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iPad mini vs. 2012 Nexus 7

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October 23, 2012

How does the iPad mini compare to the Nexus 7?

How does the iPad mini compare to the Nexus 7?

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Apple and Google don't have a lot of love for each other. Yet the two companies' hardware has seldom directly competed. Sure, the iPhone is rival to the Galaxy Nexus and a slew of Android phones. The iPad also does battle with some slow-selling full-sized Android slates. But perhaps the budget tablet market will show us the first true slugfest between the sworn enemies. The Nexus 7 – possibly the best budget tablet on the market – now has to contend with Apple's new iPad mini. How do the two miniature slates compare? Let's take a look …

Dimensions

The iPad mini is a bit wider and notably thinner

Both are in the same class of smaller tablets, but there are differences. Though the devices are nearly the same height, the iPad mini is a bit wider and much thinner.

The iPad mini has narrower bezels on the side, which Apple used to keep the form nearly as small, but with a larger display.

Weight

As light as the iPad mini is, the Nexus 7 isn't far away

As light as the iPad mini is, the Nexus 7 holds its own. Both slates should be comfortable for extended one-handed use.

Display

iPad mini gives you more real estate, but the Nexus 7 packs more pixels

Each tablet's display has its pros and cons. The iPad mini offers an extra 0.9 inch (22.9 mm) of diagonal real estate, but the Nexus 7 has better resolution and a significantly higher pixel density.

Processor

At least on paper, the Nexus comes out ahead here

At least on paper, this is a big win for the Nexus. It has a quad core Tegra 3 chip, while the iPad mini is rocking the old A5 chip – which first appeared in 2011's iPad 2.

Neither tablet, however, should be too much of a slouch in the performance department.

RAM

iPad mini probably has half the RAM of the Nexus 7

The iPad mini's 512 MB of RAM is unconfirmed, but – as it shares much of the iPad 2's components – that's where the smart money is. Consider this another (probable) victory for the Nexus.

Storage

The Nexus 7's storage bump puts it on even ground with the iPad mini (apart from the 64GB ...

Until recently, the Nexus 7 was only available in 8GB and 16GB models, but those have now been replaced by 16GB and 32GB options - for the same price points (US$200 and $250, respectively).

Apart from the more expensive 64GB iPad mini, storage is basically a draw.

Wireless

The Nexus 7 is also now available with mobile data, but it lacks LTE

The Nexus 7's minor update also saw it receive cellular data. You can buy a 32GB model with mobile data off-contract from Google. The only caveat is that it doesn't support LTE, only 3G and HSPA+ (often marketed as "4G").

The iPad mini's cellular model does support LTE, but you'll have to pay for it. The 16GB cellular model costs $460 - nearly as much as a Wi-Fi only full-sized iPad.

Battery

Estimates are fairly close

Until we put some time in with the iPad mini, these are based solely on estimates. Going off of those, we're looking at similar uptimes.

Cameras

This is one of the few categories that's a clear advantage for the iPad mini

Google and Asus left a rear-facing camera off of the Nexus 7, so the iPad mini comes out ahead here. It has the same shooters that are found in the 4th-gen iPad.

Intangibles

App Store or two Benjamins? (Bill: Shutterstock)

Millions of customers will likely buy the iPad mini, largely because of the App Store. Though Google Play is nothing to sneeze at, Apple's marketplace has a much larger selection of native tablet apps. They will all run in the same resolution (1024 x 768) as they do on the first two iPads.

A huge advantage for the Nexus 7 is its cost. Its US$200 starting price is $130 cheaper than the base model (16 GB, Wi-Fi only) iPad mini. With the Nexus 7 coming out ahead in several other key categories, anyone but die-hard Apple fans would be wise to at least consider Google's tablet.

Summing up

Apple's pricing is a bit higher than many people expected. Considering that the device's components fall short of the cutting edge, a $130 premium over its rivals is a gutsy move. Because it's made by Apple, it will sell in bunches, but that may not necessarily make it the leading budget tablet. The App Store may be all it needs to outsell its rival, but should we expect more from Apple?

