In just a few weeks, Google is expected to debut the Nexus 7 2, its next-generation Nexus 7 tablet that will compete with other Android slates and of course, Apple’s own 7-inch tablet, the iPad mini. While the Nexus 7 2 still remains firmly in the shadows, it’s time to start exploring the likely match up between the Nexus 7 2 and the current iPad mini.
Last year, in July, Google released its first Nexus tablet in the form of the Nexus 7, a 7-inch tablet produced by Asus, the maker of the popular Transformer line of Android tablets. Not only was the device the first Nexus tablet from Google, it also brought along the Android device section of the Google Play Store and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the software that has subsequently been replaced by Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.
The Nexus 7 was an extremely attractive device thanks to its affordable price tag, vanilla Android software and its high-end hardware features which include a 720p IPS display and a quad-core Tegra 3 processor that works well with games and multitasking. And while the design of the device is plastic, it’s a premium plastic design.
At the time, the Nexus 7 was the king of the 7-inch tablet world, and then, the iPad mini arrived. After the September launch of the iPhone 5, Apple hosted another event to introduce the new iPad 4 and the company’s first ever 7-inch slate, the iPad mini, which arrived to challenge the Nexus 7 just before the holiday season.
The iPad mini combined Apple’s iOS with a 7.9-inch display, aluminum design, and more, quickly asserting itself as the Nexus 7′s biggest competition on the market.
It’s now 2013, and from the looks of things, Google and Apple are gearing up for another war. The first battle though won’t be taking place between a new Nexus and a new iPad mini, but rather, a new Nexus 7 and the current iPad mini.
Google is expected to debut a new Nexus 7 2 in the weeks ahead, a launch that should come well before a new Apple iPad mini 2. What this is means is that in a few weeks, we should see a battle between the Nexus 7 from Google and the iPad mini from Apple.
Here is what to expect from that battle.
We still haven’t gotten a good look at the Nexus 7 2 despite the leak of a photo that is believed to be Asus’ new Nexus 7 tablet. The photo, which came from the FCC filing of a device called the Asus K009, shows a tablet that looks very much like the original Nexus 7 tablet. Unfortunately, we only see the front of the tablet so it’s impossible to say what the entire design is comprised of. However, given Google’s past, it’s easy to speculate.
The Nexus 7 came with a design that featured plastic around the edges with a black matte on the back. While it was likely done to keep costs down, the material and design did not feel cheap. Thanks to the similarities in the photo, it’s easy to imagine a Nexus 7 2 design that is similar to the Nexus 7′s. It’s also possible that we could see Google change things up. Remember, the Nexus 4 is a cheap device and while it sports a majority plastic design, it does incorporate a glass back.
The iPad mini on the other hand is not comprised of a majority plastic. Instead, the iPad mini uses an anodized aluminum back like the iPhone 5, making for an industrial looking design that makes it feel like a device that costs over $300.
It’s possible, but unlikely, that the Nexus 7 2 will go the aluminum route and thus, consumers are likely going to have to make the choice between metal and plastic when it comes to the design of their next 7-inch tablet, should they be choosing between these two in the weeks ahead.
Nexus 7 2 Display Wins Out
When the Nexus 7 2 arrives, there is a very good chance that it will feature an upgraded display from the 7-inch 720p display that we saw emerge on the Nexus 7 nearly a year ago. Rumors currently point to a 1080p display which means that it will offer full HD resolution and likely, a high pixel-per-inch count as well. This means fantastic looking videos, movies, web and more.
One of the biggest drawbacks to the iPad mini is that it doesn’t feature a Retina Display, instead, employing a screen that is similar to the one found on the iPad 2. That said, the looks of content on the Nexus 7 2 is likely to blow away the looks of the content on the iPad mini. First, because of the resolution and second, because it will more than likely offer a much greater pixel-per-inch count.
Expect this to be one of the biggest differences between the two and arguably the Nexus 7 2′s biggest selling point over the iPad mini until Apple outfits it with a Retina Display.
Notable Price Difference
There is speculation out there that the Nexus 7 2 will carry a price that is around $20 more expensive than the Nexus 7 that is out on the Google Play Store right now. That means a price of $220. As we’ve said, we think this is purely speculation and that Google will more than likely keep the sweet spot pricing of $199 and $250 for its 16GB and 32GB Nexus 7 2.
If that holds up, and even if there is a bit of a price increase, the Nexus 7 2 will more than likely be cheaper than Apple’s iPad mini which starts at $320. Price is one of the ways where Google can compete with the Apple’s slate and we don’t see it trying to challenge the device head on with a $300+ price point.
Instead, consumers should expect the Nexus 7 2 to be more budget friendly leaving the iPad mini and iPad mini 2 to those that can afford a tablet that costs over $300.
Terrible Rear Cameras
Thanks to the FCC filing, we now know that Google may have decided to put a rear camera on the Nexus 7 2. The Nexus 7 only came with a front-facing camera and shunned a rear camera, something that likely didn’t bother owners as shooting photos and video with a tablet remains awkward, even with a 7-inch slate.
The iPad mini of course comes with dual cameras though the camera is no where near as good as some of the cameras found on smartphones. And for good reason. Tablets simply aren’t good cameras.
It appears that Google and Asus have attached a 5MP camera to the Nexus 7 2 and while that’s going to be a nice addition for some people, we expect the camera to be on par with other tablet cameras, meaning, it won’t be any good.
Nexus 7 2 Software Advantage
We could sit here all day and debate the pros and cons of iOS and Android. Both have their strengths, both have their weaknesses. However, there is one feature in particular that the Nexus 7 2 should have that the iPad mini won’t: Multiple User Accounts.
The feature, introduced with Google’s Android 4.2 software, allows users to setup multiple accounts on a tablet, complete with different home screens and applications. It’s a feature that is key on a tablet that is used by several people in a household and it allows parents to easily monitor the activity of their kids.
iOS does not have this feature and it’s something that may or may not be coming with iOS 7, a software update that will land this fall for owners of the iPad mini.
More iPad Mini Accessories
Those looking to outfit their tablet with accessories will have an easier time with the iPad mini. First of all, Apple rules the accessory market. Its devices generally have access to more top notch accessories than their counterparts and the iPad mini is no different. Yes, the Nexus 7 has quality accessories, but the iPad mini has both quality and a larger selection.
The same will be said about the accessory match up between the iPad mini and the Nexus 7 2. Yes, there will be some good Nexus 7 2 accessories out there, but the iPad mini will simply tower over it in terms of quantity and possibly in terms of quality as well.