Nice iPad mini Apple, but I'm keeping my Nexus 7

Nice iPad mini Apple, but I'm keeping my Nexus 7

Summary: The new iPad Mini looks nice enough, but Google Nexus 7 nice? I don't think so.

SHARE:
fry-money
Fry may be ready to scream "Shut up and take my money," for a new iPad mini but you don't have to make his mistake.

I have to say I was impressed. The new iPad with its extremely fast A6X chip looks great, pity it just instantly obsoleted every iPad 3 out there, but... oh wait. That''s the new iPad 4. That's not what Apple is running up against the Nexus 7. Instead, they're putting out the iPad mini. Seriously? That's just sad.

True, Apple senior vice president for marketing Phil Schiller may say that the Nexus 7 is an example of how "Others have tried to make smaller tablets, but they've failed", but that's just showing that the Apple reality distortion field is still at work within Apple's halls. The truth, as everyone knows who've used the Nexus 7, is that it's a great tablet. Heck, without it and its relatives such as the Nook and Kindle, Apple never would have produced a 7" tablet.

Remember Steve Jobs? Back in 2010, he said "we [won't] make a 7-inch tablet isn’t because we don’t want to hit [a lower] price point. It’s because we think the screen is too small to express the software. As a software driven company, we think about the software strategies first.” The only way a 7-inch tablet could work would be "if they came with sandpaper to file down human fingers to a quarter of their size."

I wonder what changed Apple's mind. It couldn't be because of all those failed smaller tablets could it? As far as I can tell my fingers are the same size as they ever were. 

Moving on, don't mistake me, the iPad mini a nice enough tablet, but come on guys stop yacking about how much better the display it is. It's not. It' 7.9-inch screen isn't that much bigger than the Nexus 7's 7-inch display. Besides, a closer look shows that the iPad mini 1,024x768 display with its 163 pixels per inch (PPI) is actually far poorer than the Nexus' 216 PPI.

Processor? The iPad mini comes with a dual-core A5 and the Nexus uses a Nvidia quad-core Tegra 3. We won't know for sure, which is faster until the iPad mini is in neutral testing hands. What we do know, though, is that on benchmarks of earlier model iPads and Android tablets, the A5 does better at graphics while the Tegra 3 is better at pretty much everything else.

At this time both of them use 802.11n for Wi-Fi and both of them promise that they'll support 3G/4G real soon now. Let's call it a tie then and move on.

When it comes to camera, the iPad does have a 5MegaPixel (MP) back-facing camera and a 1.2MP front-facing camera, while the Nexus 7 only has a single front-facing 1.2MP camera. To each their own, but if I'm going to take a photograph I'm going to use a real camera or my smartphone, not a tablet.

Apple claims that the new mini iPad's battery will last for 10-hours. I know my Nexus 7 will last for more than 10-hours because I abuse it that way far too often.

As for ports, the iPad mini comes with the proprietary and expensive Lightning connector. The Nexus 7? It uses a good, old inexpensive micro-USB. You know, a port you can use to plug pretty much any USB device into without needing an extra-cost cable?

Moving away from the hardware, on the operating system front, the iPad mini runs iOS 6. You know, iOS 6, it's the one that still has miserable Wi-Fi problems, for now, and <shudder!> Apple Maps.

The Nexus 7 runs the best version of Android to date: 4.1. It also comes with Google Maps and native support for YouTube. Need I say more?

Actually, I do. Here's the bottom line issue: the bottom line. The iPad mini price range goes like this: Wi-Fi: $329 (16GB), $429 (32GB) and $529 (64GB). Cellular: $459 (16GB), $559 (32GB), $659 (64GB). The Nexus 7 starts at $199 for the 8GB version and goes up to $249 for the 16GB version. The Nexus' prices are expected to go down $50 next week with the arrival of the 32GB Nexus 7 next week.. For now, though, the Nexus 7 that's most comparable to the iPad mini is the 16GB model and it's $80 cheaper. Let me spell that out for you: Eighty dollars cheaper. Soon, it will be $130 cheaper.

That makes this a simple decision. At first impression, the Nexus 7 still appears to be the better tablet and it's much cheaper. Unless you're tied to the hip to Apple products, this is a no-brainer. The  Nexus 7 is the best small tablet  for the money in the market today.

Related Stories:

Topics: iPad, Android, Operating Systems, Mobility, Mobile OS, Linux, Hardware, Google, Apple, Tablets

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

46 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • That connector alone...

    ...gives Android the advantage. Settling on Micro USB is portable bliss from the Android gang. :-)
    thebaldguy
  • camera and gps

    While I doubt I would ever take pictures with a nexus 7 camera, what about QR and bar codes, and google goggles. I mean for google to come out with a tablet that can not use their own goggles feature would be like apple coming out with their own Map app and then not putting a GPS in the ipod touch or ipad mini. Sarcasm now stated, I really dont understand Apple not having GPS on the wifi only models, but having a GPS on the cell models. If anything, it should be the reverse.
    antong77
    • camera and gps

      Good point about Google Goggles.
      roaming
    • Agreed....

      I can actually get behind most of this post - all the points are good and solid - except the camera one. It's not even a question of 'better or worse'.. one has to be consistant. The lack of a back camera on the Nexus 7 is and was a mistake. Accept it. Don't rationalise it by suggesting that because I don't use it - no one has a use for it.

