Which is better, the iPad Mini, the Nexus 7 or the Kindle Fire HD? I’ve compared the three to try to find the answer to that very question, and the following is a break down of how they stack up.
With the late Steve Jobs so publicly against a smaller slate it may have been a surprise to some people when Apple announced the iPad Mini, but the success of the Nexus 7 and Amazons 7inch tablets probably left them with little choice but to take the fight to Google and Amazon by announcing the iPad Mini.
iPad Mini vs Nexus 7 vs Kindle Fire HD – Build
iPad Mini: Apple have always been at the forefront on the quality angle, and this latest product is no different, made from an aluminium and glass design, the iPad Mini exudes quality. Weighing in at just 308g and 7.2mm thin should make it comfortable to use for extended periods of time.
Nexus 7: Android has always been the budget cousin to apple when it comes to quality, there are hundreds of cheap android devices out there and this has hurt androids image as a quality product in the mind of a lot of consumers. Having said that, the Nexus 7 manufactured by Asus is a very nice product, sporting a comfortable dimpled rubberized removeable back and glass covering the entire front the Nexus 7 is a real step up from its cheap sibling. At 340g and 10.5mm thin its not as thin and light as the iPad Mini, but is still lighter than than most of its rivals and is should be just as comfortable to use for long periods as the iPad Mini.
Kindle Fire HD: The Kindle Fire HD is the first of Amazons tablets to come to the UK, but it’s a good looking device is a little wider than you would expect thanks to having a consistent 2cm bezel all the way around. At 395g and 8.8mm thin it sits between the other two tablets in thinness but is heavier than both.
iPad Mini vs Nexus 7 vs Kindle Fire HD – Screen
iPad Mini: Apple products have always used fantastic screen, this one is a 7.9inch LED Multi-Touch IPS display, which ensures wide viewing angles. The screen is a bit disappointing in that it doesn’t feature a Retina display, but no doubt we will see that in the iPad Mini 2, or iPad Mini S. The screen has a 1024×768 resolution which equates to a 163ppi, which means it’s the same screen quality as the iPad 2.
Nexus 7: The screen on the Nexus 7 is fantastic, and while it might not be in the same category as a full fat iPad with a Retina display, its running at 1280×800 resolution with 216ppi meaning it easily beats the 1024×600 of most 7inch rivals and the iPad Mini. The Scratch-resistant Corning® Fit Glass should also add a bit of protection to the screen.
Kindle Fire HD: The screen on the Kindle is comparable to that in the Nexus 7 with an IPS screen running at the same resolution and PPI.
iPad Mini vs Nexus 7 vs Kindle Fire HD – Camera
iPad Mini: A 5-megapixel rear facing camera and a front facing FaceTime HD camera have been fitted to the iPad Mini.
Nexus 7: Personally, I believe rear facing cameras on a tablet are pointless and only serve to point the user out as a wally and/or showoff, especially when most peoples phone will have a camera as good as or better than that of the tablet, as well as easier to hold and use. Google obviously came to a similar decision and opted for a 1.2megapixel front facing camera only, which should cover you for any Skype and Google+ needs.
Kindle Fire HD: Amazon have also gone with a front facing only 1.3megapixel HD camera primarily for use with Skype.
iPad Mini vs Nexus 7 vs Kindle Fire HD – Operating System
iPad Mini: iOS is undeniably a great operating system, slick, intuitive and well designed, the iPad Mini is set to get the iOS 6 treatment which promises a tweaked user interface with a new look App Store and iCloud support.
Nexus 7: Android has always been a bit of a mixed bag due to supporting so many different devices, however the Nexus 7 ships with Android Jelly Bean 4.1 out of the box with a 4.2 update forthcoming, and it really helps the Nexus 7 shine with notable features including speedier performance thanks to Project Butter, a smarter keyboard, a more sophisticated voice search, the new Google Now service, and 4.2 will also bring the ability to have multiple user accounts.
