Apple finally unveiled its new 7-inch iPad mini today, a device that it thinks will do quite well this holiday season with its smaller size and cheaper price tag. However, the iPad mini is not alone in the 7-inch tablet space and joining it this holiday season is Google’s Nexus 7, which, will be one of its main competitions once the iPad mini touches down on shelves later this year. Here, we take a look at how the Nexus 7 stacks up against Apple’s new tablet.
Earlier this year, Google took the wrappings off of its own 7-inch tablet, the Asus-made Nexus 7 which promptly became the 7-inch tablet to beat prior to the announcement of the iPad mini. With its HD display, sleek Android software and extremely affordable price tag, the Nexus 7 poses one of the biggest threats, in terms of sales, to Apple’s new smaller tablet this holiday season.
And just like Google’s Nexus 7, the iPad mini will be Apple’s first foray into the world of 7-inch tablets, a world that it hopes to dominate in just a few weeks with the release of the iPad Mini. And with its HD front-facing camera, iOS 6, 4G LTE data speeds and aluminum design, the iPad mini will also be a viable option for those looking to get their hands on a 7-inch tablet in 2012 and beyond.
That being said, let’s take a closer look at how the iPad mini and the Nexus 7 compare to each other from just about every standpoint possible. From their design, to their price to their release date, here is the iPad mini versus the Nexus 7.
Back at Google I/O at the end of June, Google announced the new Nexus 7. Soon after, the device went on sale in Wi-Fi form with two different storage options and two different price points. Yes, the Nexus 7 has been out since summer but it’s looking more and more like Google will be revamping it in time for the holidays to better compete with the Nexus 7.
While release dates are not yet known, the carrier is expected to debut both a 32GB Nexus 7 and a Nexus 7 with cellular data. Both devices should be announced on October 29th with release dates coming on that date, or shortly thereafter. As it stands, the 8GB Nexus 7 is out of stock at the Google Play Store and it may end up being replaced by the 16GB model at its price point.
The iPad mini release date is a little bit trickier than previous iPad launches. At the event today, Apple announced that the device would be going up for pre-order on Friday. However, it will be given two different release dates rather than just one. The Wi-Fi only iPad mini will be shipping on November 2nd while the 4G LTE iPad mini will be arriving a couple of weeks later in mid-November.
No specific release date was given for the 4G LTE iPad mini.
Google’s Nexus 7 and Apple’s iPad mini were both designed to be able to fit in one hand of the user. That doesn’t mean that the sport the same dimensions however.
The Nexus 7 checks in with specific dimensions of 198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm thin. It also weighs 340 grams. The design of the Nexus 7 features a backing that can best be described as rubbery texturized material with a golf ball texture or finish. It’s extremely well-built for a device that is this cheap and thus far, it has proved to have an extremely durable design.
Apple’s iPad mini checks in with a 200 x 134.7 x 7.2mm thin design meaning it’s much thinner than Google’s Nexus 7. It’s also lighter checking in with a design that weighs a mere 308 grams. The 4G LTE model is a little heavier, checking in at 312 grams in weight.
The iPad mini’s design does not feature rubber or plastic and instead features anodized aluminum, like the back plate of the iPhone 5, and glass up front which should prove to be durable and sleek.
Both the iPad mini and the Nexus 7 will sport 7-inch displays. However, while the Nexus 7 sports a true 7-inch display, the iPad mini is closer to 8-inches as it relies on a 7.9-inch screen.
Starting with the Nexus 7 display, it’s a 7-inch IPS display which features HD resolution at 1280 x 800. It also features 216 pixels per inch which translates into crisp text and good looking images. The screen is also made with scratch-resistant Corning glass which means it should be able to withstand drops and abuse.
Apple’s display on the iPad mini is indeed larger than the Nexus 7 but unfortunately, it does not feature a Retina Display like its larger counterpart. Instead, it features the same screen resolution as the iPad 2 which features 1024 x 768 resolution with 163 pixels-per-inch.
It also features 4:3 aspect ratio which means that it doesn’t support widescreen video content like the iPhone 5. On the other hand, the Nexus 7 features a 16:9 aspect ratio which means it supports widescreen content.
Let’s break down the rest of the specifications and look at some of the differences between the two devices.
Starting with the Nexus 7, it features:
- 7-inch IPS HD display with 1280 x 800 resolution (216 ppi)
- 1GHz Tegra 3 Quad-Core Processor
- 8GB (No Longer Available)/16GB/32GB (Likely)
- No Rear Camera/1.3MP Front-Facing Camera
- 4325 mAh Battery
- 1GB of RAM
And, here is how the iPad mini looks against the current Nexus 7 specs.
