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iPad mini vs New Nexus 7

Andrew Williams


iPad mini vs New Nexus 7

Read about the new iPad Air and iPad mini 2

Which small tablet is better? The iPad mini or the new Nexus 7 2 model?

We’ve compared the designs, the screens, the internal components and what these tablets will actually be like to use to find out which is right for you.

iPad mini vs New Nexus 7 – Design

iPad mini – 4:3 aspect, 308g, aluminium rear, 7.2mm thick

New Nexus 7 – 16:10 aspect, 290g, 8.7mm thick

The iPad mini and new Nexus 7 are both super-portable tablets, designed to be small and light enough to use comfortably one-handed. Apple is the aesthetic winner, with a thinner, prettier body that has a metal rear rather than a plastic one.

It also has a slimmer bezel, and its stubbier aspect gives the iPad mini a cuter appearance. The 2013 Nexus 7 has more bezel space above and below the screen the iPad and has a less distinctive design.

A 4:3 aspect style gives the iPad mini a great impression of screen size compared to the size of the device itself. However, the Nexus 7 is less wide, around 2cm less than the Apple tablet. This makes it much easier to hold side-to-side in one hand.

iPad mini vs New Nexus 7 – Screen

iPad mini – 7.9-inch, 1,024 x 768 pixels, IPS

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

The 2013 Nexus 7 benefits from one of the core tablet improvements of the last 12 months – much better screen resolution. Where the iPad has a resolution of 1,024 x 768, the second Nexus 7 packs way more pixels into a smaller space with a 1,920 x 1,200 pixel screen.

Pixel density is just 163ppi in the iPad mini, leaving each pixel clearly discernible to the sharper-eyed. In the Nexus 7, density is 323ppi, which is seriously impressive for a tablet.

Pixel density tends to be lower in tablets – as you tend to hold the screen further from your face than with a phone – but that’s a pretty good figure even for a phone.

Both displays use IPS panels, bringing excellent viewing angles. As with the first Nexus 7, though, colours are ever-so-slightly muted in the iPad mini

We expect to see Apple catch up with the iPad mini 2, but for now the Nexus 7 is well ahead of the iPad mini.

That said, we imagine many of you will prefer the look of the larger, 4:3 aspect screen of the iPad mini. Its screen comes across as much larger than the widescreen 7-inch display of the Nexus 7 – without trading-in portability either.

iPad mini vs New Nexus 7 – CPU and RAM

iPad mini – Apple A5 dual-core 1 GHz Cortex-A9, 512MB RAM

New Nexus 7 – Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core 1.5GHz Krait, 2GB RAM

Budgeting priorities were considered in the making of the New Nexus 7. That’s one of the reasons why the Nexus 7 uses a Snapdragon S4 Pro rather than a Tegra 4 chip or faster-clocked Snapdragon 600 processor found inside the Galaxy S4.

However, it is still a top-end mobile CPU, and is far more powerful than the iPad mini’s dual-core processor. The iPad mini is arguably a little underpowered – again something that’s likely to be fixed later in the year with the second-generation model. It’s only about as powerful as the iPad 2 was, and isn’t even as powerful as the first-generation Nexus 7.

The Nexus 7 also has significantly more RAM – four times as much as the iPad mini with 2GB instead of a measly 512MB. In devices like these, power is only as good as developers’ abilities to make use of it, and in fairness the iPad mini does have access to a load more impressive-looking apps. However, they won’t always have the same level of graphical flair as you’d see on an iPad 4.

iPad mini vs New Nexus 7 – Software

iPad mini – iOS 6.1, iOS 7 incoming

New Nexus 7 – Android 4.3 Jelly Bean

It’s that old debate – Android or iOS? The second-gen Nexus 7 is here to show of Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, the latest version of the Android OS. It doesn’t bring any dramatic new features, beyond OpenGL 3.0 support, which should result in some more impressive-looking games.

The Nexus 7 – of course – doesn’t have a custom Android skin, running the vanilla edition of the software. Its key feature is customisation – you can make the tablet look and feel how you want it to.

The iPad mini runs iOS 6.1 at present, but it will get the bump up to iOS 7 when it is released later this year. iOS is much more rigid than Android – only giving you control over the background of the system, in terms of fiddling with how the system looks and feels.

iPad mini vs New Nexus 7 – Apps and Games

If the Nexus 7 wins out on software fiddle-ability, the iPad mini wins back some – if not all – of its points on apps and games. One of the on-going problems of Android is that it doesn’t offer all that many apps optimised for tablets.

The app selection is still much better on iOS, even if the sheer numbers make it sound like they are virtually level-pegging. In fact, there are more in Google Play – Google just announced that there are a million apps in the Google Play app store.

