Nexus 7 vs. iPad mini: 10 Things Buyers Need to Know

Earlier this week, Google debuted its new Nexus 7 tablet, its tablet that will be replace the old Nexus 7 and come to challenge the likes of Apple’s current 7-inch slate, the iPad mini. Consumers are likely looking into both of these devices and there are certainly some important things that consumers need to know about their match up before buying.

In July of last year, Google released the original Nexus 7. A formidable 7-inch tablet that proved to be one of Android’s brightest stars through the year. Of course, it was not without its rivals as both Amazon and Apple deployed their own 7-inch slates in the forms of the Kindle Fire HD and the iPad mini. The iPad mini, thanks to its pedigree, emerged as the Nexus 7′s strongest contender during the holiday season.

Read: iPad mini vs. Nexus 7 2.

The Nexus 7 will battle the iPad mini for at least a few more months.

The Nexus 7 will battle the iPad mini for at least a few more months.

In 2013, consumers were likely not surprised by rumors that suggested that the companies were working on new models to replace their 2012 line. In the case of Google, it was a Nexus 7 2. In the case of Apple, rumors have suggested an iPad mini 2 for sometime this fall. Google, like it did last year, has struck first.

Earlier this week, it debuted the new Nexus 7, a device that will take the reigns from the older model and usher in a new era for the Mountain View based company. Google’s new model is an extremely enticing tablet option and its one that consumers would be wise to consider.

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Those looking will likely also encounter another tablet, not the iPad mini 2, but Apple’s current iPad mini. The battle between the two is a complicated one and will likely have buyers searching for answers to key questions.

Here, we try and answers those questions and offer prospective buyers 10 need to know facts about how the Nexus 7 stacks up against the older Apple iPad mini.

Nexus 7 is Cheaper

The Nexus 7 is cheaper than the iPad mini.

The Nexus 7 is cheaper than the iPad mini.

Maybe the first thing that buyers need to know is that the new Nexus 7 is cheaper, across the board. This has been one of the major selling points for the Nexus 7 and while the price has seen a bit of an increase this year, it’s still no where close to the price of Apple’s iPad mini.

Here is how the pricing breaks down for the Nexus 7:

  • Nexus 7 Wi-Fi Only 16GB – $230
  • Nexus 7 Wi-Fi Only 32GB – $270
  • Nexus 7 4G LTE 32GB – $350

Apple’s iPad mini, despite its age, has not seen its price tag budge from the price points that Apple delivered nearly a year ago. What this means is that the device’s pricing still looks like this:

  • iPad mini Wi-Fi Only 16GB – $330
  • iPad mini Wi-Fi Only 32GB – $430
  • iPad mini Wi-Fi Only 64GB – $530
  • iPad mini 4G LTE 16GB – $460
  • iPad mini 4G LTE 32GB – $560
  • iPad mini 4G LTE 64GB – $660

So, the Nexus 7 undercuts the iPad mini by a $100 at their cheapest points while Google’s 4G LTE Nexus 7 is only $20 more than the 16GB Wi-Fi only iPad mini. Those on a budget will likely want to look extremely closely at Google’s new tablet thanks to its low price point.

Nexus 7 Has the Better Screen

The Retina Display has been commonplace on Apple’s devices for quite some time, so it was a bit surprising when the company unveiled the iPad mini and it didn’t have a Retina quality display on board. While the display was still good and on par with the older Nexus 7′s display, it simply cannot match the display on the new Nexus 7.

The Nexus 7 display is better than the iPad mini's.

The Nexus 7 display is better than the iPad mini’s.

Google is touting the new Nexus 7′s display as the sharpest 7-inch display in existence and for good reason. It packs 1920 x 1200 resolution with 323 pixels-per-inch which is far better than anything that we’ve seen on a 7-inch tablet. For now, the Nexus 7 is in a league of its own in terms of photo, video and more.

Those that value great-looking content will certainly want to take a closer look at the Nexus 7 as its display bests that of the current iPad mini model from Apple.

