23
Oct
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After seeing Apple launch the iPad Mini today, doubtless, many Android fans were unimpressed. And there are good reasons for that - it wasn't actually that impressive. Not a particularly dazzling display. Fairly old internals. A price tag that, at best, is described as "cheaper than an iPad."

ipadmini

And let's face it, it's really not that attractive as a product, especially by Apple's high standards. It sort of looks like one of the new iPod Touches and an iPhone 5 had a really fat baby.

Regardless, we already know that, barring some sort of unspeakable catastrophe, Apple is going to sell a lot of these things. Many to the Apple-faithful — as always — but also to, well, everyone else that can justify dropping $330 on an entry-level tablet. Can you imagine how many parents are going to think "It's an iPad, but it's $170 less than a regular one? Sold" this holiday season? I can feel the bank accounts being drained already.

But, if you read Android Police, you're probably not one of those people. In fact, you probably have absolutely no intention of buying one. What you are likely interested in is whether or not Apple's made something that will prove a threat to the still-young small-slate Android ecosystem. First, let's compare our two contenders.

The Hardware: So That's What $130 More Buys Me?

I'm not going to lie - I'm not an Apple hater. I'm not going out to buy an iPhone tomorrow, but I'm also not opposed to the idea of owning a piece of iOS hardware (and/or a MacBook) at some point. But I was disappointed with today's iPad Mini announcement on the hardware front.

mini

We'll begin with the displays. The iPad Mini is boasting a 7.9" 1024x768 display, meaning a 4:3 aspect ratio (see: fat iPhone / iPod baby). The Nexus 7 has a 7" 1280x800 panel (16:10). In pixel density and, well, pixels in general, the Nexus 7 does clearly run away with it. But I do know for a fact (as a Nexus 7 owner myself) that the N7 doesn't exactly have the best display ever known to man. The colors aren't great (washed out), and it looks a little... dead. I've yet to see the iPad Mini's display, so I can't comment on that front, but I'd reserve judgment until we see some side-by-sides. More pixels are obviously better, but it's not like we're talking about WVGA vs 720p here. But, if pixels are your concern, the Nexus 7 does definitively take this category.

Internally, things get a little more unclear. The Mini's A5 dual-core processor — from the iPad 2 — is no slouch, and the GPU it's packing is still quite formidable. Looking at the benchmarks, it's likely the iPad Mini will have more hardware horsepower to work with in GPU-intensive applications like gaming and video than the Nexus 7. But it's not like the Mini's A5 chipset is in a whole other league - The Nexus 7's Tegra 3 is at least comparable in many aspects. The A5 certainly isn't $130 better.

n7 ipadmini

In terms of storage, we're all pretty sure at this point that the 16GB version of the Nexus 7 will be dropping to $200, and a new 32GB edition will be introduced at $250. Meanwhile, Apple has kept the same $100 storage increments of the iPad and iPhone for the Mini, which makes comparing the soon-to-be $250 32GB N7 and the $430 32GB iPad Mini quite a laughable exercise. $180 more for a device of comparable internal space? Apple, you crazy.

Moving on, both have front-facing cameras. The Mini's does do 720p video out of the box, though. The iPad Mini also has a 5MP rear camera, so if you're into taking ridiculous self-portraits or looking silly in public, it may be the small tablet for you! Oh, but the Wi-Fi iPad Mini does not have GPS - like its big brother. So that might be a concern.

Physically, the Mini is both thinner and lighter than the N7. When it comes to tablets, I contend this actually is important. Is it (I do love saying this) $130 of important? Eh. The build quality will probably be more confidence-inspiring than the N7, though - mine has begun creaking and groaning of late, something aluminum doesn't have to worry about.

Battery life remains to be seen, but I'm already leaning in the iPad Mini's direction on this one. Apple has historically been the leader in this statistic, and I doubt they suddenly skimped this time. I don't think it'll be a runaway victory, but my Nexus 7's battery life has never been jaw-droppingly good in the first place.

Cellular connectivity goes to the Mini, as well - even if a 3G N7 does come to be, LTE connectivity as an option is simply better (moar gees). Now, the value of a 32GB 3G Nexus 7 ($300-350?) vs. a 32GB 4G iPad Mini ($560)? Well, something tells me that the Wi-Fi 32GB price comparison will look reasonable by comparison.

Coming at these two devices from a strictly hardware standpoint, it's a runaway victory for the Nexus 7 on value alone. You simply can't ignore that you're getting all the Nexus 7 offers for just $200 (soon, likely with 16GB of storage), and if the $250 32GB version comes to pass, the value just gets even greater.

Software: Begun, The App Wars Have

Having used a Nexus 7 for the last however many months its been since Google I/O, and numerous Android tablets before that, I'm still not sure they'll ever catch up to Apple's iPad app selection. Android is so far behind here it hurts. Sure, we have a growing number of tablet apps to choose from, but many are remnants of the early days of 10" Android tabs, and have been left to basically rot on the Play Store. I already deal with too many scaled-up phones apps on my Nexus 7.

Let me just tell you a visual story.