And yet somehow you can never find anything good to download from there…

The iPad mini has more high quality games, and more ‘involved’ and intricate apps such as painting apps, music-making tools and so on.

iPad mini vs New Nexus 7 – Cameras

iPad mini – 5-megapixel main camera, 1.2-megapixel front camera

New Nexus 7 – 5-megapixel main camera, 1.2-megapixel front camera

Taking photos with a tablet does not make you look cool – but people still do it. Both the iPad mini and Nexus 7 have two cameras, one on the front and one on the back.

The ‘main’ rear cameras are both pretty basic, lacking a flash and a high-end sensor/lens. Although both have autofocusing, they’re certainly not intended to replace a dedicated camera, or even a phone one really.

The Nexus 7 2’s front camera is a little askew, positioned to the right side of the screen rather than dead-centre. This is a little unfortunate, as the key use for a front camera like this is video chat, where you’ll be looking dead-on at the screen.

The iPad mini’s front camera is in the centre of the screen bezel, which seems more sensible to us. Both cameras will do the trick for selfies and video chat, though.

iPad mini vs New Nexus 7 – Storage

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

New Nexus 7 – 16/32GB storage, non-expandable

Neither of these tablets has a memory card slot. You’ll need to choose the model carefully, as you’ll have to make do with the internal storage your tablet has.

The iPad mini offers a slightly larger array of options. There are 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models, starting at £269.

As a more budget-focused tablet, the new Nexus 7 cuts out the top 64GB option – there are 16GB and 32GB flavours. And the tablet starts at £199.

iPad mini vs New Nexus 7 – Connectivity

iPad mini – Lightning port, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 3G/4G optional

New Nexus 7 – microUSB port, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G/4G optional

4G is one of 2013’s tech buzzwords, and there are 4G versions of both the iPad mini and Nexus 7. The 32GB Nexus 7 comes in Wi-Fi only and 3G/4G variants, while all three storage variants of the iPad mini come in both 3G/4G and Wi-Fi only flavours.

The New Nexus 7 has a few more connectivity features than the iPad mini, though. It has GPS and NFC, both of which are missing from most iPad minis. The 3G edition of the iPad mini does have A-GPS, though, so can be used as an on-the-go- mapping tool.

NFC is unlikely to feature in any iPads until the iPhone adopts the technology – it’s rumoured to be one of the new features in the iPhone 5S.

Like all Apple mobile devices, the iPad mini uses a proprietary connector. It’s the same Lightning port found on the iPhone 5, and the current full-size iPad.


Tech-wise, the new Nexus 7 shows the iPad mini up pretty seriously. It has a much sharper screen and much more powerful internal components. And as it’s cheaper too, it’s hard not to conclude that the Nexus 7 is a much better buy.

However, there are still huge benefits to an iPad mini, mostly based around the inescapable truth that there just aren’t as many top-quality apps and games on Android as there are on iOS.

James McGinnis

July 27, 2013, 6:58 pm

You are OBVIOUSLY an iPad/Apple fan-boy why bother doing a review if all you're going to do is bullshit your way through it. Lets face it the Nexus 7 is a HANDS DOWN WINNER and the crap about not being able to find good stuff on Google play well you obviously are not looking properly. Get another job maybe selling Apple products!

Gary Judge

July 29, 2013, 10:13 am

It is a real shame about the lack of tablet-centric apps on Android as IMHO that's the most important part of the jigsaw puzzle. When I first got an iPad Mini it quickly replaced my first gen Nexus 7 because of this and I wonder whether the new Nexus 7 will be able to topple it from its perch when I manage to get my hands on one. Only time will tell.


July 31, 2013, 12:28 pm

"However, there are still huge benefits to an iPad mini, mostly based around the inescapable truth that there just aren’t as many top-quality apps and games on Android as there are on iOS."

That inescapable truth escapes me, I wonder what would those apps be ?

In the past I did spend a lot on iOS-based apps during the "golden years" of the iPhone/iPad, but like most users would admit, you stop using most (if not all) of them after a while.

Query users and you will find that the most often used one over time are in fact available on all major mobile platforms - e.g. browsers, books and magazines readers, social apps, news apps, weather apps, banking apps, basic productivity apps like OfficeSuite, Dropbox and clones, Evernote, content apps like Spotify and Deezee - yep they are available as well on Android. Same goes for Skype, Viber and the like.

I used to owner an iPad (sold) and iPad 2 (broken), and I'm currently looking at buying a 7" for reading my Kindle books and Zinio-based magazines. While I don't really care that much about the price, I see absolutely no point in getting an iPad Mini over than Nexus 7 - none whatsoever.

Clear winner: Nexus 7 (2013 version) - by knockout !

