The launch of Google’s newest Nexus 7 tablet earlier this week was met with much fanfare and overwhelmingly positive reviews. The sleek Android-powered slate is a worthy successor to last year’s Nexus 7, with an affordable price and practical upgrades.
But how does it stack up against Apple’s immensely popular, albeit slightly dated, iPad Mini. Will it be able to compete with the rumored iPad Mini 2 when that device launches?
Screen and dimensions
The new Nexus 7 ships with a stunning 1920 x 1200 pixel display with 323 PPI – absolutely blowing away the iPad Mini’s 1024 x 768 pixel screen with only 163 PPI. As for the purported iPad Mini 2, recent reports indicate that Apple may be passing on a scaled-down Retina display – at least until next year.
“According to information buried in iOS 7 beta 4 code, Apple is indeed testing a new iPad Mini model that features a faster A6 processor but no Retina display. This is likely just one of many iPad Mini models Apple is testing, of course, but multiple earlier reports [claimed that] a low-resolution second-generation iPad Mini would launch in 2013 ahead of a new Retina model next year,” said BGR.
It must be noted that the new Nexus 7 has a narrower screen than the iPad Mini, with a 16:9 aspect ratio that is more suited to watching HD video. The current iPad Mini has a 4:3 aspect ratio that is better for reading eBooks and content-heavy webpages.
The new Nexus 7 measures 7.9 inches tall by 4.5 inches wide by 0.3 inches thick. The screen is 7 inches (diagonally). The iPad Mini is 7.87 inches tall by 5.3 inches wide by 0.28 inches thick with a screen that measures 7.9 inches diagonally.
The iPad Mini takes better advantage of surface real estate, with the screen covering most of the top side of the device. The wide letterboxing on the Nexus 7 2 creates a lot of blank space.
Both devices are the same weight at 0.69 pounds.
Processor, memory, and battery life
Processing power is another area where the new Nexus 7 outshines the iPad Mini. It is powered by a quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro rated at 1.5GHz. Apple’s tiny tablet uses a dual-core A5 chip rated at only 1GHz.
The Nexus 7 2 also has much more RAM – 2GB compared to the iPad Mini’s meager 512MB. As for internal storage, both slates offer 16GB and 32GB models, but Apple also sells a 64GB model of the iPad Mini. Neither accepts external storage cards.
Google says that the new Nexus 7 offers nine hours of battery life, but The Wall Street Journal stated that it was actually closer to six. The iPad Mini, on the other hand, lasts for more than 10 hours between charges.
The revamped Nexus 7 retails for a budget-friendly $229. The iPad Mini, though on the market since last November, remains a pricey $329 for the most basic 16GB Wi-Fi only model. A future iPad Mini 2 would probably fall at the same price point, with a potential Retina display model costing more.
The Nexus 7 2 is probably a better choice than Apple’s original iPad Mini for customers who need the latest and greatest small-sized tablet at a fair price. But if you have more money – and more patience – it might be a good idea to see what the iPad Mini 2 has to offer.
In the end, as is the case with most technology these days, the best choice is probably the device with an operating system that you are the most comfortable with. Apple’s new iOS 7 (still in beta for iPad Mini) and Google’s new Android 4.3 Jelly Bean attract different kinds of users – who are often extremely brand loyal and reluctant to jump ship.