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

The new iPad Mini looks nice enough, but Google Nexus 7 nice? I don't think so.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor
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.

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