iPad mini and Nexus 7 go head-to-head

iPad mini and Nexus 7 go head-to-head

Summary: The Nexus 7 from Google and the iPad mini from Apple are two of the hottest small tablets. Here are both of these capable tablets in a photo spread showing how they compare in size and with popular apps running.


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  • Music apps

    Both tablets are good for playing music in the background and have apps for doing so.

    The Google Play Music app on the left is similar in function to the iPad mini apps on the right. The Nexus 7 app works with the Google Play store and the iPad mini with iTunes.

  • New York Times in the browser

    This image compares the familiar New York Times web site displaying in Chrome on the Nexus 7 (left) and Safari on the iPad mini (right). The advantage of the wider iPad mini display is clearly demonstrated in this image.

    The entire Times page is legible without zooming on the iPad mini which is not the case on the Nexus 7.

  • Photo Gallery apps

    The Gallery app on the Nexus 7 (left) has a nice display compared to the Photos app on the iPad mini. Both are similar in functionality.

Topics: Tablets, Android, Apps, iPad, Reviews

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  • Ever notice...

    No offense to the author, but I have noticed this trend a lot, amongst tech writers. When comparing Apple products to non-apple products, where the non-Apple product beats the Apple product (as in the case of screen resolution here) it is noted, but followed with "But you'll never notice it". But when the Apple product beats the non-Apple product (as in screen size, or even thickness in this case) it is usually modified by "as you can clearly see, the Apple product wins...".

    I own and use both an ipad and a nexus 7. Both are great devices, so I am hardly "anti" either camp. But many of the comments (such as the utility of some of the apps) do tend to be more expressions of personal taste than anything else.

    For example, on slide 21, you compare the Zite application and say " Both apps work the same and are similar in functionality but the interface cannot be compared.". Well, in reality, they can. With an objective eye, try to look at the differences. Know what they are? On the nexus, the 'sections" scroll horizontally across a menu bar at the top. On the iPad they are listed vertically on the side of the page. You could just as easily say the Android interface beats the Apple interface "hands down" because the Android interface displays a larger number of stories (8, in the case shown versus 5) than the Apple. Purely a matter of preference. I use Zite all the time, and prefer the Android version, to be honest.

    Now obviously, this is an opinion piece (one which I liked). But the strong tendency amongst mainstream tech media sites really seems to be to point out how Apple devices are superior, even when the ONLY way they can be judged (on that particular dimension) is by stating a personal preference.
    Chris Dorr
    • Chris, I Couldn't agree with you more!

      As soon as I read the resolution comments I thought "Here we go again". I have the original Ipad, a Galaxy S3 phone and my wife has a Nexus 7. The IPAD is great for the kids easy to use, simple etc but the Android Os with its customization options, widgets etc is a far superior OS. I would pick the Nexus tablet(s) for that reason alone.
      • Indeed

        And don't forget that every review I've read has said that the Nexus 7 is easier to hold as well which is a huge issue for this size. Let's face it, it's the main reason for a 7" tablet. BTW, the iPad Mini is NOT a 7" tablet. It's an 8" tablet.

        The other issue is that it's cost substantially less. Even the new version with 3G/LTE is $299. The comparable iPad Mini is $559!!! Which is why I'm getting the Nexus 7 for the holidays.
        • I agree

          When I read
          "The build quality of the iPad mini is better than that of the Nexus 7 which contributes to the higher price of the former."

          wow how can you tell that the build quality is better by feel, should you not say it feels better built , but then to throw in that is why it costs more, is stupid. It costs more, probably because the screen is bigger but most likely it has an apple on the back.
          • Apple iPAD and Nexus 7 owner weighs in

            I own an Apple Iphone 4S and a 3rd Gen Apple iPad. I recently purchased the NEXUS 7 32gb. My days with Apple may be numbered. I love this device. Especially the way I can customize it's interface to my liking. Don't even get me started on the APP STORE and it's absurd policy on NO refunds. I was getting my wife the mini until she saw my NEXUS.

