Nexus 7 and iPad mini

Nexus isn't the only news in town today. Apple's 7.9-inch iPad mini is on doorsteps, and we've picked one up to take a look at it next to the Google Nexus 7 tablet from ASUS. Some quick thoughts, in random order:

  • Yep. The iPad mini is thinner. Much thinner. But because of its aluminum back (and it's a very sexy back), it's much more slippery. The Nexus 7's extra thickness (not that it's all that portly) and rubberized texture make it more comfortable, at least in some very short-term testing.
  • Apple made a big deal about the iPad mini having a thinner bezel -- the space between the usable display and the edge of the device. And the iPad mini certainly looks cool with that thin bezel. I'm not sold on the usability just yet. Maybe it's because I'm just used to having to keep my thumb off the screen (Apple's got some software tweaks to compensate for that, apparently), or maybe it's in combination with the thinness, and toss in the iPad's extra width over the Nexus 7, but it seems more uncomfortable to hold. That may change over time.
  • Pixels. The Nexus 7 wins this battle hands-down, with its 1280x800 resolution at 7 inches, compared to 1024x768 at 7.9 inches for the iPad mini. That's 216 pixels per inch for the Nexus 7, versus 163 for the iPad. And that density makes a big difference, if you have discerning eyeballs like we do.

We've got some quickie video after the break, where you can see the difference in size, along with a quick walkthrough. Have at it.


Reader comments

Hands-on with the Nexus 7 and iPad mini tablets


I'd like to hear your thoughts on the Windows Surface RT tablet, since your an old Windows guy. Maybe you can jump over to WPCentral and give your thoughts??

Microsoft's strategy is to try to get everyone who's currently writing x86/64 applications to make the move to Metro instead. If they can pull that off, then you'll see the available software for RT tabs blossom, and in a couple years there will be a compelling case to own an RT device.

BUT if Windows 8 suffers adoption rates in enterprise markets akin to Windows Vista, then it's going to be extremely difficult for Microsoft to make the case to developers that they should be writing for metro instead of sticking to what they already know or moving toward more ubiquitous standards like web apps.

Regardless of which situation turns out to be true, I just don't think there is a compelling case for owning an RT device YET. It simply doesn't have the same kind of software support that Android or iOS have, and it's nowhere near as versatile as x86/64.

On the other hand, the Surface Pro won't suffer from any lack of software support. The only hurdle it will have to contend with is market pricing vs ultrabooks.

I'm yet to understand that argument regarding the amount of apps on any given ecosystem. What matters to me, is "are the apps I need/want available?" if yes, then whether is 100 or 1Million make no difference. I've seen some of the apps that are on RT, and they seem to cover a wide range of tablet uses. They seem to be slim on games so far. Each person's reason for owning a table will vary. However, I think that "it ONLY has xxx of apps" is a lame reason for or against a particular ecosystem... just my 2 cents.

You make a very good point... it's not like we have a 100000 apps installed on our tablets. As far as apps goes, the only things I'm interested is does the ecosystem have the apps I want and are they good quality apps.

I think the only reasons for the res is for no fragmentation and probably cheaper. Still would rather have a retina screen, but can't imagine it being that bad of a screen or Apple wouldn't have shipped it with it. A6 processor would have been better as well or atleast an A5X.

I'm not sold on the narrow screens like the nexus. I messed with one and a kindle fire and the screens feel to small. The 16:9 ratio or whatever I just don't like, doesn't feel natural. I haven't held the iPad Mini yet, very interested to see one and judge it more then.

Some drop test action:

The problem with 16:9 tablets is that they become awkward to view in portrait mode at larger sizes. This is obviously just my experience, but the iPad feels very natural in portrait mode and pretty natural in landscape, whereas the 10" Android tablets feel perfect in landscape but kind of weird in portrait. I don't notice the awkwardness at all with the 7" tablets, though.

That is just your experience.

I prefer to use my 10" android tablet in portrait mode for most things.


same. I prefer the 16x9 in portrait for web browsing. Even if I didn't, I'd deal with it because I wouldn't want to give up 16x9 in landscape.

For me, the iPad feels good to read on portrait mode, but ackward on landscape. It tends to have huge black bars when playing video due to their screen ratio.