Is the iPad mini better than the Nexus 7? As always, much of that will come down to personal taste. We will, however, attempt to make this distinction even clearer when the iPad mini arrives on doorsteps on Nov. 2.

For the full-sized version of this battle, see our comparison of the Nexus 10 vs. iPad.

About the Author
Will Shanklin Will Shanklin is Gizmag's Mobile Tech Editor, and has been part of the team since 2012. 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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37 Comments

The only thing the Nexus is lacking is SD card slot. Everything else is better than the iPad. Clear winner for me.

DaveBG
24th October, 2012 @ 01:30 am PDT

@daveBG

"eveything else is better than the iPad"

Nexus - worse battery, worse apps, worse cameras, worse dimensions, worse wireless, worse storage options.

so apart from the battery, apps, camera, dimensions, wireless and storage options.. everything else is better than the iPad - got it - thanks

Inappropriate Response
24th October, 2012 @ 03:34 am PDT

I recently bought Nexus 7 not knowing about Ipad mini's release. I was a bit worried until I read this article, but now I am happy to know I got the best value for my money. Having used Nexus for a couple of weeks, the only shortfall I noticed is lack of an SD card slot, which if added will make Nexus7 the ultimate tablet for budget buyers like me.

A S Raju
24th October, 2012 @ 05:11 am PDT

The asterisks next to every spec that the Nexus 7 is lacking tells me that this is a biased article. I agree with IR, better battery, apps, camera, dimensions, wireless...not to mention the display, make the iPad mini a much better option. In addition, with the additional camera and processing power, it is able to be more than just an e-reader.

Silverbird
24th October, 2012 @ 06:08 am PDT

This category is really about economy and other tablets in this category clearly understand this aspect as does the Nexus 7. To use as a kick-about the Nexus 7 trumps the "precious" (aka Lord of the Rings) iPad Mini. Too many hedge funds invested in Apple trying to keep the hype at a fever pitch. Sad.

Fahrenheit 451
24th October, 2012 @ 07:50 am PDT

Silverbird... Did You even read the article?

ipadM has a slower cpu, lower rez screen, less Ram and cost more.

Costs ALOT more.

Brian Mcc
24th October, 2012 @ 08:39 am PDT

I was just about to buy a Nexus 7 when I found out that it won't run the Square credit card app. I think the headphone jack is different and won't fit the gadget. Let us all know if the iPad mini will!

PhyllisVE
24th October, 2012 @ 09:00 am PDT

Remember how when those of us that bought the first gen iPad felt when a year later the iPad 2 hit the shelves? I felt cheated and didn't rush out to buy the iPad 2

This is just the same thing

Think of this as a feeler product, toe on the water to see how cold it is or hot for that matter

6 month to a year down the line the iPad mini 2 will arrive and those of us that bought the first gen iPad mini will have been cheated out of our hard earned cash

The second gens iPad mini will have a a6 chip retina display and still cost the same

They probably have it already but holding it back until next year

It's the same with all apple products

I want to buy one but who doesn't they are cool products that apple produce

But I would advise holding off for 6 month to a year

We can live with out these things in our lives

Ramape
24th October, 2012 @ 09:05 am PDT

These devices are rapidly commoditizing, either one represents an amazing amount of capability at impressive price points.

The technology is rapidly evolving too, it doesn't pay to get worked up on technical specs - by this time next year, both these brand-new tabs will have been leapfrogged again.

I agree with the sentiment that SD slots are necessary, and they will become the norm. Everybody is asking and the first manufacturer that provides that will win a lot of customers. Same for replaceable battery, USB 3.0 ports, HDMI output, GPS map data, etc.

Grunchy
24th October, 2012 @ 09:25 am PDT

@Ramape, I hope you are correct because without the Retina display (disappointing) I see no need to switch from my Kindle Fire

Bob Fately
24th October, 2012 @ 09:45 am PDT

I do like this side by side comparison format of various products. This seems to account for most of what consumers look for when they do their comparison shopping.

I wouldn't buy any tablet that doesn't have an SD card capabilty.

