Google Nexus 7 Vs. iPad Mini: 6 Key Factors - InformationWeek

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7/26/2013
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Google Nexus 7 Vs. iPad Mini: 6 Key Factors

Comparing the mini-tablets? Here are six reasons to embrace Google's latest 7-inch tablet.

Google Nexus 7, Chromecast: Visual Tour
Google Nexus 7, Chromecast: Visual Tour
(click image for larger view)
Google's second-generation Nexus 7 tablet, introduced on Wednesday, delivers significantly better performance than its predecessor and surpasses Apple's iPad Mini in several ways.

The new Nexus 7, known as "Razor," trades its white back for black. No longer two-tone, the 7-inch tablet might not reflect as much light as its first incarnation but it still outshines the competition, at least for the time being. In the coming months, Apple and other tablet makers are likely to respond. But for now, the new Nexus 7 deserves serious consideration if you're looking to buy a 7-inch tablet.

1. Screen
The best thing about the Nexus 7 Razor is its screen. The 7.02-inch 1920-pixel-by-1200-pixel HD display (323 ppi) looks great, provided you're viewing content prepared with a high-resolution screen in mind. It's ideal for gaming and video, thanks to its 16:9 aspect ratio, which is similar to the iPhone 5's. The iPad Mini has a 4:3 aspect ratio, which isn't optimal for HD video but works well for reading ebooks. The crispness of text on the Nexus 7 offers some compensation for its narrower pages.

[ Want more on the Nexus 7 Razor? Read Google Nexus 7 Heats Up Mini-Tablet Battle. ]

2. Price
The Nexus 7 starts at $229 for the 16-GB model. The 16-GB iPad Mini starts at $329, 43% more than the Nexus. Add 16 GB of additional memory to the Nexus and the cost rises to $269. Add 16 GB of additional memory to the iPad Mini and the cost rises to $429. If money is no object, buy both and donate your least favorite to a worthy cause. If money matters, the Nexus 7 is the clear winner.

3. Graphics/Processor
The quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, which runs at 1.5 GHz, should outperform the older dual-core Apple A5 (1 GHz) in the iPad Mini, particularly with applications that take advantage of Open GL ES 3.0, a new addition to Android 4.3. Even so, outside of graphically demanding apps, processor power isn't everything.

4. Wireless Charging
Charging by cable is not a problem, but it can be a hassle. The Nexus 7 supports wireless charging, so you can put it down on an inductive charging pad and have it charge without attaching any cables. Wireless charging requires extra investment -- inductive charging pads range from $30 to $80 or so online. But you might find it worth the effort.

5. Android
Android 4.3 is the best version of Android yet. For iOS zealots, Android is not an option, particularly with iOS 7 promised in a few months. Personally, Android has grown on me, to the point that I'm content in either operating system. I still find many iOS apps more responsive than their Android versions and prefer the simpler iOS UI conventions, but the relative openness and customizability of Android appeals to me.

6. Google Play
Google Play offers a better purchase experience than Apple's iTunes Store, mainly because it works on the Web rather than in a separate application. Apple has really missed the boat by failing to allow customers to purchase iTunes content directly from the Web.

Beyond these features, the Nexus 7 and the iPad Mini are more or less evenly matched. Both have 1.2-MP front-facing cameras and 5-MP rear-facing cameras. Both support Bluetooth 4.0. Both support dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4G/5G) 802.11 a/b/g/n. Both claim about 10 hours of battery life. Both come with more or less the same sensors. Their respective weights differ by only a few grams. Really, it's hard to go wrong with either device.

If you're committed exclusively to Apple products, well, there's not much that can be said to convince you to venture outside Apple's walled garden. But if you're open to a great Android tablet at great price, take a look at Google's new Nexus 7.

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HaroldCallahan
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HaroldCallahan,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/28/2013 | 2:07:32 AM
re: Google Nexus 7 Vs. iPad Mini: 6 Key Factors
DionG189 was talking specifically about how to get people moving to Android. In the context of this thread, Android outselling iOS is highly relevant.

I also dispute your contention that iOS is somehow higher quality than Android. There's no way you can make such a blanket statement. It all depends on your needs and priorities, which are not going to be the same as everyone else's. If you're even slightly interested in having any control over your own device, Android is the only game in town. Even something as dead simple as uploading music is completely impossible on iOS without iTunes, whereas Android supports dozens of different music manager programs. That's just one example out of many.
HaroldCallahan
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HaroldCallahan,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/28/2013 | 2:10:42 AM
re: Google Nexus 7 Vs. iPad Mini: 6 Key Factors
The thing is, I'm just a regular user. I'm not a developer. I'm not an advertiser. I actually rather hate advertising. The fact that Android trails in advertising revenue is a huge plus, not a minus, in my book. It means less money is being leeched out of my pocket by corrupt media companies. Similarly, less money for developers means more money in consumers' pockets. Where do you think developers earn their money from?
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
7/28/2013 | 4:16:29 AM
re: Google Nexus 7 Vs. iPad Mini: 6 Key Factors
Some people really love their Android devices. Far be it from me to tell them not to. Some of the tablets are great, and it looks like the new Nexus 7 could join that group. And Android's market share clearly shows the platform's popularity among consumers, OEMs and developers.

But here's the subtext of the advertising and web usage numbers: Android users might like their devices but iOS users REALLY like their devices.

That is, iOS users, or so the stats imply, use their devices more often, which means they look at more ads, and create more ad revenue. I don't think iOS is overrun by ads; rather, the volume of Web and app traffic creates a large volume of advertising opportunities. If Android's actual user engagement were equal to its market share, why would it trail Apple in these key figures? That's basically the question these statistics pose.

