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2013 Nexus 7 vs. iPad mini

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July 24, 2013

Gizmag compares the specs (and other features) of the new Nexus 7 and the aging iPad mini

Gizmag compares the specs (and other features) of the new Nexus 7 and the aging iPad mini

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If you're shopping for a smallish tablet, we wouldn't blame you for narrowing it down to the iPad mini and Google's new Nexus 7. But how do you choose between the two? Let Gizmag lend a hand, as we compare the specs (and other features) of the two mini-tablets.

Size

The two tablets are roughly the same height, but are proportioned differently. The new Nexus 7 is 16 percent narrower than the iPad mini. The Google/Asus tablet is also a bit thicker, by 21 percent.

Weight

That narrower build helps the 2nd-gen Nexus 7 to tip the scales at 6 percent lighter than the iPad mini.

If you look at weight relative to surface area, though, the iPad mini actually comes in at about eight percent lighter. So it's possible the iPad mini will, in a sense, feel lighter in hand.

Build

Like the original Nexus 7, the new model sports a plastic construction. The updated tablet does skip out on the rubbery backing of the 2012 model though: this one has a smooth matte finish.

The iPad mini is made of Apple's favorite, anodized aluminum.

Display

This is probably the most important category in this comparison. And you could make an argument for either tablet, depending on your priorities.

The iPad mini's screen is larger, and those commonly-used diagonal measurements (7.9-inch and 7-inch) don't tell the whole story. When you measure the areas of both screens (a much more telling data point), you'll see that the Nexus 7 only gives you 74 percent as much real estate as the iPad mini. That's a significant difference, and worth taking into account.

But even bigger is the difference in sharpness, where the Nexus 7 has a huge advantage. Its 323 pixels per inch (PPI) blow away the iPad mini's mere 162 PPI. Or, put another way, the iPad mini only gives you 34 percent of the pixels you get with the new Nexus 7, despite having that bigger screen. The Google tablet will display much sharper text, much finer detail, and crisper images.

Processor

The new Nexus 7's Snapdragon processor is newer, has more cores, is faster, and outbenchmarks the iPad's A5. Performance should be a huge advantage for the Nexus 7.

RAM

Another big performance boost for the Nexus 7, as it quadruples the iPad mini's mere 512 MB of RAM.

Storage

The only difference in storage is the iPad mini's 64 GB option. Neither tablet has a microSD card slot for supplemental storage.

Wireless

Both tablets are also available in LTE mobile data models. The big difference here is that while all three storage models of the iPad mini are available with 4G LTE, Google only sells the 32 GB version of the Nexus 7 with LTE.

Cameras

We doubt you're planning on using your tablet as your primary camera, and it looks like Apple and Google are guessing the same thing. Both tablets have solid enough cameras, but don't expect anything mind-blowing.

Battery

Battery life will be worth keeping an eye on with the Nexus 7. It has less capacity and a much higher-resolution display than the iPad mini, so it might have its work cut out to match the Apple tablet's great battery life.

For what it's worth, Google estimates nine hours of active use for the new Nexus 7. Apple estimates ten hours for the iPad mini, and in our experience, it lives up to that promise.

Wireless charging

If wireless charging is your thing, only the Nexus 7 delivers. It's compatible with Qi standard wireless charging stations.

NFC

If you're looking to use near-field communication (NFC) to do things like unlock your tablet with a ring, you'll want to lean towards the Nexus 7. Apple has yet to make a device with an NFC chip onboard.

Software

What do you know, we're back to the well-trodden iOS vs. Android battle. We aren't here to tell you which you'll like better, but both have matured into advanced – yet simple – mobile operating systems. iOS still has an advantage in quality and quantity of tablet apps, but the Google Play Store has been improving in that area, so there shouldn't be too many worries there.

Unlike many Android devices, the Nexus 7 will always run the latest version of Google's software, and will be among the first to receive updates. Ditto for Apple's tablet, as Apple doesn't have manufacturer UIs or carrier politics standing in the way of its updates.

User accounts

One cool new addition to the Nexus 7 is the ability to have multiple user accounts. This is a great feature for families who share one tablet.

Release cycle

In a way, this is an unfair comparison, as we're comparing Google's 2013 Nexus 7 to Apple's 2012 iPad mini. It isn't yet clear whether Apple will release a new model this year, and, if so, whether or not it will have that much-desired Retina Display.

Starting prices

Here's another huge advantage for the Nexus 7. You could easily argue that it "won" the majority of this comparison, yet it rings up for US$100 less than the iPad mini. Just based on its components and software, the Nexus 7 is shaping up to be one of the better tablet deals of the year.

