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iPad mini 2 Retina display vs Google Nexus 7 2

Andrew Williams by

iPad mini 2 Retina display vs Google Nexus 7 2

Which small tablet is best?

The iPad mini 2 Retina and Google Nexus 7 2 are the best small tablets in the world right now. They set the standard for what we expect from a portable tablet. And they are both fantastic.

However, you’d be mad to buy both unless you have money to burn. We’ve compared the two to find out which is right for you.


iPad mini 2 Retina vs Google Nexus 7 2 – Design

iPad mini 2 – Aluminium rear, 7.5mm thick, 331g (Wi-Fi model)

Nexus 7 2 – plastic rear, 8.7mm thick, 290g

The iPad mini 2 and Nexus 7 2 have similar design blueprints, but are built to different levels of aesthetic rigor. They both have super-slim screen surrounds to the sides of the screen, and attempt to become as slim and light as possible.

However, with more budget to play with and, no doubt, a larger design team, the iPad mini 2 Retina is a cut above. It’s made from aluminium, the Nexus 7 2 from plastic. And as a result, the iPad feels like the more expensive, more impressive tablet.

It’s also significantly thinner. The iPad mini 2 is just 7.5mm thick, the Nexus 7 2 a more ‘normal’ 8.7mm.

The Nexus can claim one design victory, though – weight. The Nexus 7 2 weighs just 290g, the iPad mini 2 (Wi-Fi model) 331g.

All of these design clashes occur at a very high level, though. The Nexus 7 2 feels great, just as the iPad mini 2 seems light. There are no real losers in this fight.

Throwing away all practical concerns for a minute, though, the iPad mini 2 is significantly better looking than the Nexus 7 2. As usual, Apple has that one in the bag, though it's hardly the deciding factor.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Best Android Tablets

iPad mini 2


iPad mini 2 Retina vs Google Nexus 7 2 – Screen

iPad mini 2 – 7.9-inch 2,048 x 1,536 pixels, IPS

Nexus 7 2 – 7-inch, 1,920 x 1,200 pixels, IPS

Both the iPad mini 2 and Nexus 7 2 have the same size screens as their predecessors, but in most other ways they are far, far superior. Both of these displays are class acts.

The Nexus 7 2 has a super-sharp 7-inch 1,920 x 1,200 (it's 16:10 rather than the usual 16:9) display with excellent colour reproduction compared to the first Nexus 7. Apple has upped resolution massively in the second generation iPad mini – it has a 2,048 x 1,536 pixel screen. That’s the same resolution as the iPad Air.

Sharpness is particularly impressive in these tablets, but contrast, colour and top brightness are excellent, too. The design comparison may have been tricky, but this is much harder.

It’s more beneficial to compare how these screens work in real-life performance.

A 4:3 7.9-inch screen like the iPad mini 2’s feels much larger in day-to-day use than the 16:10 screen of the Nexus 7 2. More so that the inch figures suggest.

A non-widescreen aspect gives the iPad more screen compared to the perception of how large the tablet is as a whole. This is very beneficial for games, for web browsing and for using apps.

However, it’s less clean-cut when watching movies. 16:10 is a much more cinematic ratio than 4:3, meaning you’ll either get smaller ‘black bars’ when watching a film, or will have to crop out less of the image to use the whole screen.

SEE ALSO: iPhone 6 release date and rumour round-up

Nexus 7 2


iPad mini 2 Retina vs Google Nexus 7 2 – Power

iPad mini 2 – Apple A7 64-bit chip

Nexus 7 2 – Quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro, 2GB RAM

Apple hasn’t yet told us the full specs of the iPad mini 2 with Retina display. We don’t know the clock speed, or how much RAM it has, but we do know it’s a dual-core processor similar to the one used by the iPhone 5S – an Apple A7 CPU. It’s one of the first 64-bit tablet/phone processors.

Next to it, the quad-core Nexus 7 2 sounds a lot more powerful. But it isn’t.

