Two days back, Apple hosted their event where they launched they new line of tablets, laptops & desktop OS, and the highlight of the evening were the new models of the very successful iPad: the new iPad Air and the iPad Mini with Retina Display. The devices have seen some major improvements over the last generation, but the fact of the matter is this: how do they compare to the competition.
Today we’re taking Apple’s iPad Mini with Retina Display and pitting it against the mighty Nexus 7 2013 edition. While both devices are very powerful, it is to be noted that the Nexus 7 has been around for a while now, and most users are extremely pleased with its real life performance, information which is not currently available for the new iPad Mini.
A quick reminder of the specs
Although the specs of the iPad Mini with Retina Display are still fresh in our memory, the same is not true about the Nexus 7 2013 version, which was launched a few months back. So, if you are a bit fuzzy on the details of the devices, here is a quick recap of what each of them has under its hood.
Google Nexus 7 2013:
- Size: 4.5 x 7.9 x 0.3 inches
- Weight: 317.5 grams
- OS: Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro with a quad-core processor clocked at 1.5 GHz and Adreno 320 as the GPU
- RAM: 2GB DDR3
- Display: 7-inch IPS with 1920×1200 resolution (constructed with anti-fingerprint and scratch-resistant glass) and 323 ppi
- Cameras: 1.2-MP on the front, 5MP on the back.
- Storage: 16/32 GB internal, with no external SD slots
- Connectivity: NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, SlimPort and Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n and, a 4G LTE model (only for US).
- Battery: up to 9 hours of HD video, 10 hours of browsing
Even if the Nexus 7 2013 edition is moving towards the second part of its life (in technology time), it is still one of the best devices running Android that you can get your hands on.
Apple iPad Mini with Retina Display:
- Size: 5.3 x 7.87 x 0.29 inches
- Weight: 331 grams
- OS: iOS 7
- CPU: Apple 64-bit A7 Processor
- Display: 7.9 inch Retina Display with 2048 x 1536 resolution and 326 ppi
- Cameras: Back 5 MP iSight with 1080p recording and front 1.2 MP FaceTime HD with 720p recording
- Storage: 16GB / 32GB / 64GB / 128 GB
- Connectivity: MiMo WiFi 802.11n Antennas, LTE, Cellular, Bluetooth 4.0
- Battery: 9 /10 hours of battery life
Please note that the specs above are for the WiFi only version of the iPad Mini. Apple has two different models of the device, one of which having Cellular connectivity also.
What to make of the specs?
First and foremost, we’ll not be comparing the software side of the tablets, as they run on different operating systems. We will mention however that both devices are running the very latest version of their OS’, therefore, they fully benefit from all the new features that these offer.
The Screen – Right off the bat, we can see that the iPad Mini has a slightly larger screen, beating the Nexus 7 by 0.9 inch in screen real-estate. The iPad also beats Google’s flagship on resolution and pixel density, the latter being only with 4 PPI bigger than the Nexus screen. So, at the end of the match, the iPad Mini wins the fight over the display specs.
The Cameras – Although Apple has some fancy names for its cameras, spec-wise, the two devices are identical. Both the Nexus 7 2013 and the iPad Mini with Retina Display have a 1.2 MP camera on the front and a 5 MP shutter on the back. So we have a draw when it comes to cameras: no points for either team.
Processor and RAM – The Nexus 7 is powered by the Snapdragon S4 Pro, which is still a very capable chip to have in a mobile device, but not the very best. On the other hand, the new iPad Mini scores Apple’s newest chip, the powerful Apple A7 that has the PC-grade 64-bit architecture and the M7 motion coprocessor. Although both devices work flawlessly, the round has to go to the iPad Mini with Retina Display.
Storage – To make things shorter, neither device has expansion slots, as usual. However, Apple has a lot of versions of the iPad Mini, starting from 16 GB and going all the way up to 128 GB. Google, it seems, wasn’t as generous with their tablet and therefore, they offer only 16 and 32 GB versions. So, although I don’t see why someone would buy a 128 GB tablet, I have to stick to the facts and give the iPad this round also.
Battery – What use is a tablet if it can’t get you through the day? The good news is that both of these tablets have all day battery life, in the 9 to 10 hours range. Apple’s WiFi only tablet is rated for 10 hours of battery use, while the cellular version has 9 hours. Google’s Nexus 7 tablet offers users 9 hours of battery power, which is also in the same ballpark. Overall, both tablets perform great, so we end up with another tie.
Price – I dare-say that everyone considers price as a very important factor when purchasing a tablet. And in the price department, the Nexus wins by miles in front of the iPad Mini. Apple has always priced their products on the premium side, so it’s no surprise that the cheapest iPad, which is $399 is more expensive than the most expensive Nexus which only goes as far as $349. So, without a doubt, the Google Nexus takes the last round.
Now that we’ve seen which are the strong points of each of the tablets, it’s time to make a decision. Looking only at the specs, we have to declare the iPad Mini with Retina Display the better small tablet and takes the cake. Overlooking the slight difference in dimensions and in weight (where the iPad tips the scales more than the Nexus), what it comes down to is the user’s own preferences. Last, but not the least, the iPad Mini has over 465,000 apps designed specifically for tablets, while the number pales down on Android & Nexus 7. Not everyone care or need that many apps, but it does make sense to check if your must-have apps are present and tablet-optimized on the Play store.