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Apple iPad mini vs Google Nexus 7

Andrew Williams


Google Nexus 7 vs iPad mini
Google Nexus 7 vs iPad mini

The iPad mini is the tablet Apple said it would never make. Steve Jobs once said that tablets smaller than the 9.7in iPad just couldn't offer a proper tablet experience, but now we have the 7.9in iPad mini. Has Apple changed its mind?

It's possible that the Google Nexus 7 and co. changed its mind. The low-cost Asus-made tablet has become the best-selling Android tablet, and for good reason. It's fast, it's well-made and it's keenly priced.

But can Apple's latest really compete with the £150-odd Google Nexus 7?


iPad mini - From £269

Google Nexus 7 - From £159

The iPad mini is significantly more expensive than the Google Nexus 7. It comes as no surprise, and gives the Google tablet a little room to breathe.

iPad mini 1

Those who can afford a little more may not see the extra as too much of a hardship, though. It's still a lot cheaper than the full-size iPad, and has significant benefits, especially if you're already hooked up to iTunes for your music and video collections. And if you and your family are iPhone, iPod touch or iPad users, it's even better.

The iPad mini starts at £269, £110 up from the lowest-rung Google Nexus 7. This gets you the Wi-Fi only model, with 16GB of storage. The top model is the 64GB Wi-Fi plus Cellular version, which costs £529.

Apple's methods of construction for the iPad mini also warrant much of the extra cost. Both Apple and Google (and Asus, which makes the Nexus) deserve a round of applause for their consumer-friendly pricing.


iPad mini - Anodised aluminium, 308g

Google Nexus 7 - rubberised plastic rear, 340g

Asus, the maker of the Google Nexus 7, did a great job with the construction of the Nexus tablet. Although its casing is primarily made of plastic, it doesn't feel at all cheap because of the finish used.

It's carefully textured, giving the tablet the feel of a leather-bound book rather than a plastic tablet. The Google Nexus 7 is one of the swankiest-feeling 7-inch tablets around, and it's also one of the cheapest.

It can't quite compete with the iPad mini, though, which has a bonafide metal rear, using a similar construction to the full-size iPad. Its entire rear is a thin, crafted sheet of aluminium that snakes around to meet the glass front of the screen.

Nexus 7 2

As with the full-size iPad, spaces for the connections are cut into this aluminium, giving it an immaculate unibody feel. It's also available in black and white finishes.

Using metal and a slightly larger body (and screen), it's a big surprise that the iPad mini is actually a little lighter than the Google Nexus 7. Both will be very comfortable to use one-handed.

Read our iPad mini preview >


iPad mini - 200 x 134.7 x 7.2 mm

Google Nexus 7 - 198.5 x 120 x 10.5 mm

These tablets are quite different in shape. The Google Nexus 7 is more widescreen in aspect than the iPad mini, which borrows the same basic shape as the full-size iPad.

The iPad have 3:2 aspect screens, stubbier than those of most Android tablets. Relatively speaking, they're wider, and less tall, although the height of these two is nearly identical.Nexus 7

The Google Nexus 7 has the classic Android widescreen aspect, which is perfect for watching movies on.

iPad mini


iPad mini - 7.9in, 1,024 x 768, IPS

Google Nexus 7 - 7in, 1,280 x 800 pixels, IPS

The most important aspect of any tablet is - arguably - the screen. And here's where the iPad mini and Google Nexus 7 differ a bit.

Apple is renowned for its top-quality smartphone and tablet screens, but the iPad mini's resolution is actually lower than that of the Google Nexus 7, even though its display is larger. Text and images will look slightly less sharp, although with 163dpi, it's absolutely not the Retina-grade display we've come to expect from Apple's mobile gadgets.

However, let's not forget that not too long ago we were perfectly happy with the screen of the iPad 2, which packed the same number of pixels into a 9.7in display, resulting in 116dpi pixel density.

Both tablets use IPS tech. This stands for in-plane switching, and supplies fantastic viewing angles and very good image quality.


iPad mini - iOS 6

Google Nexus 7 - Android Jelly Bean 4.1

Android or iOS? It's one of those questions that's been nagging away since 2008, and there's yet to be a conclusive answer. The iOS operating system is all about keeping things simple, with a look that's basically a window pane with a bunch of app shortcut stickers stuck on it.

iPad mini 2

Apple doesn't let its interfaces become too "deep" - there isn't a labyrinth of submenus to explore in here.

Android Jelly Bean 4.1, the operating system in the Google Nexus 7, isn't so obsessed with keeping things simple and friendly. Here, the apps menu and home screen are split apart, instantly making the Google OS a good deal more complicated. There are also many features that you have to delve a bit deeper to find.

Nexus 7 1

Android is a great system for tech fans, as it lets you change parts of the OS completely. You can customise it far more than iOS, and drop gadgets like calendars, Twitter boxes and clocks onto your home screens.


October 24, 2012, 2:11 am

'...we can imagine many budget buyers sticking with the Android offering.'

And people who prefer superior hardware, better value for money & functionality & features over brand names and perceived kudos!


October 24, 2012, 5:53 pm

You're right @ElectricSheep, brand name and perceived kudos is Apple's special sauce. That £110 price difference is huge, but the Nexus 7 will never pass for a fashion accessory. Many buyers won't even be thinking of the Nexus 7 and iPad Mini as like-for-like products for that reason - they will either buy an iPad Mini or not have a 7" tablet.

Digital Fury

October 24, 2012, 7:49 pm

Had an iPad 1 and 2, and the phones too, but with a Nexus 7 and GN2. I don't see why somebody should pay more for this iPad Mini over the Nexus 7, unless there is an iOS-only app that you absolutely need, or you are locked-in the iTunes store with too many purchases.


October 24, 2012, 11:07 pm

If you wanted to view your photos on holiday using one of these, how would you do that? I see the lack of SD card slot as a missed opportunity. No, my camera is not wifi or bluetooth.


October 25, 2012, 1:33 pm

"The iPad have 3:2 aspect screens, stubbier than those of most Android tablets."

Ahem, I believe that 1024x768 is a 4:3 aspect ratio resolution.

Unless you are going to tell me this Mini uses non-square pixels............

Hans Gruber

October 27, 2012, 6:40 am

Can't you just wait until you've actually got an iPad mini before comparing the two products?

Is this really a useful article? I don't think so myself. I feel that if it was useful then you're not the type of person who would habitually visit somewhere like TR so it kind of asks the question, who are TR writing for these days?

We're grown ups here so please treat us that way. When you actually have the products and can properly and professionally compare their relative merits side by side, I'd love to see how they fare against one another. Things like actual performance and battery duration, how the devices handle and their relative durability perhaps. We can all guess easy enough the main differences as to what their technical specifications should tell us but how they operate in practise is what we can't tell and is where you come in. /rant

Horace Coker

October 29, 2012, 11:24 pm

"The Google Nexus 7 has the classic Android widescreen aspect, which is perfect for watching movies on."

Not so! The aspect ratio of the Nexus 7 is 16:10 or 8:5. Not quite the classic aspect ratio for watching movies. If you watched any 16:9 video on this screen there would be black bands at the top and bottom so it obviously isn't "perfect for watching movies on". Mind you it's a 100 times better for watching movies on than the iPad mini's 4:3 screen.


October 30, 2012, 10:16 pm

@sengstaken theres an App called Nexus media streamer, that lets you view images and video from a sdcard reader or flashdrive using a cheap otg cable without having to root the Nexus 7. it not super elegant but its not bad either.

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