Not only is the Snapdragon S4 Pro family not the latest generation of Snapdragon processor (Snapdragon 800 is more up-to-date), it’s 32-bit where the Apple A7 chip is 64-bit. Our benchmarks show that the A7 chip of the iPhone 5S is among the fastest mobile chips currently available, though it's a tiny bit slower than the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 in some tests.

The S4 Pro, however, is quite a bit older and slower than the Snapdragon 800. In Geekbench the Nexus 7 2 scores 1,836, which is 35% lower than the Snapdragon 800 powered Sony Xperia Z1 and 28% lower than the iPhone 5S.

This doesn't make the Nexus 7 2 slow by any means, but the iPad mini 2 with Retina display walks this one.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Best Smartphones


iPad mini 2 Retina vs Google Nexus 7 2 – Storage

iPad mini 2 – 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB options

Nexus 7 2 – 16GB, 32GB options

Neither of these tablets has a memory card slot. You have to make do with the inbuilt internal memory, because that’s all you’ll get.

There are a few more options with the iPad mini 2 with Retina display, because it’s a higher-end tablet in general. iPad mini 2s start at 16GB and max out at 128GB. This is the first time a smaller iPad has been available at such high capacities.

The Google Nexus 7 2 offers two choices – 16GB or 32GB of memory. This may sound limiting, but they are the right choices for a tablet selling at the Nexus 7 2’s price. And you pay less of a premium for additional storage with a Nexus. You pay £40 to go from 16GB to 32GB with a Nexus, and £80 for the same change in an iPad.

SEE ALSO: Best iPad Air cases


iPad mini 2 Retina vs Google Nexus 7 2 – Apps and Games

iPad mini 2 – iTunes App Store

Nexus 7 2 – Google Play

Perhaps the most important difference between iOS and Android for the tech fan is the range of apps and games available for the systems.

There are roughly the same amount of apps and games on their respective app stores – likely a million plus at this point. However, the App Store still offers a greater breadth and depth of content, particularly where tablet optimised apps are concerned.

The benefits of Apple stick out in particular when looking at creativity apps such as music-making tools, and games – whether high-end 3D blasters or casual jewel-matchers. The choice is simply better with Apple.

SEE ALSO: iPad Air vs iPad 4


iPad mini 2 Retina vs Google Nexus 7 2 – Camera

iPad mini 2 – 5-megapixel main sensor, 1.2MP front camera

Nexus 7 2 – 5-megapixel main sensor, 1.2MP front camera

The iPad mini 2 with Retina display and Nexus 7 2 have exactly the same basic camera spec. There’s a 5-megapixel camera on the back, and a 1.2-megapixel camera on the front, of both tablets.

Neither is a photo superstar. However, there’s more to a camera than simple specs. Apple claims to have improved the backside illumination of the 5-megapixel main camera of the iPad mini 2, which should result in superior low-light performance.

Given that we weren’t hugely impressed by the camera of the Nexus 7 2, we expect the iPad mini 2 will offer superior performance. We’ll be back with the conclusive verdict once we’ve given the iPad the full review treatment.

SEE ALSO: Nexus 7 2 vs Tesco Hudl


Impressions: which should you buy?

There’s little doubt about it – if you don’t need the flexibility Android brings, the iPad mini 2 is a better tablet than the Google Nexus 7 2. It’s more powerful, prettier and feels higher-end. However, it’s also more expensive and both these tablets could knock out most of the other competition with a single punch. We’d be happy with either. If money is no object, opt for an iPad. But if it is you can't go wrong with the Nexus.

Next, read our in-depth comparison of the Xbox One vs PS4

Go to comments

Sir Perro

October 24, 2013, 10:10 am

I think the most important factor, by far, is which ecosystem are you using right now. Chances that a buyer of these tablets has already an smartphone are pretty high. Buying an iPad being an android user is really really pointless, and also the other way around.