Edit: perhaps having an Apple-branded device as status symbol in some circles? like some girls like to have that horrible brownish Louis Vuitton bag, which everybody else has (even though 99% of them are probably counterfeits).


August 1, 2013, 8:09 am

"And yet somehow you can never find anything good to download from there…"

What a lazy comment.

"Taking photos with a tablet does not make you look cool – but people still do it."

What age are you?

Simon Kirk

August 1, 2013, 1:56 pm

Like the majority of the others that have commented I completely disagree with you Andrew. I'd suggest you try living everyday for a week with an android device just as Jon Rettinger of technobuffallo does. I have a Samsung Galaxy note 2 & a nexus 10. I can't fathom what key apps or games I'm missing out on. I'd appreciate it if you could educate me.

Ps surely the reliance on iTunes is both a pro & con of iOS ownership. By the way I haven't owned a PC/laptop for 4 years now so iOS & windows phone would be frustrating for me.


August 1, 2013, 2:58 pm

Hi Simon,
I do use an Android tablet fairly often, but I miss the range of games you can get on an iPad. And especially with niche apps like music-making and other creative-leaning stuff, Google Play just doesn't generally have the goods most of the time.

I do like the idea of a 'living with' article though. We'll see what we can do.


August 2, 2013, 12:39 am

Previously , for me at least, the killer IOS only apps were TOMTOM and game center. Android now has both of these.
The only thing I can't fathom is why no LTE support in Europe for N7.

Simon Kirk

August 2, 2013, 8:21 am

Thank you for your reply Andrew. I'm pleased you have taken my suggestion on board. If it's only niche market apps designed for & used by a minority of people I still don't see that to be a win (or a tie as your article seems to suggest) for the iPad mini. The games are evidently on the verge of catching up now. Real racing 3, dead trigger, shadow gun, N.O.V.A 3, temple run 2, grand theft auto vice city & a shed load of film licences on both android & iOS. Epic citadel suggests to me that unreal powered games are coming to android shortly. I bet the next infinity blade isn't iOS exclusive (unless android pay for exclusivity).

Simon Kirk

August 4, 2013, 9:29 am

*Should read.... Unless apple pays for exclusivity. *

Les Higger

August 8, 2013, 8:01 pm

number of apps is meaningless ... we all know that just because there are say 10 apps on a given subject 5 are not worth the ink advertising them.. i have had both apple and android smart phones and have been just as disappointed with both app stores..
one really has to try several until you find the one that works best or works at all.
its a really stupid point yet people still think more is better.. truth is NOT..


August 12, 2013, 10:36 am

Dude, just accept the fact that android apps are low quality and looking at alternative app stores won't help. Like, some office apps for android can't do simple things like edit the font or browsers which stall large file downloads


August 12, 2013, 10:38 am

There might be a lot of android apps but most of them suck aesthetically and in terms of function. Heck, can you find procreate, iWork, iMovie, or garage band alternatives on android? No


August 12, 2013, 10:38 am

That's for you, but not for serious work people


August 31, 2013, 7:07 pm

this is not true. I use mobile Firefox which is way better than Safari.


September 4, 2013, 1:26 am

I have both devices. I like the Mini a lot, but purchased the N7 when it came out as I use it for sales presentations and fell in love with the screen,

I couldn't possibly disagree with this article any more than I already do. I question that he even used the Nexus. "The Verdict" is weak, in that the app argument is tired and dated.

I do like the aesthetics of the Mini and I'm looking forward to the release of the Mini 2. I would wait for its release if I was in the market to compare the two, but until then, the Mini isn't in the N7's category.

Anybody claiming anything else has never actually used both devices.

Ian Jones

October 2, 2013, 2:45 pm

I'm intrigued, which apps am I missing out on? A top 10 list would help me decide if i'm really missing anything worthwhile, or 'deal breaking'. As this is the only thing that your review has as a plus for the mini, you really should expand on it. If I bought one and found nothing extra that interested me... well wouldn't be best pleased.


October 20, 2013, 11:52 am

I've got to agree on the apps, on all other accounts the Nexus is a great device, it's a perfect size fitting in one hand if out and about.

The annoyance of the restricted Apple App Store policies means some of the IOS apps can't do what you can on Android, on the other hand you are buying a known quality as the app is only developed for one device and gone through Apples stringent process.

On Android the number of devices to target are endless instead of the one device IOS has. Some of the apps seem unfinished, buggy etc, probably due to it being hard to target all devices with each has subtle differences. Also looking through both app stores, it's clear the Apple Store has more tablet apps, the other off putting thing on Android is I've downloaded many apps requesting access to things they don't need, phone records and messages etc which has you wondering what do they want access for.

Tech wise and price wise the Nexus 7 is a no brainer, it's a bargain. If the IPad mini catches up in spec things would be different due to the app situation.

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