            NOT an Apple hater..my first PC was an Apple IIe...but I have to give props to the Asus Nexus 7.......
      • So the authors opinion doesn't matter but your claiming

        which is a superior OS does? They are both subjective. Maybe to the author the resolution difference isn't a big deal while to you it is. Just as customization options and widgets makes Android superior for you while others might find iOS far superior for other reason. Neither is right or wrong.
      • Huh

        Im not sure why you and others get this notion that ios is for kids and android is harder because you can do a few customizations on it. It is stupid simple to customize these things so much so that my 13 year old can do it on his nexus 7. I own a iPad 3rd gen, nexus 7 and a ipad mini and they all have their pros and cons. They all have their place in this world.
    • I commented on his 13 iPad Mini Apps Post

      I had both the Nexus 7 and the iPad Mini side by side and you do notice the difference! Both Fonts and Screen Glare are much worse on the iPad than they are on the Nexus and the Nexus screen uses less energy!
    • Hypocrisy and Journalism

      First off, we have 2 iPad Mini's and 2 iPhones before buying the Nexus 7 yesterday (impulse buy because im curious about Android) And what always makes me crazy is the double standard by journalists. (These isnt directly about this article, but journalism in general)

      - Last Year: "Retina is the future and going back to non-retina is crippling". This year: "Retina is nice but not essential".

      - "Any wider than an iPhone5 would make it difficult and uncomfortable to use with one hand". But with the Mini then "it can be held with one hand". So a 4.3" phone is too big but a crab claw to hold a Mini is comfortable?

      - "Its not about specs!" is the excuse for when Apple is behind. But how many times do Apple defenders or journalists go straight to geekbench or PPI count in order to justify "its good enough" or reference a chart that shows Apple superiority in a very specific field?

      - "Who needs GPS in a WiFi device"? Apple maps doesnt allow downloadable maps so its not as important. But the Nexus 7 has downloadable google maps which makes the GPS incredibly useful and a hidden benefit of the CHEAPER device that shouldnt be dismissed so quickly

      - Pocketability. Why is the pocketability of the Nexus vs Mini being ignored? I may prefer the Mini but it's millimeters too wide to fit in my back pocket and that is surprsingly noticeable for a portable device. Why is a 7.9" iPad better than a 9.7" if they both require a purse to carry around?

      - "Apps are so important, Apps are like blood, Apps Apps Apps". Any time you see an Apple pushed into a corner by another product then its "APPS APPS APPS". But lets be honest, how important is 900billion apps when you only use 20?

      To be honest, I do still prefer the Mini more than the Nexus 7. But thats purely due to personal preference since I'm deeply embedded in the Apple ecosystem AND because i make a tech budget based on Apple pricing. BUT, if someone was to ask which tablet to buy today then the $199 nexus 7 is probably the more impressive product and a good journalist wouldnt ignore so many advantages of the non-Apple product.
      • Great analysis - better than the article!

        Two other points:
        PRICE. Depending on the options you choose, you can drop $500+ on a iPad Mini, while the top of the line Nexus 7 is only $249.

        SCREEN SHAPE. As soon as you watch videos on a Nexus 7 (or a Surface RT), you realize that widescreen (16:9 format) devices are much nicer that SQUARE ones (iPad, mini) which display video in a narrow strip on the screen.
        • Agreed

          Though the top of the line Nexus 7 is now the 3G/LTE version at $299. Still, quite a bit cheaper than a comparable iPad Mini at $559!
          • No

            The Nexus doesn't have LTE, just HSPA+ 4G
      • You should write a blog!

        You nailed it and what it comes down to is personal preference in a lot of cases. I am your opposite. i am heavily invested in the Android ecosystem. I really miss it when I try something else. That is not to say that when I used an iPad (especially the new one), I am not blown away. I even own an HP TouchPad which I think has the best tablet OS except for the whole "dead OS with no apps" thing. I also had a Windows Phone and it was great.

        The problem with all of these devices is that they did not have the same integration between devices that I have become used to with Google. Sure, at times Android has been a laggy mess (I'm looking at you Honeycomb) but Jelly Bean has shored up almost all of those issues.
        • iOS integration is too limiting...

          and more users are realizing that as they learn more about Android. Jellybean has been a game changer for Android as it has eliminated the one big criticism of Android, it's perceived "lagginess." Even Apple users are sick and tired of iTunes at this point, and when they compare it to how things are done on Android, it's eye opening for them. There's no iTunes type of system on Android to wrestle with, and users have a real file management system. Those two things along with Jellybean are bringing iOS users to Android.
      • Media bias

        Best reply I have ever read and I am going to use it with proper attribution. I totally agree with you, when the facts benefit Apple then it's all good and the rest is lacking but when the facts benefit Apple's competition then it's not that important or do we really need it.
        I own a Nexus 7 and played with the iPad Mini at the store, still prefer the Nexus though. The iPad Mini is a great tablet but spec wise falls behind the Nexus is almost everything.
        This media bias applies to German cars versus American cars too, it's so easy to see it.
      • Good writeup but I appreciate the Nexus 7 comments for comparison purposes

        If there's one thing I'd like to see changed on the next gen iPad Mini it's it's physical width. Drop it just a few mm and it will fit in all my pockets, now it only fits in some.