Unless one plans to completely migrate to the other ecosystem entirely, it really makes no sense to mix both.


October 24, 2013, 11:49 am

So many apps are free now that I wouldn't say it mattered going either way provided that the ones you want exist on Android. Also, apps are not really transferable between iPhone and iPad, so having an iPhone gives no advantage other than how they work with each other.


October 24, 2013, 11:53 am

X2 yeah, what he said below


October 24, 2013, 11:54 am

I find this comparison pointless and even a bit dishonest. Besides being two products aimed at different ecosystems (although sometimes that may be worth comparing), the price range we're talking about here is radically different. The Nexus 7 2, 16 GB version, is £199 (and you can get it for less) while the iPad Mini 2 Retina is set to start at £319. It's a difference of more than 50% in pricing, which is a lot in such similarly specced devices, and the materials used in the iPad do not justify the difference. The Nexus is much more bang for your buck, and the iPad is only marginally superior tech-wise.

Pricewise, this comparison would be like putting a base Audi A6 against a BMW M5, only to say that the M5 is better. Except here, the difference in specs between the Nexus and the iPad would be not be near as great as the difference between the Audi and the BMW.


October 24, 2013, 12:01 pm

Quite a few apps are universal on the iPhone/iPad so there is an advantage in having both.

Adam Smith

October 24, 2013, 12:31 pm

I wouldn't say that, I used to own an iPhone 3G and a Gemei (android) tablet at the same time, now I own a Sony Xperia SP (android) phone and an iPad Mini tablet. The combo of android handset and iOS tablet suited me much better. Having iOS handset AND tablet seems a bit overkill to me, both gadgets can do exactly the same things, only different size screen?


October 24, 2013, 12:50 pm

I hear this complaint a lot and I don't really understand it. Yes, the iPad mini is much more expensive, but it's a totally valid discussion as to which to buy given they sit in the same category, if only so people can decide if they're better off saving their money and going with the Nexus 7 2.


October 24, 2013, 3:58 pm

Especially as some say iPad Mini shouldn't be as pricey as it is.


October 24, 2013, 4:30 pm

You persistently neglect to mention one feature of any Google device. They come equipped, free of charge, with integrated Google spyware. If you insist on being followed on anything you do, by Google, you have to go for the Android device. That makes a huge difference.

Just beware the identity theft, one day.


October 24, 2013, 5:41 pm

The S4 Pro, however, is quite a bit older and slower than the Snapdragon 800. In Geekbench the Nexus 7 2 scores 1,836, which is 35% lower than the Snapdragon 800 powered Sony Xperia Z1 and 28% lower than the iPhone 5S.

You just compare the 2 snapdragon processor and gave upper hand to ipad mini 2 ?????

Anthony Pirtle

October 24, 2013, 7:30 pm

So basically this article tells everyone what they already knew: Apple puts out a superior but overpriced product, while Google/Asus gives you more bang for your buck.


October 24, 2013, 10:58 pm

You could compaire the ipod touch with the nexus 7. They're the same price. But that would be useless because the nexus 7 would be obviously better.


October 25, 2013, 7:16 am

...that you will use less than the iPad.
Source: net traffic and the App store.

Specfag detected.

Alex Walsh

October 25, 2013, 8:49 am

wait, you're comparing processors running entirely different operating systems? Yes, that's an objective benchmark O_o


October 25, 2013, 10:18 am

You're right - I would much rather trust an OS I can't audit, from a company which has admitted it can backdoor into its 'secure' encryption.

Sounds like that places Apple at least on par with any google integration (Though I run Carbon, so..)


October 25, 2013, 10:34 am

Unlike the Apple spyware in the form of Maps, iCloud and the like?



October 25, 2013, 10:43 am

It's a real world benchmark though, isn't it? In the sense that most consumers will look at them and go "well, this one feels a lot faster than that one" or "this feels a bit slower than that, but not too much and it's a lot cheaper".

