I recently blogged up the differences between the iPad Mini and Nexus 7 tablets, if you are looking for a quick bullet point comparison then that post is well worth a read.
In this post I take the opportunity to champion the Nexus 7.
I am a Nexus 7 fan and I run a Nexus 7 fan site. This post is titled ‘Reasons You Should Buy the Nexus 7’ and that’s what you’ll find below! We’ll let Apple and their very dedicated supporters argue their own ‘for’ case.
That said, I am also an Apple owner (latest generation iPod Touch) and I am a fickle gadget buyer, I will gladly buy the brand that meets my needs on the day and I have run fan sites for other brands and gadgets.
With that in mind, here’s why I would still chose a Nexus 7 over an iPad Mini.
Nexus 7 vs iPad Mini
So, here we go. Here are the reasons why, given the choice again, I would still prefer to buy a Google Tablet ahead of Apple’s:
For what I use my tablet for, I want it to be cheap. A 7″ screen (and a 10″ screen for that matter) is too small for my day to day work. I actually have two large widescreen monitors on my desktop for my professional work.
My tablet is a fantastic “coffee table” device, it sits in my living room and is used daily for browsing, tweeting, checking emails. I use it on my daily commute for music and video.
For this kind of use I just can’t justify spending a lot of money, most of us in 2012 are on tight budgets and we’re choosing how to spend our hard earned money very carefully (not true for everyone, and good luck to them). A tablet doesn’t really let me do anything I couldn’t do before, so I would term it as a luxury item.
iPad Mini starts at £269 and the top line model is priced at over £500. Wow!
Nexus 7 starts at £159, and to be fair we don’t know how much the inevitable mobile network enabled model is going to cost.
So if price is a key driver of your purchasing decisions, the choice is easy.
2 Screen Resolution
When the iPad 3 came out Apple and its fans were very excited about the higher resolution screen. Many went on to say this was revolutionary, ground breaking and of critical importance.
So, it turns out that the Nexus 7 has a higher resolution screen than the iPad Mini, and logically all these points must still be valid when it comes to comparing the two.
The N7 sports 216 ppi whilst the iPad Mini possesses a measly 163 ppi. That’s a 25% difference!
If screen resolution really does make a big difference, as many Apple fans carefully explained to me in the past (before the iPad Mini came along at least), then the Nexus 7 has to be the winner.
It is true that Android app developers were slow off the mark to support high resolution apps in tablet mode, but this is changing fast – largely thanks to the Nexus 7, but also due to the increasing number of HD smartphones sporting larger screens.
3 Operating System
Android has come a long way in recent years, Google have smoothed things out, added some great innovations and it’s looking beautiful. What’s more, the updates are coming at a fast pace and Nexus owners are the first to get them.
Here are some of the things I love:
- Android’s widgets greatly enhance your tablet experience, I can’t imagine living without them. Resizeable content rich widgets right on your desktop.
- The standardised ‘back’ and ‘app switcher’ buttons are in constant use. I often find myself in dead ends within Apple apps where I’m forced back to the home screen – hugely frustrating.
- I find the notification implementation is superior in Android, everything from emails to screenshots are accessible from the notification bar. Swipe to dismiss individual messages, a unified system that allows management across your tablet.
- The keyboard allows for easier input and correction, and if you don’t like it you can enhance it with third party add-ons, or replace it completely.
- Google have got the jump on the voice recognition engine, no doubt Siri will improve but for now I know which I prefer!
- Cloud features were in Android long before Apple got in on the act, Jelly Bean’s implementation is tighter, more flexible and more mature.
- The full Google experience, Apple just doesn’t have the same range of products! Android has GMail, Google Calendar, Google Voice, Google Search, YouTube, Google Goggles, Google Talk, Google Translate, Google Earth, Blogger and more baked in. And of course Google Maps, but let’s not rub salt into the wound!
The modern Android system is easy to use, stable and looks good. Any article that assumes iOS is more intuitive to use had better back it up with some examples because when I use the support forums to help with my iPod Touch issues I see a lot of people with a lot of wide ranging problems, and some of the solutions are in the realms of Windows fixes (this is one I had to do, followed by – note the 3m hits!).
It is also true that not every generation of every Apple product can run iOS6 and all the applications associated with it. In fact, Apple owners are starting to get disgruntled by how quickly their expensive products are being made obsolete.
With more and more products now running on Android I like the ability to buy from different manufacturers. For example, we are now seeing Android powered dedicated cameras and whilst many people are happy with the cameras in their mobile devices, some of us need a fully featured camera and that’s not going to be powered by iOS any time soon.
I want to prioritise battery life when I buy my next phone, if you are tied to Apple, you have to take what you are given. I’m going to enjoy days between charges if I go for the Razr Maxx HD. Or perhaps I want the best camera in a phone, well I can seek that out too. I have choice.
I also love that I can choose between Google’s App store, Amazon’s and others. This allows some competition into the market with Amazon providing their free app of the day for instance.
4 Processing Power
Despite the hardware hype being generated by the Apple machine, and the relatively high price, the iPad mini is being driven by their older dual-core A5 chip.
This is the same chip powering the iPad 2 (now two generations old), and the chip you’ll find in the iPod Touch.
The Nexus 7 has a rocking NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor, which beats the A5 chip handily in GeekBench tests, and destroys it in raw graphical processing power.
Funny how Apple forgot to mention this in their comparisons!
5 NFC and GPS
The Nexus 7 has a few tricks up it’s sleeve.
We don’t yet know how important this burgeoning technology is going to become, but many Apple rivals are including NFC functionality in their phones and tablets.
NFC (near field communication) is a communication protocol that allows devices in close proximity to talk to each other. It has some cool applications and is rapidly gaining ground:
- Payments, for example through Google Wallet
- Health care applications, such as patient identification.
- Sleep monitoring
- Public transport ticket systems
- Parking Meters
- Android Beam
I guess at the rate Apple are churning out updated models (making your new purchase obsolete within 6 months!) they’ll be quick to add NFC in if it gains ground. The cynical might suggest it will be another excuse to get the fans to upgrade. But I wouldn’t think that!
Not everyone will want GPS in their tablet, in the same way that not everyone sees the need for a rear camera, however if you want it you won’t be getting it in the WiFi only version of the Apple iPad Mini.
It’s not something I use often, but whilst on holiday this summer I fired up Google Maps and downloaded Pembrokeshire for offline viewing.
If, after reading this, you are still unconvinced, that’s fine – no product is ever going to appeal to everyone and I would always encourage people to discount the marketing fluff and buy something that is right for them. The iPad mini really is a neat bit of kit, it’s just not for me.
- Still want to buy an iPad mini? No worries, click here and place your order or view the range at Amazon!
- Have I made a good case for the Nexus 7? Click through to find the best places to buy.
Got your own thoughts? Let us know which one you bought and why, head over to the forum and introduce yourself.