Apple iPad Mini versus Google Nexus 7 sets up the tablet battle we've all been waiting for. We see who has the goods to come out on top.
iPad Mini Tablet: Visual Tour
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Can't decide which small tablet is the best buy? Let's look at the top two contenders, the Apple iPad Mini and the Google Nexus 7. Either one is a solid pick, but each has pros and cons, to be sure. Let's look at what the two tablets have in common and what sets them apart.
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Does size matter? It might for some, but these two combatants are pretty close when it comes to size and weight. The iPad Mini measures 7.87 x 5.3 x 0.28 inches and the Nexus 7 measures 7.81 x 4.82 x 0.41 inches. The length and width are nearly the same, but in terms of percentages, the thickness is nowhere close. The iPad Mini is 7.2mm thick and the Nexus 7 is about 31% thicker at 10.42mm. The iPad Mini weighs 10.9 ounces (308 grams) and the Nexus 7 weighs 12 ounces (340 grams). The Nexus 7 is about 10% heavier. The iPad Mini is slightly thinner and lighter, but taller and wider. Advantage: iPad Mini.
The iPad Mini's display measures 7.9 inches and has 1024 x 768 pixels for a pixels-per-inch density of 163. The Nexus 7's display measures 7 inches and has 1280 x 800 pixels for a pixels-per-inch density of 216. The iPad Mini's display has a 4:3 aspect ratio and the Nexus 7 has a 15:9 aspect ratio. The iPad Mini has more viewable real estate, but the Nexus 7 has a higher-resolution screen. Advantage: Nexus 7.
Apple's 1-GHz dual-core A5 chip powers the iPad Mini. It is (probably) mated to 512 MB of RAM. The Nexus 7 uses Nvidia's Tegra 3 chip with four cores operating at 1.3 GHz each. The Nexus 7 has 1 GB of RAM. The iPad Mini boasts 10 hours of battery life, as does the Nexus 7. Advantage: Draw.
The iPad Mini has a 5-megapixel iSight camera. It can also capture video at 1080p HD. The front camera shoots 1.2-megapixel images and can capture 720HD video for FaceTime chats. The Nexus 7 does not have a rear camera, but it's front camera also shoots 1.2-megapixel images and captures 720p HD video. Advantage: iPad Mini.
The iPad Mini comes in two versions -- one that only has Wi-Fi and one that pairs Wi-Fi with one of three different LTE networks. LTE 4G, of course, lets the iPad Mini surf the Web wherever AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon Wireless provides network access. The Nexus 7 only has Wi-Fi, no 3G or 4G. That means it can only be used to browse the Web within range of a Wi-Fi hotspot. Advantage: iPad Mini.
The iPad Mini comes in three different storage configurations: 16 GB, 32 GB and 62 GB. Right now, the Nexus 7 comes in two storage configurations: 8 GB or 16 GB. This is expected to change as soon as October 29, when Google announces new Nexus gear. For now, however, Advantage: iPad Mini.
The iPad Mini has access to 275,000 dedicated tablet applications in the App Store. That's a lot of apps. The Nexus 7 can use most apps in the Google Play Store, but the vast majority of them are not optimized for the tablet form factor and may offer a less-refined experience. Advantage: Draw.
The iPad Mini starts at $329, but ranges all the way up to $659 depending on options. The $329 option provides 16 GB of storage and Wi-Fi (no 4G). The Nexus 7 costs $199 for the 8-GB version and $249 for the 16-GB version. Advantage: Nexus 7.
Based on these criteria, the iPad Mini comes out ahead of the Nexus 7 in terms of specs. But the price difference is significant enough that it's hard to call a clear winner. Whichever of these two tablets you might pick, both will provide a solid Web-browsing and app-running experience.
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