When you're comparing devices that compete for the same market sector but are fundamentally different in terms of implementation I think it makes more sense to be subjective (as long as you qualify the subjective approach).


October 25, 2013, 10:45 am

I agree with you on that - I've got a Nexus 7 Mk1 and use it mainly as a PMP...maybe some light browsing when it's nicer to do it on a screen bigger than my HTC One. The iPad mini though, that's a device you can actually work on and I put that down purely to the 4:3 aspect ratio of the screen.


October 25, 2013, 10:48 am

Oh for godsake, you make it out like Apple are saints - don't you remember that case when they were secretly collecting location data? It's no different!

And of course, most people use Google Maps on their iOS devices, and google search in their browser. What do you think is different between that and Android?

If you're online in any way, shape or form then you've got a risk of identity theft, the OS you use on your smartphone isn't really going to impact that.


October 25, 2013, 10:52 am

I agree with you - the products are aimed at the same market sector (those who want a small tablet) one is a slightly more premium and one is slightly more accessible but they are definitely the same target audience (just different demographics).


October 25, 2013, 1:40 pm

No, as the comment you pasted indicates, they compared 3 processors including the processor in the iPhone 5, which is the same processor in the mini.


October 25, 2013, 1:46 pm

It makes perfect sense to anyone who is trying to decide if the added cost of the mini is worth it. Your analogy with the Audi and BMW makes little sense because the $ difference is so high. Choosing between one of those cars would make a large and noticible dent in my finances. But, I can drop $800 on a toy this month and not even notice it next month.


October 25, 2013, 1:53 pm

For godsake, and for yours, wake up. Look at the business models. Apple does not make any money selling advertising. If they recorded location data, it was to improve their accuracy. And, they stopped leaving it exposed, as that was the risk.

Google makes nearly all their money from advertising. To do that, they spy on their users. They started building profiles from search results, but once they introduced Gmail, they could nail you down for all their apps and services. Including Google Maps and Gmail. And, there are all the scripts which they "give away" to websites. Like "Google Analytics".

So, you should not use Google apps or services more than you absolutely need to. Once you activate your Android device with your Gmail account, Google is following everything you do.

That is true anywhere on the internet. The worry is that Google has built the biggest database on the most internet users of anybody in the world, private or government. So, if Swiss banking secrecy could be broken down by insiders selling information, and the State Department and NSA by insiders giving away information, what are the chances that some insider starts selling profiles from Google.

Apple has nothing like that level of information because they do not need it or want it. Apple has no interest in spying as they make plenty of money selling devices. Given the choice of risks, I know which I am (will) taking.


October 25, 2013, 2:11 pm

All of the things you have said Google is bad for our things I actually find useful - targeted/location aware advertising is useful, I've managed to get some great deals and purchases from it.

As soon as you start using something that relies on the internet, regardless of what service you are using, you are giving your information to someone, willingly, therefore you've lost control of it already - I do agree with you, there is a massive risk involved and PRISM showed nothing is safe but I'd much rather trust Google with it than a dozen other smaller suppliers that would contain the information separately (and would likely be easier to compromise - I am not including Apple in this group).

So yes, Google harvest all your information and then use it to target adverts at you, but they also target other things like recommendations on places to eat/movies to watch etc - that's cool, I'm okay with that.


October 25, 2013, 3:03 pm

Of course you find all those "free" apps and services useful. That is how they have sucked in you and a couple of billion other users. Sounds great until it goes wrong. When I want a deal, it search for it using other services. I would rather have bits of information spread thinly, than a concentration with one company.

Such a huge concentration of personal information in one company has only been conceived of in science fiction. And the results there have never been good.

It is your choice. If you are doing it consciously, I think you are naïve. Unfortunately, most Google users have no idea how much information Google are acquiring. I would venture that 99% of Android phone buyers have no idea that they have rejected an iPhone for a spyPhone.

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