Your point about money in consumers' pockets has merit-- but I'm not sure I agree about the developers part. Developers sometimes prioritize the largest number of users (i.e. Android)-- but ultimately, most of them want the largest number of paying users. If Apple users are using their devices more, they're also using and buying more apps, and probably generating more online commerce in general-- or so the statistics I mentioned imply. Moreover, Apple generally performs better among more affluent consumers--e.g. people with more money to spend on apps, accessories, etc. These stat about affluence come from Forrester, if I remember right. The Web usage stuff was most recently touted by Piper Jaffray, but others have come to similar conclusions. And the advertising stats are from Mediaworks.

Anyhow, if developers go where the paying users are, these stats suggest developers are heading toward Apple.

That's not to say that Apple is perfect. They wouldn't be allegedly getting ready to launch a cheaper iPhone if they were impervious to market pressures. And I think some of the developers have a point when they say Apple could open things up a bit. I'm just saying that Android's alleged domination of mobile devices isn't anywhere near as absolute as its market share suggests.

Here's what I will be interested to see: once all the new Android and Windows 8 mini-tablets have been out for a few months, will the iPad Mini maintain a usage advantage? WIll it be similar to the regular iPad? The tablet market gets more fragmented all the time, and there might be room for different OS hierarchies within different form factors.
HaroldCallahan
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HaroldCallahan,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/28/2013 | 2:29:49 PM
re: Google Nexus 7 Vs. iPad Mini: 6 Key Factors
The web usage disparity goes away if you exclude wifi-only devices (source: http://www.technology-digital..... It makes sense that wifi-only devices see disproportionate amounts of raw usage, since they typically aren't on a limited data plan. The iPad is of course dominant in this area. I have one and it's a great web browser. The original Nexus 7 is too slow and does not deliver a good experience. It will be interesting to see how the new one fares.

There are other, lesser factors working around the margins. For example, ad blocking is much easier to do on Android than on iOS (sideloading vs. jailbreaking).

Apple for sure performs better among affluent customers. This isn't even a mystery -- for those of limited means, Apple is too expensive to be an option. But it's quite a leap to conclude that Apple is therefore the better option just because it costs more.

I understand that many developers follow the money, but I am not convinced that I, as a user, benefit from favoring software written by greedy developers. As a long-time open-source advocate (for reasons of quality, not cost), I have seen many examples where the free software is superior to its paying counterpart. I have also seen the reverse many times, so I am not one-sided in this matter. You seem to assume that the revenue-maximizing strategy is preferable in all situations. Many developers do prefer more money for sure, but these developers do not always write the highest-quality software. Examples such as ConnectBot or K-9 Mail show that free programs on Android can sometimes far exceed any of their counterparts, paid or free, on iOS.

Android itself is open-source, and the whole rationale for open source is that free software is a superior product to proprietary software. It is not surprising to see this legacy reflected in the behavior of the user base, and this fact says nothing about the quality of free software vs. paid software. Users care about functionality and long-term viability, not revenue streams. Linux and other projects have demonstrated that an active developer community can be sustained with no direct revenue. It is actually rather refreshing to see a commercial platform like Android following this path rather than the traditional path based on corporate revenue.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
7/29/2013 | 4:50:59 PM
re: Google Nexus 7 Vs. iPad Mini: 6 Key Factors
Good point, only the cellular-enabled version of the Mini has a GPS chip.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
7/29/2013 | 4:58:18 PM
re: Google Nexus 7 Vs. iPad Mini: 6 Key Factors
Note that I was addressing the Web-based purchase experience, not the app quality. There are a lot of apps. I'm sure there are more bad apps for Android than for iOS. That doesn't make the Nexus 7 a bad choice.
chorlacher175
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chorlacher175,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/29/2013 | 5:22:01 PM
re: Google Nexus 7 Vs. iPad Mini: 6 Key Factors
It's more like the greatest technology that's known the least about. Most people don't realize that they can use NFC for simple transfers of URLs, contacts, maps, photos, and video. Some of that is not even Android specific...you can send/receive URLs and contacts, possibly more, with WinPhone 8 devices that have NFC! It's quick and easy!
chorlacher175
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chorlacher175,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/29/2013 | 5:25:05 PM
re: Google Nexus 7 Vs. iPad Mini: 6 Key Factors
People who talk about malware on Android don't know what their talking about. The Google Play store is a great and safe place to buy apps. You can also use the Amazon App Store if you want. There are hundreds of illegal or shady app stores out there, most hosted in Russia and China from what I hear. Those are not the Google Play store and I wouldn't get anything from any of those stores. Google Play is definitely much more advanced than iTunes.
anon3860072
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anon3860072,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/1/2013 | 1:11:57 AM
re: Google Nexus 7 Vs. iPad Mini: 6 Key Factors
iOS users are simply people with too much money to burn. Is there any apps which human beings cannot live without? None. Other than certain apps which iOS users may claim that they cannot live without, many Android (particularly Nexus 7 & II) can do the others better (web surfing, movie streaming, GPS) and at a much lower cost. In fact, even those apps which iOS users cannot live without, these users could be ignorant of the existence of the equivalent Android apps! In all, many iOS users simply purchase iPad mini for the name sake or for the perception.

In this era of consuming, many purchases are not based on factual and the old saying of "value for money". Many people simply have too much money to throw away!
mykiralspirelli
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mykiralspirelli,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/1/2013 | 7:45:42 PM
re: Google Nexus 7 Vs. iPad Mini: 6 Key Factors
If your going to make comments about an article, then you should be mature and professional about it as this isn't a yahoo article for people to troll. Accusing someone of writing a biased article is your opinion and should be kept to yourself.
Who is to say your not biased in your response accusing Thomas of being biased?
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