Friday, November 16, 2012

Apple iPad mini versus the Asus Google Nexus 7

Nexus 7
The Asus Google Nexus 7 32 GB WiFi only model has officially been released in the Philippines with a manufacturers suggested retail price of Php13,995. The Apple iPad mini has not yet been officially launched in the Philippines, but we are starting to see it in store shelves at Php19,000 to Php20,000 for the 16 GB version, and Php23,000 to Php25,000 for the 32 GB model. When the iPad mini is officially launched in the Philippines, I expect the price of the 16 GB model to go down to Php15,900 and the 32 GB model to be available at around Php20,900. 

Both the Nexus 7 and the iPad mini competed in the same market segment. Those looking for smaller more portable tablets, so lets start there.

Size and weight - MINI

The Nexus 7 at 7.81 x 4.72 x 0.41 inches is a smaller but thicker device compared the the iPad mini at 7.87 x 5.30 x 0.28 inches. The iPad mini weighs less at 0.68 pounds as compared to the 0.75 pound Nexus 7. If I was picking based on just size and weight, I would go with the iPad mini's dimensions hands down. The thinner and lighter are more important to me than the narrower girth. 

iPad mini
Display - DRAW

The Nexus 7 has a 7-inch HD (800 x 1280) display with a pixel density of 216 ppi. The iPad mini has a 7.9-inch 768 x 1024 display with a lower 168 ppi density. This is a much tougher category to decide.

Given that the iPad mini can bring a larger display with no penalty to size, I prefer the larger 7.9-inch display. The main drawback in my opinion with the iPad mini's display is the SD 3:4 aspect ratio. Thus means the screen is not optimized to play HD and Full HD content, and it cannot play HD content at its native resolution. 

Nexus 7 display is also protected by Corning Gorilla glass while the iPad mini by Oleophobic coating (similar to what is used in the Galaxy Nexus). Both should be scratch resistant enough. 

I guess many will disagree, but I will call this round a draw. 

Power - NEXUS 7

Neither device now runs on cutting edge technology. The iPad mini runs on a dual core Apple A5 processor which was considered to be cutting edge technology until the Q1 of 2012. The Nexus run runs a quad core Tegra 3 processor which was considered cutting edge until the end of Q3 2012. But both are fast enough.

Next year, the bulk of new Android devices designs will still just be migrating to dual core processors, so the Nexus 7 should give you a good two to three years of use before its hardware is completely obsolescent. The Apple iPad mini, is as fast as the iPhone 4S and iPad 2 released in 2011, and the Appe iPad 3 released in 2012 (once you factor in the screen resolution). Apple app developer will be supporting the iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and iPad 3 for the next two years or so.  Both devices should last you long enough.

The Nexux 7 running as it does on Nvidia's ULP GeForce graphics chip is capable of displaying graphical effects way beyond those that can be rendered by the iPad mini's PowerVRSGX 543MP2. So we give this category to the Nexus 7 by a hair.

Cameras - IPAD MINI

This on is easy. The Nexus 7 comes with a 1.3 MP primary camera capable of doing 720 video, and no secondary camera. This is really only useful for apps that need a camera to work, but you won't be using it to capture pictures of video for your own use.

The iPad mini has a 5 MP camera, which can capture 1080p video, and a secondary camera for video calls. The iPad mini clearly, takes this round.

Battery Life  - IPAD MINI

The Nexus 7 promises 9.5 hours of battery life, with the display set to 100-nit brightness. In real world use, it should be more like 8 hours. Apple promises 10 hours of battery life on the iPad mini, and you should get close to that in real world use.

Price and storage - NEXUS 7

We lumped these two together because they really are inseparable. Right now the iPad mini will cost you Php5,000 to Php7,000 more, and give you less storage, at 16 GB versus 32 GB for the Nexus 7. To get the same amount of storage, it will cost you Php9,000 to Php11,000 more. Right now it does not look like a good time to buy an iPad mini.

When the prices go down, I still do expect the iPad mini to cost Php2,000 more, with less storage, or Php7,000 more with the same amount of internal storage.

Winner - NEXUS 7 

The iPad Mini offers some compelling features, but it cost a little bit too much for what it offers.

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