Screenshot_2012-10-23-16-48-45 twitter-ipad-2

Screenshot_2012-10-23-16-48-28 ipad-yelp

Screenshot_2012-10-23-16-48-10 mzl.cvastnjr.480x480-75

Now, you're going to say "David, all those Nexus 7 screenshots are in portrait, and the iPad is in landscape - that's not fair." Actually, it's fair to the Nexus 7, because none of these apps deal with landscape mode any differently than portrait, and in fact show even less information in that orientation.

The other issue is, of course, all these iPad apps are designed for a full-sized iPad, not the Mini. And that's true. But here's the thing - while the iPad Mini's display is about 66% the size of the original iPad (in terms of area), a Nexus 7 is about 50% the size of a 10.1" tablet. It's entirely possible most full-sized iPad apps will scale down pretty OK, or require much more minor modifications than an Android app scaled from a 10.1" tablet down to a 7" would.

And let's face facts: iOS has a ton more tablet apps and games in the first place. When Apple releases a new product, developers absolutely scramble to make compatibility happen. Granted, the iPad Mini will be less of a reason to scramble than a new iPhone or regular-sized iPad (at least for now), but they'll still move a hell of a lot quicker than Android app developers - because they know exactly what they're developing for, and they know lots of people are going to be using that device.

There's zero doubt in my mind that the iPad Mini's app ecosystem will best the Nexus 7's from day one. It's not even going to be a contest. Granted, Android will start catching up as these cheap tablets become more and more popular in the western world, and I'm pretty confident they will. Android will dominate the $200-300 segment for the foreseeable future, and that's a market that is just going to grow every quarter.

On the more general OS side, going with the Mini then means you're stuck with iOS, which for an Android person, feels awfully limiting. You lose all the customization options, widgets (admittedly, a big deal on a tablet), and a lot of great Google Apps. Like Maps. Did I mention Google Maps? You won't have Google Maps. And the tablet version of Gmail on Android is pretty dang awesome, too.

This part really comes down to opinion: if you want a tablet that you can twist and mold into what you want to make out of it, and live in an OS that is simply more versatile, the Nexus 7 is the clear choice - particularly if you're a Google services diehard. If you're all about discovering cool new apps and games, the iPad Mini is going to be a more satisfying experience. As Android fans, I do think we have a tendency to sometimes ignore that part of the equation. I believe it's a completely legitimate reason to go for the iPad, and Android simply doesn't offer a comparable experience in that regard - yet.

Conclusion: Should We Be Worried?

Probably not. The iPad Mini will almost certainly sell in droves. It will probably outsell the Nexus 7 almost immediately. But Android has already begun to do what it did with phones in the small tablet space: divide and conquer with volume - especially outside the US. And domestically, we have cheap tablets like the Acer Iconia A110 on the way, and it's a near-certainty that Samsung, ASUS, and probably others are already working on their own $250-or-less budget devices. The iPad Mini simply isn't priced aggressively enough to rip this market away from Google and Amazon. In fact, Amazon is probably the bigger threat. Heck, a $300 8.9" 16GB tablet with a high-res display? That's aggressive.

And while a $250 32GB Nexus 7 may not be enough to rain on Apple's proverbial iPad Mini parade, it will absolutely present a serious counterargument to Cupertino's first foray into the more petite form factor. Small Android tablets are here to stay. Apps will start catching up (I hope), and Google will continue to refine, advance, and iterate the underlying OS at a rate Apple has already shown it cannot keep pace with.

It'll be an interesting battle to watch unfold, for sure, but by no means does a small iPad spell doom for the Android tablet.

David Ruddock
David's phone is an HTC One. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, imparting a legal perspective on tech news, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Steven

    Apple could make a round tablet and the sheep would still buy them.

    • fixxmyhead

      Or a piece of poop like that meme

      • Tomi Golob

        Boooo! ...i mean Baaaaa-aa-aa-aaa !

  • http://twitter.com/Vosko33 Jon Vosko

    i agree, i returned my nexus 7 because all i could was the same exact apps on my phone.... so dumb

    • Androidium

      Yup, would probably return the Panamera if I bought one, 'cause I can only drive it on same roads as with my Golf, so dumb... (Not that I can actually afford the Porsche)

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

        I'd return the Panamera because it's fugly, but that's just me.

        • http://twitter.com/Vosko33 Jon Vosko

          I'd keep a turbo one... even if it was ugly

      • lordmerovingian

        Hmm, this analogy doesn't really work i think.

        • http://twitter.com/Vosko33 Jon Vosko

          Correct

      • http://twitter.com/Vosko33 Jon Vosko

        I was hoping for a better user experience and be able to use the N7 instead of my laptop. That just was not the case

        • http://www.facebook.com/andresdroid Andres Schmois

          That seems to be the problem with people. People think tablets can replace laptops, THEY CAN'T. I have the Transformer Tablet with keyboard dock, and while it comes close, it STILL cannot replace a laptop, imagine a 7 inch no keyboard tablet. Not Android, not iOS, they weren't meant to be devices to replace computers, just mobile additions to our lives.