- 7.9-inch IPS display with 1024 x 768 resolution (163 ppi)
- Apple dual-core A5 processor
- 16GB/32GB/64GB Storage
- 5MP iSight camera/FaceTime HD Camera
- 16.3-watt battery
- 512MB of RAM (Likely)
Key differences here include the storage options – there will be a 64GB iPad mini, NFC support for the Nexus 7 which means it can be used with things like Android Beam to share content with other Android users and battery life.
The Nexus 7 boasts 9 hours of HD video playback, 10 hours of web browsing, 10 hours of e-reading and 300 hours of standby. Apple says that the iPad mini will get 10 hours of battery life and breaking it down, the company says that it will pull down up to 10 hours of surfing the web over Wi-Fi or watching videos and 9 hours over cellular data. We can’t say for sure how they will stack up but on paper, they might be close.
In an effort to keep costs low, Asus and Google decided to only place a front-facing camera on the Nexus 7. The tablet only features a 1.2MP camera up front that is used for video chatting. Luckily, the Nexus 7′s front-facing camera is good enough that users will want to continue using it with Skype, Google+ Hangouts and more.
The iPad mini offers two cameras, one in the front and one in the back. The rear camera will be the same 5MP iSight camera found in the new iPad, a camera that can shoot some of the best photos a tablet can shoot. It will also be able to record 1080p video as well.
In the front is a FaceTime HD camera, same found in the iPhone 5, that will allow users to easily video chat both indoors and outdoors on the iPad mini.
The Nexus 7 was the first device to run Google’s Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system, a stark improvement over Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, its previous operating system. In fact, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with its smooth user interface, amazing Notifications, widgets, and host of enhanced Google applications including Google Maps make it Google’s best operating system yet.
Our favorite Android 4.1 Jelly Bean features can be seen in the video below.
In addition, the Nexus 7 is a Nexus device and better yet, a Wi-Fi only one. This means that it will always seen quick updates straight from Google because the software doesn’t have to pass through the clutches of a carrier. It also means that the bootloader is unlocked which allows users to customize to their hearts content.
The iPad mini will be running Apple’s iOS 6, its latest operating system, and one that offers over 200+ new features from iOS 5. The iPad mini will feature the new Apple Maps application, Facebook integration, Siri, Shared Photo Stream, Do Not Disturb and a whole lot more.
New features in iOS 6 can be seen in the video below.
Keep in mind the iPad mini, like the new iPad, will be without access to a dedicated YouTube application, something that Apple did away with in iOS 6. Google has yet to release a standalone app for the iPad, only for the iPhone.
Right now, the Nexus 7 is unavailable on any American carriers as its a Wi-Fi only device. However, if Google does decide to release a 3G, 4G HSPA+ or 4G LTE capable device, it will likely be available on the usual suspects including Sprint and Verizon which both carried the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and possibly AT&T and T-Mobile which boast HSPA+ networks. AT&T also has a 4G LTE network.
If it’s 3G-only, and that would be strange to see, it could come to any of those carriers as well as a number of others.
The iPad mini on the other hand will be available on three 4G LTE networks in the United States. The iPad mini will be coming to AT&T, Sprint and Verizon in mid-November and at that point, it will be able to pull down 4G LTE data speeds that can reach up to 10 times faster than speeds found on 3G networks.
The three networks might be similar in speed, but they are not similar in size though. While Verizon boasts more than 400 4G LTE networks in the United States, AT&T and Sprint are both lagging behind with less than 100. Both should hit that mark by the end of the year however though they will still be way behind Verizon in terms of 4G LTE footprint.
Those thinking about picking up a cellular-enabled iPad mini or Nexus 7 3G will want to see if service is available in their area before picking one up.
At it stands, the Google Nexus 7 is offered in two variants, an 8GB Wi-Fi only model that costs $199 and a 16GB Nexus 7 model that runs for $249. However, that soon will change with Google rumored to be releasing not only a 32GB Nexus 7 but a Nexus 7 with cellular connectivity.
The 8GB Nexus 7 model is currently out of stock which means that the 16GB model may end up replacing it with a 32GB Nexus 7 taking the original price of the 16GB Nexus 7 model.
It’s unclear just how much a Nexus 7 with cellular capabilities will cost.
Pricing for the iPad mini fortunately was announced today and as expected, the device is going to check in with a price tag that is cheaper than the current iPad fourth-generation all across the board.
Here is how the iPad mini pricing looks.
- iPad mini 16GB Wi-Fi Only -$329
- iPad mini 32GB Wi-Fi Only – $429
- iPad mini 64GB Wi-Fi Only – $529
And, the 4G LTE models.
- iPad mini 16GB 4G LTE – $459
- iPad mini 32GB 4G LTE – $559
- iPad mini 64GB 4G LTE – $659
For reference, the larger 9.7-inch iPad will start at $499, making the iPad mini an option for those that don’t wish to spend a whole lot of money on a new slate while doing holiday shopping. Still, we expect the new Nexus 7 pricing to still completely undercut that of the iPad mini, but we’ll have to wait until October 29th to find out by just how much.