iPad Mini 3 vs Nexus 9: What Buyers Need to Know

After all the hype and rumors for months on end, this week two important products were released by both their respective manufacturers. The new Nexus 9 tablet by Google, and Apple’s improved iPad Mini 3. Along with a few other products like the iPad Air 2, Nexus 6, and the OS X Yosemite software update.

With tons of tablets readily available for Android or Apple users, and new ones on the horizon, here we want to compare the brand new Nexus 9 and iPad Mini 3 for prospective buyers. Both offer the latest hardware, cutting edge software, and a slim design that’s both easy to use, and comfortable to hold.


Read: 7 Nexus 9 Features You’ll Love

When it comes to buying a tablet there’s tons of choices readily available. However, many want to get the latest and greatest devices, and those are the iPad Air 2, the iPad Mini 3, and Google’s new HTC Nexus 9. The latter two of the three are both more portable friendly, and ones many buyers are considering. Read on to see how Apple’s newly revealed iPad Mini 3 compares to the Nexus 9.



This morning Apple took the stage and announced the all-new iPad Mini 3. Delivering improvements across the board, and features from previous models like TouchID, a new processor for improved performance and better battery life, and much more. And while it’s an honorable update, Google’s own Nexus 9 is too.


While we don’t know what buyers wants, needs, and budget are, here we’ll share a few differences and key features both tablets have to offer in hopes to help you make a better decision on your next tablet purchase.


First up would be the display, as that’s one of the most important aspect of any mobile device. While Apple’s new iPad Mini 3 is largely unchanged from the Retina display model last year, it does have a few noteworthy features we’ll mention below.

Speaking of the display, the iPad Mini 3 comes in at 7.9-inches with a 2048 x 1536 resolution for crisp images, clear text, and vivid videos. This is the same as last years model, but should still deliver a quality experience. The Nexus 9 though, comes in slightly larger and sits nicely between the iPad Mini 3 and the iPad Air 2.

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Google’s HTC Nexus 9 has an 8.9-inch 2048 x 1536 display, offering nearly the same amount of pixels in a slightly larger package. So technically the iPad Mini 3 display will be more crisp, but both offer stunning images and should be nearly identical to the average eye. The important aspect is the size, with Google’s Nexus 9 being quite a bit larger, given the similar resolution and price point.


Google’s Nexus 9 is also different from other Android tablets and offers an Apple-like 4:3 aspect ratio, vs the long and this 16:9 they’ve used in the past. This makes it easier to hold, better for browsing the web, but won’t offer as good of a video playback experience. These tablets have very similar beautiful screens, but Google’s Nexus 9 is slightly bigger for those wanting more screen real-estate. We’ll need to get our hands on both before we say more.


The design of the iPad Mini 3 is largely unchanged from last year, but buyers will be happy to see the TouchID fingerprint scanner has been included, as well as the champagne gold color option. Everything else remains exactly the same. Right down to the sleek bezels and aluminum frame that wrap around the entire device and 5 megapixel iSight camera.

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However, Google’s Nexus 9 offers a few important features the iPad Mini 3 doesn’t. For one, they’ve changed the approach of their tablets and the Nexus 9 finally has a brushed aluminum design around the entire outer edge. That said, for weight and comfort while using it the back is still a soft touch matte plastic design. Available in black, white, or sand (gold) color options.

Google’s Nexus 9 is sleek, elegant, and has subtle curves as it wraps around the aluminum sides to offer a better experience that feels thinner in the hand than it really is. If you’ve ever used an iPad Mini you know what to expect from Apple, and Google’s Nexus 9 is the one that will be a surprise when it arrives early next month.

Both tablets have a sleek design, thin bezels, excellent hardware, and are built to impress. If you’re an Apple user this choice is easy, but a first-time tablet buyer may want to consider both options before making a purchase.


Release Date

Before we talk about specs and features, you may be asking yourself about the release date. Neither of these tablets are available today, but they’ll both be available for pre-order starting tomorrow, October 17th. Both Google’s new Nexus 9 and Apple’s iPad Mini 3 will go up for pre-order starting tomorrow.

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The iPad Mini 3 ships starting sometime late next week, and Google’s Nexus 9 will ship at the end of October and hit store shelves on November 3rd. This means the iPad Mini 3 will likely be in consumers hands first, but the Nexus 9 is close behind and will be available extremely soon. The wait isn’t long, so choose the right device for your needs.