Ct
24th October, 2012 @ 10:09 am PDT

How can anyone read this & get it wrong. I have and use Apple, Android & Windows based tablets. With no bias I can tell you:

Apple Wins:

Batteries (generally last longer)

Chips (generally runs bit faster, get it- a bit)

Front facing Camera - Most people use their phone not to important

3G Wireless- Most only use at home or can wait to use in spaces with wireless

32 & 64 GB storage- big deal since neither offers SD expandable & filling 16 GB is easy

Nexus Wins:

Monitor- slightly more favorable size and better image (pixels)

Price- most don't want to spend over $300 on a tablet (unless for work)

Draw:

Ram: probably will be the same or won't effect the Mini

Apps: Practically the same on both & in many cases identical

You will see the consumers will favor the Nexus this season. Why do I say this? Because those who can afford the Mini already have an IPad (like me) and those who couldn't will be buying the Nexus. Many who have an IPad will be buying the Nexus for their kids (like me) so you don't have to share it anymore. But it should be mentioned you get a bit more machine with the Mini.

Matt Fletcher
24th October, 2012 @ 10:21 am PDT

I wonder if Apple will say they copyrighted the smaller tablet pc and sues any company with something that slightly resembles it?

I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab that is about 7 inches. I like the size and usability of it. It was part of a package deal (student package IIRC); $249, the tablet pc, keyboard and adapter.

BigGoofyGuy
24th October, 2012 @ 10:58 am PDT

Silverbird, I felt the same way upon seeing the asterisk everywhere.

It just seemed like an argument was prepared for every category that the iPad happened to exhibit some superiority.

* Yeah, but the Nexus will have something better real soon!

domhnall
24th October, 2012 @ 11:20 am PDT

@Brian Mcc

Brian, I'm sorry that you only think about infograph stats. Yes I did read the article. The iPad mini costs more because it comes with better cameras, better wi-fi and cell capablities, and yes more memory. Last time I checked, 32gb and 64gb was more than 16gb (*32gb future). I could be wrong, but I'll let you fact check me on that one. Secondly, the programming of the iPad allows it to perform faster than the Nexus. Thirdly, I was refering to the size of the display, not the pixels per inch.

Silverbird
24th October, 2012 @ 11:39 am PDT

Great article... I might of missed it, but I couldn't find the most important comparison, (in my opinion), the dimensions of the screen.

Maverick62
24th October, 2012 @ 12:10 pm PDT

To have one million apps does not mean better apps.

Nexus: better screen, better price, better processor, twice RAM, a llttle fat, but not to much, thoose three millimeters does not affect the wight in an important rate.

Rear Camera, well, i do not need camera in each device I carry on, i have a nokia with a nice one.

About memory, 64GB option its too expensive for me.

Good morning people.

CaLopez2012
24th October, 2012 @ 12:36 pm PDT

@Silverbird

Storage space is not memory. The Nexus comes with 1GB of memory and 8 or 16 gigs of STORAGE space. the ipad mini comes with half that. I'm sorry but the ipad mini is nothing special. just another hipster product by apple to make even more money. atleast wait till the mini 2 comes out in 6 months with better hardware.

Driftwood
24th October, 2012 @ 02:00 pm PDT

Sorry, you're right, I confused memory and storage, my bad, missed my coffee this morning. Still, it still has more STORAGE than the nexus. Some would say the Nexus is a hipster remake of the iPad. Here is a novel idea, I like Apple products, and they work for me. Might not for you, pick what you like and be happy with it. Whatever your opinion is, stop thinking that Apple fans are wasting money on every upgrade. Most of us upgrade every 2 or 3 generations. Heck, I still have a 3GS. For those that do upgrade to every generation I have this to say. Good on them, they obviously have the disposable income and are patriotic enough to try to stimulate the economy.

Silverbird
24th October, 2012 @ 02:20 pm PDT

You will barely notice the speed and Rez issue, the interface on the iPads are miles ahead in operation and function than the Nexus. I use allot of storage, over 45gb, so I have to have 64gb.. The memory, by system tools I use to watch usage, I have never had it pass 384mb, with apps that sit in memory and the ones I am using.