      However, it's almost the ONLY mistake on the Nexus 7. I would have made a point that the Nexus 7 includes a real GPS as you did. The iPad mini doesn't. There - now we have a you have one, we have one situation.
      The Werewolf!
      • no back facing camera is only mistake

        I agree that the only mistake with the Nexus 7 is the lack of a back facing camera!
        mookiemu
    • no GPS in the wifi only models

      It seems that Apple uses the cellular chip to implement GPS. This is why the wifi only models don't have GPS.

      Perhaps their thinking is that if you don't have Internet connectivity, the GPS is useless. It also seems that some of the iOS offline mapping apps support external GPS as well.
      danbi
  • Your sticking with your Nexus 7? Why doesn't that surprise the world?!

    The point is not that a person should be so obsessed with his tech gadgets that he/she purchases the "next best thing" every 3 weeks and forsakes what he or she previously used but what persons accomplish with the gadgets they own.

    Or, put another way - and I'm sure you saw the the today's video streamed presentation, Steve - what should be the most important consideration for a first time tablet purchase?

    Well, IMO, it is the hardware/software combination that will prove the most beneficial or enjoyable for a user. That is the primary consideration for any purchase .. wouldn't you agree?

    And, if that is so, than shouldn't the quality and quantity of the software and third party ecosystem be of prime importance? I think so.

    Now, you should have argued about the relative merits of the Android and iOS software app ecosystems rather than mere hardware specs.

    In your opinion, who has the best and most functional apps optimized for a tablet available for users?
    kenosha77a
    • Android

      Seriously, the market has all the apps I need. And the interface of Android is much better than the iOS with the ability to customize your experience with home screens, widgets and icons. Not to mention Android's notification system blows iOS's out of the water.

      I feel silly to admit that I was a little worried for Nexus 7. But then the Apple mini announcement came and went and my worry evaporated.
      Deldrin
  • Clearly Apple have cracked it

    They've made their set of shiny bar coasters complete iPhone up to the full size iPad. Brilliant!

    Would that your average pub had so much variety.
    ego.sum.stig
  • iPad still has the apps though!

    It's worth mentioning iPad has better/more apps to Android on tablets.

    Otherwise, totally agree but I'd get the Acer Iconia A110 instead. It's almost identical to the Nexus 7 8Gb except it has a MicroSD slot too (it does have a slightly poorer screen also).

    In my opinion the Acer Iconia A110 is the 7" tablet to beat!
    bradavon
    • More? Yes, but not necessarily relevent. Better? Very subjective.

      If 90% of the iPad users use the same 10% of the apps in the App Store and most of them are also on Android or have good equivalents, then having more apps is irrelevent. More isn't inherenlty better.

      And as for specifically better- that's going to depend a lot of how you define better. A lot of the iPad apps I've seen are pretty minimal and not exceptionally different than their Android equivalents.
      The Werewolf!
  • Why not a Chromebook instead?

    At $250, I'm ditching both Microsoft and Apple for the Chromebook. At least it has a keyboard and doesn't suck like Windows 8.
    D.J. 43
    • I noticed that several apps in the Chrome app store require windows...

      If you interested in games I would say that Chromebook a no go. Even many games in the Chrome app store requires windows in the background.

      If you use web pages for most things, a Chromebook can be good value for money. My experience with the Chrome browser tells med that it is far less polished experience than using native tablet, laptop and desktop apps. Without the bloat of a full OS, I guess Chrome OS has a very nice on the performance. And unlike most Linux distributions, the hardware and software comes in one integrated package, giving Chrome OS better performance. Installing Linux on a windows computer can give a severe loss of performance due too bad driver support...
      Oden79
  • Agreed

    I agree. Sometime after Google releases the 32Gb Nexus 7 I'll trade in my HTC Flyer. Honestly, my experience with both a 7" tablet and a 10" tablet leads me to believe that 7" is the perfect size for a tablet. In fact, I think that Apple missed the point of a small tablet by releasing a 7.8" 4:3 device. For one thing, I'm betting you'll have a hard time fitting one in most jacket pockets. The Flyer (exact same physical dimensions as the Nexus 7) fits easily into one, and can even slipped into a pair of pants pockets (albeit with little room to spare).
    dsf3g
    • There is

      no 32Gb.
      • Mentioned in the article

        It's to be released next week, and the 8GB model will be retired. The two prices (199/249) will remain the same.
        Bo Dangren
    • A jacket?

      Someone mentioned this when the first iPad 10" hit the market. You can't put the ipad here or there... You can't use it. You can't like it. You can't wear it. You can't blend it... oh wait.. YOU CAN!!! Now everyone made and sold 10" tablets. Are you really going to put your Nexus 4 and iPad 7 in your pants pocket? OUCH!!! LOL!!!

      I could say, it will be nice to put the Nexus 7" in your pocketbook! The iPad Mini will look so nice in a gucci purse!!! The iPad 3 is wait too heavy!
      Jumpingjack35
  • "The Nexus 7 is the best small tablet for the money"

    Yeah but what if I want the best small tablet period, irregardless of price? Is this choice still the Nexus 7? I think not. iPad mini have a 35% larger screen than the Nexus or other tiny tablets, better ecosystem, apps, content, games etc. #1 in support and service. Rock solid iOS and UI....
    dave95.
    • GPS

      And functioning map apps makes the Nexus superior. These smaller tablets are for being on the go. Maps With Me and Nexus GPS. As of now, can't be beat.
      passingthroughagain
    • What?

      "35% larger screen" means nothing when you're talking about "small tablets." In fact, it goes against the point of not buying a 10" tablet. Heck, get a 21" tablet. It has several times the screen of the Nexus 7.
      Bo Dangren