Read: Nexus 9 Release Date Breakdown

Apple’s been excellent in the past when it comes to pre-orders and shipping products, not to mention they’ll be available in Apple stores around the globe. However, we’ve seen stock sell out extremely fast, so you may want to pre-order. The same can be said about the Nexus 9, although Google doesn’t have a very good track record with keeping products in stock.

We’re hearing plenty will be available, but would still advise those interested to snag a Nexus 9 pre-order early tomorrow if possible.


This brings us to our next topic, price. Buying a new tablet isn’t cheap, and both of these tablets come at a pretty high price point. That being said, Google’s usually cheaper than the competition but not this time around. The base iPad Mini 3 and Nexus 9 both cost the same. However, the Nexus 9 is bigger and has more to offer, so take that as you will. It undercuts the iPad Air 2 price and matches the iPad Mini 3. Interesting approach.

Here’s the full details for those looking to buy either the new iPad Mini 3, or the impressive looking Nexus 9.

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The iPad Mini 3 is $399 for the 16GB model, and up to $600 for the 128GB option. But hey, at least they offer this much storage. That’s something Google isn’t doing, not yet at least. The iPad Mini 3 with 4G LTE is $529, $629, and $729.

The Nexus 9 comes in three variants, as well as three colors too. Black, White, and Sand Gold. So how much?

Google’s Nexus 9 will be $399 for the 16GB model, $479 for the 32GB option, and $599 for the 32GB 4G LTE flavor. There is no micro-SD slot to expand storage, and there’s no 64 or 128GB option available. This means if you need more storage you’ll probably want to get a 64GB iPad Mini 3, but there’s always the cloud to store all your content.


So what will those $399 starting prices get buyers? A pretty impressive tablet from both manufacturers actually. That being said, the Nexus 9 at $399 looks to be the better buy offers a bigger display, better features like front facing speakers, and a better 8 megapixel camera. Here’s the detailed breakdown for those interested.

iPad Mini 3 Specs

  • 7.9-inch 2048 x 1536 Retina Display
  • Dual-core 1.3 GHz Apple A7 with 1GB of RAM
  • 16/64/128GB storage configurations
  • iOS 8
  • 5 Megapixel Rear and iSight front camera
  • Aluminum design in three colors
  • Touch ID Fingerprint scanner
  • Bottom facing speakers
  • 6470 mAh battery
  • 134.7mm x 200mm x 7.5mm and 341 grams

Nexus 9 Specs

  • 8.9-inch 2048×1536 Full HD display (4:3 aspect ratio, and Gorilla Glass 3)
  • NVIDIA Tegra K1 Quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM (64-bit)
  • 16/32GB storage configurations
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop (first device with Android 5.0)
  • 8 Megapixel Rear and 1.6 MP front camera
  • Brushed Aluminum frame, soft touch matte design
  • Dual HTC Boomsound front facing speakers
  • 6,700 mAh battery
  • White, Black, and Sand color options
  • 153.68mm x 228.25mm x 7.95mm and 425 grams

The Nexus 9 offers a bigger display, a better 8 megapixel camera and front facing speakers, all things you won’t get with the iPad Mini 3. However, the iPad Mini 3 now has Touch ID for enhanced security, and that will also work with Apple Pay once it’s released starting on Monday.

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These tablets are two perfectly sized devices that are easy to hold and use, not the most expensive tablets around, and will make any buyer happy for the $399 asking price confirmed this week.

Final Thoughts

Overall the iPad Mini 3 isn’t all that impressive. It’s the same internally as the model last year, with nothing really different aside from the TouchID fingerprint scanner and a new color variant. It’s still a great tablet, and the iPad Mini with Retina display is now $100 less and a great buy, so we’d advise you to look at that.

That being said, Google’s brand new Nexus 9 is a stunning tablet. Its design is extremely impressive and has tons of top tier specs and features users want like front facing speakers, and runs the brand new Android 5.0 Lollipop Android release.

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The Nexus 9 is set to be Google’s best tablet to date, and may end up being one of the best tablets of 2014. It has a lot to offer, and should be in the running for any tablet buyer this holiday season. Again, we don’t know what all users want, but the information above should help you make a better choice.