          • jwtsonga

            agreed.
            best to have a 4 inch smartphone + 7-9 inch tablet + 13 inch windows8 convertible ultrabook hybrid

          • Sootie

            Fkin this!!!!!

            So many people I support here think the same thing weather its nexus's or ipads they are not computers and never will be (nor will surface) the screens are too small to do anything on. a 10inch laptop would be pretty much as useless

          • troph

            So true, man. I love my Transformer Prime but I could never go without my laptop for any decent amount of time. The mobile software (Android or iOS) just isn't there yet (bugs, compatibility, programs/apps, etc). But there's so much potential if you think about it. It took DECADES for PC software to get to where our mobile OS are at now (in terms of GUI, ease of use, etc).

            Ubuntu for Android seems like a big step in the mobile PC direction. I have high hopes for it.

    • Laurence

      You've gotten downvoted to hell for this comment, but as I said above, I think this it's a valid criticism. The first-party Google apps are nicely optimised for a 7" display; I just wish more third-party apps would do the same.

  • http://twitter.com/PCSievers P.C. Sievers

    The N7 beat the A6 of the 3rd gen iPad on benchmarks from what I have read so surely it will be ahead of the A5 of the 2nd gen iPad, no?

  • Jonathan Wong

    One "benefit" of the iPad mini is because it uses full size iPad apps, it has more information displayed.

  • Lodovik

    Will the iPad mini have screen separation, multitouch issues, backlight flickering, screen defects and speakers problems? I'm on my third Nexus 7 after having returned two defective ones and I can assure you that build quality counts too.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Bummer. Mine has a ghosting issue, but I've heard all the problems you're describing as well. I hope they aren't *that* widespread.

    • Eye4Detail

      Of course not, it'll have it's very own list of problems. What do you think it is, some kind of copy-cat device? Oh wait, nevermind. Yes, it will have all of those issues.

    • Sootie

      I deal with a fleet of about 50 iphones and 30 ipads and I while they might not have those exact issues they will have no shortage of things go wrong with them (we are at about a 20% return rate consistantly). Our blackberries were almost more reliable...almost

    • sky

      Sorry about your bad luck. I'm on my first nexus that I pre-ordered with no issues.

  • lordmerovingian

    This is the exact reason why something like a Galaxy Note 2 appeals to me more than an Android tablet. I currently have a Galaxy S3 and a Pantech Element. Reason i got the Element was because it's a 3G/4G LTE waterproof tablet and i got a great deal on it off CList for $150, mint condition etc, and i said why not (and besides, i just prefer 3G tablets anyway). The Element at 8 inches is the perfect size because i abhor 10 inch tablets that i eventually only keep and use at home on the toilet or whatever.
    Then again, Android tablet apps are sorely lacking and i try to really "use" the Element but i find myself reaching for the Galaxy S3 most times because it's more usable app-wise. At 4.8 inches it's very nice, but then imagine it just a little bigger but not too big, sort of like an inbetween, and then you have the Note 2. I wouldn't need a separate data plan, only carry one device, doubles as a phone (ahem!!) etc.
    Never was attracted to the Nexus 7, no card slot, no 3G, no interest to me.

    • http://twitter.com/#!/dboftlp dboftlp

      I got my wife a refurbed 8.9" GTab w/ all the trimmings & love the size/weight of it. I'm still rockin the 4G Xoom running Team EOS 3 nightlies, but I can't stand the 7" form factor. If I could get a next gen 4G 8.9" LTE enabled tablet, this old Xoom (which I still use daily for work) would finally be retired... to my little brother :-)

      • lordmerovingian

        The Element just got the ICS 4.0.4 update not long ago and has breathed new life into it for me. Not a popular brand, so root is hard to come by, but stock works fine (despite AT&T bloat). Just started dabbling into eBooks (prefer Nook Reader because i have lots of ePub books) and just finished my 3rd book of late. The 8 - 8.9 inch form factor can't be beat, i agree with you there.
        Amazon is always having a red box sale on microSD cards. Last one they had a 64GB SDXC for $44, i picked up a 32GB for $23.

  • Eye4Detail

    I have to say, I don't really buy into the "tablet apps" hype for 7" tablets. I've used both the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus with 4.0 and the Archos 70 with 2.2. While the tablet layout looks "cooler," I can't say it was functionally any better on a display that small. Now, on my Infinity, it's a different story. The tablet layout makes a huge difference on a 10" display. On a 7" though, I even often prefer the mobile version of web pages. No ads and designed to be read in portrait.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      I agree on the web browsing, as long as it's a *good* mobile site. There are a lot of bad ones out there, too, with really gimped functionality (see: every restaurant mobile site on earth).

  • Charlie Brown

    But if we, android fans, buy ipads and ipad minis instead of android tablets, then devs will never optimized apps for tablets. So, I'd rather buy a nexus 7 even if I have to deal with sketchy apps, just to support the android ecosystem!

    • sky stanojevic

      amen android brutha

  • Watchman

    And here I thought I was on an Android blog. Silly me.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      The jig is up - I'm an Apple fanboy in disguise. I've been working undercover for two and a half years. Lock my bootloader and throw away the key.

