The iPad mini from a Nexus 7 users perspective

first_imgI was very excited by the release of the Nexus 7. While it was certainly not the first tablet to hit the $200 price point, it was the most powerful. It’s an impressive package, complete with a lasting battery and enough content to keep you busy for a lifetime. Since I was (and still am) already plugged in to Google’s products, it was a no brainer. I recommended it to friends, family, and even considered picking a few up as Christmas presents. I’ve never been a huge fan of the 10-inch tablet, so this tablet was a win for me in every conceivable way.When the iPad mini was announced, I joined my colleagues in scoffing at Apple’s attempt to compete with the rest of the 7-inch tablets. I also pre-ordered one, because this was the first iOS device in the price and size range that interested me. As a long time Android user, and someone who has used just about every Android tablet manufactured over the last two years, I was ready to see what Apple had to offer the world when it came to a smaller tablet.The first thing I noticed when I took the iPad mini out of the box was its build quality. It was immediately clear that the iPad mini is in a class by itself when compared to the Nexus 7 Best Price at Amazon and the Kindle Fire HD. Even so, the aluminum body feels almost too thin, in fact it’s more comfortable to hold when there’s a Smart Cover attached. I found that I preferred the textured back of the Nexus 7 to the iPad mini, but this was also resolved with the Smart Cover. It’s significantly thinner than the Nexus 7, even if it doesn’t feel appreciably lighter. My Nexus 7 flexes in certain areas when I press on the screen or apply pressure to its back. This just doesn’t happen on the iPad mini. If I were to hold the two devices side by side, I would expect to pay more for the mini.Apple decided that its smaller iPad should have a very narrow bezel on the sides, falling in line with the design seen on some of their other devices this season. To compensate for this, the sides of the screen have been calibrated to make it harder to mistype or accidentally press the wrong icon. This, in my opinion, was a huge mistake. The bezel on the sides is enough for you to grip with your thumb, but not enough to comfortably hold for an extended period of time. Meanwhile, apps that have buttons all the way on the left or right of the screen don’t react to a light tap. You have to really press with force or hold your finger for a moment longer in order to tap those icons. Every time I come across one of those situations, I recognize it as the iPad Mini’s biggest flaw and something the Nexus 7 has no issues with.I got the same questions over and over again when I announced to my friends that I was getting an iPad mini. What about the (non-Retina) screen? What about the decreased specs? It’s so much less than the Nexus 7 on paper, how could you justify spending more for it? In fact, I found that the iPad mini outperformed the Nexus 7 in every real world test I could find. Even apps that were demonstrated as shining examples of the power inside the Nexus 7, like Dead Trigger, play better on the mini. Apps load faster, websites load at about the same speed, and unless you are holding the tablets three feet from your face there’s not a whole lot of difference between the two displays. The quality of the screen, meaning the tone of colors, how bright the screen gets… is all Apple. Asus’s screen doesn’t come close.The battery life on the iPad mini is just about the same as the Nexus 7 when it comes to browsing or reading. If I am just sitting on the couch surfing the web or reading, these two tablets easily get me through the day with battery to spare. If I decide to stream some video or play music, the battery life is just about the same. If I try to play games, especially games like Dead Trigger or any of the dozen tower defense games I play at random, the iPad lasts significantly longer than the Nexus 7. There’s easily a three hour difference in battery life.I thought the move to iOS would be difficult. I’ve been a Google product user for a really long time, and I have a ton of purchased apps from Google Play. A major ecosystem change, if it is even possible, would be really expensive for me, but I bit the bullet and did it.I found that the few Google apps that are on iOS not only work well, but are undeniably smoother than they are on my Nexus 7. Google’s voice search on the iPad Mini not only blows the pants off of Siri, but it blows the pants off of the exact same service on Google’s own device. Google+, specifically the Hangouts function, even includes features that are not available on the Nexus 7. I can connect a Bluetooth headset to the iPad and jump into a Hangout, something that doesn’t exist on any Android device.Sadly, not everything exists for iOS. There are plenty of things I enjoy doing on my Nexus 7 that I have to use a third party app for on the iPad. Google Talk, for example, is something I desperately miss when using iOS. There are plenty of third party apps that connect to Google Talk, but I haven’t found a single one that I enjoy the same way I enjoy Talk on the Nexus 7. The Google app for iOS is a collection of web based tools that don’t deliver notifications to the tablet, so clearly don’t work as well as they do integrated into the OS on my Nexus 7.I enjoy the power and flexibility of my Nexus 7. As a tinkerer, if I wake up tomorrow and decide I would like to try Ubuntu Linux on my Nexus 7 it would be quite simple to accomplish. I enjoy Android on my phone, especially when it comes to the seamless integration of the products I already use everyday. The iPad mini exists as a tool to absorb content, and very little else. I don’t expect to write my next book on it (my first was about Android tablets), or really do much more than sit on my couch and read or play a game.As a convenience item I feel that the iPad mini’s price is higher than it should be, especially when you add in the Smart Cover. I do, however, feel like this tablet is significantly better than the Nexus 7 for the tasks that people actually use tablets for.last_img

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