Nexus 7 Features Wireless Charging

Those looking to charge their iPad mini without wires aren’t going to find support because the iPad mini does not support wireless charging. The Nexus 7 on the other hand does support wireless charging, which we confirmed today with a Nexus 4 wireless charger.

The new Nexus 7 design is matte black, slimmer and soft to the touch.

The Nexus 7 features wireless charging, the iPad mini doesn’t.

While this isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, it is an extremely useful function as it allows users to get rid of their cords and effortlessly charge their tablet on a nightstand or a desk.

Nexus 7 Has Multi-User Support

In November, the Nexus 7 saw its Android 4.2 Jelly Bean update roll out. Android 4.2 is an incremental Android update, but it was still an extremely important one for Android tablet owners. That’s because it delivered multi-user profiles, something that allows users to create multiple user accounts for the tablet. This is something that is extremely useful for households that use one tablet and for parents that want to monitor their kids usage.

This is a feature that has not yet come to iOS though it’s one that current iPad mini owners are likely lusting after. The new Nexus 7 comes with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, which, lo and behold, has actually improved

iPad mini Will Have More Accessories

There are already signs that the Nexus 7 is going to have a good selection of accessories. This isn’t surprising given the amount of Nexus 7 accessories that we saw arrive over the past year. However, while it should have a nice selection, the iPad mini should have access to more, even in its old age.

Last year, Apple delivered the Lightning docking standard which is used across its devices, including the iPhone. That standard isn’t going anywhere, something that ensures a lot of compatible iPad mini accessories in the future.

In general, we see a wider selection of accessories for Apple products thanks to their wide adoption rates and while Android manufacturers have made great strides, the iPad mini should still dominate the Nexus 7 when it comes to the accessory ecosystem.

iPad Mini Has More Storage Options

Neither of these devices has a microSD card slot, meaning, buyers are going to be stuck with the on board storage. There are some other storage limitations that buyers need to know about when it comes to the missing microSD card slot.

The Nexus 7 only comes in 16GB and 32GB form. The LTE model only comes in 32GB form. The iPad mini offers a reprieve for power users as it comes in 64GB form, something that the Nexus 7 doesn’t offer. And yes, the iPad mini offers 16GB, 32GB and 64GB options for its LTE models.

For those that need a lot of space or simply want options, the iPad mini is going to be the direction to look.

Designs

Those looking for major differences in dimensions aren’t going to find them. Both of these devices are slim, under 9mm to be exact, and both are fairly light. Specifically, the iPad mini is a bit slimmer than the Nexus 7 while the Nexus 7 is a bit lighter than the iPad mini. The differences are slight and aren’t going to sway buyers.

An area that will perhaps determine which to buy is the overall design. While the iPad features an aluminum design, the Nexus 7 users a black plastic matte design, reminiscent of the older model. Buyers these days are often torn between the more premium feeling design and plastic and unfortunately, that tough decision resides here as well.

It doesn’t help that both devices will be durable and feel great in the hand. Ultimately, this is going to come down to personal preference.

Carriers

One of the perks of the Nexus 7 is that it comes with 4G LTE data speeds. That means it can pull down data speeds that are often on par with the speeds of home Wi-Fi networks. Of course, the iPad mini can do this as well. However, the Nexus 7 can do something that the iPad mini cannot do.

The iPad mini might come unlocked, but thanks to the bands on board, the device is locked down to specific carriers. The GSM model can be used with GSM carriers only while the Sprint and Verizon models are locked down to those carriers. What this means is that those who buy an AT&T model, can’t use it on Verizon’s LTE network.

In the case of the Nexus 7, users can buy the one model, and take it to AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon. It works on all three. This is absolutely clutch for those that either can’t decide on a network or think they may want to take it to another carrier in the future.

iPad mini 2 With Retina Rumored

An iPad mini 2 with Retina is rumored for fall.

An iPad mini 2 with Retina is rumored for fall.

One big thing that consumers need to know is that the battle between the new Nexus 7 and the iPad mini isn’t going to be the only 7-inch battle between Apple and Google in 2013. Rumors suggest that the iPad mini 2 with a Retina display could be out this fall to challenge the Nexus 7. That seems likely given how big of a battleground the 7-inch tablet market has become.