    • http://twitter.com/rohanXm Rohan Mathur

      It is a perfectly valid article comparing and contrasting a serious "threat" to the Android tablet space.

    • http://www.facebook.com/andresdroid Andres Schmois

      The hardware portion of it seems like an Android blog. He goes on to mention on almost every single point, the hardware of the ipad mini is better, but then says that the N7 is the best choice. The only difference is the price. Don't get my wrong, I hate apple, and all of its products, but in the hardware portion, a little more explaining needs to happen, not just blaming everything on the price difference, in fact, better hardware = more money. A little disclaimer, I am NOT in any way or form protecting Apple, or in any way or form a fan of any of their products, all I'm pointing out is that while the article is quite factual, the opinion is more towards the Android part of it (and there's nothing wrong with that).

    • Nick Coad

      Yeah you're on an Android blog, not an iOS blog. That means this blog is capable of remaining impartial and making judgements and observations based on fact.

      I'm a massive Android fan but I'm not deluded enough to believe this article is at all false in any of its conclusions.

  • http://twitter.com/physicalist09 Physicalist

    Who cares?! Android is smart enough to scale according to pixel density. iOS isn't. Every iPad app will have heavily downsized buttons, probably on the edge of usability (which is likely because it isn't a 7" display, which it probably would have been if that was feasible. Because really, if you are going to compete in the 7" space, why not offer a 7" device when you can?!).

    Your point is pretty moot an it makes me think - why such a one sided article? Why show only apps that don't have a proper tablet UI? Why this bullshit about tablet apps left to rot? Of course there are always cases like these but "many" is really this sort of term that is applied by people too lazy to back their claims up with facts. Which they don't need to of course, when all they want to do is to spin facts.

    "But here's the thing - while the iPad Mini's display is about 66% the size of the original iPad (in terms of area), a Nexus 7 is about 50% the size of a 10.1" tablet. It's entirely possible most full-sized iPad apps will scale down pretty OK, or require much more minor modifications than an Android app scaled from a 10.1" tablet down to a 7" would."

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      I think your point's a bit moot when the iPad Mini has the same display size and aspect ratio as the iPad 2. There's really not much of any modification that needs to be done - things will generally scale fine.

      I've heard the arguments on Android's smart scaling, and it's an amazing system that, when used appropriately, is awesome (see: Gmail). But when there aren't many tablet apps out there in the first place, who really cares? It's like having a race track with no cars to drive on it. In the future, I'm sure we'll see it used more, but right now, it doesn't really give Android tablets much of an advantages, because there aren't many tablet-friendly apps out there.

      I understand your point, but I disagree vehemently that the iPad Mini is going to have any truly significant issues getting popular apps to port over and be usable. Your argument is that the buttons will be too small? I mean, it's possible, but somehow I doubt it's nearly as bad a problem as you'd apparently like it to be.

      • Laurence

        Your point about the apps is absolutely correct. I bought a Nexus about a month ago, and while I genuinely love the device and use it every day, I've also been frustrated by the small selection of apps optimised for the form factor.

        It seems like the only apps that are really optimised for a 7" display are the first-party Google apps. There's also a tiny handful of third-party apps that work well, like Evernote and Pocket. Otherwise, I'm basically stuck with the exact same apps I have on my phone, except with bigger control elements/more whitespace.

        Another unpleasant surprise was most dedicated "Android tablet" apps are designed for Honeycomb-style 10" tablets, and many of them either can't be installed at all on the Nexus 7, or don't properly scale down to 7".

        With the commercial success of 7" Android tablets, I would have expected that more developers would have started optimising for this form factor, but I guess not. Hopefully in another 6 or so the situation will have improved.

      • Nick Coad

        You've kind of missed his point, he's actually made a very good one. Apple decided with the original iPhone that 'usable' on-screen touch targets should be at least 44px in size in at least one direction, and a minimum of (I think) 23px in the other direction. When they upgraded their screens in the iPhone 4 they doubled (or quadrupled if you want to get smart-assed about it) the resolution and doubled the size of existing assets to stay the same physical size on screen (at this stage they stopped calling them 'pixels' and began to call them 'points', since while 1point = 1pixel on the original 320x480 screen of the iPhone, 1pixel = 4pixels on the newer 640x960 screen).

        Here's the problem: iPad apps have been designed for the particular physical size of the iPad. If you have an item on screen that is 44pts wide and you want to take that item and display it on the iPad mini, you have two choices:
        1) scale everything down and 'break' the meaning of the 'points' metric
        2) keep each 'point' at the same physical size, thus making them larger relative to the app window

        If they go with option one (far less likely of the two) they will no longer have a standard unit that app developers can use to maintain a consistent size across different resolutions. They will also have developers struggling to make items big enough for the iPad mini, but not overly massive on the iPad regular. It also means that they will break their own '44pts = touchable' rule.

        If they go with option two (most likely) then they will have less on screen real-estate for buttons meaning regular iPad apps will need to be reworked and so the iPad mini's app options will be incredibly limited for a while.

        Android seems to be more or less immune to this same issue because they have considered it already and provide controls for tabs that scroll horizontally, drop down menus, etc. Stuff that will work on any screen size.