Wrap-up

This isn't the last word from us on these two tablets. But until we churn out our 2013 Nexus 7 review, we'd recommend keeping a close eye on this tablet. It's the first mini-tablet to have a high-resolution display. It does away with the excessive bezel on the 1st-gen model. It should deliver blazing-fast performance.

The iPad mini's form and screen size are still hard to beat. But our eyes feel anything but good after staring at the iPad mini's screen for too long. It's an Achilles' heel for Apple's tablet, and it's also the least of the Nexus 7's worries. This one is only going to get more interesting after we put the new Nexus tablet through the paces. Stay tuned.

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Buy this on Amazon About the Author
Will Shanklin Will Shanklin is Gizmag's Mobile Tech Editor, and has been part of the team since 2012. Before finding a home at Gizmag, he had stints at a number of other sites, including Android Central, Geek and the Huffington Post. Will has a Master's degree from U.C. Irvine and a Bachelor's from West Virginia University. He currently lives in New Mexico with his wife, Jessica. All articles by Will Shanklin
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10 Comments

"The Google tablet will display much sharper text, much finer detail, and crisper images." I use my tablet mostly for reading, but play the odd game or two. Being "of a certain age", and having eyes to match, I've tried the iPad, maxi and mini, and prefer the Nexus, even with the smaller screen. At first glance, with Apple's abundance of apps, you might think it more versatile, but Google play is catching up, and the Nexus just does more of what I want to do. Read a .mobi file? The Kindle app, read an .epub ? Kobo does that ( along with a plethora of other choices ) . Just better ( for me ) over all.

Tom Sobieski

I wish I could find a good Android tablet in the iPad Mini's 8" 4:3 size.

I own an 8" Vizio Tablet which is that size, but it is a couple years old now.

I blame Apple's lawyers. >:(

Jon A.

@Tom Phoghat Sobieski

I'm glad you found a tablet that works for you. These choices are personal, and it is better to find something that works better for you. But let's get the facts straight tho shall we. 1 - Google play isn't remotely close to catching up with the number of tablet apps. ~300,000 vs ~200. This is obviously getting better over time especially after the google conference with better tools for tablet app creation, but you're off by an couple of orders of magnitude. 2 - it's not hard to read books in the .mobi and .epub formats on ipad. You just download them and open them in whatever app you want.

@Jon A What have apples lawyers got to do with it, they don't own the patents to a size of tablet.

Inappropriate Response

Where do you get your numbers, a history book? Look here http://www.geeky-gadgets.com/google-play-beats-app-store-with-over-1-million-apps-25-07-2013/

More Android Play apps than Apple!

Paul Smith

Most Android apps will work on tablet or phone formats and the argument that "... iOS still has an advantage in quality and quantity of tablet apps ..." is a little disingenuous and getting old.

I run approx 100 Android apps across Nexus 7, Samsung Galaxy S2 and a MK802III TV dongle... most work well, look fine on each device and are updated regularly every few weeks, usually to add newer devices.

Hsan

Hey Inappropriate Response, last I heard total apps available on Google play and App store were: Apple - 900,000 Google Play - 800,000 So your comment about Google not being remotely close is questionable. Although Apple recently celebrated 50billion app downloads, users of Google’s Android platform are currently downloading 500million more apps per month. Approximately 2billion iOS apps are downloaded each months, compared with 2.5billion from Play. Look it up on Google.

BP

Nobody seems to be questioning the fact that the Nexus has a maximum storage of 32gb, I have 32gb on my HP Touchpad and I am forever running out of room. If people load their Nexus with movies to make best use of the screen display, which I don't think is an unreasonable assumption, then I would expect each movie file to be 5gb or more, and Nexus users are going to use up that 32gb very quickly indeed. The question of expansion, if it supports sdxc, and to what capacity, is therefore, in my opinion, going to play a large part in determining how much use and value you are going to get out of purchasing a Tablet using screen resolution as your deciding factor. Nobody seems to have noted that screen resolutions are increasing faster than storage on tablets, and what that will mean for the end user.

Womp

I look forward to a debate between the new Nexus 7 and Galaxy Tab from Samsung. Anyway, there is one interesting Face-off between iPadmini & Galaxy Tab I came across at: BRAND COLLAGE

Uzin

Although the Nexus maxes out at 32Gb storage this isn't really any issue for anybody familiar with the flexibility of Android - the purchase of a cheap USB OTG cable will open up the possibility of utilising USB flash storage up to 256Gb should the need arise.

Matthew Wilson

Is the new nexus 7's screen as incredibly fragile as the old one?

scotchleaf
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