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Apple iPad mini vs Google Nexus 7 - Power, Storage and Camera


iPad mini - Dual-core A5 processor, 1GB RAM

Google Nexus 7 - Tegra 3 processor, 1GB RAM

Testing tech day-in day-out has told us that you can't always rely on specs to judge whether product A is faster or more powerful than product B. The Google Nexus 7 sounds like it packs more of a punch than the iPad mini as it has a quad-core chip rather than a dual-core one.

However, the efficient nature of the iOS system means the iPad mini is likely to significantly outperform the Google Nexus 7 in at least a few benchmarks. The A5 CPU is what's used in the iPad 3, and here there are fewer pixels to process, which will result in higher frame rates in 3D games in particular.

iPad mini 3


iPad mini - Lightning port, WiFi, 4G, Bluetooth

Google Nexus 7 - microUSB port, WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC

Before the iPhone 5 arrived, all of Apple's mid-range and top-end mobile devices used the 30-pin socket. It was in iPods, iPhones and iPad. But now it is virtually no more.

Apple has replaced it with the Lightning connector, a much smaller 9-pim design that's much more in-line with the design standards of the day. It's a bit of a pain if you already have a half-dozen 30-pin cables lying about the house, though, especially as you know there will come days when you simply can't find your Lightning cable. Official replacements cost £15. Nexus 7 3

The Google Nexus 7 takes the much more accessible route, using a microUSB connection to charge and transfer files. You can buy cables from eBay for pennies, and if you're a gadget fan it's likely you'll have several lying about the house.

The iPad mini has the option to come with 4G capabilities while the Nexus 7 is restricted to getting online only where WiFi access is available. As expected, both devices come with Bluetooth, but the Nexus 7 also boasts NFC which Apple have, for the time being at least, decided to omit from their entire range of products.


iPad mini - 16/32/64GB, non-expandable

Google Nexus 7 - 8/16/32GB, non-expandable

The Google Nexus 7 launched with 8GB and 16GB models, neither of which offered expandable storage. However, the 32GB edition has just been "leaked", set to sell for the same price as the old 16GB edition, £199.99. Memory remains non-expandable, though.

Some may argue that using non-expandable storage is most un-Android, but it's becoming a common trend among Android devices.

Apple's mobile devices never offer expandable storage, and it's no different here. Storage starts at 16GB and maxes out at 64GB. As many iPad games are over a 1GB these days, voracious gamers should consider stepping up off the bottom rung of the storage ladder.


iPad mini - 5-megapixel "iSight" main camera, 1.2MP Facetime camera

Google Nexus 7 - user-facing 1.2MP

Before it launched, there was plenty of discussion about whether the iPad mini would have no cameras, two cameras or just the one. We now know that is has two, one on the rear for taking snaps and one on the front for use with FaceTime.

The user-facing one is particularly handy if you have friends or relatives who you don't see too often. FaceTime works a bit like Skype, letting you video chat with far-away folk, and it works very well.

iPad mini camera

The Google Nexus 7 leaves out the rear camera, with just a user-facing sensor for video chat. And Fatbooth style apps, of course.

Asus said it left out the rear camera because it could only afford to jam in a poor-quality one at the price, and it figured 'what's the point in that?' It's another good design decision by Asus.

The user-facing sensor is 1.2MP, which is actually well above average quality for a video chat camera.

Battery Life

The Nexus 7 is no slouch when it comes to battery life. Asus and Google quote battery life at 9 hours and our independent tests show that they're not far off with the battery lasting for more than 8 hours playing video on medium brightness. Once again the iPad mini trumps the Nexus 7 though, with Apple claiming that the battery can last for 10 hours while in constant use. We'll be testing this claim ourselves soon.


These are both great tablets, but we're not entirely convinced that the iPad mini can completely eclipse the Google Nexus 7, not among real gadget fans, anyway. Costing over £100 more than the Google tablet without offering masses of extra features, we can imagine many budget buyers sticking with the Android offering.

The iPad mini also has problems inherent to its fan base. If people own an iPad and an iPhone, will they really buy an iPad mini too? We can understand Apple's reasoning - it's much better for use on-the-go - but will this translate to purchases?

Worries aside, the iPad mini seems an excellent device that successfully pegs what's needed of a 7in-ish tablet. We'll be back with more once we get our review sample in.


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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