I gave the iPad 4 (retina) which is just awesome watching movie, I am not a gamer, so I have nothing to compare. Just picked up my new iPod Touch 5th gen., and it is just awesome with the retina screen, 64gb storage and 512 mem, I can not find anything better. It really is so minute in functionality for me that a Nexus would be going backwards for me. Then get on my iMac 27" remotely for various reasons.... Check all six security cameras, adjust the house temp on the way home.... I'm happy.

Everyone to their own, again I don't game, so maybe that will be the plus for the Nexus, otherwise I have to stay with Apple. 64gb really makes it for me.

Gimparoo
24th October, 2012 @ 04:07 pm PDT

It's becoming more and more noticeable, as time passes by in the post Jobs era, that Apple is making the same mistakes, *again*, that it made , when Steve left the company the first time..The product line is expanding, with inferior products.. By inferior I simply mean that they don't match up to the competition in the areas that Apple , traditionally, has been a leader..

These areas are display quality, processor speed, and the "wow" factor.

It would appear that the iPad mini has none of these.

Steve would "not be amused"...

Doc Rock
24th October, 2012 @ 06:20 pm PDT

The battery life on the mini is "projected," to be 10 hr, the battery life on the Nexus exceeds 10 hours. The screen resolution on the Nexus far exceeds (% wise) the Mini...over all anyone can see the nexus is the better product ...(I don't own either nor will I be getting one until all the hacks have their say on the surface when it comes out shortly..

equator180
24th October, 2012 @ 10:43 pm PDT

The point that has been missed is that I can put my nexus in my jacket pocket. With the iPad mini you need a man bag. If that is the case then why not just go the full iPad.

Fit for purpose that is why I have a nexus. :)

Marc Dimmick
25th October, 2012 @ 03:17 am PDT

"Apple's pricing is a bit higher than many people expected."

Why do they allow apple fanboys to write these articles ?!?! The ipad mini is overpriced and weak, that should be the bottom line ;)

Stefan Padureanu
25th October, 2012 @ 06:53 am PDT

If you are going to compare prices, you must NOT show the 8GB Nexus versus the 16GB iPad mini. This is very misleading.

You also fail to note the comparison between the App ecosystems, where Apple wins by orders of magnitude.

Note: I have and love an iPhone 5. I do like the Nexus 7 a lot. But fair is fair.

William Donelson
25th October, 2012 @ 07:10 am PDT

i found samsung galaxy tab2, better than mini or nexus. u hv voice call, sms, whatsapp, expandable memory, affordable etc etc...

Facebook User
26th October, 2012 @ 07:59 am PDT

Look at the size of the screen vs size of basel, I do not need a device with huge basel. So if it is 9", then it is 9". Not 12"

Vladimir Popov
26th October, 2012 @ 09:13 am PDT

Nexus 7 > iPad Mini

Nexus 7 has a better display, processor, price, and more RAM. Yes, sure "the ipad mini is lighter and has a bigger screen." Yeah, I think that is the ONLY advantage. Another advantage is that it has 3G/4G. Yes, battery life. BUT BY ONE HOUR. I you apple fanboys should not be saying that it has a better battery life. And using cellular data, it'll probably run out faster. And really, Apple didn't even give the ipad mini a retina display. Not to mention it's overpriced. I would NEVER pay $329 for 16 GB, when I could get a 32 GB Nexus 7 for $249.

If your buying an Ipad Mini, good luck looking like an idiot carrying an 8' tablet and taking pictures with your "five megapixel camera" that's just SO useful.

seobaby
27th October, 2012 @ 01:22 pm PDT

Here is why I will be paying the extra $80 to get the iPad mini...

*Larger app selection

*Higher quality app selection

*New apps are usually available sooner on iOS

*Best selection of music media and a formidable movie and book selection

*Best support system from both other iOS users AND Apple customer service

*iCloud, Twitter, and Facebook already integrated into at the OS level.

*Reliably and consistently fluid, smooth user experience

*Best build quality (although from what I here the build of the MS Surface is formidable)

*Thinner

*Lighter

*Arguably the best aesthetics

*iPad is more widely used in business environments and schools, so its a natural advantage to have one as well

*iPad doesn't require a lot of configuration. Its configured to appeal to the widest range of people from the get go. If customization is your thing, then Android is your thing. But Apple has placed their bet that most people just want to USE the device, not fiddle with it. I, however do like to jailbreak my iDevices and as a result I am able to customize to my hearts content. including some key customizations that I am not able to achieve on my GS3 (Activator is awesome)

Kenneth Joseph Kafieh
27th October, 2012 @ 09:43 pm PDT

@PhyllisVE

The Nexus 7 can take the square app and hardware....