        • Haysdb

          In real world use the iPad mini runs every app I've tried perfectly fine. Some touch targets are a little smaller than I'd like, but not so much that the apps are unusable.

          Apple chose, for better or worse, for pixel perfect apps. Any time you do scaling, no matter how good, apps won't look quite as good at the non-native sizes. It has boxed them into a corner with the mini - they did not have the option of a 25% or 50% higher resolution - they either have to do 1X or 2X. With the mini the issue will resolve itself in a year when they are able to go 2X.

  • Xiazer

    I'm not a fanboy by any means, but price is a huge factor to anyone, if I can get a 16 GB Nexus 7 3G for $350 I would jump on that before a 16 GB iPad Mini for $320.

    • http://twitter.com/namd88 Nam Dang

      I'm definitely looking forward to a 3G Nexus 7. Some of the people I know are also holding back until Google's event to see if there's gonna be an unlocked 3G version of the Nexus 7. Also, Google needs to advertise more...

  • Paul_Werner

    Best part of this article is "Apple, you crazy"

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ray-Sunghwa-Woo/542631978 Ray Sunghwa Woo

      I think they are crazy for many reasons but for the pricing of the iPad mini isn't one of them. We all know that the margin of profit for selling of a Nexus 7 isn't much or almost nothing; but Apple is never going to sell their products at no margin. So it may be safe to say that Apple is making about $130 much (or more) from selling one iPad mini. that's about 30% of its price which I believe reasonable from a business point of view.

  • http://www.toysdiva.com Toys Samurai

    They will still sell a lot, but I think the mini will simply steal potential buyers from the full size iPad instead of from people who may have bought a Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire. Frankly, I don't know what Apple is thinking -- the 7" tablets are selling not only because of the form factor, but also because of the price. The iPad mini does not address the price issue. In fact, even when it comes to the size, the 7.9" inch can hardly be called small. Put it this way, it's already not easy for people with small hand to hold a Nexus 7 with just one hand, the iPad mini? I guess the only people who will applaud its size are those practicing hand massages.

    • Haysdb

      It will cannibalize some sales from the full-size iPad, but Apple has never been afraid to cannibalize their own products. It will also take sales from the 7" tablets. The 3 million iPads sold the first weekend are a strong indication of demand, and that was for the Wi-Fi only model. The kindle Fire and Nexus 7 will survive, but they will now divide half the market they had before the mini arrived.

  • James Selene

    If Apple wanted to own the tablet market, they should have priced it at $249. $50 more for a rear-facing camera, better front-facing camera, better build quality is good competition. Then, Apple gets entry-level users hooked on their app platform and therefore hooked on their over-priced ecosystem. This is only a win for Android. iPad Mini is *NOT* a Nexus 7 competitor. It is an iPad2 competitor.

  • blunden

    The iPad Mini display has a pixel density that is slightly lower than the first iPhone from 2007. The difference is larger than you make it out to be. Let's hope it at least has great colors because the first iPhone certainly didn't by today's standard.

  • garychencool

    " It sort of looks like one of the new iPod Touches and an iPhone 5 had a really fat baby."

    I lost it.

  • http://twitter.com/jglodek Jakub Glodek

    Great article, and I completely agree. Although the iPad mini is a good device, I think that Amazon will be the winner here. The Kindle Fire HD is a solid competitor in the space of consumers. The rest of the tablets will have their fans, but I think the iPad and Kindle Fire are the leaders. If you want to pay an arm an a leg, get an iPad, if you want a great tablet at a bargain, get a Kindle Fire.

  • korockinout13

    It may have been mentioned already, but the Nexus 7 does not display apps in tablet mode. This is something Google purposely did. If you ran the same apps on another tablet, they would have the actual tablet UI instead. It is also important to note that Android developers don't need to make separate phone and tablet versions of their apps; if they comply with the latest Android app guidelines, they are able to scale and look good no matter the screen size. Regarding benchmarks, you have to keep in mind that the Nexus 7 has a higher screen resolution, thus it would benchmark lower even if compared to an iPad Mini sized device with an identical GPU.

    • PeterA

      I believe lots of the graphics comparisons do off-screen rendering at the same resolution.
      the Apple devices have consistently out-performed all android devices at the same resolution.
      The problem however, is it isn't a fair comparison. What you have to do is benchmark each device with the exact same content at native res and perhaps again at half native res (or a quarter?) to avoid rescaling.
      This isn't *technically* fair to the Nexus (since it has a higher res) but it gives you a *more useful result*. (where useful is: I am a game dev, does my game look as good on TabletA or TabletB - rescaling = looks fucking horrible)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=572826547 Scott Palmer

    iPad Mini ?= Nexus 7
    A5 3D performance >> Tegra 3
    A5 GeekBench < Tegra 3
    iOS 6 <> Android Tablet Apps
    Apple build quality >> Asus Nexus 7
    but
    iPad Mini A5 price >> Nexus 7 Tegra 3

    • marcusmaximus04

      Mmm... the A5(with it's Power VR SGX543MP2 GPU) does outperform the tegra 3 in the nexus 7, but not by all that much. The difference between the dual core 1GHz A9 and the 1.3GHz quad core A9 is significantly larger.