Kindle Fire HD: The kindle has a modified version of Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich, however the tablet is so tied into Amazons App Store that you are locked out of using any other App Stores including Google Play and if you are thinking of installing a competing app for reading e-books in ePub format (which the Kindle doesn’t support itself), forget it.
iPad Mini vs Nexus 7 vs Kindle Fire HD – App Store
iPad Mini: Apples App store is without doubt the best, it has the largest collection of apps designed specifically for tablets and the strict vetting procedure means the apps are generally of high quality and consistant.
Nexus 7: Googles play store is slowly catching up and a lot of the best apps from Apples App Store have been ported over, the ability to add 3rd party App Stores such as Amazons is also a huge bonus.
Kindle Fire HD: The Amazon App Store is pretty good, and has a lot of the popular apps from the Play store, however, none of googles apps are on it, and if you want apps from the Amazon store, you can install the Amazon marketplace on the Nexus 7.
iPad Mini vs Nexus 7 vs Kindle Fire HD – Power
iPad Mini: The same dual core A5 that is used in the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S is used in the iPad Mini which should ensure everything runs nice and snappy. While it’s not the A6X from the 4th Gen iPad it should be more than capable for its intended use.
Nexus 7: The Nexus 7 is packing some serious power, with a quad core Tegra 3 processor to tackle multitasking and deliver smooth performace while the 12 core GPU should be able to handle even the most demanding mobile games. The additional 5th battery saving core takes care of everyday tasks which should help preserve battery life.
Kindle Fire HD: The kindle is running on a 1.2Ghz OMAP processor which while a capable processor doesn’t feel as snappy as the iPad or Nexus 7.
iPad Mini vs Nexus 7 vs Kindle Fire HD – Connectivity
iPad Mini: According to Apple the dual band 802.11n Wi-Fi delivers twice the performance of previous iPad models, with LTE compatibility in addition to standard 3G support means it’s ready for 4G, assuming you buy a device with these included of course, because as with all iPads there are multiple different versions to choose from, each with a hike on the price front. The iPad Mini also includes Bluetooth 4.0.
Nexus 7: With a 3G version forthcoming, the Nexus 7 also has some interesting connectivity options including Bluetooth, NFC and GPS. The GPS in particular allows you to use the device as a sat nav and I installed co-pilot with good results.
Kindle Fire HD: The kindle has dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi which uses MIMO (Multiple In, Multiple Out) to improve speed and reliability. It also has Bluetooth and a HDMI out port, but lacks both NFC and GPS.
iPad Mini vs Nexus 7 vs Kindle Fire HD – Battery
iPad Mini: The iPad mini should make it through the day with Apple promising 10 hours of battery life.
Nexus 7: Google claims that the nexus 7 will deliver 9 hours if you are consuming content such as HD video and extends that to around 10 hours for more everyday tasks.
Kindle Fire HD: The kindle performs well on battery life, in most battery tests The iPad mini comes out slightly ahead, and the Nexus 7 slightly behind, making the kindle a good middle ground.
iPad Mini vs Nexus 7 vs Kindle Fire HD – Price
iPad Mini: Starting off with a price point of £269 will get you the 16GB Wi-Fi only model, with the 32GB coming in at £349 and the 64GB at £429, if you want 3G connectivity you are going to need to add £100 at each price point.
Nexus 7: The big selling point of the Nexus 7 is it’s price, while the 16GB iPad Mini will set you back £269 the equivalent Nexus 7 costs just £159, with the 32GB costing £199 (vs £349) and the 32GB + 3G finishing up the lineup costing £239 (vs £449).
Kindle Fire HD: Like the Nexus 7 the kindle Fire HD is aggressively priced with the 16GB option costing £159 with ads (£169 without ads) and the 32GB option costing £199 with ads (£209 without ads).
iPad Mini vs Nexus 7 vs Kindle Fire HD – Conclusion
It’s hard to pick a clear winner, and it will mostly come down to your personal circumstances, if you have other Apple products and are therefore tied to the Apple ecosystem the iPad mini may be the best option for you. On the other hand The Nexus 7 is considerably cheaper for a product that is comparable and in some cases superior, and is probably the product I’d go for on a cost conscious decision, even over the Kindle as the locked down nature of the Kindle makes it frustrating, true you could root the kindle, but most people just want something that will work out the box.
Do you have any thoughts on this matter? Let me know in the comments.