2. iPad mini
From £269 – full iPad mini review
Pros – light frame, excellent build, great apps and games selection, 3G option available
Cons – A bit pricey
The baby iPad is here, and we love it. The iPad mini is much like a shrunk-down iPad 2. It offers the same screen resolution, a similar processor and a familiar aluminium-rear design. Best of all, it can play all of those great iPad apps and games without any issues. If the iPad mini cost the same amount of money as the competition, we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it above all else for most buyers.
However, it is significantly more expensive. It’s £110 more than the Google Nexus 7, pushing it into a completely different category. Apple sauce doesn’t come for free.
The iPad mini also doesn’t have quite as high-resolution a screen as most of the cheaper Android alternatives, although the display is a bit larger – 7.9 inches instead of 7.0 inches. This larger screen doesn’t adversely affect the portability of the tablet, though, as it’s not as widescreen as the Androids here, and the skinny screen bezel means you can still fit the thing comfortably into one hand.
1. Google Nexus 7
From £159 – full Google Nexus 7 review
Pros – Feature-rich, flexible, great value, 3G option available
Cons – Non-expandable memory, may intimidate technophobes
It’s still the all-round 7-inch tablet victor. The Google Nexus 7 is a smashing piece of kit for the money – at £159 for the 16GB model, it’s jaw-droppingly good.
For one, you get features missing from the Amazon and Barnes & Noble alternatives. Best of the lot, it has GPS, letting you use it as a portable mapping tool. There’s a 3G options as well now, further increasing that flexibility.
As a vanilla Google product (manufactured by Asus), the Google Nexus 7 runs an unadulterated version of Android Jelly Bean, which runs like a dream under the power of the quad-core Tegra 3 processor. It also has access to all the Google Android goodies, from the Google Play app store to apps like Maps and Mail.
At the price, there are few downsides to this tablet. The one lingering geek quibble is that the Google Nexus 7 does not have a memory card slot, limiting you to the standard internal memory.