  • Al McDowall

    Excellent, balanced overview. Thank you!!

  • Goldenpins

    The iPad mini reminds me of a fat chick wearing a corset.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      lol'd

  • Ittiam

    excellent article... love AP

  • c130daddy

    The apps designed for ipad are 1024x768 which means the mini will support all 270,000 tablet designed apps from day one without scaling or letter boxing or the need for deveIopers to rush to change anything. I really wish google and the android camp would get a clue on this. It doesn't matter that the hardware in the nexus or other android devices is superior if there are only a few apps designed specifically to take advantage of them. I'm sure it's the reason apple feels comfortable charging a premium for the year and a half old hardware in the mini.

  • Martin Nilsson

    If devs listened to Google the Android Market (Play Store) would beat Apple silly. Build one app and let it magically adopt to your current device. In theory at least you would even be able to create an app that adopts to your 50" TV at home.

  • Freak4Dell

    I think it's going to come down to marketing. The N7 is the obvious better value, but the iPad Mini has the legacy of the iPad and Apple names backing it. If Google can market effectively and show people that the N7 has the same things to offer as the Mini (and sometimes more, e.g. GPS), then the N7 will win due to the price. This is something that Google has never really been good at, though.

    As for the device itself, I don't really see the point. Let's say size is the reason somebody didn't buy an iPad. It's smaller, but not enough to be a good buy based on portability. 7" tablets can fit in my pockets, but there's very little room left. I really don't think the Mini would fit at all. It's much too wide. So, you have to carry it in your hands, or in a case, or whatever. At that point, why not just carry the regular iPad? If the issue is price rather than size, then the N7 (and other 7" tablets) is a better value. I guess maybe there's a tiny market for people who think 7" is too small, but 9.7" is too big, and price doesn't matter. I was thinking that maybe it would be a good product for the small, but growing, community that installs tablets into cars. The problem now becomes that it doesn't have GPS, so you have to get an external GPS module.

    I do think it's a good looking device, though, but that's not surprising. I think most of Apple's products look really good. They just missed the mark on size, features, and most importantly, price. At least IMO. I'm sure there will still be millions and millions sold.

  • http://twitter.com/MysteryMannnnn Mystery Man

    What apple fangirls say about iPad Mini "It's great it fits in one hand!"
    What apple fangirls say about Galaxy Note II "It's freakin huge you need two hands"

  • Patxi Zabaleta

    Today Apple introduced several new products and one of them was the 7.9" iPad Mini. They showed several screen shots with the Nexus 7 and the iPad Mini side by side showing the same webpage of the Guggenheim Museum. Because the iPad has a form factor of 4:3 and the Nexus 7 a form factor of 16:10, in landscape viewing the iPad will show more website content. However, to make the difference even more dramatic, Apple distorted the facts and deceived the public by cutting about an inch of real estate screen in the Nexus 7.

    In portrait viewing, they showed the iPad Mini in full screen mode but not the Nexus 7. Also, they carefully selected the Guggenheim website because there is no need to scroll down in order to see all the information. Had they selected a website such as Engadget or The Verge, where you need to scroll down, the screen shots would have proven that the Nexus 7 actually shows more information than the iPad Mini. Of course, that was not part of their presentation.

    This behavior is really reprehensible from a serious company and they should apologize for it.

    Here is a screen shot of Apple's presentation and, underneath, what you see with the Nexus 7 in landscape viewing.

    • Dave Kochman

      Apple proves time and time again that it will say anything to market its wares. Besides being blatantly misleading and hypocritical given their previous Retina display/dot pitch marketing, the whole issue is rendered moot when you actually use the tablet to read and discover you prefer portrait mode. Books and magazines are vertically paginated because appropriate column width is a factor in readability.

    • PhilNelwyn

      And they should also apologize to their customers, and get sued too, for blocking the Google Search app update.
      A lot of iOS users are complaining about that on YouTube.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cZ4mdrlWYM&feature=youtube_gdata_player

      • silaslenz

        I totally expected "show me pictures of a scallion" and not a whale :)

        • PhilNelwyn

          :D yeah, this was hilarious.

    • Jose

      How did you manage to put chrome for android on full screen? they cut the image because that's actually what you see when you have the tabs and the bottom buttons showing! But they cropped it... P.S. I'm don't want to be an ass I own a Nexus 7 and that's what I see in portrait mode...

      • Matthew Fry

        Yeah. I don't get the argument here. I don't think it's that big of a deal or misleading to select a website to show it off that takes advantage of the wider screen real estate. That's, literally, the feature. Moar screen.

        • Patxi Zabaleta

          It was misleading. They were comparing screen sizes not applications. If you compare what you can see on a given webpage in full screen mode, you have to use the same parameters for both devices. Chrome does not have full screen mode, but if you use Dolphin Browser, as I do, then you are comparing both devices on equal terms. What you see with the Nexus 7 is not what Apple showed in their presentation.

