Battle of the 7-inch Tablets: iPad Mini Against Nexus, Fire and Tab 2

The much-awaited iPad Mini is finally here, smaller, thinner and lighter than its big brother, and already booming in sales. The screen size and specifications put the iPad Mini in direct competition with the likes of the Nexus 7, the Kindle Fire HD and the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, each a formidable chunk of technology in its own right. A comparison inevitably beckons, and here is a glance at the major specifications of the four tablets.

Battle of the 7-inch tablets: iPad Mini against Nexus, Fire and Tab 2

Where the iPad Mini trumps the competition

The obvious allure of any Apple product is its physical aspects. In this respect, the iPad Mini wins hands-down, thanks to its remarkable thickness of merely 7.2mm, while the others are close to 10.5mm thick. The iPad Mini is also lighter than the others by at least 30 grams.

Another victory for the Mini is in the camera division, where it offers not one but two high-quality cameras, both equipped for video recording. The Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire HD lack secondary cameras, and their primary cameras do not measure up to the Mini’s 5MP specimen. The Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, on the other hand, does feature both front and rear cameras, but takes second place due to lower quality sensors, lesser resolution and slower video recording.

On the connectivity front, the Mini has 4G LTE versions available, but is otherwise at par with the Tab 2, while the others don’t come in cellular make-ups. The Lightning Port, though yet to achieve standard status, is also a feature exclusive to the Mini.
Further, the 64GB models of the Mini might suit consumers looking for greater internal storage than the other three, which offer up to 32GB. The Tab 2, however, compensates for this by allowing microSD addition up to 32GB.

Where the Nexus and Kindle reign supreme

The Kindle Fire HD and the Google Nexus 7 are runaway winners in the display department. Apple has faltered with display quality with the Mini, perhaps because thickness issues prevented the use of the Retina display. The screen resolution is also disappointing. As for the Galaxy Tab 2, the display has slightly lower resolution than the Mini’s, and its pixel density – a more reliable feature – is slightly higher, but nowhere near that of the other two. What this amounts to is that the Fire HD and the Nexus 7 offer sharper, more vibrant picture and video viewing than both the Tab 2 and the Mini. The Kindle’s Amazon-customized version of Android, in particular, offers a fast, smooth reading and viewing experience.

The Nexus 7 has the best processor among the four models, its quad-core Cortex A9 CPU ahead of the dual-core specimens of the others. With this and the ULP GeForce GPU, the Nexus 7 is geared for an intensive gaming experience.

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Stating the case for the Tab 2

While Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 might not fetch eye-catching features like those mentioned above for the rest of the tablets, it does pack in a set of solid, dependable specifications that have wowed Galaxy Tab users for a long time. There is not much to fault with this version of the Tab, and it continues its onward journey with unique features like the USB-on-the go support, scope for microSD addition and Samsung’ acclaimed TouchWiz UX UI.

The Verdict

Arriving at a unanimous verdict is both impractical and unfair, solely on the basis of the very different market philosophies that these tablets espouse. The iPad Mini and the Kindle Fire HD clearly focus on building on their ecosystems, that of Apple and Amazon respectively. Consumers who already have other devices and services from these companies – iPhones, Macbooks, Amazon Memberships et al – will definitely prefer these models. The same goes, to a large extent, for the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, which will be the model of choice for those who have had a good experience with the Samsung-Android combination. The Nexus 7 will appeal the most to those looking for on-the-go, palmtop gaming, with all the attendant internet and multimedia benefits of a Jelly Bean tablet to boot.
The ultimate purchase decision will have a lot to do with price, and here is how these tablets compare on that front:

● iPad Mini price in India: starting at INR 26700 (16GB, Wi-Fi)
● Google Nexus 7 price in India: INR 16050 (16GB)
● Kindle Fire HD price in India: INR 16611 (16GB), INR 20571 (32GB)
● Galaxy Tab 2 price in India: INR 17999 (16/32GB, Wi-Fi + 3G)

The Mini is markedly more expensive than the other models, which is likely to be a factor for users with budget constraints. For iOS aficionados, the Mini is a good purchase, provided they don’t already possess iPads, in which case the decision is more difficult. The Nexus, the Kindle and the Tab 2 are similarly priced, and will attract their relevant market segments, which have the Android factor in common.

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