What this means is that consumers may want to pause before they buy their new Nexus 7 or iPad mini. With fall fast approaching, it may only be a few months before we see another battle emerge and one that is a much more even playing field.

It’s something to think about before deciding on one of these immediately.

Longevity

Even with a new iPad mini model on the way, the iPad mini will be supported by Apple for years to come. Typically, we see the company offer several years of support for its mobile devices and that means we should see the iPad mini get iOS 7 and several more iOS updates to come.

The Nexus 7 benefits from Google, and its youth, and will also see major Android updates roll out for several years. This will certainly complicate things for buyers but it should be nice to know that it’s impossible to go wrong when it comes to software support.

  

Comments

  1. chris j says

    Apple has Itunes, Better apps. The ones I like are not on Play Store. You see Ipad for this, Ipad for that. It is a QUALITY company and device.

  2. Dr. R. Padmanabhan says

    One major advantage with iPad (or the mini) is the availability of a huge selection of apps. It is the apps which make a mobile device very useful. In this area, no company can beat Apple. The App store and the iTunes store are unique innovations in marketing and Google, Amazon and other players faithfully follow Apple’s lead – R. Padmanabhan

  3. Derek v says

    I prefer my iPad over any android tablet for ONE major reason (disclaimer my phone is android and I love it) Android tablet apps SUCK and no fancy hardware is going to change that. I find android superior for phones but to deny googles meager inferior tablet app selection is ignorance.

  4. Marty says

    If the new iPad mini has a different screen resolution will all the app producers offer free tablet optimized versions of their apps for the new screen size?

  5. JessieSmith2021 says

    Two other Android tablets to become available this week worth checking out include the new Pipo M7 Pro ($255) that for about the same price as the new Nexus 7, features a much larger 8.9 inch display with 1900×1200 screen resolution, a Quad core processor, along with built-in GPS navigation… and is packed with features that compare to the new Nexus–

    There’s also an 8-inch model similar to the mini iPad – the Pipo U8 ($195) — both these new Android tablets are compatible with Chromecast and also work with Miracast HD Wireless (similar to Apple AirPlay) and unlike the new Chromecast, gives you the ability to display all tablet content as well as movie streaming wirelessly to a TV; and both new models also offer premium speakers, WiFi with both 2.4 and 5.0 GHz frequencies for greater connection, and a premium Windows style User Interface that makes the Android experience much more intuitive and easier to use–

    More details on both these models are available at Tablet Sprint- – one of the first sites to carry the new Pipo Series tablets…

  6. Dr. Z says

    Adam, great review. I’ve linked to it in my educational blog as your fair comparison will help many of the educators out there make the best decision for their needs in a small tablet. That said, I would have loved to have seen a third tablet tossed into the comparison: the Galaxy Note 8.0. Also overpriced compared to the Nexus, it does utilize a stylus and have some great apps (S-Note) that are rather useful. Thanks!

  7. guru1 says

    these “day one” reviews are not all that useful.

    it’s basically just comparing specs.

    Reliability should be a huge factor in reviewing these products, but i rarely see this discussed. why is that?? what use is having a cool device that works well for a couple of months and then starts to degrade?? i understnad it’s a new device so reliability of that device is unknown, but reliability of the last iteration is known.

    here is something to chew on when comparing the Nexus 7 against the ipad Mini (or any other tablet). Note it’s from an Android site:

    http://androidandme.com/2013/06/opinions/one-year-later-the-nexus-7-has-gone-from-the-best-to-worst-tablet-ive-ever-owned/

    • Jim T says

      @guru1, agreed that this isn’t really a review–just a good feature comparison.

      However, the Nexus 7 review link you referenced talks about the older Nexus 7 and is thus misleading. The old Nexus 7′s operating system didn’t implement the TRIM function to optimize the solid state memory storage. Without TRIM, SSD drives and other solid state storage devices degrade in performance the longer you use them. The new Nexus 7 implements TRIM, so it won’t (well, shouldn’t) be an issue. I’m assuming the old Nexus 7 will be receiving this functionality in a software update, but not positive.

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