OK please bear with me as I tell my story, it is in conjunction with but not summing up this particular commentary:
I have always been an android fanboy, my wife, an apple fan girl. I have owned the galaxy tab one, 7.7, note 1, and nexus 7.
My wife, iPad 2,3, and now mini. I relentlessly would tease her with my 7.7 tab regarding the lack of color and clarity of her iPad
That ended with her purchase of the iPad 3. Now she went "backward" with her purchase of the iPad mini.... but let me tell you what no one will talk about, and I mean no one; this little thing is LIQUID SMOOTH! If you think project butter improves android to the heights
of iOS, you are sadly mistaken. I currently own and love my nexus 7, but iOS makes 4.1 jellybean wish it was key lime pie! I respectfully challenge any of my Android brothers to use(if they have a new mini) their nexus 7 against their mini and do the following:
Go to your flipboard ap and go to the pulse app check out the performance of each device and write home about it. To bad all the Ex-Spurts never mention that even with the "512 of ram and lower everything this little device is an exceptional performer. I still belong to google, but the liquidity of apples os has grabbed a piece of my key lime pie.

$329 is just too much for this tablet. It will sell because it's an iDevice but I'll take my Nexus7 and get me a hooker with my $130 savings

You can find the nearest hospital that takes care of STDs too thanks to the Nexus 7's GPS, which the Mini lacks!

Haha it's funny that you said that. That reminds me of when I had to go to the hospital last month, and my friend's iPhone 4S got us iLost lol. It took us 30 minutes to find a hospital because the Apple's iOS6 Maps app kept taking us to abandoned buildings lol

I will stand by this statement. To start, I am no fanboy of either apple nor android.

I own a note 2 and an ipad 2. the Ipad 2 is the best tablet for the $... you can probably get a refurbed for less than the cost of the mini, it is plenty fast, and while its not retina... the screen is still perfectly good.

although the 3 for 379 refurbed is also a good deal from apple.

I just have never liked the look or feel of an android tablet, just a personal preference. Ipads are just easy and do a good job at being a tablet

actually I didn't see any mention of the value comparisons of the ipad 2 refurbished or refurbished retina tablets? Did you? Was this a post about the Note 2 versus the new ipad? Was there something in his comments about the difference between the Nexus 7 and the ipad mini that I missed?

the ipad mini = an ipad 2... its the same machine in a different package.

secondly this isnt even a real comparison, he just holds 2 in his hands and says which one he likes to hold better... that means nothing about anything.

also the comment above mentions 329 being too much for an ipad mini.

also the note 2 mention was strictly to avoid being flamed for liking an apple product.

A Note 2 is not a tablet. It's more like a huge ass phone.

I own an iPad 3 and I used to own Android tablets. The iPad 3 is much better than the iPad 2 because the screen is that much better for reading. (and the "new" iPad 3 with the faster processor makes it even better)

As far as ecosystem goes, iOS is much too constrictive. I can't even transfer files through USB and I actually find it less intuitive than Android. It actually takes more taps to get to what I want to do than with Android.

Add to that, I think the iPad is just too big for prolonged reading. After a while, it's just too uncomfortable to hold while lying down and my eyes get tired more easily because the eyes move more up and down. (I can't seem to find an app that will let me do vertical scrolling without snapping the whole page up and down)

I'm still waiting for a 7 inch Android tablet that has a nice screen. I don't think I can go back to anything less than my ipad 3 screen...

haha my note 2 had nothing to do with tablet talk, it was just to verify that I am not some apple troll.

I honestly dont do a whole lot of reading, some news stuff here and there... but use it mostly for sports scores, simple web crap, dumb games, useless mindless nonsense.

I think if you do do (I said doo-doo) a lot of reading, the ipad 3 is better than the 2... but if you never own a 3 you dont see the difference. It is fairly safe to say that there is no reason to really run out and buy a "4".

1 clear advantage that an ipad has over any android tablet... is the ability to play ticket to ride.

"do do" Lol...How's that GNote2? Also how's the battery life? I might buy that beast outright, man. I have a GSM Nexus and N7 but I'm a gadget fiend. Not sure about the N4 yet.

And for the sake of this blog, I obviously luv my 32 gig N7 for the form factor, I've never bought a tablet prior to the N7. Had the 16 gig and gave it away to my girls younger brother. Anyway I've used, never owned iPads before and they are awesome but there's something about typing on this N7 that just feels...right.