        Although I’ve been waiting for that next gen iPad Mini but I thought I’d come here to to see if maybe I should just go ahead and get the Nexus 7 - It's cheaper.

        I know it hasn't been discussed here, but when I tried the iPad Mini I liked the backside camera feature. It was like having a standard digital camera but with a VERY large viewing screen (and I could take pictures with it and email them to friends or to my PC right there on the spot). Maybe the next gen Nexus 7 will have a backside camera too - that would be a good thing.

        The Nexus 7 has full GPS. When I tried the iPad Mini it ‘worked’ for finding my way around with maps (The Mini looks at all the WiFi spots then triangulates to show your position) .. but .. I think the Nexus 7 GPS would be more accurate (down to a few feet rather than maybe +/- 20 feet or so).

        To some, the ability to customize is important. Personally I prefer the Apple approach - consistency is important to me on these digital devices that do so very many things - consistency keeps me from becoming confused in amongst all the ‘stuff’.

        Also, I had planned on getting one of these devices so I sold my 2 1/2 year old iPad 1 to Amazon for $193. These Apple devices seem to hold their value pretty well, Is it the same with the Android devices?

        Rumor has it that the iPad Mini 2 will be coming in the spring. I think I'll wait and see what it has to offer. If I didn't mind the narrower screen and lack of camera I'd probably go ahead and get the Nexus 7 now, but immediate gratification is important to me - waiting requires a kind of self discipline that isn't very strong at all in me, so the waiting will be hard. In the mean time I’ll stick with my overly large iPad 3.
        • Edit:

          Sure wish these comments were editable. If they were I'd have gone back and removed a couple of superfluous 'buts'. For instance, in PP 2 I'd have removed the "but" after "iPad Mini", then in PP 7 I'd have removed the "but" just before "immediate gratification". Maybe you, the reader, might be so kind as to vicariously remove those words yourselves.
        • Resale Value

          I can see where you're coming from in preferring Apple's ecosystem - for someone who uses their device to consume content, Apple's got it done well. Heck, they even make it really easy for developers because all of their hardware is one-size-fit-all, meaning no problems with making sure your app is compatible. Of course, the 30% tax on every app sold hits us pretty hard, but you still stand to make more developing a game or an app for the iPhone / iPad than the competition at this point.

          You mentioned that you got a great trade in price through Amazon for your 1st gen iPad - essentially, you could switch that out for a Nexus 7 at that price, which is great for an older device. I wouldn't hold out too much hope for getting the same type of resale value on an Android product - they're too many manufacturers, and everyone wants the latest and greatest.

          You might do better with this particular item as it is Nexus branded (The galaxy nexus from last year still commends a respectable resale value even with its successor released), and the fact that Google will support these devices first with upgrades is a huge plus.

          In general, though, don't expect an Android device to hold its value like something from Apple. Are they both generally good products? Yes, but Apple's brand name goes a long way, even though I personally have been frustrated with my past Apple devices failing mysteriously a month after their warranties expired (This was back in the day of 2nd gen Nanos through the 1st gen iPod touch though, so I can't speak for their recent products).

          One thing that I am jealous of is the pure visual appeal of Apple products - their minimalist designs work for me. Looking at an iPad mini makes me think of a CEO on the top floor of a building in Manhattan, whereas a Nexus 7 looks like something you'd see at a shady auto shop when someone's running your credit card through one of those little Square readers.

          I'd try Apple products again if I wasn't in the line of work I am, but Android just works for me.
      • Perfectly said my friend

        People are just too biased these days, dumb asses really
        Lokman Ulger
    • You noticed that too?

      Your first paragraph is right on, we see it time and time again. When the Apple product loses on a spec sheet, that spec isn't important. When later on, that exact same spec ends up being in Apple's favor, that spec is the only thing that counts.