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A Budget Tablet Showdown: Apple iPad mini and Google Nexus 7

Last updated: October 2, 2018.

Budget Tablet Review

Both Google and Apple have released their next generation of budget tablets, the Nexus 7 and the iPad mini respectively.  In this review, we look at the pros and cons of both these devices as well as their operating systems, with the Nexus 7 representative of developments in Android and the iPad mini representative of iOS.

Nexus 7

Display

  • The Google Nexus 7 has a 7-inch display
  • The resolution of the Nexus 7’s screen is 1280 x 800 with a 16:10 aspect ratio together with a pixel density of 216 pixels per inch.
  • While this is not really the best display that you can get from current tablets, the Nexus 7 manages to be impressively bright and crisp, with good color reproduction and viewing angles.

Budget Tablet

  • All in all, the display of the Google Nexus 7 is impressive, especially for a budget tablet.
  • The Apple iPad mini has a 7.9 inch IPS display
  • Moreover, the resolution of the Apple iPad mini’s screen is 1024 x 768 with a 4:3 aspect ratio and a pixel density of 162 pixels per inch.
  • The resolution on the iPad mini is actually the same as what you would get for a second generation Apple iPad, the difference is that the display on the iPad mini is smaller and actually has a higher pixel density (132 PPI for the iPad 2).
  • The difference is a size between the Nexus 7 and the iPad mini doesn’t really affect the viewing experience, what does make a difference is their aspect ratios.
  • The iPad mini has 35% more screen space than the Nexus 7, Budget Tablet
  • Whine, the Nexus 7 display has the crisper images

Design and Build Quality

  • The Google Nexus 7 is sleek and premium looking. On first glance, it doesn’t look like it’s a budget tablet.
  • The display of the Nexus 7 is surrounded by a glossy black bezel which provides a nice handhold when you are watching a video or enjoying and ebook.
  • The back of the Nexus 7 is covered by a soft rubbery material that makes it nice to grip.

A3

  • Moreover, the Google Nexus 7’s measurements are 198.5 x 120 x 10.5 mm, Budget Tablet
  • The Google Nexus 7 weighs 340 grams.
  • The Apple iPad mini has a uni-body aluminum design as well as 7.2 mm thick and weighs 317.5 grams

Hardware

  • The Apple iPad mini has the Apple A5 System On a Chip. This is equivalent to a dual-core Cortex A9 CPU clocked at 1 GHz backed by a PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU.
  • Apple uses the same CPU/GPU combo in the iPad mini that they did in the iPad 2 and the iPhone 4s.
  • The Google Nexus 7 has the Nvidia Tegra 2 System On a Chip which is a quad-core Cortex A9 CPU clocked at 1.3 GHz together with a Nvidia ULP (Ultra Low Power) GPU.
  • The Google Nexus 7 uses more RAM memory than the Apple iPad.
  • The Nexus 7 has 1 GB RAM
  • The iPad mini has 512 MB RAM.
  • The Nvidia Tegra 3 CPU used by the Nexus 7 is faster than the A5 CPU used in the iPad mini.
  • Graphics-wise the iPad mini is a bit better as its GPU has to power-up fewer pixels.
  • There are two variants of the Nexus 7 with regards to on-board storage: 8 GB and 16 GB
  • There are three variants of the iPad mini with regards to on-board storage: 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB.
  • Neither the Nexus 7 and the iPad mini have a miniSD card slot so you can’t expand internal storage that way.
  • Google equips the Nexus 7 with a 1.2 MP front camera.
  • Apple equips the iPad mini with a 5 MP primary camera.
  • If you want NFC, you should go with the Nexus 7 as the iPad mini doesn’t have an NFC chip.
  • The battery on the Google Nexus 7 is a 4,325 mAh
  • The battery capacity on the Apple iPad mini has yet to be revealed.
  • It’s a safe bet to expect both these budget tablets will have a similar battery life of around 10 hours.

Operating System and Ecosystem

  • While there are significant differences in the hardware of the Apple iPad mini and the Google 7, the most significant difference that would have an impact on which device you choose would be which has the OS and ecosystem that best suits you.
  • The Google Nexus 7 runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
  • The Nexus 7 is the first device to run on this OS.
  • As Android is an open and fully customizable mobile OS, you can install apps from many other sources or modify the OS with custom mods.
  • Because of this customizability, an Android device is usually for those who know what they’re doing and want to be able to do complex tasks without manufacturer restrictions.
  • The Apple iPad mini runs iOS 6.
  • The iOS 6 is Apple’s newest version of their mobile operating system.
  • The social media integration of the iOS 6 is a bit better than what’s found with the Android Jelly Bean.
  • The iPad mini allows you to officially download and installs apps from Apple’s App store. Unfortunately, those are the only apps you can install and use.
  • You can’t modify the OS or customize it.
  • Google Maps is still way better then Apple’s Maps app, so if a map app is important for you, stick to the Nexus 7 or just any other Android device.

A4

The Google Nexus 7’s 8 GB version price is $199, while it’s 16 GB version price is $249.  This is much cheaper than the iPad mini who’s 16 GB version is priced at $329.

What do you think?  Which of these two tablets would you like to spend your budget on?

JR

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