Picked the nexus 7 on Monday. By far the best tablet ever made. The specs are off the chart for a small tablet. Easy on the hands. Gaming is outstanding. The mini is thinner and that's where the comparison stops to me. $100 less than the mini.can't seem to put down nexus7. Apple is playing catch up right now

What about holding any of them in one hand ?
Apple made a big fuss on their iPhone 5 commercial how clever iPhone is to have a smaller screen than competition because it's ideal size for the hand.
I have a feeling that they contradicted themselves with the mini... not sure you can really hold it comfortably in one hand, which is one of the reasons why I'd want to buy a tablet with a smaller screen.
Would love to hear how it feels to you?

iPad Mini looks too wide for me, but I still don't like the 7" tablets either, too Can't win! Only thing I haven't held an iPad Mini so not sure on it yet, just going by pics and videos.

Phil, the back of your Google I/O Nexus 7 looks just like mine! That's what we get for testing out all sorts of cases :-)

Nice comparison. I think the 1024x768 screen makes the price of the Mini way too high. It's the Apple Tax :-)

Better built, more polished apps, no fragmentation, no malware filled store, etc. Its more of the echo system your buying into I think.

If by "echo system" you mean endlessly repeating the marketing pitches? Then yes, it's all about the buying into the "echo system".

Better built? No

More polished apps? That is a huge generalization. Some yes, not all

No fragmentation? Yes there is. Not as bad, though.

No malware filled store? So 0.0001% or something is "filled"? On what are you basing that comment?

N7= much, much less expensive, much better resolution, MUCH faster, better aspect ratio, and an ECOsystem that is very nice, healthy, and improving all the time.

Better Built =

No Fragmentation = "All" iPad apps will work on iPad Mini.

No Malware filled store, on what are you basing that comment =
Among many other articles..........

N7= Plastic, less expensive/cheaper, not a better aspect ration/screen small odd sized most likely better for widescreen video but again too small to watch a video.

Lol, iFans in full denial mode. A 320$ device with an A5 CPU, 512mb RAM, and 1024x768 resolution is indefensible. The hardware cost has been estimated by experts to be UNDER 50 DOLLARS. I can buy an Android tab with better specs for 70 on dhGATE. I hope that 99¢ aluminum caseback makes up for the 270$ profit you're handing Apple on a 320$ product. We'll stick to buying a 200$ tablet that actually costs around 200$ to manufacture. Seriously, you guys would buy a steaming turd if it had an Apple logo on it.

As someone who is extremely careful with tech, for the love of God someone stop him from throwing those tablets around! lol

I value your opinion. It seem like a very non-bias opinion which gave some thumbs up to Apple Ipad Mini. But kept the Android in check. It's too much these days that Android Fans have make overly biased statements because of their hatred for Apple.

You sir are not one of these people. And its refreshing. Thanks for taking the time to evaluate a non-android product.

They are both just tablets that do the same thing....
one is wider, and one is taller.
one is heavy, one is not.
one has a huge app store, the other is more organized.
one is over priced and under-speced, the other is under priced and over-speced
one is made of high quality materials, the other is just decent.
one has an weird screen size, the other is does not
ultimitly.... who cares. Buy whatever you want and stop fighting.

Me personally dont find value in apples over-priced, outdated products.

Re: Screen Size.
Apple's Screen size is terrible for widescreen movie. The Nexus 7's is great. It's a matter of personal taste.

I have been using a Nexus 7, but had an iPad Mini arrive today. It is extremely thin and you can notice the weight difference (especially with the SmartCover vs. the lightest Nexus 7 case I could find (Blurex)). The display on the Mini is just so LACKING in detail. The extra screen space is nice (even if it doesn't look that great) and the scrolling, etc. is SO MUCH more polished on the Mini.

HOWEVER, I will be returning the Mini as I cannot deal with the lack of widgets, lack of custom ROMS (using Paranoid Android now), lack of OTG USB, etc.

The Mini is fine for what it is -- a smaller iPad 2 with better cameras and a few other spec bumps. The $130 difference is too much to handle.

I just got the iPad mini this morning.0, it's thin, super light, fast, battery life seems very good. But I didn't think that the lack of retina display would be this bad. The screen looks like sh*t compared to a retina or the nexus 7's screen. But I can live with it. I guess.

One thing the nexus just about fits in all my back pockets of my jeans (although the top inch does stick out) where as that little bit of extra width on the ipad makes it that it wouldn't fit in my jeans