          • Freak4Dell

            But that's a 3rd party app. The comparison was done between stock browsers, so as users will see it right out of the box. It wasn't a misleading comparison so much as it showed that Chrome needs some UI changes. I think it would be better if tabs were out of the way, and a side swipe gesture brought them into view kind of how Windows 8 does it in Metro (not for the browser, but same principle).

          • PhilNelwyn

            Or exactly how Chrome does it on a phone.
            It was quite misleading actually, because if you only see that much of the site, it's because of the UI elements, so they should be on the picture.
            What Apple showed looks like the Nexus 7's screen is tiny and Chrome is in full screen, it's not what users will see out of the box, they'll see on-screen buttons and tabs.

      • Patxi Zabaleta

        José, if you use Dolphin Browser, which is very good in my opinion, you will get full screen mode. In full screen mode you will see the picture I posted last night, which is much bigger than what Apple wants people to believe.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Leon-Feild/100000472295412 David Leon Feild

        Did he not mention in the above post it was full screen mode, actual full screen mode includes the option to hide scroll bars as well as menu bars and tabs, stop being obtuse!

    • Razvan

      How the hell did you got that screenshot? I just used my Nexus7 and the Apple screenshot is 100% correct.

  • Tee

    Compare iPad to iPad too. Yeah, which ones?

  • tBs_Battousai

    When talking about the lack of Apps on Android, it always makes me think I'd love to see some kind of podcast with an independent host and people like gameloft and telltale games (Other devs do exist, I picked these as people normally talk about lack of games on Android) sit down and discuss the pro's and con's of App development on both platforms as gameloft prove time and again it's possible to develop great games on Android...

    • defred34

      Don't ask Gameloft. Their Android games are ALWAYS half baked, and they win the 'laggiest game developer' contest every year w/o fail.

  • defred34

    I respect you as a writer David, but I refuse to read on after your first paragraph. Let me just say this first, I am a fervent Android user who uses the iPad 2 at times as well, so I know what I'm talking about here.

    You first blast the mini for having a not particularly dazzling display when in true fact display resolutions like that for a 8" tablet is OK (at least to me). You know, the Nexus 7 only has a marginally better display in terms of pixel density.

    Then (your biggest mistake) you blast it for having old internals.Wanna know something? The 18 month old iPad 2 blows away any Tegra 3 tablet (yeah, that includes Nexus 7) in terms of performance. I've never really seen anything run more fluid on a touchscreen display. Oh, and did I mention games? No lag/stutter fest like on the Nexus 7.

    Then again, I am not a Apple fan. But I think your opening is biased enough for me not to read any further.

    • storm14k

      Confused here because review after review claims the N7 runs games like butter. In fact I've never seen a complaint about a Tegra 3. And every time its compared with an A5 it loses benchmarks but then physically displays better graphics. The excuse is always that the iOS games weren't optimized but it seems they've never been touched since then.

      • Haysdb

        You must be looking at different benchmarks than I am.

  • warcaster

    Google really needs to make a different tablet apps category in the Play Store, or they will fall further and further behind in tablet apps. It's the only way to incentivize developers to do it.

    • storm14k

      But there's really no such thing as a tablet app on Android. Its the same app with a different interface triggered on screen size. And thats what puzzles me. Its extremely simple to add this interface. You don't have to go out of your way to do it. I don't know of major devs just skip it because they don't feel theres enough tablet use or what.

  • ronak

    No verdict until Google's event!

  • http://twitter.com/Rovex Rovex

    I really dont see the problem with Android apps on a tablet. I have a GTab 8.9 and have no issues with apps scaling. In fact on the odd occasion the old Phone version is better than a new Tab version!
    Sometimes the tab optimised versions go to far the wrong way with button size and scale, the iPad is not immune to this either.
    Very rarely you have an old or semi-abandoned app that looks terrible, but it is rare.

  • http://www.facebook.com/phil.ng.330 Phil Ng

    i agree with you, android and ios will be like window and osx. Once their table system mature as their phone, they will beat ios anytime.

  • ExAndroidUser

    $130? The difference is only $70. You need to compare devices of the same capacity. You can't compare the 8 GB Nexus vs the 16 GB iPad.
    And the article says that the Nexus 7 display is poor but still declares that it is better than the iPad without really seeing it?
    Then that the A5 is better but not really because is more expensive.
    Later the article says that the iPad is thinner, lighter, better build, better battery life, better cellular connectivity but still is a running victory for the Nexus? Hahahaha

    About apps, Google Maps is not the only mapping app that exists, and it will come to iOS sooner than later.
    Few times I have seen such a poorly written article.

    • Freak4Dell

      He's comparing to the assumed price drop for the 16GB Nexus 7. But fine, let's compare devices of the same capacity. It's a $180 difference...$249 for the 32GB Nexus 7 vs $429 for the 32GB iPad MIni.

      • ExAndroidUser

        Here in Australia, at the time of writing this, the price of the Nexus 7 16 GB is $299 (https://play.google.com/store/devices/details?id=nexus_7_16gb)
        The price of the iPad mini 16 GB is $369 (http://www.apple.com/ipad/compare/)
        That looks like $70 difference to me.