Anthony Young
28th October, 2012 @ 11:48 pm PDT

Too bad the iPad mini can't run live wallpaper apps such as my favorite Photo Wall FX live wallpaper as well as floating video players.

Roland Lim Heng Wee
30th October, 2012 @ 09:12 pm PDT

Oh, all this crazy talk about which dog's balls are the biggest is just getting silly. Each manufacturer deliberately positions their product so that it is unique, either in its price / services / features / size etc... If everybody produced exactly the same product we would be moaning that there was no choice ie a monopoly. I have an iPad 2 from work, a Galaxy Note, my wife an iPhone, my son a Tab 2 7.0 etc... look at the specs, videos, have a play and then decide which one SUITS YOUR NEEDS the best. Why is there a need for all the arguing which one is best. Which is best an apple or a banana, a curry or a lasagne??? End of rant.

Alex Kerr
31st October, 2012 @ 09:34 am PDT

"Good on them, they obviously have the disposable income and are patriotic enough to try to stimulate the economy."....Silverbird

What a joke!!! You do realize that Apple has 76 billion dollars of US money in banks outside of the US that taxes were never paid on and that right now they are in the process of lobbying congress to be able to bring this money back into the US without still paying taxes on it. Google does also but not near that amount of money. If you don't believe me, look it up on Forbes website. Also, last time I checked Google was also an American company.

If Apple were soooo patriotic they would build their equipment in the US and put unemployed American workers back to work not pay chinese workers $1.54/hour and then turn around and charge you $700.00 for something they paid maybe a tenth of the asking price to build including parts. Google doesn't build anything themselves but the OS.

Danny Berry
1st November, 2012 @ 10:20 am PDT

How come no one is talking about the 12 Core GPU inside the Nexus?

Kumaressan Suppiah
1st November, 2012 @ 09:46 pm PDT

Apple loses in nearly every category here, 1st. the cost of the ipad mini with 32 gb is $429, compared to $250 for the nexus seven at the same gb. That is a difference of $179, the cost of a kindle fire, a movie, and a subway sandwich. AND you get this tablet for 18 month old hardware from the ipad 2 and a decent camera. The google has better essentially everything else, with one minor error on googles part which sinks it to apple's low standards, it makes google books dls be purchased through googles book store. Which sucks. Apple has out of their mind high prices and it is impossible to get one anyway, i know i work at apple!

Facebook User
9th December, 2012 @ 02:21 pm PST

I am a disabled retired; on limited budget; senior and i RESEARCHED most tablets before i bought the nexus7 32gig for $300 with all taxes and fees last week; and for the price and features i am very satisfied. I saw the 3 major complaints that i and other people had with the device as

(1) no SD card or external memory support(2) does not run flash(3)no back camera. the first 2 problems have already been solved

(1) buy 2 small $ hardware devices (A) a micro male usb - to - standard usb female cable ----lest than $10(B) a flash stick or a SD card and a reader. Then download NEXUS MEDIA IMPORTER this worked for my needs. BUT if u want just open memory; crack the OS (or root it) Google has the tool kit to do this .I do not know but i do not think Apple provides the consumers with the ability to play with their OS ?

(2) downloaded Firefox Beta from Google play then down load flash player 11 tell Firefox to use the add on and play flash videos

(3) not so easy a fix as there is no hardware to manipulate with software; but if the #'s of the nexus 7's are high enough i am sure someone will made a hardware clip on camera.There is already an app to make the front camera take snapshots and video.

I did not need a phone or camera and it fit my budget as i am sure there are a lot of people who have the same needs and the same limited $

nexus 7
25th December, 2012 @ 10:24 am PST

Funny thing Danny Berry, Apple did bring their manufactuing to the US.

Silverbird
4th March, 2013 @ 06:52 am PST
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