The Macbook is now used by my wife and is still going strong and the Macbook Pro is used many hours a day, everyday for the past 3 years and has only required a new battery and charger. In fact it does everything I want/need and it will not be replaced until it dies completely I think. Not many ordinary laptops last as long or are as durable as a Mac.

            The OS is not without hiccups (though very rarely) agreed, but the OS is far more stable than Windows. Every PC I've ever owned has suffered from the same problem and that is file sharing. And when you get larger and larger hard drives stuff gets either corrupted or orphaned and when the particular program you're using can't find the file it needs it goes belly up. This happened so many times to me that in the end I bit the bullet and got a Mac and I can honestly say it's the best thing I ever did. It's great. A stylish, fun interface that's easy to use what more do you need if you are a normal human being that just want's his/her computer to do what it's supposed to?

            BTW jacobfogg, you just showed your true computer colours when you mentioned Linux. Most ordinary humans don't use this OS although it's supposed to be fantastic, because life's too short!!!
            Marcus Hunt
          • Re:Uhhh?? I don't understand......

            "The trouble is Windows users are so used to doing everything the long winded way". OSX = ITunes, Windoze = drag and drop with NO OTHER APPLICATION NEEDED. Which is the more long winded??? UNDERSTAND NOW????
            TSheeley
          • response

            Right click, copy, paste. Thats wicked hard.
            joe nows
          • Re:Uhhh?? I don't understand......

            And almost everyone is familiar with Linux/Unix - if you are using OSX you're using it!!!
            TSheeley
          • iTunes is not simple, on the contrary

            For some things, yes, it is simple. But for other things is a madness.
            And also is cumbersome. You can't be happy with that, I'm sorry, but you can't.
            By example, take your iPhone to a friend's house and suppose you want to copy some pictures. He has to have iTunes and copy the pictures to iTunes and then...? synchronyze? will your pictures will be kept or you'll loose them?

            One day you want to recover a backup of your iphone, but the new data will be erased!! you'll loose contacts and other data.

            You put a movie and some pictures in your iPhone, it is impossible for you to open this files with other App different from Music or Video.

            I'm not a Mac hater, on the contrary I have an iPhone and I like it, but iTunes is execretable. The problem is not iTunes, but Apple not allowing the user to control the device, not allowing app to share files and not allowing to use microSD.
            Erasmo Cepeda
          • iTunes is simple!

            Want to grab a file from iPhoto? Go to the iPhoto Library, right-click (Show Package Contents), scroll to the "Masters / year / month /day" folder and copy the picture anywhere you want.

            Really, that's not simple enough for you?

            It may be different on Windows, but MS Office on Macs is unusable rubbish as well. In fact, I'd say that MS Office is unusable rubbish full stop, and unbelievably over complicated compared with Apple's Numbers/Pages/Keynote suite.

            However, judging by the posts at ZDnet, everyone who uses a spreadsheet is a Wall Street Quant, who just *has* to be able to run a giga-cell spreadsheet with bespoke plugins to compute the Riemann Zeta function, despite the fact that almost all financial maths is trivially easy. (Honestly, if speak to these people you'd think some trivial variation on the Black-Scholes equation was an intellectual breakthrough comparable with the proof of Fermat's Theorem.)

            As a mathematician, I find Numbers is almost always more than adequate. If things get really tough, I'd rather use a suitable tool, like Mathematica, than shoe-horn the problem into Excel.
            StandardPerson
          • Re:I agree... mostly...

            Ever try putting an mp3 or film on an apple product. Going through the archaic Itunes is the only way. IT'S JUST A FILE GOING ONTO A STORAGE DEVICE!! Ever heard of drag and drop - THE WAY THE REST OF THE WORLD DOES IT???? Yes, fantastic user experience.
            TSheeley