        • Freak4Dell

          This is a US based site, and I am a US citizen. I deal with US prices, unless otherwise noted (i.e., if the article is specifically about some other country). In the US, the 16GB version of the Nexus 7 is expected to drop to $199 soon, and the 32GB version has already been confirmed at $249 at a few retailers. The iPad Mini is priced at $329, $429, and $529 for the 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB versions respectively. Thus, there is a $130 and $180 difference. The price drop on the 16GB Nexus 7 isn't yet confirmed, which is why I brought up the 32GB version instead.

          • ExAndroidUser

            OK, I just found that the 16 GB Nexus 7 is US$249, and the 16 GB iPad Mini is US$329. So that's US$80 difference. Again, not $130.

          • Freak4Dell

            Sigh...if you have no reading comprehension skills, I can't help you.

  • http://twitter.com/mcasao ManwellC

    I read this sight and use an Android phone but will buying two ipad minis. one for me and one for my grand daughter. The software is still light years better in quantity and quality on IOS unfortunatley That for me more than makes up for the price difference.

  • olbp

    Not doubt in my mind, Nexus all the way.

  • http://twitter.com/bk_phil BK Phil

    Crazy price, but otherwise I'd buy it just for the 4:3 aspect ratio.
    I know slim and narrow is all the fashion (see iPhone 5 and Nexus 7 and every laptop and desktop display under the sun), but I've always preferred a higher landscape and a wider portrait.

  • jbo1018

    What you said about the apps and games availae for iOS is very true. In fact, even though I love Android all the way, the apps and games available with NO compatabiity issues on iOS had me thinking I was probably going to buy an ipad mini. However, after their big reveal I wasnt so sure. The lack of apples's signature retina disply, the proccesor from last year, and the too high price point has completely changed my mind.

  • Jared

    Two of the things I like best about the Nexus 7 is that I can grab both sides with one hand and it will fit in my back pocket. I wonder if the mini is going to be just a little too big for these simple but important aspects I value.

    • Haysdb

      It is. It doesn't fit in any of my pockets. And it's a little too big to one-hand easily. The mini is definitely a small tablet (I.e. a device that almost by definition is not pocketable) whereas the nexus 7 is like a REALLY big phone - it can easily be held in one hand and runs mostly phone apps.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=667020551 Jose Torres

    I've seen consumers who have not the first clue of what technology is out there (i.e., the general public) yet drool over things like this and buy Apple products because they WON'T know any better. Unfortunately, Apple appeals to the general public, and this same appeal is not the same as ours, where we use technology to it's maximum efficiency into our lives.

    Most Apple consumers would simply relegate their use of tech to Facebook and buying crap online. So this is all of what the iPad Mini is good for...

    • Haysdb

      It's nonsense to say that people who buy Android use technology to its maximum efficiency, and by implication that buyers of Apple products don't. If that we're true, Android would dominate iOS in web usage, but in fact the opposite is true. What are y'all doing with your Android tablets? You sure aren't using them to access the Internet.

  • http://isradroid.wordpress.com/ Shay Levi

    It's all about the apps, and we have to admit the cold truth that iOS has more apps that take advantage of the big screen.
    BTW, I'm a Nexus 7 Owner.

  • http://profiles.google.com/kenny.strawn Kenny Strawn

    You're totally missing the point that the A5 is dual core. The version of the Tegra 3 used in the Nexus 7 is quad core!

    Not to mention, of course, that the A5 (at least the A5X, which happens to be in the third-gen iPad) may have quad-core graphics on board, right? The Tegra 3 has 12-core graphics!

    It's definitely clear who the winner is here.

    • Himmat Singh

      Give me a break dude! Like another guy here has said, the iPad 2 runs games WAY smoother than the Tegra 3 tablets like the Nexus 7!!!

    • Haysdb

      I've bought computers based solely on specs twice in my life...and returned both of them because specs don't tell the whole story. More cores does not automatically mean better performance. It's like saying a car with 8 cylinders will always outperform a car with six simply because it has more cylinders.

  • Knlegend1

    The fact that Apple has decided to make a smaller tablet is telling in the first place. For them to be so superior with their products and all lol. I think its quite funny and all this mini does is make me want 32gb Nexus 7.

  • Blake Forehand

    Well it doesn't technically even have a dual-core CPU, it's threaded... so a fake dual-core. Not to mention it doesn't have real RAM either. Some weird ROM-ish knock-off.

  • Eye4Detail

    Shouldn't it be: iPad Mini vs Archos 80 G9? I mean, they bare far more similarities.

  • http://twitter.com/_ThaNerd_ _ThaNerd_

    pic.twitter.com/ACVKnezE

  • Jon Garrett

    Fyuck apple,, fyuck their products.

  • Ben Cross

    It's been compared a million times to the Nexus 7, but IMHO the device compares much more readily with the Toshiba Excite 7.7. Closer in screen size, premium build quality, higher ppi screen as well. The only drawback ( if you really want to call it that) is that for the time being at least, is that it only running Android 4.0. and now it came be had for about the same price or less than the iPad mini. I would love to see a comparison between these two devices.